Essential knowledge for sportive riders

Essential knowledge for sportive riders

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Knowledge Level: Beginner

With the great news that sportives and other non-competitive events can resume in England from Saturday 5 September, you might be looking to fit in some events before the season ends. These events will be taking place under certain restrictions and guidelines and you can find out more about these here.

Even if you’re a sportive veteran, you might well find some tips that’ll improve your performance at your next event.


You wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon without training for it and the same applies to a sportive.

By following a structured training plan you will ensure that you’re properly prepared to complete and enjoy your cycling challenge.

British Cycling offer a range of digital plans hosted on TrainingPeaks with two most suited to sportive riders.

British Cycling Training Plans

British Cycling 12-week Sportive Plan

The British Cycling 12-week Sportive/Gran Fondo Plan is designed to progressively build your cycling fitness with an end goal of a 80-120km (50-75 miles) sportive or Gran Fondo.

British Cycling 12-week Century Ride and Advanced Sportive Plan

The British Cycling 12-week Century Ride and Advanced Sportive Plan is designed to progressively build your cycling fitness with an end goal of a Century (100-mile) Ride or a strong performance in a challenging sportive.

Key to success is an understanding of intensity and how it applies to both training for and the pacing of an event. Whether you use heart rate, power or a combination of both, having an objective method to measure your effort is essential.

Understanding Intensity 1: Introduction

Understanding Intensity 2: Heart Rate

Understanding Intensity 3: Power

Getting out and riding on the roads is really important for developing bike handling skills but, for shorter mid-week sessions, especially during the winter, many riders prefer the convenience and focus of using an indoor trainer. In combination with longer weekend rides outside indoor training can be a really effective way to build your cycling fitness.

Download our free Ultimate Guide to Indoor Training eBook


Along with building your cycling fitness, your training rides are also about developing your cycling skills. Nothing beats getting out on the road and practicing but you can certainly pick up some great pointers from these videos.

Ridesmart - How to descend

Ridesmart - How to corner

Ridesmart - How to ride in a group


Whether it’s a training outing or a sportive, for any ride over 90 minutes, your pre, during and post-ride nutrition will have a significant effect on your performance during the session you’re doing, how well you recover from it, the training gains you make and your ability to ride again.

Cycling nutrition for long rides

Hydration on the bike

You can also download our free Cycling Nutrition eBook

Recovery and health

To get the best out of following a structured training plan, your recovery is as important and the workouts you do.

Recover from your cycling

Back and lower body mobility routine

Upper body mobility routine

You also need to ensure that your contact points with the bike - hands, feet and backside, stay healthy and don’t become inflamed or sore.

Avoiding saddle soreness

Foot pain on the bike

Hand and wrist pain on the bike

Bike set-up/maintenance

Having your bike correctly set-up is vital for both performance and comfort. It’s also a good idea to learn some basic mechanical skills.

DIY bike fit

How to fit you cycling cleats

How to wash your bike in 5 minutes

How to degrease and lube your chain

How to change an inner tube

How to index your bike gears

Kit and clothing

Even in the summer in the UK you can expect all of the seasons in one ride but with modern clothing, you should be able to stay comfortable not matter what the weather.

Cycling clothing guide

Most rides are incident free but there are a few tools and spares you should always carry.

Essential kit to carry on the bike


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