Barney Harwood

TV Presenter and Challenge Rider




Ride a Tour of Britain stage for Blue Peter



I was invited to train Barney, a Blue Peter presenter and non-cyclist, for a cycling challenge to feature on the show in 2013. A cycling challenge, based around the 225km Stage 2 of the Tour of Britain, through the Lake District was his target. I had just 12 weeks to train him.


As I do with any rider I’m coaching, I first explored how realistic this goal was, discussing at length with Barney and the Blue Peter team the event demands and the training requirements. We needed a realistic, exciting challenge for Barney, something that would motivate him and inspire the young viewers. The stage in its entirety would be too much, too soon. I proposed an alternative goal – Barney had to do half the distance, travelling directly between the start and finish towns – in the same time or quicker than the professional riders would do the whole 225 km stage. The challenge was set and the goal accepted.


As well as road, track and turbo based training sessions that fitted around Barney's busy TV schedule to improve his fitness, his preparation also included regular off-road sessions to prepare him for the technical descents and rough roads of the Lake District. We also included team training sessions to ensure excellent group riding skills for effective team work on the Challenge day.


Barney successfully completed the Challenge, but what is even more satisfying is that he still enjoys riding his bike several years on. Barney represents all those new to cycling wanting to take on a big bike challenge or a sportive. Coaching can make the difference and shows what BIKELIFE can do – take a look - click each image below, to watch the video.