1 When you start, simply riding for 30 to 60 minutes two to four times a week is enough to increase your cycling-specific fitness. Pay attention to your breathing rate and spend most of your time at an endurance pace. Stay at this stage for two to six weeks, depending on your initial fitness level.
Join the pack
2 Friendly group rides one to three times a week will help you learn the skills and traditions of cycling. Ask local bike shops where you can join short (10- to 20-mile) rides that average 13 to 16 mph. If you have an endurance-sports background you likely can go faster, but stick with a beginner or intermediate ride until you've learned the basics of pack riding, such as drafting and spacing.
3 For the first two to four months of unstructured pedaling, your endurance and speed will improve quickly. But it's likely to level off if you don't add structure to your riding. Increase ride frequency to three to five times a week. Then, twice a week, mix in a workout during a 45- to 75-minute ride.
Ride six minutes at a challenging intensity, followed by four minutes of easy spinning. That is one interval; do three more intervals to complete the set. This boosts your power for sustained efforts such as longer climbs. Or do six three-minute intervals spinning a small gear (light resistance) at as high a cadence as you can hold without bouncing in the saddle. Your breathing rate will increase dramatically. Ride easy for three minutes between intervals. This set improves pedaling mechanics and cardiovascular fitness.