Christmas festivities are complete, the fridge is looking a little bare and thoughts turn to plans for the New Year. It is estimated that gyms see a 12 per cent increase in membership sign-ups in January (pre-covid). Riding in the New Year can bring plenty of challenges but with planning, you can easily overcome them.
The start of the new year sees a significant up-take in people deciding this will be the year they achieve weight loss-loss or pick up the sport they left behind or want to try a new one. We all have great ambitions but dedicating time and resources to it can be a difficult juggling act with work and family commitments.
For cycling, it can be even harder. Still, in the depths of winter, the appeal of riding outdoors with all the caveats that bring if you are just starting out can seem daunting.
With any challenge, it needs to be realistic. You can always tweak your goals as you progress, but the hardest part is starting. Make it too difficult and the desire to quit increases. Whatever your challenge, you need to allocate enough time to give yourself a chance to complete it or do it justice.
How do you decide your targets? Whether it is time on the bike, distance or increasing your weekly mileage it really is your choice. You could be riding for a charity, there is no right or wrong answer, simply a personal choice. What you plump for is your decision, your own challenge.
Once you have, then you can break it down into realistic bits. That could be how many rides you’ll need to achieve to beat your weekly target, how long will that take? It could be one long ride, what is your route, will you have pit-stops along the way? The sum of these parts will make it easier to digest mentally and prepare for it.
Preparing for your rides in terms of your kit and bike is just as important. Making sure your bike is ready to go will potentially save time and effort on the day. Tyres pumped, chain clean, bottles filled. All this can be done the day or night before, so you have less to worry about on the day. Kit to wear, check the forecast, make sure you’ll be warm or dry enough to avoid getting cold and spoiling your ride. Do you have a pump, spare tubes and tyre levers?
A fully charged phone and some lights are useful, the light can change dramatically and early so plan ahead. Put all this in place and the chances are you will really enjoy your ride(s).