I’ve got a lot of general New Years Resolutions (including giving blood, reading more books, you get the idea) but as a lover of lists, I’ve also got a whole separate set of Cycling New Years Resolutions.
Cycling is a pretty big part of my life, whether it’s road cycling or mountain biking, or just bimbling about here and there. I’m not particularly good, not particularly fit (working on that one), and mostly just in it for the fun. But wow, what a lot of fun it is!
1. Clean My Bikes Regularly
I am very very guilty of not cleaning my bike as often or as well I should after I’ve been riding, and my road bike in particular suffers from this. I’m better at doing my lovely Juliana MTB, mostly because it generally looks really dirty after I’ve ridden it through muddy off-road trails. My poor road bike has, I’m ashamed to admit, had considerably less attention. So in an attempt to cultivate general good habits, and prolong the life of the components, I’m going to aim to clean the road bike more often (every couple of rides, more if it’s been filthy out) and the mountain bike after ever ride. Even if it’s cold and raining outside and all I want to do is get straight into a hot bath.
2. Organise My Kit
I’m considerably better at making myself go out for rides when I’m not necessarily feeling it than I used to be, but I do have an incredible capacity to faff, and end up doing much shorter rides as a result. This year, I will get organised, I will fight procrastination, I shall give myself less reason to faff! In short, I will endeavour to a) have my kit organised into drawers/boxes/hooks so I know where everything normally lives and b) lay out the next days kit the night before, so all I have to do is stagger into it in my usual befuddled morning state.
3. Do Some Track Cycling
I was lucky enough to try this in 2014 at the Newport Velodrome with Halfords, and once I got over riding a fixed gear single speed bike along a cambered surface with no brakes, I really really enjoyed it! Now I’ve moved to Somerset, it’s actually not too hard for me to get to the Newport Velodrome, so this year I plan to do some track cycling. It’s also brilliant for fitness, though to be honest I will mostly be doing it for fun.
4. Enter Some Road Cycling Events
I’ve done a couple of road cycling events over the past couple of years, starting with the the BHF London to Brighton, then the wonderful Ride London – Surrey 100, and then more recently L’Eroica in Italy which was one of the most fun and amazing events I’ve ever participated in. So although I’m not particularly into road racing, I would like to do some more events. I’ve signed up for Velothon Wales, a closed-road sportive which takes place in June. I’m also hoping to join in with one of the new longer distance Macmillan Cycletta events. I’ve wanted to do one of these women’s only cycling events for a while now, but never got round to it. This year they have 100km and 150km events so I’m going to aim for a 150km. Finally I would LOVE to do the L’Eroica Britannia. Dressing up, vintage bikes, tea and cake? Yes please!
5. 2 Weekends of Touring
In 2012 and 2013 I cycled from The Natural History Museum in London to Lyme Regis in Dorset for the Fossil Festival. The first time I ever did it, I hadn’t been cycling long and had no idea if I was even capable of it. It’s 180 miles, which I know isn’t that big a distance for a regular cyclist, but I’d never done anything like that before, and the sense of achievement was incredible. But I also loved that I got myself from one place to another just by pedal power, so this year I want to do 2 weekends of mini-cycle touring. I’m not sure where I’ll go, but it’ll be with some friends, and it’s going to be relaxed and fun.
6. Revisit Old Trails
Last week I went back to a trail I hadn’t ridden in 2 years, and did a section that when I’d been there before had defeated me. I’d ridden up to it about 10 times, always braking at the last minute. I was pretty annoyed with myself for not doing it. This time, I rode over it no problem, and it felt bloody brilliant. Returning to ride old trails is a really good way of seeing how far your skills and fitness have developed, and it’s a really great confidence boost. I recommend it!
7. Explore New Trails
By new trails here, I mean heading out into mountains, heaths, plains, with a map, and exploring. I want to ride loads more natural stuff this year. I had such an amazing experience riding a trail in Torridon in Scotland last year, out in the mountains, big climbs and long descents – it felt adventurous and wild and fun, which is more I think what mountain biking is for me. So more of that in 2015 please! I’m hoping to ride in around Kinlochleven and Torridon in Scotland again, Yorkshire, The Lake District and Snowdonia. And hopefully other places too.
8. Ride in Iceland
I studied Geology at University, and I love rocks. In particular, I’ve always been fascinated by volcanos, earthquakes and plate tectonics. Visiting Iceland is high on my to-visit list, as it is with a lot of geologists. But then I got into cycling and had another reason to visit – amazing cycling! So now it’s one of the places I have to visit, as it’s got most of my favourite things in one place. Basically, I really really really want to mountain bike on a volcano. That would make me very happy indeed.