Cycling resolutions fit in with what you do on a daily basis. That makes it easier to succeed and means it comes with obvious daily rewards. There are several ways you could set yourself resolution goals, here are three of our suggestions.
Enter an event
This is a common goal for fitness related resolutions, therefore it could work well for you if increased fitness is your aim. However, it can also be a good way point if you just want to expand your cycling horizons and take your riding beyond commuting.
Often the pressure of having something you have to do, and be public witnessed doing, can be the best kind of motivation. You can raise money for charity too if you wish, adding even more satisfaction to your goals. You do not have to commit to cycling the length of the country in some super quick time on your own. Cycling events are often really fun and social.
Ride London is a great goal if you do not cycle much currently. It is 100 miles and is later in the summer, giving you plenty of time to build up the miles slowly. Several charities are currently building their teams, or you can enter on your own. Ride across Britain is another great event if you want a longer challenge. Or the Dunwich Dynamo for added nighttime excitement and a beach at the end. The options are plentiful and varied enough for every ability.
Take up a new riding style
Sometimes you need to shake up the routine and make things interesting again. If going out on a longer ride at the weekend feels too much like your regular commute, try something completely different. By taking up a new form of cycling you will add some variety to your week. Living in London is great and all but sometimes it can feel like being in the centre of an urban prison, guarded by heavily congested roads.
There are chinks in London’s traffic armour though. There are green trails and paths out of the city. Often these are somewhat off road and therefore provide a great chance to try out some light mountain biking or cyclocross style riding. Of course, if you are someone who needs new things to motivate them, this is a great way of getting going. Gravel bike anyone?!
A further benefit of shaking up your riding style, other than added excitement, is an increase in your fitness. If you start mountain biking, or conquer fixed gear riding you will be using your muscles in a way that you don’t normally when commuting. Therefore you will become a generally stronger cyclist.
Explore the city
As mentioned above, there are plenty of green, traffic free routes in the city itself. Exploring these occasionally at weekends can be a great way to cycle more and still enjoy it.
Similarly, there are plenty of lovely urban areas ripe for cruising through on a bike. At weekends you don’t have to rush so you can stop at that pub or cafe you see. Maybe sit in the park under a tree and watch the world go by. You don’t have to be super athletic and fast on a bike to still increase your cycling.
Using the same route all the time into and out of work has many benefits: you know the road, you know the traffic patterns, etc. It can become stale though. Perhaps once a week you could try a slightly different route to or from work, taking you through a slightly different neighbourhood. When the weather gets nicer, you could take a longer route home along the river or a canal or through a park. It might be slower but it will feel great.
Build on things that you have enjoyed, thought about or started this year. Starting something completely new and never before explored may work for some people. For the majority of us however it will be too hard to sustain the momentum to work it into an already somewhat hectic routine.
Increased fitness and health don’t have to be the point of a New Years resolution, but it can be an added benefit. Increasing the amount you cycle is naturally going to improve your physical health, but it can also do wonders for your mental health.
I have also found that it helps to tell someone what your intentions are. Doing this means you are accountable. It can also make your resolutions more social, which in turn will make them easier to stick to. To this end I will be sharing my cycling resolutions for 2016 next week. I will then post an update in a few months to let you know how I am getting on.
Do you have any cycling related New Years resolutions?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.