5 Cycling Challenges You Should Try

Cycling is a great way to challenge yourself because we enjoy taking on goals that will push us to become stronger and better on the bike. There are many inspirational female cyclists who can motivate you to challenge yourself through the feats they have accomplished, like World record chaser, Jenny Graham, who proved that there is room at the top for women in a male-dominated sport after she became the fastest woman to cycle around the globe. While cycling around the world may be a little far for you, there are plenty of local challenges you can push yourself with.

End to End

One of the most historic challenges in the UK is the End to End, an 874-mile ride that takes you from Land’s End to John O’Groats. It’s aptly named because the route takes you between two of mainland Britain’s most isolated points. This epic adventure is attempted by cyclists every year and features spectacular views you won’t see anywhere else in the UK. People usually take a couple of weeks to finish the route, but some legendary racers are able to finish the course in 41 hours. If you’re into endurance biking, this is the challenge for you.

Bealach Na Ba

If you’re into climbing challenges, on the other hand, check out the Bealach Na Ba. Much shorter than the End to End, this remote pass is located in the Applecross Peninsula of the Scottish Highlands. The elevation rises continually for over 5.7 miles making it one of the steepest roads in Britain. The heart-pumping pain in your legs will be worth it however when you look out over the sea and catch a glimpse of the glorious Western Isles.

Enter a Race

Another milestone for any cyclist is taking part in a race. Crossing the bridge between leisure riding and competitive biking can be daunting to cyclists, but Charlie Graham-Dixon took the leap and found that the huge gulf between your biking ability and the level required to race may all be in your head. A mix of endurance rides and interval sessions has proven to be the best way to train for a race. While you might not lead the pack on your first try, the elation you get when you cross the finish line will be worth every hour of training.

Cycling Through Different Countries

Cycling long distances are one thing, but biking across countries is an entirely different challenge altogether. The range of terrain this type of challenge brings is incomparable to any local countryside bike route. Aside from that, the diverse settings you will find yourself in is a reward in itself. You can be ambitious like Jenny Graham and cycle through several countries, or start small and work your way up. The London to Paris cycling event by Save the Children covers a distance of 95 miles, which is manageable for most riders. Riding for charity is also a great motivator! Races such as these allow cyclists to appreciate not only the natural landscape of different countries but their cultural landscape as well.

Start Small and Cycle Up

For someone just starting to test out your limits in cycling, my account of my first 100-mile ride might help you in how to prepare for a challenge. My first-century ride brought me along the northern coast of Wales, from Holyhead to Wrexham. A painful journey to say the least, but these ‘firsts’ show us where to improve our skill and how to be better prepared for the next ride.

While various beautiful and epic bike routes are mentioned, sometimes it helps to start with what’s familiar to you. You can then set mini goals that help bring you gradually out of your comfort zone but more than anything else, what’s important is that you set a cycling goal for yourself and make sure that each ride brings you closer to achieving it.