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The Best Cycling Challenges to Power You Through the Summer 

By Megan Flottorp

Summertime means a chance to rack up the miles for many serious and casual riders alike. And with plenty of mental and physical benefits cycling offers — most of us don’t struggle too much to get ourselves in the saddle, especially when the sun is shining. Getting out of our cycling comfort zone, though? That often requires a little more effort. 

We talk a lot about the value of setting new goals and challenges, however, and that’s because the feeling of accomplishment and joy that comes with hitting a new cycling milestone is pretty awesome. We’re all capable of doing incredible things when we put our mind to it, and setting goals is a great way to push ourselves to become stronger on and off the bike. If you’re looking for a little inspiration when it comes to using your wheels to achieve new heights this summer, read on to discover which one of these iconic cycling challenges is the one for you to put on your list of summertime goals.

Summer Cycling
Looking for some summer challenges?

Join the Century Club

If you aren’t familiar yet, riding 100 miles in one day – commonly known as a century – is a classic challenge for any cyclist. A rite of passage for all road warriors, the three-figure mark is a testament to having put in the work to get your proper cycling legs. A century isn’t about time either. Conditions and terrain will play a significant role, and the whole endeavour could take anywhere from four to upwards of ten hours. That means a little bit of preparation will be needed, so be sure you have an appropriate route mapped out and pack enough supplies to stay fed and hydrated. Otherwise, do a little maintenance check, slap the sunscreen on, and get ready to join the club!

Make time for an S240

Short on time? Not sure if you’re ready for a multi-day bikepacking trip, but dream of sleeping in the great outdoors alongside your favourite set of wheels? An S240 (sub-24-hour overnighter) could be the challenge for you! The whole concept is based on the idea that the best escapes can be quick and don’t necessarily require a ton of preparation. So to really squeeze the most out of the summer, take a day off mid-week and plan an S240 ride. Aim to get yourself to a sublime campsite quickly and ensure you’re set up for a relatively easy ride back in the morning before work.

Go coast to coast 

Depending on where you live, this might be a more or less realistic challenge. Thankfully, for many, this summer also means the possibility to travel! The UK, in particular, boasts some pretty epic coast-to-coast trails. But wherever you are, check out your options and see if a sea to shining sea journey is within your reach.

Tackle a famous climb

We tend to find that the longer one has been a cyclist, the stronger the appeal of those mythic climbs becomes. From the Alpe d’Huez to Mont Ventoux to Passo dello Stelvio, there’s a reason why these iconic spots have the reputation they have. Even if your options are a bit more limited, though – draw inspiration from your local Strava segments, maybe get your Everest on, or simply decide to tackle a nearby climb that you’ve avoided so far. There really is nothing like that feeling of realising you’ve made it to the top!

Mt Ventoux
The legendary Mt Ventoux.

Test your strength with a triathlon 

If you’re a fitness enthusiast looking to add some credentials to go with your muscular physique, it might be time to cross triathlon off the bucket list. The prospect of it might be intimidating, but despite its power to change your life, training for a triathlon isn’t going to consume it. Even if it’s your first time, you can be ready to tackle this challenge by following a 10-12 week program. Finishing the summer up by claiming your first tri? Now that sounds like a great idea to us.

Enter a race (any race!)

If you prefer to stick to land, or especially, wheels – then a classic bike race might be more your speed. With many organisers eager to make up for the lost season, you can bet there are a variety of events taking place a short distance from home. No matter how serious or light-hearted the competition is, the butterflies accompanying a race day always make for a thrilling ride. Plus, racing is one authentic way of measuring how successful your training has been.

Set your own challenge 

Cycling is all about finding what works for you and discovering your own unique style and joy as a rider. Maybe the challenges listed above sound too daunting (or perhaps not daunting enough). Whatever the case may be, sit down and spend a few minutes thinking about a cycling accomplishment you’d like to hit this summer. Then, tell your family and friends about it, make a realistic plan you’ll be able to follow and get ready for a bike-filled summer!