I want to be able to ride about 200-300km in about 1-2 months, but right now there's no weather where I live for cycling, so until probably April I have to train in a gym.

I'm 170cm and 72kg, since 3 weeks, I:

  • have a diet, eat max 2200kcal a day
  • do gym trainings 3x a week (12-10-8 reps for all body parts per session)
  • do spinning classes 2x a week (1,5h now, and increasing)

Is this enough? Should I change something?

  • 3
    No weather to ride? It's always riding weather. 200 km depends a lot on the terrain, but you need practice riding on a real bike -- spin is not like a real bike.
    – Batman
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 15:26
  • 5
    There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.
    – Andy P
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 15:33
  • 1
    Do you have any idea how much wattage you're producing on the trainer? I only ask because a 1.5 hour session on the trainer only ends up being around the equivalent of 50 km for me, and that's at reasonably high intensity. 200 km will probably be an 8 hour ride even for somebody who's done similar distances before. Unless you train for quite a while, you probably won't get under 7 hours on such a long ride.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:18
  • 1
    @AndyP That's all relative. Short of hurricane winds and baseball sized hail, cold and/or wet conditions are all surmountable. I'd say lightning as well, but I am sure someone somewhere has an ebike with a lightning rod for mobile recharging. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:41
  • 2
    Rule #5. There is no substitute for real riding, unless you're training to ride in a spin bike tournament.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 15, 2016 at 0:54

2 Answers 2


While gym and spinning are good complementary activities to cycling, I would recommend that you also look at adding an element of riding on a real bike (like the dark knight said in his comment).

For long distance road riding, there are a number of things you need to practice. In my honest opinion, the two things that need the most practise are:

  1. Sitting down in your saddle for a long period of time - 200 to 300 km will see you sitting down anywhere between 8 and 18 hours (depending on ability and terrain). That is a VERY long time in the saddle even for an experienced rider with the best type of shorts / saddle.
  2. Nutrition - One does not simply ride for more than 3 hours without a tried and tested nutrition plan! Your body usually stores around 90 minutes worth of glycogen (at Tempo effort). This means that around that time, you should have already eaten and digested food, ready to be burnt up by your muscles. You should top up these reserves as often as possible, so that you do not go into a minus and become hypoglycemic (bonking). I usually eat a bar every hour on the hour, sip carbohydrate drinks every 15 minutes (700ml an hour) and I top up in between with gels. A typical 4 hour bike ride for me burns 3500 calories. Pro-riders easily go through 8000 cals a DAY!

In addition to the above, it's very important that you have a bike that fits you properly. I'd recommend having it professionally fitted because you feel all sorts of pains after sitting in the same position all day!

If the weather is really as bad as what you say, then you could consider getting yourself a turbo-trainer or rollers. You'll get used to sitting on the bike you'll be riding, and provided you have the time, you could also practise your nutrition and eating and drinking on the bike (if required).

  • +1 for picking up on the sitting and nutrition, I should have included those in my answer for completeness
    – Andy P
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:07
  • How do you go about restocking your food and carbohydrate stocks after 3 or 4 hours in? Do you stop by a store to restock?
    – AboutTime
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 1:27
  • 2
    Several approaches for this. Bar-bag, large saddlebag or tri (top tube) bag in combination with your jersey pockets can hold enough snacks for the ride. For liquid, stopping at a store, getting bottles filled while stopping for a coffee, or using a hydration pack (not that popular among road riders).
    – Andy P
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 9:03
  • @AboutTime Good comment by AndyP above. For myself, I usually carry enough bars, gels and carb drinks for about 5-6 hours. I carry this mainly in my jersey pockets and tri-bag. I also have a good breakfast beforehand, sparing me having to carry about an hour's worth of food. I stop to refill water every 2 hours or as appropriate. If I'm running short on food, I'll usually pick those up along the way, or as is convenient. If I know there won't be an opportunity to do so, I'd look at carrying a small backpack or a pannier.
    – RoKa
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 10:33
  • @AndyP Good comment. When I rode from Amsterdam to Brussels last year (9 and a half hours of saddle time), we took it easy and stopped whenever we needed. First proper stop was at a hotel in Vianen (7:30am!) and we had a large long breakfast (1 hour stop) and then again in Rijen for 40 minutes. Three more stops saw us complete the 240km ride. Epic fun
    – RoKa
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 10:40

Well the short answer is No, this is not nearly enough.

Long distance rides are a test of your bodies efficiency as a pedalling engine. This comes in terms of developing mechanical efficiency, muscular endurance and aerobic endurance. Spin sessions are fine for a general workout, but they don't replace getting out on your actual bike.

For rides of this distance, there really is no substitute for getting out and spending time in the saddle. You need a good steady diet of 3hr+ rides at least once a week to build up to this.

Most training plans advocate increasing the weekly long ride by no more than 10% per week, so you might build up something like:

  1. 60km
  2. 66km
  3. 73km
  4. 80km
  5. 88km
  6. 96km
  7. 105km
  8. 115km
  9. 130km

Once you reach 130km, then you should in theory be ready for 200km, as at this stage its all about keeping the body fuelled - if you keep eating correctly you can keep pedalling too.

Don't forget to include sufficient rest in your training, as coming into your target ride already fatigued will increase your chances of failure. Generally in the last 5-10 days before you should be reducing both intensity and volume.

Different coaches advocate different patterns of work/rest, and in large part it is down the feedback from the athlete on how well they are recovering. If you are in a hurry to increase your volume for your events i'd suggest starting with a 16 days on, 5 days off program and seeing how you go. By starting on a Saturday this allows you to sacrifice a weekend long ride.

In addition to training, there are other factors you should consider when planning a ride of this length.

The first being nutrition, which you need to practice at - see RoKa's answer for good detail here.

The second is acclimatising to spending such a long time in your cycling position on your actual road bike. You can easily get sore from sitting in the saddle for so long, hands can get numb, lower back can ache, shoulders/neck can get tight and feet can swell or cramp. You simply wont find these things out unless you practice, and you don't want to find out about them for the first time 150km into a 300km ride

  • Aiming to do my first 320km (double imperial) this year myself. I'll be looking for a total training volume of at least 12hrs/wk and at least four 7-9hr rides under the belt before giving it a go.
    – Andy P
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 15:58
  • 9
    Long distance rides will also be a test of your contact points on the bike. Especially saddle and handlebars, you don't want to find yourself 80kms into the ride with numb hands and unable to sit down. Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:03
  • +1 to @ilikeprogramming for mentioning bike fitting and contact points. Without putting time on the event bike there is no really way to know if the bike will work for the OP for that period of time.
    – Rider_X
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:13
  • Andy P - It could be useful to include some a rest week or two and a tapper down period prior to the event in your example program. Even if you don't make the target goals, coming into the event maxed out will likely lead to failure. Coming into the event sufficient rested will increase the odds of success (even if training goals were missed).
    – Rider_X
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:16
  • Yes, of course, I personally always follow a 3 weeks on 1 week easy program. That said, I have seen at least 1 coach advocating 16 days on 5 off which would allow for building of long rides week by week if the original poster is a bit time crunched
    – Andy P
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:28

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