How do cyclists perceive cycle coaching and what do they use to train? We surveyed 112 cyclists in February 2020 to determine their perceptions and habits. As new platforms and training options become mainstream we get a snapshot of the current status quo.
Cohort: Respondents were gathered via Cyced’s own audience (email and social) and through Facebook advertising to followers of road cycling brands, the Grand Tours and pro road cyclists. These were incentivised via an online cycle store voucher.
Below you will find the results for each question and further analysis.
Have you ever had a cycling coach?
Out of the 112 respondents, only 15 had used a coach before whilst 52 said “No (would not consider)”, the remaining 40% said they would consider a coach.
What do you think about the cost of having a coach?
Over 50% were unaware when asked the unaided question of their thoughts on the cost of having a cycle coach, answering “Don’t know’. 33% (or 39 respondents) believed a coach was too expensive with the minority of 15.3% stating it was fairly priced.
To break this down further 73% of those who had used a cycle coach believed coaching was fair priced and 90% of cyclists who said they wouldn’t consider thought it was too expensive or that they did not know.
Do you believe a coach would enhance your cycling?
71% of respondents believed a cycling coach would enhance their cycling and just 6% stating a coach wouldn’t, it’s understood that cost of a coach is likely to be a driver for not having one, seeing as many cyclists noted they actively wanted to be a better cyclist (stats further down). But there may be other factors that this survey has not explored such as time and dedication.
1 of the 15 respondents who have had a coach said they did not believe a coach would help their cycling and 38 of the 45 who would consider a coach believed one would enhance their cycling.
Select all the resources you use to help you train
The respondents were allowed to choose as many training resources as they liked in the list that covered digital and offline platforms. 50% of respondents stated they used “Training Plans (Free)” in comparison to 11% that stated they used “Training Plans (Paid)”.
Online videos were on par with platforms like Zwift where 41 respondents selected them as a platform they use. 17 of respondents (15) stated they don’t use anything.
Do you trust the resources you’ve selected are accurate and valid?
93% of respondents believed the cycle training resources they used were accurate. The remaining 7% did not and had selected ‘Training Plans (Free’), ‘Zwift (or similar) and ‘Social Media’ – the three top choices amongst the full cohort. The majority of those who do no trust the resources selected ‘No (would consider)’ to having a cycle coach.
Have you ever followed a training plan?
It was a 50/50 split between our respondents when asked if they had followed a training plan. There was one highly positive trend in the qualitative question after asking what those who selected’ Yes’ liked or disliked about the training plan.
The key trend? Training plans were seen as too rigid and didn’t adapt to the rider’s changing circumstances, work or habits.
How important is becoming a better cyclist to you?
The average rating from the cohort came in at 7.3. This sits right below the very important bracket of 8-10.
It is not a surprise that those who selected 1 and 3 stated ‘No (wouldn’t consider)’ a cycling coach and did not use any training resource. 5 respondents that stated ‘8’ on importance also did not use any training resource and would not consider a coach.
There is a decisive trend that many cyclists have never had a cycle coach yet give importance to becoming better at cycling. Free platforms such as social media, free training plans and online videos are preferable and the data may suggest price is a key factor despite many cyclists believing a coach would make them better.
It’s not everyday you see a unicyclist, so when I came across Laura Mahler’s latest short documentary I was taken aback. In the beauty of Switzerland, Laura follows three mountain unicyclists enjoying what they love and experiencing unridden paths.
Without further ado, here is the incredible short documentary ‘HOME’ followed by my interview with Laura about her background, why she chose to create the documentary and her filmmaking tips for those wanting to pick up the camera themselves.
Can you tell us about yourself and your background?
I’m fascinated by the world around us, and honestly love delving into journals, books and films to research & discover as much as possible. I got an MRes in Environmental History and really considered going on to a PhD. But I always found documentaries so exciting and engaging, and in the end I wanted to give it go. It’s a big learning journey and I’m only just at the beginning, and its in making these sort of shorts that I’m really finding my voice and what it is that I want to say.
You’re on a mission to document ‘important stuff’ – what’s the message that you’re trying to convey in your filmmaking?
I have this idea that I want to look at individual aspects of human life, and question each one’s impacts on and of the natural environment. So with Home, it’s really about our need to be outdoors and engage with nature – to get away from everyday life and be with nature in weird and wonderful ways unique to each of us. That as civilisation encroaches wild lands more and more, we try harder to feel a part of and vulnerable to nature. I think that makes unicycling very important!
Your latest film follows three people in Switzerland who are mountain unicyclists! How did you come across Etorre, Sandy and Florian?
I imagine loads of film or book ideas come from somewhere very far from where they started. I started with knowing I wanted to do something about mountains – I hiked a bit in Poland in the summer and came back just really curious about them and how humans have managed to create lives in the most difficult of mountain terrains. And it turned out no one had made a doc about MUni yet, so that seemed like a good way to angle it.
Unicycling is one thing, but mountain unicycling is next level. How would someone even begin to get into this?
Sandy (in the film) said it best – he lived among mountains, so it just came as natural next steps to him. I think if you’re into outdoor sport and pushing your limits, it makes sense to continually increment our activities. Run an extra marathon the next day, add another section to the -athalon, try to beat a time record. Sort of: “sure you can unicycle – but can you unicycle down that massive hill?” I wonder what they’re going to do next!
Did you have a go at mountain unicycling yourself!?
Nooooo I straddled it for about one revolution of the wheel before toppling over – all holding onto two people’s shoulders!
Throughout the cycling industry are so many untold stories of passion, success and dedication. Do you think you’ll look towards bikes (with two wheels) for a future project?
For sure! Cyclists are brilliant people. I’m no wheel-ist, I’m interested in awesome stories with any number of wheels! Haha. There’s so much to be inspired by and learn from out there. You can do it downhill, uphill, across countries, with a motor, in pairs… Its something that carries us from 3 years old, from the graduation out of stabilisers, to the city-centre commute to work, to 75 and regularly heading out to keep your heart in check. I could make a whole career out of this!
You’re a self-claimed “wannabe filmmaker” but you’re out there making films. If you had only three tips to give to someone wanting to make their first short documentary, what would they be?
I sort of run off these:
Ask yourself: What is it about the world that interests you? What makes you really appreciate the world around us, or even, what do you really think could be better? Anything we make ourselves has to really get our own hearts beating.
Ask for advice. If you can, be as specific as possible about what it is you want help on.
(This is the one everyone will tell you and everyone tells me) Just start making it.Eventually it’ll find itself, or you’ll reroute it, or move onto something better. You’ll learn more in one day of just starting it than a month of planning. You gotta start to start.
If anyone has any tips for me in exchange I happily welcome them!!
We’ve put together some road cycling routes around the Island, a little different to our usual county based routes, ranging from a breezy ride to a leg destroyer. You don’t have to take them as gospel, in fact we encourage you to explore as much as Tenerife has to offer.
Just keep in mind that you’ll want to avoid TF1 and TF2 whilst you’re on on your rides. Cyclists are not permitted on these major highways, but there are plenty of ways around them.
Here are a few of the cycling tours offered in Tenerife. We’ve tried to include some that vary, from a full cycling holiday with each day planned to your one off ride.
1. Tenerife Bike Training
TBT is a family run tour company based on the south coast of Tenerife, with heaps of experience cycling the best routes the Island has to offer.
They offer a host of tours, both for beginners and along more challenging routes. Their tours are typically over several days, with the Volcano Tour (up Mt. Teide) taking place over 6 days. So you really get some bang for your bucks.
They’ll also take care of your bike hire, accommodation and transport from the airport if you require them.Go t
This company provides a host of tours for road and mountain bikers, whether you’re new cycling or seasoned pro.
For the road tours, there is a discount applied if you have a group of four or more (50€). Which is ideal for those of us who go on cycling holidays with friends. 1-3 people will cost around 70€, but for an established touring company, that’s still pretty good.
The MTB tours all of the must see mountains and climbs in Tenerife, and on average cost around 50€. Which is fantastic, considering van support is provided.
We’ve put together a few suggestions for those of you preparing for a cycling holiday in Tenerife.
Practice some big hill climbs
Flat routes are far and few between in Tenerife, and it’s likely you’ve chosen to go there specifically for the climbs.
So, you’ll need to allot some time to hill training before you go to ensure you don’t max out mid-ride.
Get your bike serviced beforehand
Even if you think your bike’s in tip-top condition, it can’t hurt to get it looked at by a professional before heading out on some really challenging rides.
You don’t want a pre-existing issue to be the reason you have to pull out of the ride you’ve been looking forward to all year. Even if it just spoils day one, that’s a whole day of cycling heaven you’ve missed.
Plan your routes in advance
We won’t deny there’s a certain reward in exploration, it’s what we all look for in an adventure like this.
But, there’s also a downside to going into something like this blind. For one, you won’t know what’s inaccessible to you. Anything from a steep side road you aren’t comfortable with to areas of high traffic congestion can waste time better spent elsewhere.
Secondly, as we’ve mentioned before, you’ll be hard pressed to find a totally flat route. And so, if you don’t plan a route before riding you won’t know how many feet you’ll be climbing and won’t be able to prepare for each climb appropriately.
Always have spares
This is a must for most rides, but is even more essential since you’re likely a plan journey away from home.
You’ll need inner tubes, some CO2 canisters (or a pump if that’s more your style) and a puncture repair kit. Whilst the terrain isn’t treacherous, they won’t be roads you’re familiar with and so you won’t be able to account for debris or the state of the road surface.
Hydration is key
Never underestimate how much water you’ll need for a ride, especially when it’s hot. Which it will be. It’s recommended you have at least one bottle of water for every hour you’re out on the bike.
You may also want to consider using bottled water to top up your cycling water bottle, as not everyone has the constitution for foreign tap water.
Mineral content varies wildly in tap water from country to country, and I think we all know what it can do. Which means, you won’t want to be on a bike if it happens.
It’s not a prejudice, just a logical step you can take to ensure you’re operating at 100%.
Know where and when you’ll fuel up
This is something to keep in mind for any ride, but it’s important to know when and where you’re going to eat and drink.
Not only will this give you some motivation you get up those final climbs before you break, but it also ensures you take the time to replenish the energy you’ll have spent.
As usual, you’ll want energy gels and other sugary snacks to maintain your energy levels throughout your ride. But you may also want to consider including a stop at a cafe or restaurant for a light bite before continuing your ride.
Just be sure not to stop for too long. The last thing you want is for your body to cool down too much and risking a more creating a more challenging second leg than it would have been.
Avoid roads near resorts at peak times
As we’re sure you’re aware, it’s not just cyclists who’re drawn to the heat and idyllic scenery Tenerife has to offer.
The Island will be populated by thousands of other holiday-goers, and not just in the summer months. During rush hour, the roads surrounding holiday resorts will be heaving, especially those located on the southern coast.
We know that some of these roads will be unavoidable, seeing as you may be staying at one of sites. But, you can plan your rides in advance to get them out of the way whilst they’re quiet.
Hire a car (with a bike rack)
This one isn’t a must, but it is a great way to get around the Island and experience all it has to offer. After all, it has an area of 2034 km².
A lot of the cycling routes in Tenerife aren’t going to be within easy distance of your hotel, and so this provides you with a way of getting to those a little further away without much effort.
What’s it Like Cycling in Tenerife?
If you want a small look at what Tenerife cycling is like, this video does it perfectly. Tristan Bogaard and his partner Belén document their exploration of the Island, and capture the roads and scenery in all their beauty.
A small disclaimer for those of you who watch, there is a small point the video creators make about not needing a helmet for part of their ride. They can be the determining factor between a close shave and long term damage.
You may not feel you need it at all times, and in truth you probably won’t. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
I’m yet to fully comprehend cycling 200+ kilometres but for Grace Lambert-Smith, it’s a feat that seems all too ordinary. I first met Grace whilst working at British Cycling in 2017. Within the day to day of office life, I’d often hear about her preparations for the next long ride or her training for the Transcontinental Race across Europe. It always inspired me to go out on the bike despite never riding those long hours.
I was lucky enough to commit Grace to share her achievements, experiences and advice on getting started in the world of long-distance cycling and Audaxes. Enjoy!
So Grace, how did you get into cycling and long-distance cycling?
I got into cycling through running actually; I was injured after a long-distance trail run so I decided to pick up cycling in order to cross-train a little bit. Long story short, I have never run since! That was at the back end of 2013 and by 2016, I’d done my first long-distance ride: Rapha’s Manchester to London. Even though it was a supported ride, it was a great first introduction into the world of long-distance bike riding and I got the bug not long after that. I began to document my bike rides on my blog, graceqom.com and my career takes me in and out of the cycling industry too through project like DotWatcher, a website I run that offers coverage of ultra-distance bike races.
What are some of your favourite long distance rides and multi-day rides?
I have too many to count now! I’ve done heaps of Audax rides over the last three years including multiple Super Randonneur Awards (200, 300, 400, 600 in one season), a Randonneur Round the Year Award (12 consecutive months of riding at least one 200km ride) and PBP (Paris-Brest-Paris, a 1200km randonnee between the cities). I rode my bike from Paris to Girona a couple of years ago with some friends and I’m often finding any excuse to ride home from a weekend away. I also once attempted the Transcontinental Race (TCR) back in 2017 but the heatwave through Europe at the time wiped me out in Austria.
The heatwave put an end to your TCR race, an amazing effort might I add! Is there anything you would have done differently now in the run-up and during the event?
I guess looking back I was quite inexperienced compared to now but I guess we could all say that about something we’ve done in the past. I think if I entered now and it wasn’t 40 degrees for multiple days in a row, I’d finish but it’s easy to say that when I’m not 2000km into a 4000km bike race! I think just general life experience prepares you better for those kind of events and also knowing more people in the same situation. I knew a few people but nowadays I think I could call upon the advice and friendship of a lot more people. My job also makes training a lot easier: not having a strict 9-5 schedule means I can make the most of the weather.
What would you find in your panniers for an event like this?
You wouldn’t find panniers for one! I use frame bags and I pack a lot of food. Food’s the main thing I’m concerned about to be honest. If I know the places I’m riding have plenty of places to sleep then I ditch the sleeping setup in favour of higher quality sleep in hotels. Buying food takes a lot of time and mental energy, so if I go to a supermarket, I stock up for a good few hours. I would take a spare pair of bib shorts, chamois cream, spare base layer (either for sleeping or wearing on the bike…or both!) and a tube of papaw ointment.
I once rode to Copenhagen and we slept in fields so in that instance I took a sleeping bag and bivvy. That was fun!
Have you any stories from your trips that have stuck with you and are go-to’s at a dinner party?
I’ve done a few Audaxes that stick in my mind. I did a 400 and ended up having a #hedgenap on the side of the road while my friends fixed a puncture. Too many cooks and all that! I also did a 600 and forgot to charge my di2 beforehand which meant I had to do 500km with access to just three gears on the back. That was a long day out!
What would you say to anyone who thinks doing an Audax or multi-day tour is crazy?
I’d say they’re crazy and that they don’t know what they’re missing.
Are there any tips you’d give to first-timers looking at these long distances?
Get into Audax as fast as you can! The community is so welcoming and there are so many people to ask “dumb” questions, lord knows I still ask them. You’ll realise just how fit you can be later in life when you ride Audax. So many of my long-distance comrades are decades older than me but so, so much fitter. I can’t wait to be spinning away when I’m their age.
Which online resources if any do you think are worth looking at for these people?
Obviously the Audax website is useful for finding events. I’m trying to keep my blog going with fresh ideas for long-distance bits and pieces. YACF forum is a hive of activity where Audax and long rides are concerned. Otherwise, get involved on social media: there are many groups on Facebook, plenty of us on Twitter and Instagram and never be afraid to ask for advice.
Lastly, what does 2020 hold for you?
I’ve got quite a busy 2020 actually. I’m part of a 5-woman team taking part in this year’s Easter Arrow (24 hour team time trial up to York all in the name of Audax and a badge at the end of it). I’m doing a 1000km Audax at the start of May, then All Points North at the end of May and in June I’m donning my first race cap since Transcontinental by lining up for Transpyrenees. I’m really looking forward to that as I’ve never ridden in the Pyrenees before. I’ll try and keep my RRtY going as well for a second year.
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