Pro cyclist Ian Field shares top tips for Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge

After a successful career as a professional cyclist, being 5x British CycloCross Champion and 6x British Series Winner, Ian Field set up ‘Veld Coaching by Ian Field’ to bring together 15 years of racing knowledge and experience in the hope of helping other riders to achieve their goals, too. 

After witnessing the exceptional care that his partner’s family members received from Pilgrims Hospices when under their care, Ian wanted to use his cycling expertise to support those taking on the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 5 May 2024. 

Ian Field

We sat down to chat with Ian to find out more about his love for cycling in Kent, and his top tips for those training for Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge: 

How did you get into cycling? 

“I got into cycling through a friend at school. We went to The Norton Knatchbull School in Ashford, and we started a Cyclocross team together. I really enjoyed riding my bike already, so the idea of being able to race as a career really appealed to me.”

What do you enjoy most about cycling in Kent?

“I have lived in a few different countries, and all over the UK, but I always find myself back in Kent and I love riding my bike here. You have the flat of the Kent weald, the hills of the North Downs and the beautiful coastal routes to choose from. There is a maze of lanes off of the main roads to get lost in, there is something for every kind of cyclist. Every route is picturesque in its own way.”

Why should someone take part in the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge?

“The Cycle Challenge is a great day out, no matter what route you choose to do! It is a really scenic route and once out of Canterbury, you soon join quiet lanes. Be prepared for some climbing, but for every metre climbed there is a descent to enjoy. The regular food stops keep you going, as well as plenty of encouragement from other riders out on the road.”

What is your advice for anyone taking part in the Cycle Challenge?

My top tips for those taking part in Cycle Challenge would be: 

  • Preparation is key, make sure you’re fuelling your body correctly during training and on the day of the event. 
  • Don’t try anything different on the day, use your training effectively. 
  • During your training, find the most comfortable clothing so that you know you’ll be comfortable in on day, whether you’re doing the 30 or 125-mile route. 
  • Train in all weather conditions so that nothing comes as a surprise on the day.
  • Try different paces in your training and work out the pace that works best for you, that you can keep up throughout your ride. 
  • Most importantly, don’t forget why you’re riding, and enjoy yourself! 

What is your advice on nutrition and fuelling yourself to complete the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge?

“The key to nutrition and fuelling on the bike is to eat and drink little and often. Keeping things simple in regards to food and drink will also help the body to digest easier. Ideally, you want to start eating and drinking in the first 30 minutes of the ride and continue throughout.”

What clothing advice would you give to someone taking on the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge?

“I’d recommend that cyclists ride in something that they’ve ridden in before, and that they find comfortable for the correct temperature of the day. If you have some, padded shorts are ideal for a challenge such as this, as they’ll make the ride that bit more comfortable.” 

What would you advise someone to carry with them on the day?

If I were taking part in Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 5 May, I would carry with me: 

  • At least one water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the ride.
  • My favourite cycling snacks.
  • A spare tube, which is the correct size for the bike I’m riding that day.
  • A hand pump with tyre levers, just in case of a puncture.

Ian said: “Being in the cycling world for many years, I have seen the number of people who have taken up cycling off the back of the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge. I am really keen to support this event as it brings the cycling community together, while raising vital funds for end-of-life care in east Kent.”

If you’re looking for a helping hand with your training for the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 5 May, Ian has kindly put together a training plan to guide you to reaching the finish line! 

Click here to download Ian’s training plan.

You can find out more about ‘Veld Coaching by Ian Field’ at

To find out how you can join the Pilgrims Hospices Cycle Challenge on Sunday 5 May 2024, please visit:

Each year, Pilgrims Hospices give care and comfort to over 2,500 people in east Kent who are coming to terms with an illness that sadly cannot be cured. The charity support patients to live life as well as possible until the very end, free from pain and distress.