An evening with coach and Propello.bike founder Rob Wakefield

For those seeking to improve their cycling performance, whatever their age or discipline – road, gravel, mountain bike – and whatever their target, Rob Wakefield demonstrated what might be possible through expert coaching over the course of his hour with us.

Rob’s path into coaching didn’t follow the usual route; he spent 15 years in Hedge Fund Management before leaving the financial markets of London in 2009 to return to North Devon.  An avid “BMX’er” in his youth, and after learning the ropes with Equipe Flame Rouge, he founded Propello in 2014, to focus on bespoke multi-discipline cycling coaching for all levels up to Ironman. He has clearly made a success of the switch in career, with GB cyclists on his books and clients ranging as far away as LA.

Majoring on genuine one-to-one interaction, virtual coaching is Rob’s current model – both a blessing and a curse!

Not wishing to judge Webinar participants in any way by our own standards (!), we set him the challenge of walking us through a 3 month coaching programme to take a cyclist with a year’s experience and able to ride 35 miles on the flat, to be able to complete a ‘century’ event of 100 miles with some cheeky but not ‘alpinesque’ climbing.

By the conclusion of Rob’s 20 minute presentation, it was clear that there is no easy way to achieve the aim! It was certainly a case of “no pain, no gain” but Rob’s description of how the appliance of science, aided by motivational and individual mentoring, can put you in a place to best deliver on your potential, was compelling. Aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity, anaerobic (painful, we’re stretching into VO2 max parlance at this point!) endurance and neuro muscular power (there is a sprinter in all of us!), were all covered.   And Rob had some pretty serious data analysis to support the theory of the five core elements of fitness!  Coach or no coach, if you’re going to succeed, there’s no easy route.

Questions were broad ranging, with some great takeaways as a result (and thanks for the Linked In post Grahame Jones – excellent note taking!), such as: a focused, bespoke plan yields better results than an off the shelf approach (focusing on you as an individual and your specific aims and abilities); accountability is the best way….FTP ‘follow the plan’ (your coach is watching you as your conscience!); and no matter what age you start, most people have got 5 to 10 years of improvement – hope for us all then from this point forward!

We hope that Rob will make a pilgrimage back up to London’s outer reaches to join us on one of our rides this season and we can witness first hand his obvious passion for improving cyclists’ performance. Meantime, we wish Rob and fellow Propello coach Sue Allen all the very best. 

And congratulations to David Mott, soon to be the owner of a pair of generously donated socks, courtesy of Le Col; a coaching mantra ‘look good, race fast’!


If you would like to get in contact with Rob and see how he can improve your performance, his email address is [email protected]. You can also find out more on the website


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