I have been cycling for nine months and have lost three stone, dropping to 14 stone. I ride up to 45 miles on a weekend and I am trying to increase this by looking for a challenge. What is a good sportive for a first-timer?

Chris Collier-Woods, Leighton Buzzard

You?re making good progress and there are a number of sportives in the UK that would suit you. Your lack of big mileage suggests you wouldn?t want to tackle the bigger, hillier sportives yet but that doesn?t mean you can?t ride the bigger events.

Enter one of the well-established classics but go for the shorter or intermediate route ? that way you know you can cope with the distance and you still get to sample all the atmosphere with hundreds of riders en route. Hopefully this will lead to an enjoyable experience and you?ll be hungry for more.

Diving straight into something like the Dragon Ride full route and getting buried on the hills can be an off-putting experience, so begin modestly and build up to a full distance ride towards the end of the summer.

Check for a list of events and links to individual organisers? home pages with details of suitable rides. In the meantime, keep adding half an hour onto your weekend rides and you?ll soon be looking at 100 milers no problem, which opens up the whole calendar to you.

Huw Williams

Sportive guru. Has ridden nearly every cyclo-sportive the UK has to offer