Cycling Opinion

10 new year’s resolutions for cyclists

The best resolutions are the ones that are realistic, specific and rewarding, so we’ve got the ball rolling with some suggestions. None of these will have you cursing yourself or your discipline. Instead, they’ll make you feel that you have achieved a measurable goal.

Rather than boring you with the “new year, new me” sentiment, this list of attainable new year’s resolutions should get you thinking:

Plan an adventure

 Going on a cycle tour is a great realistic objective that will get the year started the right way. Whether you need a goal to aim your training at, or just want to get out and explore, long rides and cycle holidays are a great way of taking stock. Take a look at our lesser-known cycling destinations and Great British bike rides series for some ideas.

 Commute

How do you get to work? By car? Train? Bus? If you’re a casual cyclist who only gets out on Sundays, how about mixing it up and commuting to work by bike? Granted, this would be a huge resolution to commit to fully in January, but commuting by bike is great for a number of reasons. You get fit, you cut down your carbon footprint and you are energised to take on the day.

Switch discipline

Cycling has so much to offer beyond just simply riding on the road or biking in the woods. A new year is a great chance to get out of your box and try something new. Cyclocross, mountain biking, time trials, even triathlons, the possibilities are endless in the cycling world. Who knows, you may just discover a discipline you’ll wish you’d been doing all along.

Get fit

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? It’s past midnight on 1 January, you’re full to the brim with leftover turkey and someone’s gone and popped another bottle of champagne, or worse, prosecco. You look around at the sorry scene and proclaim: “Right, I’m going for a run tomorrow morning, I need to get fit.” Somehow your subconscious thought has actually gone and wormed its way out into the open, and you curse yourself knowing that everyone who has witnessed your soapbox moment will hold you to your word. What ensues is a horrendous morning of your chosen exercise followed by your shoes being tossed back in the cupboard never to see the light of day again. Your resolution lasted one whole morning.

Instead of following that sequence of events, plan a realistic schedule ahead of time with goals and rewards. This will make sure that you actually keep to your resolution of getting fit and don’t just blindly jump into an unsustainable regime that is doomed to fail.

 

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 Change up your nutrition

Changing your nutrition goes hand in hand with getting fit and once again dieting is a pretty standard resolution. This can make a real difference in your riding. Small, gradual changes are once again the order of the day, start small and build from there. Going to the effort of making a healthy bowl of slow-release porridge pre-ride and grabbing a high protein recovery drink to help repair your muscles when you get home are just two quick and easy steps. Having a plan for nutrition with goals, objectives and treats that you feel comfortable with doesn’t have to be as torturous as many popular diets and can change your lifestyle for the better.

Race

The thrill of pinning a number onto the back of your jersey really is special. It makes you feel closer to the pros and gives you that indescribable buzz of competition. Racing, whether it be ’cross, road, mountain bike, time trial or triathlon, is a fantastic goal to aim at once you have a training and nutrition regime. When you race your bike you really find out what you and your machine are capable of and you might just surprise yourself.

Get good at bike maintenance

If your bike suddenly became self-aware in some sort of Ex Machina way before rising up and taking over the world, it would probably say: “oil me/fix me/why’s my bottom bracket squeaking? I feel old and rusty…” So, in 2020, make it your goal to learn how to keep your two wheels moving forward.

Whether you take a course in bike maintenance or follow the many online videos that can guide you through a particular problem, it’s important to show your bike a little TLC.

Share the love 

Cycling has the power to change your life for the better and, like us, you’ve probably experienced this first-hand. A great resolution is to introduce a friend to the wonderful world of cycling, the gift that keeps on giving. They may not appreciate the gut-wrenching climbs or spine-tingling descents at first, but over time we are sure they’ll come to thank you for sharing the love.

Chill

Finally, just chill out. This might seem counter-intuitive to what we have just been preaching, but if you are the sort of rider who’s addicted to cycling and its impacting on your life off the bike, take a rest. Learn to fall back in love with the sport, replace long pointless rides with shorter missions of high-quality training. You may just get faster while spending more time with your nearest and dearest.

Treat yourself, don’t go full steam ahead into a diet or fitness plan just because you think that’s what new year’s resolutions are for. Plan ahead of time, create achievable goals and have fun.

Words by Oskar Scarsbrook