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Mountain Biking

17 New Year’s Resolutions Every Cyclist Should Stand By

...promises to take your two-wheeled life to the next level!

New year, new you? Well that’s a shame. To paraphrase Bruno Mars, we thought you were quite alright just the way you were.

We much prefer new year, same you – but maybe with a bit more direction… on the bike, of course. Where it’s most important!

Saving money or gunning for that big promotion are great and all, but where’s the fun? And we’ve already covered the fact that giving up chocolate may even be counter-productive for cyclists, so hang on to that box of Celebrations you’ve been feeling guilty about.

This year, why not focus on your true passion in life and pick a resolution that’ll help you get more from your time on two wheels – no matter what kind of bike that may be. Here are a few ideas…

1) Introduce five + new people to the sport

Five may seem like a lot, but it’s not like we’re asking you to do it in a week. You’ve got twelve months to get just a handful of people to give cycling a serious go.

Maybe they’ve never cycled off-road, maybe they’re a regular commuter but have never seriously hit the roads on the weekend. Either way, it’s always fun to ride with new people and see the inevitable smile on their face.

You know how addictive the sport can be and they might just feel the same way. You could give a mate a new hobby and get yourself a new regular riding buddy in the process.

2) Become a bike maintenance guru

 

So you’ve got flat tyres down. Maybe you even know your way around your bike and can name all the components and their use without batting an eyelid – but we’re betting there’s still room for improvement on the maintenance front in one way or another.

Learning the inside-outs of your bike, what everything is there to do, how to maintain it and how to fix it if it goes wrong is one of the most useful things you will ever do. And it’ll make that expensive bike of yours last a whole lot longer, too.

3) Get into the habit of carrying the essentials

 

Especially if you’ve now learned your way around the bike, you’ll know how many problems could potentially arise when you are on the roads or the trails. If you’re ditching bad habits in the New Year then, why not pick up some good ones to replace them?

We’d recommend carrying a spare inner tube or two, some water, a phone, ID, a first-aid kit, a pump, tire levers, a puncture repair kit – even with the spare tubes – a good biking multi-tool, some zip-ties, duct tape, an extra layer of clothing, a beer or three, a derailleur hanger, a good supply of steeze and a head lamp… just for starters.

4) Find one big challenge and tailor your work towards completing it

 

It’s great to just get out and ride, but why not set yourself a huge challenge to complete by the end of 2016 – whether that be riding in your first race, cycling through a series of cities or countries on the continent or riding a challenge like the North Coast 500 that’ll take quite a few days and a good level of fitness.

Having this kind of thing to work towards will make you ride harder and with more organisation. You’ll check your timings, check your fitness levels, check how far you’ve gone and strive to do even more in your next session. This is the way to take your riding and your fitness levels up a notch!

5) Ride with people better than you. Listen!

 

Riding with friends new to the bike is great fun, but if you want to advance your riding then getting out with the more advanced guys is the way to go. Odds on you’ll notice a few things they’re doing that you aren’t, and there’s a good chance they’ll give you some pointers if they see you going wrong.

6) Take at least one photograph every time you go riding

 

A photo posted by Stuart Kenny (@stuartkenny92) on

 

Okay, so we know not all of you out there will like the whole ‘Instagram’ mountain bike scene. Often it’s a bit too clean, it’s a bit too wanderlust-driven. Often, it doesn’t seem real.

But you don’t have to take photographs like that if you don’t want to. Taking at least one snap from every one of your rides this year is something you won’t regret in 365 days time, whether that snap be of the beautiful scenery, the bike, the mud, the mess or just you and your mates at the bar the hour after.

Stick them on Instagram if you want by all means, or don’t put them anywhere – even just keeping a folder-full of pics on your laptop means you’ll have easy access to a nostalgia-packed gallery come the end of the year.

7) Get a training plan – follow it!

 

The gym might not be everyone’s game, but then again, you don’t need to go to the gym to have a training plan. If you’re gearing up for something big, as aforementioned in point four, then a plan is an essential, but even just for everyday riding, it’s great to have fitness goals to keep you going. Find a plan that suits you and stick to it!

8) Use the technology available… But don’t get addicted

 

Apps apps apps apps apps apps apps apps apps apps apps apps apps. There are a lot of them.

What that means, though, is that you don’t have to shell out big bucks to get cycling technology that will help you keep track of, well, pretty much anything.

Some of the best apps for cycling will track your fitness levels, your distance, your speed… Hell, these days they can probably tell what kind of bike your riding, if the tyres need inflating and whether or not your family actually love you.

Making use of apps like Strava is great, and you should totally do it, stick it on Facebook, keep it for your personal records or whatever else, but don’t get caught up too hard in the KOM chaos. Cycling should always be for the fun of cycling!

9) Help your scene grow in your local area

 

Giving back to your local cycling community can come in all shapes and forms. Whether you’re a mountain biker who is committing to trail-digging and maintenance for the first time or a road cyclist volunteering at a local race or helping with the running of a local club, this is a great way to get those feel-good vibes flowing and make a bunch of new friends.

10) Save up and travel… anywhere!

 

Travelling is wonderful. That goes without saying. It shouldn’t just be your New Year’s resolution to travel though – find a more specific goal, a place that you’ve always wanted to go, that you’ve always been astounding by… and bring your bike with you!

Whether you end up heading to a mountain biking mecca, a setting from road cycling folklore or just a country you’ve never been to before that’s got some local trails, it’ll no doubt end up being an experience that you won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

11) …And find time to spend a weekend in the wilderness

 

Yeah the trails are great, and the roads too, but what isn’t so good about that is the cycle home after. You know that feeling of re-entering the “normal” world after being out on the saddle for four hours? Well, it doesn’t have to come so soon.

Plan out a route, whether in the hills or some roads with scenic surroundings, pack a tent, find some spots where you’ll be able to set up camp for the night before you leave, and then get going! One of the cheapest ways to get the ultimate sense of adventure on your bike.

12) Do something that absolutely terrifies you

 

We don’t mean that you should cycle off a cliff here. Be reasonable. Don’t do something that’ll end in your inevitable injury. But expand your horizons and make your life exciting!

How about learning to jump, slowly but surely at the skills section of your nearest bike centre, and then taking your new talent onto the trails? Trying to ride a World Cup track? Or what about committing to a huge uphill road loop you’ve never felt confident enough to nail before? The glory of the ride is in the effort!

13) Never go one week without getting on your bike

 

A challenge to start now and never finish! Why? Well, for the obvious reasons, really. Riding a bike is a whole lot of fun.

14) Try a new discipline

 

We’ve been talking a lot about resolutions that fit road cycling, mountain biking and beyond in this article, so how about this one; why not swap bikes for a while?

If you’re a hardcore roadie, take to the mountains and get dirty. If you’re MTB mad, climb on a road bike and take an alternative route through the scenery – or get going on a BMX or give cyclocross a try.

If nothing else, it’s always nice to mix things up for a while, and if you do hate it, at least you’ll have some good new slams for your next rap battle with your tribal two-wheeled enemies.

15) Ride in every type of weather

 

If you live in Britain, this isn’t so much of a resolution as a reality. If you don’t ride your bike in every type of weather condition, you’re probably not going to end up riding much of your bike at all.

But that’s part of the beauty. The days spent powering through pouring rain only make it better when you get to the warm shower, and in the months that follow when you’re riding in the sun. The days spent battling against 50mph winds only make it sweeter when you’re cruising on a sweet summer day.

It’s a rite of passage for any budding cyclist to have experienced the worst as well as the best when they’re on two wheels. Just be careful things don’t get too slippy!

16) Stop laughing in the face of that mate who exaggerates everything

 

No, he probably didn’t ride that three-hour road in one and a half hours, and no, he almost definitely didn’t backflip the made up gap he keeps claiming is “just off” the local trail…

But at least wait till he’s headed off before laughing. The guy/girl is probably incredibly insecure in every way you can possibly imagine.

17) Drink More Post-Ride Beers

 

Y’know, in moderation and stuff. We don’t like New Year’s resolutions that say “do less of this stuff”, though. Less is boring. So maybe do more instead?

More biking, more day rides, more night rides, more pedalling, more pushing, more risks, and yeah, why not, more beer. Enjoy 2016 folks. We’ve got a good feeling about the 12 months ahead.

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