Eddy Merckx was once asked for his advice on how to improve as a rider. His response was the now legendary “ride lots”, and although The Cannibal almost certainly didn’t solely rely on volume as his one training tool, his advice does have something to it.
The more you ride, the better you’ll get – although you also need to listen to the advice on the previous pages about making sure you factor recovery in as well. The point is that if you’re only riding 1-2 hours per week in 20-30 minute bursts at a time the chances are that you’ll find progress hard to come by. You also need to incorporate riding at different intensities because, if you ride for six hours per week at 20km/h on the flat, you’ll get really, really good at riding for six hours per week at 20km/h on the flat, but may otherwise struggle when the road goes uphill, or when there’s a sprint to be won.
And remember, riding is meant to be fun. Everybody started riding their bike because they enjoy it and although smashing yourself to pieces in training is a vital part if you want to improve, part of the beauty of the ride lots philosophy is that it means there’s always time for a recovery spin, a pootle around the lanes, or a ride and chat with friends, all of which will help you improve if you slot it into your training plan properly.