Power up your pedals
Got a bike, but not really using it? Want to cycle yourself fit, but don’t have the time? Don’t sweat – with straightforward 30-minute sessions we’ll have you on your bike in no time
The cycle revolution of 2012 – including Wiggo’s Tour de France win and 12 Olympic medal haul – prompted many of us to start pedalling for fitness. The benefits of cycling are endless, from increasing body strength to improving co-ordination, plus it has a low impact on your joints. But if the last bike you rode had Barbie on it, the thought of getting back in the saddle may seem daunting. Or maybe you already cycle but want a new challenge.
That’s why we’ve brought Ironman triathlete Claire Donald on board – she knows a thing or two having most recently cycled the length of New Zealand – to break down your bike training into 30-minute manageable workouts. This eight-week plan will help set you on the road to training for your first ever Cyclosportive event, where you can complete up to a 100km course (sign up to one near you at britishcycling.org.uk). So saddle up and let’s get started.
Before you start
- This plan includes a mixture of exercise bike sessions during the week and outdoor rides at the weekend. If you aren’t a gym member, don’t worry – you can try the same 30-minute training session on a cycle path or a safe and quiet stretch of road. If you have an exercise bike at home, but not an outdoor one, you can do the outdoor sessions indoors – just turn the resistance up to simulate hills!
- If you’re a beginner, repeat each week until you feel ready to move on to the next. If you have a higher fitness level, saddle up on Saturday and Sunday, too.
- The plan is based around Rate of Perceived Endurance (RPE) to ensure you’re working hard enough, but also at a pace that suits your fitness levels. RPE is simply how hard you are cycling – rated from one to 10, with 10 being maximum exertion. Or to put it more simply
Claire’s top training tips
- Resist bouncing around in the saddle – keep your core engaged and your upper body stable.
- Keep pedal stroke smooth throughout its rotation and select the correct gears to help maintain an even cadence on the hills.
- Don’t hate hills, as they’re great for increasing strength and power. Just take your time – it will get easier.
- Stay seated on inclines to increase your power.
- Enter an event before you start training to help keep you motivated.
Cycle kit to help you saddle up
Visijax Commuter Jacket, £99.99, halfords.com
Motion sensor technology triggers an amber light on the sleeve when the wearer signals to turn. No more arm waving!
Osprey Raven 10 Hydration Pack, £85, ospreyeurope.com
An integrated water bladder and tube allow you to drink on the move.
Louis Garneau Women Specific Helmet, £69.99, evanscycles.com
Vents keep you cool in hot weather, while the extra coverage at the back provides enhanced protection.
- Lightrider Front LED AA Bike Light, £23.99, halfords.comThis clever device lights up the road, as well as you, making you more visible.
- SealSkinz Ultra Grip Gloves, £35, wiggle.co.ukWaterproof and windproof gloves with extra padding, plus grip pads for excellent control and dexterity.
- Odlo Telegraphe Bike Jersey, £80, odlo.comInbuilt technology helps to keeps you dry and your body temperature regulated.
- Altura Progel Tights, £59.99, evanscycles.comThe gel padding reduces saddle soreness and the Roubaix fabric reduces chilling and overheating