How to squeeze more cycling into your week

Is it possible to squeeze more cycling out of your week just like Victoria Beckham always manages to squeeze more publicity out of the newspapers?

Nobody likes to be boxed into a category. But I’m going to do it anyway. See if you can spot which category you fall into. In category one is the “my wife is leaving me and keeping our cat Munch because I do nothing but go cycling”. In category two is “Spiders have made their house on my bike because I never use it”. In between those two is category three. This is “I wish I could cycle more often but I’m too busy with really really important life changing, mind blowing things such as using Twitter”.

I tend to fall into category three. Which got me thinking about how I could squeeze more cycling out of my day. After all the new years resolution for many will be to cover a certain number of miles per year. So personally for the next 21 days (which is apparently how long it takes to change a habit) I’ll aim to do a certain number of hours of cycling every day. Luckily I’ve found this cool website that let’s you track what habits you want to change and sends you an email daily asking if you achieved your target. I’m also trying to restrict myself to a maximum of one episode of the Wire per day which I’m now on the third day of failing!

Here are some things I’m trying and you too could try to squeeze more cycling into your week..

Stop making excuses

“Oh its raining”, “Oh its snowing”, “Oh its dark”, “Oh I’ve got swine flu” just won’t cut it anymore. After having cycled home from Covent Garden around 11.30pm yesterday I think that any time is good for cycling. If anything cycling around at 11pm is a good idea because the roads are more empty. Just keep away from drunk pedestrians.

Make it easier to jump on your bike

To cycle more often I need to setup everything for the bike to be good to go. This means that I know when I want to go cycling I’ll be out the door in less than 5 minutes without wasting 10 minutes looking for my cycling gloves. It has happened to me.

Create time

I don’t mean invent a machine that can pause time so you can go cycling more often. I mean cutting out the things that are using too much of your time. Maybe that is replying to emails, twittering etc. Also start thinking outside of the normal hours you would consider good for cycling.

Set mini goals

Just like when trying to cycle up a big hill setting mini-goals is a great way to motivate yourself. You could start with one hour a day and move that up to more as you achieve it.

Love exploring

I can’t get enough of cycling around London on new streets I’ve never seen before. There is simply so much to see and so much to take in and that is what makes me want to cycle more often.

When I don’t go cycling I definitely miss it. It gives me time to clear my head, enjoy London and improve my fitness. What sort of tips do you guys have for squeezing in that bit of extra cycling?

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9 Responses to How to squeeze more cycling into your week

  1. Dan 14/01/2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Essentially get out and do it! I agree with the time of day thing. A couple of times I’ve been out for evening rides and it just helps you get the miles whilst clearing your head.

    I also have a couple of favourite spots/places I like to visit, this means evening rides don’t always need me to have imagination and a map. I can just jump on the bike and go.

    For a challenge I like to take on crouch hill, then ride up to the Archway Road bridge and gaze out over london, then ride home. The whole loop is about 15k/10miles, is challenging and takes in some main roads, some hills and some views. It makes for a great quick ride to clear the cobwebs and the mind.

  2. Darren Alff 15/01/2010 at 4:13 am #

    For a lot of people, if you get rid of your car it essentially forces you to ride your bike. So, if you want to ride your bike more, get rid of your car or put it in storage someplace away from your house.

    I have a motorcycle that is in a storage unit about 2 miles from my house. In order to ride the motorcycle, I have to jump on my bicycle and ride to where the motorcycle is stored. Not storing the bike at my house forces me to ride my bicycle more.

  3. Francois 15/01/2010 at 10:20 am #

    I like this post. Especially the ‘love exploring’ bit. It’s always good to add cycling buddies into the mix, nothing like peer pressure to keep one motivated, LOL.

    *must cycle more*

  4. Callum 15/01/2010 at 11:35 am #

    This is a great blog, but that is an appallingly blatant bit of search engine optimisation in the first paragraph!

  5. Joby 15/01/2010 at 11:47 am #

    I tagged an extra 5 miles onto my commute every morning and extra mile on way back 🙂 Now gone from 80 miles a week to 115ish but I still think I can squeeze a couple more miles on that a week (nursery pick-ups permitting).

  6. Andreas 15/01/2010 at 12:33 pm #

    @Joby that is a definitely a good way of doing more cycling. Takes a good bit of motivation to do so though!
    @Callum lol! thanks Callum, didn’t even do it for search engine traffic because why would I want anyone interested in Victoria to end up on this site! Thought it might make a funny comparison. Oh well!

  7. Joby 15/01/2010 at 12:40 pm #

    I was always in work half an hour early – so why waste it on the internet? 🙂

  8. Adam Edwards 16/01/2010 at 10:08 pm #

    The recent snow really made me realise how much I was missing cycling. On Friday things had melted sufficiently I was back on the Brompton and off the buses. So I got to work 40 mins early, which means I’ll have 20 mins extra at home with the kids each day next week. So I’m squeezing in more time by cutting out the waiting for buses and the slow journeys. Its the best thing about urban cycling.

    My exploring is much more basic. Can I find better/more interesting routes round the roads to and from work? The new job has me gogin up and down some steep hills near New Barnet, so part of the daily ride will be trying to find gentler roads. Should keep me going for a while.

    What will be brilliant is then watching spring arrive on the more scenic bits and being able ride in daylight on the way home.


    PS: If anyone knows the New Barnet area and can give me some tips, please do!

    • william 25/03/2010 at 10:41 pm #

      A tip on snowy cycling Adam- if you’re on knobbly tyres and fairly well coordinated and careful, you can cycle on snow. The fatter the better, but I managed on 35mm cyclocross tyres, the great thing was all the cars had slid off the road or burnt out their engines spinning their wheels on the ice, and I just cruised past!

      I have on average two 10 mile trips a day- my solution to needing more cycling was to move further away from the cenre of London and from work! Cheaper rent too. I make my commute longer sometimes by taking detours to extra hills, and I get out of the town at weekends when I can.

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