This is typically the time of year when we set ourselves new goals for the upcoming year. They could include: getting fit, losing weight, being more studious or gaining a new skill. Sometimes they are about giving up something, such as Febfast, when you convince your family and friends that you can avoid alcohol and / or sugar for a whole month. These are all great, but how much fun are they?
This year we would like you to take up the ‘Bike New Year Resolution Challenge‘. All you need to do is to pick 10 ‘bike related’ goals and make sure you complete them before the end of the year.
Sounds like fun but unsure what to choose? Fear not. Here are our top 10 suggestions.
1. Join a Cycle Club
Cycling is much more fun when you do it with someone else. Joining a cycle group might terrify some people, “will I be good enough?”, “I am not really a proper cyclist” , “I only want to cycle for fun!” Don’t worry, not all cycle groups are for professionals. Get online and find a group which fits your riding ability and style. Seriously, there are hundreds of groups out there and there must be a perfect for you – so get searching!
2. Use your bike as transport
If you drive, train or bus to work consider cycling at least once a week. If the ride is too long, just cycle part of the way, or split the days, for example, cycle to work on Monday and back from work on Tuesday. Or, why not get yourself a rack for your bike, attach a couple of large saddle bags and use your bicycle to pick up the groceries? You can often make local trips faster by bike than car – particularly when you take parking into account. It is also cheap, better for the environment and saves money at the same time.
If you make a commitment to ride with someone, you are far less likely to cancel when it is cold, wet and miserable outside, or when you just don’t feel like cycling. So invite someone new, pick a beautiful route, show them how much fun it is, and if you play your cards right, you will end up with a new cycling buddy to train with. When you are out with friends, even if it is raining, it never seems so bad. And as the saying goes for many sports, “there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing”.
4. Learn some basic mechanical skills
Do you know how to fix a puncture, mend a broken chain or replace your brake cables? If you don’t, it’s time to pick up a maintenance book, watch some videos on YouTube or simply ask your local mechanic for a few tips. By learning a few simple techniques, you will start to understand your bike so much better, it will mean you can make those minor adjustments at home, sort out small problems when you are on the road and it could also save you a fortune at the local bike shop!
5. Donate to a bike charity
Mobilize people through the power of cycling. In rural communities around the world distance is a real barrier. Whether it is a child trying to get to school, adults trying to get to work, or aid workers attempting to reach their clients bicycles can make life that little bit easier. Did you know that an average adult in Africa can travel four times further, carrying five times the load, as the same time as the person on foot. And offering bikes to school children increases the attendance rate by 28% and grades improve by 59%! Find out how you can donate to World Bicycle Relief here.
6. Find a new route every week
Keep your riding fresh and exciting, rather than repeating the same route over-and-over again. Use a bike app like Strava to find routes from other riders, do a Google search, or look at an ordnance survey map. The new route might mean you have to drive to start off with, or you have to spend your precious Friday night at home looking at the computer, but the reward of that perfect new route will be in-measurable!
7. Volunteer as a marshal at a local event
Sportifs and small bike events couldn’t go ahead without the help of local volunteers. As a marshal your job will be to guide and direct participants around the course. Or you could be in charge of a water station or just simply be there to offer lots of encouragement to riders by cheering as they ride past. It is a fun day out, you will be doing an important job and you will be donating your time to charity!
8. Clean your bike
A clean bike is a happy bike! It not only looks slick, it will stay in better shape longer, it will also be easier to see and work on any problems. The amount you clean you bike will depend on how often you used it, what sort of riding you do and what the weather is like. Unsure how to clean your bike? Check out our 4-minute bike wash clip here.
9. Join a local cycle event
There are more and more cycle events popping up as the popularity of cycling increases. If 2016 is the year of fitness, join in the fun with lots of people and participate in one of the events. From Sportifs, to point-to-point adventures, or at family fun days – they are all excellent test of endurance, gives you the opportunity to meet other riders and it is a fun day out.
10. Book a cycling holiday
Explore a new country doing something that you love! Cycling is the best way to explore an area as you are travelling at a much slower pace in a car. On a bicycle you have the opportunity to stop, take in the views, meet the locals and absorb the atmosphere of the area. In many countries, particularly around Asia, the bicycle is a mode of transport, so you may very well be sharing the road with other cyclists going about their everyday lives, and you will often find the children will wave and smile and cheer as you cycle past. Cycle holiday groups are typically small, led by a local guide who will know the area much better than any Lonely Planet guide book, be very knowledgeable about the history and culture of the area and will love to talk about their home town and country. Need some ideas? Read about writer Marisa top tips for 2016 travel here.
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