Whether you’re new to cycling or have been practicing the sport for a while, having a handful of cycling milestone challenges in sight is a great way to stay motivated, continue to improve and measure your progress.
Traditionally, milestones are stone obelisks placed along the sides of roads every mile, helping travellers know how far into their journey they had come. In a sporting context, milestones can guide your training in the right direction, provide data on how much you’ve improved over time and how far you’ve come.
The beauty of cycling milestone challenges is that they represent significant moments in your progress and are a great reason to celebrate and gain perspective.
Whatever your reason for cycling, whether you’re training for a race or simply enjoy turning the pedals, aim for new heights with these milestones.
Top 5 Cycling Milestone Challenges
1. Hitting a century – 100 miles in one ride
A century refers to a 100-mile ride and riding your first century deserves a big celebration.
Centuries might become a standard part of your training, but they’re no mean feat. They represent skill, stamina and strength – all required for this long ride.
Cycling 100 miles will take most athletes anywhere between five to seven hours – plus added stops – which is a very long time to be exercising. Most people will require a fair amount of training on and off the bike to achieve this, some nutrition knowledge and a great mindset if they are to enjoy the ride and make it a success.
Because of this, hitting a century for the first time is incredibly rewarding.
If a century still feels just out of reach, your distance cycling milestone challenge could be a gran fondo: a 100km ride.
2. Average 30 km/h on a ride
Having the ability to maintain an average speed of 30 km/h for a ride shows that you’ve spent time improving your fitness level. Becoming faster is one way to improve in the sport and achieving this milestone will place you above the average cyclist.
30 km/h is a nice round number and, while a challenging average speed, it’s an achievable milestone if you put the training in.
Choose your distance for this cycling milestone challenge based on your current experience and fitness level. Beginner riders might want to aim for a 20 km ride at this average, while amateur riders could set off for 50 km.
3. 40km in one hour
Managing to ride 40km in under an hour is a huge milestone and one that will require some serious and specific training.
40km is not a random number: it’s the distance of an Olympic time trial and the cycling section of an Olympic triathlon.
Riding 40km in under an hour demands speed and stamina, and is a milestone you’ll probably spend a few years chasing and will forever remember.
It’s not an impossible cycling milestone challenge; the sub 1 hour 40 km mark can be achieved by amateur cyclists if they put the training in.
4. 8,000 miles in a year
Riding 8,000 miles in a year shows clear consistency in your training.
This milestone requires you to ride an average of around 154 miles every week throughout the year.
Your experience or fitness levels are irrelevant for this challenge, as it doesn’t reward speed but regularity.
You might have to throw in a few lunchtime sessions, include your bike commutes, or push yourself to go out for longer rides on weekends, but once you achieve 8,000 miles in a year you’ll only want to continue to increase that distance year on year.
5. 500m in 1 minute
As a sprint, this milestone focuses on your explosive power. The previous cycling milestone challenges are more about longer, steady efforts. To complete this one, you’ll need to train differently.
Intensity is key for shorter and sharper efforts. This milestone requires you to be powerful over a very short duration.
Riding 500 meters in a minute is a beginner-friendly milestone. If you’re an experienced cyclist, try upping the distance to 750 meters – this would have you average a speed of 45 kilometres per hour for a minute.
Cycling Milestone Challenges
Ultimately, good cycling milestone challenges are all about improving your own riding.
The five milestones set above are all lovely round numbers and might help you with your training, but are ultimately arbitrary. You can set your own milestones by choosing a route and trying to reduce the time it takes you to cycle it over time, or see if you can increase the distance cycled over a set period of time.
Think of your training as relevant to you and the cycling milestone challenges you pursue as tools to help you improve. Hitting a milestone can feel like an achievement and the important thing to focus on is your improvement, milestones just provide guidance on your journey.