Many riders in the club train for and take part in long-distance rides, but for many joining the club riding longer distances can be a challenge. Endurance is the key fitness attribute required to successfully complete such rides – well, endurance and comfortable shorts…
The training plans on the get fit page will prepare you for cycling increased distances and speeds, but you can focus more on distance if that’s your thing. This page is about cycling further still and there are plenty of types of rides on offer, for example:
- Audax – rides of 60 to 200km in which ‘participants must navigate a route within a specified period of time’, although the required average speed is around 15mph / 25km/h. The route is not waymarked, so you need some navigation skills and/or a cycling computer capable of plotting a route e.g. a Garmin, Wahoo etc. There is a national association for audax and there is a good choice of events in East Sussex and Kent, as well as nationally. They are cheap to enter when compared to sportives, and there is plenty of advice on how to prepare.
- Sportives – usually rides of 30 to 100 miles with a waymarked route which may be especially hilly. British Cycling has a helpful sportives page with a calendar of events and advice for new riders. There are many providers, chiefly
- Reliability Trials – like a sportive ride and have been run for 100 years or so. It is not a race; the purpose is to ride the course in small groups of 10-15 riders (that may divide) club-run style within a time limit chosen by you and collect points. The club with the most points is the eventual winner so the more riders a club has, the more points they score. Distances vary up 160km or more.
- ‘LEJOG’ – Land’s End to John O’Groats – the classic UK cycling challenge. Club members have ridden ‘LEJOG’ as individuals and as small groups.
- Ultra-distance cycling events – these are serious, single or multi-day events over long distances and challenging terrain, such as the Dragon Ride or Tour in Wales or the 1,000 miles ‘No Country for Old Men Llewelyn Moss’ ride in the US. The UltraMarathon Cycling Association lists these and many other events. It goes without saying that they require serious preparation.
Club members can and do complete all kinds of endurance cycling events, including some ultra-distance rides, either organised by others or by themselves. This year, riders have completed ‘LEJOG’, the Northcape 4000, the Majorca 312, The Dulwich Dynamo and all sorts of other daft challenges. Madness!
Remember that, as a minimum, you should be able to ride 25 miles / 40 km in reasonable comfort with our club if you want to take part in our easier rides. We advise improving your stamina and speed so that you can ride 40 miles / 65km to 50 miles / 80km miles without needing to lie down for a week afterwards!