close up of a person riding a bike on the road from behind

Couch to Cycling 10km

It might seem like the last thing on your mind is to exercise outside when winter has certainly reared its’ head. However, we think it’s the perfect time to try a new activity that will get your blood pumping!

Today we’re going to coach you to get from the couch to cycling 10km!

Cycling is a fun and low-impact form of exercise that is suitable for all ages! Similar to running, cycling has a variety of benefits to your overall health, including:

  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • improved muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • decreased stress levels
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones

So how can you increase your cycling distance? We’ve taken inspiration from Dave Child’s plan Couch-to-8k Cycle, with a 9-week training program to help you develop your stamina on a road bike.

Although this article specifies “10 km” in the title, we understand everyone is different in their endurance and abilities, therefore this more so a guide to have you riding consistently each week whilst developing your distance.

What you will need

  • a bike (to ensure your safety please make sure it’s had a service)
  • a helmet
  • a speedometer
  • somewhere to ride (preferably flat to begin with)
  • some sort of device to measure the passage of time (like a Fitbit)

Set a goal

Decide on a distance you are hoping to hit. It could be anywhere from 5km to 20km, it could even be a few smaller goals to get you to that big one! The reason we ask you to think of a goal is so that you have a specific target to work towards and can help keep yourself accountable.

Getting off the couch

Check with your doctor before you start. This is particularly important if you are over 40 years old, are overweight, have a chronic illness, or haven’t exercised in a long time.

Similar to our Couch to 5km Run blog, we have a 9-week plan that aims to include three 30-minute rides a week. The first few weeks are dedicated to easing you into the activity.

The Plan

Week 1 | Ride 1, 2 & 3

  • Alternate 60 seconds of cycling at 16km/h (10mph) and 120 seconds of cycling at 8km/h (5mph) for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 2 | Ride 1, 2 & 3

  • Alternate 90 seconds of cycling at 16km/h) (10mph) and 120 seconds of cycling at 8km/h (5mph) for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 3 | Ride 1, 2 & 3

  •  Alternate 90 seconds of cycling at 16km/h (10mph) and 120 seconds of cycling at 8km/h (5mph) for a total of 20 minutes.

Week 4 | Ride 1, 2 & 3

  • Aim for 2 repetitions of: 3 minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 90 seconds at 8km/h (5mph). Then 5 minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 2-1/2 minutes at 8km/h (5mph).

Week 5

  • Ride 1: Aim for 5minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 3 minutes at 8km/h (5mph).
  • Ride 2: Aim for 2 repetitions of, 8 minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 5 minutes at 8km/h (5mph).
  • Ride 3: It’s time to try your endurance with a 20-minute ride at 16km/h (10mph).

Week 6

  • Ride 1: Aim for 5 minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 3 minutes at 8km/h (10mph). Then 8 minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 3 minutes at 8km/h (5mph). Finally, 5 minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 3 minutes at 8km/h (5mph).
  • Ride 2: Will involve 2 repetitions of: 10 minutes at 16km/h (10mph), followed by 3 minutes at 8km/h (5mph).
  • Ride 3: Will be 25 minutes at 16km/h (10mph).

Week 7 | Ride 1, 2 & 3

  • Aim for 25 minutes of cycling at 16km/h (10mph).

Week 8 | Ride 1, 2 & 3

  • Aim for 28 minutes of cycling at 16km/h (10mph).

Week 9 | Ride 1, 2 & 3

  • This week your 3 rides will include 30 minutes of cycling at 16km/h (10mph).

Taa-daa! You’ve made it to the end of the 9 weeks!

Once you’ve completed the plan, we recommend you aim to continue regular cycling – whether it be three times a week, or however many times you please! You may even wish to join a social cycling group, like the Armidale Cycling Club, or plan a longer ride on your days off. Not to mention that cycling is a great way to get out into that fresh air where you can listen to a podcast, your favourite playlist, or listen to the world around you.

If you really love getting out and about, you might also want to think about Mountain Biking! SportUNE actually has a world-class Mountain Biking Trail, that hosts numerous events throughout the year. You can access and use the tracks for free as a member or a guest, and if you’d like to learn more skills in the Mountain Biking area you can speak with our friends at New England Mountain Biking.

Now that you’ve made it to cycling roughly 10km – the road is your oyster!


SportUNE has a range of facilities including courts and fields, gym and strength building studio, swimming pool and more.
Check out all the facilities here.