Sofa to 50km (British Cycling) - anyone done it?


It would seem thatthe various lockdowns have produced some people who have become a lot fitter and some people who have become less fit. I am definitely in the latter camp. Back in the Normal Times, I was pretty much reduced to a cycle commute on the Dahon, split into two parts of about 2 miles each, with a train journey in between - so only 8 miles per day, and in short bursts, but because of train times and inflexible working hours, three of those journey sections were done PDQ, and on a folder, with laptop, change of clothes etc, it felt like reasonable exercise. I would get out for the very occasional longer ride when family commitements allowed but they tended to involve a little bit of a bimble to the countyside (I am lucky enough to live on the edge of The Peaks - more on that later) and then quite a lot of 'I might just sit under this tree with a book and a flask where I can get a bit of peace' as opposed to challenging Strava segments.

Anyway, in lockdown 1 I worked from home, in lockdown 2 I went to to work but used the car rather than the train, and in lockdown 3 I'm working from home again, so no exercise is being done, and as a result my knees have started to ache again and I get out of breath if I have to run upstairs. Not ideal. I do still cycle into town every fortnight or so to pick up some bits of click and collect or just for something to do, but that's only 5 miles trip.

I've found the British Cycling Sofa to 50km plan, and it seems reasonable, albeit I cannot possibly ride in a group or find anything that much resembles a flat loop given that I live in Sheffield.

Just wondered if anyone had tried it, or has any comments?


Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Do you mean ?

I can't download the full thing because it is members-only but the overview looks rigid and time-based, which is odd for a distance-based target. The call for a 5 minute climb would cause me problems but I suspect you can find one nearby. The intro is also full of the usual BC nonsense about equipment.

I'd favour something simpler and distance-based but if you like the look of it, go for it. It definitely is not impossible.


Active Member
Its good that BC has suggested this although it will always have a racing bias, compared to Cycling Uk who used to be called the Cyclists Touring Club. Either way, gettting folk out on their bikes is to be admired. So do press on and dont be deterred.
Knowing and riding Sheffield regularly, I can see why you see hills as daunting. In this weather, another way to think of them is they keep you warm going up them! Depending on which bit of the City you are based, will determine which direction you take to minimise hills. I can certainly find routes that are not too daunting and stay off main roads, some routes are even very ’rural’ despite being in the City centre.
So remaining in the “guidelines”, you could plan routes virtually and use online feedback to motivate and encourage yourself, but still ride solo.

Does that sound like a plan? Oh and 50k is only 31 miles or so.

Starting off doing say a mile or two every other day then gradually increasing that each week,you will soon build the stamina to do a fifteen mile out and back....hey you have hit 50k!

Give it a go and keep us informed!


If you live in a hilly area - convert the distance target to a time based one as @mjr hints at. 50km on a flat route is less than 2 hours, so if you live in a hilly area target a 2 hour loop instead.
Good morning,

It does seem to be inspired by the runner's couch to 5k and a while back I got curious about that. The conclusion that I drew was that the guy who created it put it up on his web site as a discussion point and it morphed into a "proper training plan" which it was never intended to be and never could be that.

As the starting range of fitness for the runners went from having to stop running after 10 yards to did the 5k first time, it is really only a spur to "yes, you can do this" or "no, I am so far away from what the plan says that I should be doing, let's give up".

The real positive of the running plan was that it said that it is okay to walk and run when you get started and it then weans the person off the walking part.

But most comments that I read said that even those who managed to get to the 5k run, which seemed to be around half of those who seriously started had a generous description of word run for their first few 5ks. Running at 4/4.5mph, but most who said this also said that they smile at that speed now and thoroughly enjoy running and are faster.

It seems that the cycle plan is like the running one, people who are genuinely coming from the couch will find it too hard and perhaps more worrying would be the rate at which the duration increases.
Going from sofa to 90 minutes exercise after just 8 rides.

If the rider is genuinely coming from the sofa and is "cuddly" then riding is likely to be at a high heart rate regardless of speed.

So overall the plan looks to me a bit like one were they decided on the end result and went backwards rather than a realistic assessment of what many will manage starting from where they are.


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