Your body

Any reasonably fit person should be able to enjoy the ride, but cycling, like all other aerobic activities, uses specific muscles. While you may feel fit, because you walk, jog or run on a regular basis, if you suddenly start pedalling long distances you will rapidly – and painfully – discover muscles you did not realise you had!

You will need to gradually build up your general level of “cycling fitness” to enable you to comfortably cover the distance required each day.

The training program outlined below should help.* But remember, you don’t have to go overboard! Start with rides maintaining a steady pace and a high cadence. (About 80-100 rotations per minute is best.) It is actually more efficient to spin those legs, rather than push hard.

Just do what you can and try to maintain a regular cycling schedule.

*This program assumes you are starting from zero, cycling-wise. If you already cycle regularly, simply begin the program at the point where you feel most comfortable and then start to push beyond your comfort zone!

Week Number of riding days Consecutive riding days Longest
ride (km)
Other rides (km) Difficulty
1 3 2 20 10-15 Start easy, on flat terrain, while your bike and your body adjust to each other.
2 4 3 30 15-20 Start to introduce some hills
3 4 3 40 15-20 Try to tackle two hilly rides
4 5 3 50 15-20 Make one of the shorter rides a big hill climb – e.g. a one-kilometre climb without a break.
5 4 3 60 30-40 Include hills in all your rides, apart from one easy recovery ride. Try doing a decent hill climb twice during the early stage of a longer ride.
6 3 2 70 30-50 Include a one kilometre climb in your ride – Copperlode!
7 3 2 80 40-50 Include a one kilometre climb twice during your ride.
8 3 2 80 40-50 Now you’re ready for Ride for Isabel