If 2016 has seen you learn to ride a bike or convert to fully-fledged “cyclist”, here’s what we suggest you make your New Year Resolutions for 2017!
Even if you stick to just one, you’ll be well on your way to feeling miles better on your bike.
1. Take lots of photos
We’ll start with an easy resolution to make. It’s a good idea though, because having lots of photos of your bicycle adventures will only inspire you to get out there and do it all over again. Being able to look back at what you’ve done throughout the year will give you a wonderful record of your progress.
This also has a great impact on cycling generally – the more photos there are out there on social media of people having fun on bikes, the more likely it is another person will see what a good time you’re having and think, “hey, I should give that a go!”
2. Try a new sport / class
Cycling is a time-consuming sport. If you’ve got a lot of commitments, it can be hard to find the time to slip out for a long ride. Keep your fitness levels up with other activities to make sure your bike rides are always fun.
Doing core work and strengthening those muscles will do wonders for your positioning and comfort on the bike.
Of course, gyms are always rammed in January – so have a think about trying out running or following along to a youtube workout. Also, remember celebrity workout DVDs are always reduced after Christmas…
Once the New Year rush is done, if you find your riding starts to slip towards the end of the year, it might be a good time to try out a spin class!
3. Take some home-made cycling food on your next ride
There’s a baffling array of gels and drinks out there… These are super convenient, and you’ll be able to know gram for gram exactly what you’re getting in terms of nutrition.
That said, nothing tastes better than homemade. Take a small batch of home made energy balls on your next ride; and you’ll be the most popular rider in the group.
4. Become a regular at your local bike shop
If you only ever shop for bike bits online, you’re missing out!
Shopping in your local bike shop will help to support your local bike scene, as well as your local economy.
Your local shop will (hopefully) have knowledgeable, friendly sales people that should be a goldmine of advice. If it’s a good shop, no question is too stupid. Lots of bike shops now offer weekly shop rides, which can be a great way to meet more cyclists.
5. Ride somewhere new (to you)
Do the planning legwork to make sure the route is safe, and will provide some lovely scenery and (of course) a good rest stop.
6. Ride in a big group
There’s really nothing like riding in a group.
If you’re doing a sportive or other event, the competitive edge will make it seem a lot easier to cover more miles. You can use the cyclosport.org website to find an event near you.
If you’ve got a big club near you, have a think about joining. Some clubs do “introductory” rides too so you can try them out without a commitment. Regular riding with a cycling club is a really, really good way to make friends and learn new routes.
7. Go and watch a women’s race
There’s lots of awesome teams all over the country, and we’re sure they’d love your support.
There are races almost every weekend throughout the season. You can find them using the filters on the British Cycling event finder. If you’re looking for some serious inspiration, why not go and watch one near you?
8. Try a new riding style
Firstly, trying out BMX or MTB could open the doors to a world of fun. At the least you’ll learn some great skills you can apply to your primary riding style.
9. Learn to love your bike with a maintenance class
One of the biggest things that we know hinders women’s performance in cycling is fear, and especially fear of how to handle things if they go wrong.
We highly recommend doing a training session so you can be confident in fixing a puncture, and other common bike mishaps.
10. Do the most miles yet
Try and think about how many miles you did last year, and see if you can top that this year.
You could try to do your longest ride yet – or just try to get out more frequently and have a target for the year as a whole.
It can be hard to think in miles, so if it works better for you, aim to have covered the distance between two points. For example, aim to have ridden the equivalent of Land’s End to John O’Groats (and back, maybe) by the end of the year.
The main thing is, aim to spend more time with your bike this year.