BHF cyclist on road in woods

Our cycling events cover a wide range of cycling abilities. Check out our glossary below to make yourself familiar with our cycling terminology. 

The long ride

  • Our training programme has a long ride every Sunday.
  • If a different day is more suitable then simply swap the days around.
  • Your long ride will build in length throughout your training programme.
  • You will notice slight reductions, however, from weeks nine until ten as part of a two week taper period so that your body is rested in time for your event.
  • Long rides should be ridden at an easy to steady pace. Please read on for further information on paces. You should be able to carry on a conversation during a long ride – if you cannot you are working your body too hard!
  • Plan your route carefully and take the opportunity to ride over hills.
  • It’s great to get experience of cycling long rides in a group. Why not look to join a local cycle club who will have a club run every weekend.


  • Find a hill that takes at least five minutes to climb. The hill should be steep enough that you cannot coast at any stage but not so steep that you find yourself labouring in your easiest gear.
  • If possible, a selection of local hills would be best to avoid the obvious monotony that comes with riding the same hill week after week.
  • Use the descent as an opportunity to recover in preparation for the next climb.

Hills Session 1:

  • The aim of this session is to improve your cardiovascular and muscular strength. All you have to do is simply ride up and down the same hill.
  • Keep in the saddle the whole time, ride up the hill for the time set in the programme then descend to your starting point and repeat. E.g. three minutes by six means you ride up the hill for three minutes and repeat this six times.

Hill session 2:

  • The aim of this session is build muscular strength and improve pedalling technique.
  • Keep in the saddle the whole time, ride up the hill for five minutes and then descend to your starting point and repeat six to eight times.

Hill Session 3:

  • The aim of this session is to build strength and endurance.
  • Climbing out of the saddle is a skill that always needs work. Riding out of the saddle uses a greater range of muscles and will help you inject more power into your pedal stroke.
  • As in all the other hills sessions, you are riding repeats on the same hill. This time you are to do the climb out of the saddle. These sessions will start off with one minute intervals building up to four minutes.

Ride the session as follows:

  1. Start the hill in the saddle.
  2. Once up to speed, change up 2 or 3 gears and get out of the saddle.
  3. After the recommended interval as set out in the schedule settle back in the saddle, change down your gears and ride for a further 60 seconds.
  4. Turn around, descend to recover and restart the hill.
  5. Repeat as required.

Flat Intervals

  • As with the hills sessions, intervals are repeated efforts of varying times with a short period of recovery in between.
  • Find a suitable stretch of road that you can ride uninterrupted for up to five minutes. Intervals are best done on flat to rolling roads.

Interval session 1 – 5x5

  • This session builds endurance and power.
  • You ride for five minutes at 80 to 90% exertion with a 90 second recovery between efforts.

Interval session 2 – ‘30/30’

  • This session can be done anywhere and can be incorporated into any ride.
  • Ride hard for 30 seconds and have 30 seconds recovery in between.
  • Do this for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes depending upon your fitness.

Pace riding

Throughout the program there is reference to 3 different paces:

  1. Easy: When the schedule says easy, that’s exactly what it means. This is a recovery ride so resist the temptation to push yourself harder. You should be very able to carry on a conversation without struggling for breath.
  2. Steady: This is faster than your ‘easy’ pace. You should be able to carry on a conversation but may have to occasionally take an extra breath between sentences.
  3. Threshold: At threshold pace you should be able to talk but struggle to get more than 5 words out with 3 words being manageable. When riding at this pace, you need to make sure you do not drop your cadence and start to grind your pedals.