Make Every Ride Count

Easy ways to make every ride count

To perform at your peak at the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, you need to make the best of what you’ve got – and when it comes to cycling that especially applies to time on the bike. Cycling has to fit into a busy life, squeezed by work, family and social commitments. So if you want to get fitter and better, to make progress, every ride needs to count.

Settle into a routine

“Avoiding faff is one of my obsessions, on and off the bike,” says self-confessed obsessive compulsive Team UK Youth pro Yanto Barker. “And the key is building good routines – from how focused you are on the bike, to when and what you eat, how you plan your routes, and even how you organise your kit at home.”

See reason

Making every ride count is not just about riding hard. You need to focus on ‘purposeful’ training – a reason for every ride: “Intensity is just one component,” says Barker, “equally important are pedalling technique, muscle activation, position and skills.” Follow one of our training plans here to ensure you cycle the right distance at the right intensity every time you get on your bike.

Plan ahead

For a road ride, planning the route is vital for getting the kind of workout you want, as this will be dictated by the terrain, distance and conditions. “I plan rides in terms of time, intensity, the workout it will give me and wind direction,” says Barker. “The last one of these is important because I always make sure that I ride home with a tailwind.” Be strict about timing too – if your training schedule says to ride for 90 minutes, ride for 90 minutes. “If it looks like I’ll get home early I add a detour.”

Three of a kind

“As a pro cyclist, I would say that there are three essential types of training session,” says Barker. “First the high cadence speed effort, without which you might be fit and strong like a tractor but not fast. Second, the strength workout that gives you the leg power to climb hills and stay out front, and third, the active recovery ride, where you spin a high cadence with little effort to clear out lactic acid and prepare your body for its next big effort.”
“But if there’s one good rule to follow for making every training ride count, I would say make sure you work the extremes. If you’re doing a strength effort then pick a big gear and turn slow revolutions, but then contrast it by spinning out your maximum cadence in a small, light gear. This is how you’ll get the range you need for different phases of races or sportives.”

Change gear

Don’t leave all your cycling kit out all year round as you’ll have to root through everything every time you ride. “In summer most of my winter gear gets put away,” says Barker. On rides he has a system for his kit so everything is always in the same pocket.

“I put my pump and cape in my middle back pocket, multi-tool and tube in left pocket and phone always in right rear pocket. I have a zipped pocket for keys and money, again always in the same pocket.

“To make sure I’ve got everything, I lay it all out on my bed before putting my kit on. When I get back, it’s shoes off, kit in wash, shower. After my shower I have my recovery drink and stretch, then lunch.” Obsessive? Maybe. Ready to tackle anything a sportive can throw at him? Definitely.

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