Six New Year's Resolutions Any Cyclist Can Keep
New year, new you! Er, not quite.
While we all exit the festive season looking forward to a fresh start, many of those resolutions fade as soon as the Christmas decorations are taken down (which, if you're like most people, is usually sometime between February and March).
There's no doubt that New Year's resolutions are tricky to keep, but we've made a list of six cycling resolutions that anyone can keep, whether you're a beginner or a serious cyclist.
Look After Your Bicycle
Not all New Year's resolutions need to be grand and life-changing. Even something small, simple, and most importantly, achievable can have a significant impact.
If you regularly take your bike off-road, commit to giving it a good clean after particularly dusty or muddy rides. Even if you aren't especially handy, you can do some basic maintenance like keeping your chain lubed or your tires inflated and commit to taking your bike in for regular services.
While keeping your bike in good condition may seem like a bit of a drag - after all, the fun part is actually riding it - regular maintenance, especially in winter, can save you time and money later on.
Part of looking after your bike is also making sure that it's covered in the event of theft or damage. While your homeowners & renters insurance may provide some coverage for your bike, there might be limitations to the value, and it's unlikely to comprehensively cover many of the situations unique to cycling.
Sundays Insurance lets you handpick the coverage that's right for you and enjoy benefits unique to the sport and related situations you may find yourself in, whether you ride a road bike, mountain bike, or an ebike.
Stretch After Cycling
While cycling is a fantastic way to get exercise without putting pressure on your joints, it can cause repetitive strain injury (RSI) in the wrists, forearms, and elbows - and stretching is perfect for 'undoing' the strain riding puts on your body.
You should still stretch even if you don't feel any noticeable strain after riding because stretching helps improve your range of motion and blood circulation, eliminates lactic acid, and can help minimize the risk of injury.
Here are some great yoga poses and stretches for cyclists according to BikeRadar:
- Calf stretch into a wall
- Downward facing dog
- Expanded leg pose
- Quad stretch
- Camel pose
- Seated glute stretch
- Revolved belly pose
- Supported bound angle pose
Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle
Losing weight and getting fit have been two of the most popular New Year's resolutions since time immemorial. After the festive season, where you've probably eaten more and exercised less than usual, most people want to start the year on a fresh note and jump into a detox.
It's the perfect time to give your body a fresh start with challenges like Dry January (where you don't drink alcohol for the month) or Veganuary (where you commit to a vegan diet in January) - or you can create your own January challenge with your friends. For an extra motivation boost, you can spice up the challenge by having everyone pool together a cash prize, and the winners split the reward at the end of the month.
Of course, it's not just about being healthy in January. You should make changes to your lifestyle that you can commit to for the rest of 2022 and beyond.
If, for example, your driving force behind a grueling ride is the promise of an ice-cold beer at the end, cutting out alcohol completely may not be particularly enjoyable. Instead, commit to cutting down or swapping out your favorite brew with a low-calorie or low-alcohol option.
Make Your Commute Eco-Friendly
If you aren't already commuting to work by bicycle, 2022 is the perfect time to start!
In some cities where infrastructure is designed primarily to cater to motorists, this can be tricky (and sometimes downright dangerous), so if commuting by bike isn't a realistic option, you can swap out other activities that you may typically use a car for, like grocery shopping or visiting friends.
Studies have shown that cycling to work makes you happier and healthier while decreasing anxiety, stress, and frustration - so it isn't only good for the planet, it's great for you too!
Here are some tips for planning your cycling commute:
- It doesn't have to be all-or-nothing. Even cycling to work just one day a week has a massive impact on your carbon footprint.
- If your route is too long to cycle comfortably, consider buying an ebike or using a combination of public transport, carpooling, and cycling to reach your destination.
- Ride your route on a day that you aren't working so you have a good idea of how long it will take. It's much better to know this beforehand than deal with the stress of wondering whether you'll be late for work.
- Get your bicycle covered by Sundays Insurance. We offer customizable insurance that covers your bike in the event of theft (from and away from home), accidental damage, malicious damage, and more.
Take Part in a Race
If you've never entered a race or event before, it can be a daunting undertaking - but knowing you have a race coming up can give you that extra push you need to commit to a training routine and give you something to work towards.
Some cyclists think that they first need to be super-fit before they will consider entering a race, but as long as you can meet the time cut, there's no reason to put it off until a later date. Even experienced cyclists start somewhere, so don't get distracted by comparing yourself to others.
Here's an extensive list of cycle races in the US in 2022, along with some in the UK. Remember, if you're covered by Sundays Insurance, you can add optional racing & event coverage and worldwide coverage to your insurance, so your bike will be covered for any races and events you take part in in the US or further afield.
Turn Off the Tech (Sometimes)
Depending on how into tech you are, you probably already have a range of cycling-related gadgets, even if you're a beginner. Whether you use a smartwatch, GPS computer, heart rate monitor, or other devices, technology is essential for tracking, improving, and optimizing your performance. But sometimes, it's nice to turn it all off.
You have 365 days in 2022 to improve your performance and push yourself further, but remember to take some time out now and then to simply enjoy cycling.