The days are short and the skies are grey; winter can make it feel tough to get out on the bike at times.
However, don’t let the cooler months put the brakes on your love for the bike and turn your health and fitness goals on their heads!
Here are a few simple and straightforward tips to keep you riding and in good health through til spring!
There’s nothing like having goals to keep you pumped to get into the pedals. And with the new year just beginning, now is the perfect time to write down some ambitions.
Setting yourself a target, whether it be to ride three times per week, 100km per month, or to clock a new Strava segment record on every ride will ensure you’re riding with a purpose every day. And achieving those goals isn’t only satisfying, it’s addictive!
Make sure your targets are reasonable and realistic however. If you’ve just started riding, don’t go aiming to ride for 20 hours per week.
Ride a new discipline
Are you a roadie that’s never gone off-road? Or an avid mountain biker that’s never given cyclocross a shot? With races and events waiting over the horizon in spring and summer, now is the time to try something new!
Branching out to a new type of riding injects a new life and enthusiasm into your cycling life, and keeps things fresh when the weather makes riding feel more difficult. And you may develop a new strand to your cycling skills for years to come!
Take a short break first
If you’re feeling your cycling mojo has taken a bit of a downturn, sometimes it can be good to take a short time away from the bike; especially when it’s the height of winter and there’s effectively nothing to lose.
Allow yourself 5 – 7 days away from cycling and enjoy some extra free time. If you’re feeling the need to get the body moving, do some walking, yoga or jogging.
By the end of the time away you’ll be gagging to get back into the saddle and get pedalling, and that new motivation should see you through until spring!
Ride with friends
When you wake up in the morning and can feel the cold before you’ve even gotten out of bed, it can be all-too easy to cancel your cycling plans and enjoy a duvet day.
Avoid bailing out on the bike by committing to rides with friends. Having buddies to ride with makes it feel less of a chore, and makes it harder to cancel commitments! Together, you can keep each other accountable and keep riding through to the warmer months.
Explore new routes
Nothing puts a new buzz into your love for the bike than riding new roads or exploring new trails.
We all fall foul of riding the same loops every day out of a sense of security and ease. But exploring long-neglected paths you had always wanted to check out, or heading left rather than right, north rather than south, will make your rides feel like an adventure again and keep you hungry for more.
Try a training plan
Sometimes, feeling demotivated is a product of feeling directionless. The rainclouds are looking threatening and you don’t know where to ride, or how long to ride for. It’s all too-easy to just not bother.
Commit to a training plan and every ride has a purpose and is part of a wider plan. You wake up knowing exactly what you’re going to do on the bike that day, and with that knowledge, you’re half-way into the saddle already.
Have an event for spring
Similar to setting goals, having a target to aim at sometime in the spring will keep you eager and motivated to ride and prepare for your big event.
Although COVID has caused a lot of major events to shut down for 2021, you can still set your own big day out! Plan a ride that will take you somewhere new and push the boundaries of what you’re used to. Whether it be riding to a distant new destination and getting the train home, organising a big day on the trails with a bunch of buddies, or riding the route of an event you were planning to do but was canceled, don’t let a lack of organised rides set you back!
Sometimes, you’ve just got to balance the yin and the yang. Make your carrot a slice of cake this winter.
Tell yourself you can only indulge in your favourite sweet treat for the next few months if you get out on a ride beforehand, and tell those in your household so they don’t let you cheat!
We all know there’s nothing better than a post-ride coffee and piece of cake, so if that doesn’t motivate you to get in the saddle then we don’t know what will!