What is a century?
100 miles, or 160km, depenending on your locality.
What is it really?
About a day's cycling, taken at a nice pace, with a stop for lunch.
Why would I cycle for that long?
Because you like bicycles, or time on bicycles.
How should I prepare for the distance?
One long bike ride is the same as several, smaller consecutive bike rides. With this in mind, start small: 30km, 60km, 100km (AKA a Metric, or Metric Century), then you're probably ready. Try and plan these rides with a scalar for the elevation change of your planned century.
While completing these smaller rides, one per week, consider the following:
- How do you feel during the ride?
- How's your bike fit? (If it squeaks or chaffs, fix it!)
- How much water do you drink?
- How much do you need to eat?
- What problems have you overcome to complete these shorter rides?
- Have you completed several rides of steadily increasing distance?
- Are you confident that you have what you need to sustain yourself - food, water, sun cream - during your ride?
- Are you confident that you know how to fix any normal mechanical problems (eg a puncture) you may encounter, and that your tools are appropriate for the task?
- Have you got lights in case it takes you longer to get back?
- Have you told someone responsible of your planned route and time?
If the answer to those questions is yes, you're probably ready. If you're not ready, you're a lot better prepared than you were at the start.