The past two years have been tough. For us, cycling has been a life saver since the start of Covid. It is after all, the perfect socially distant physical activity, and it kept us sane when things got rough.
Therefore, we think it is important to be kind to ourselves and others, and not to beat ourselves up if we don't reach the goals we have set-up. Having said that, cycling (and bikes) have zero drawback. They keep you fit, they keep cities healthy, they have a really positive effect on your mental health, so resolutions about cycling and bikes are actually OK, because bikes only bring positive things.
Whether you keep them or not, there is no harm in setting some targets to build towards and get focused during these difficult times. But remember, doing your best is also good.
Resolution 1. Swap the car for the bike
A lot of recreational cyclists, road or mountain bike, drive to their destination before getting on the saddle for the Sunday activity. The rest of the week, they jump in the car when they need to pick up a pint of milk or get to work. The resolution is to actually make the bike your main mode of transport.
It may mean investing a more affordable bike (your all-singing road bike may be a bit over-the-top or impractical for a trip to the local shop), but this is how you integrate physical activity on a daily basis, reduce your carbon footprint dramatically, and reduce the stress of your hard working week.
Resolution 2. Learn how to look after your bike
The bicycle is, on the face of it, a simple thing but we’ve all found ourselves hunched over a bike cursing under our breath at a seemingly impossible mechanical dilemma.
Learning how to look after your bike can save you time and money and is a great starting point for New Year’s Resolutions.
It also allows you to better understand your machine and how you can keep it in tip-top shape. You can also identify small problems before they come big ones.
Obviously, with Covid, most classes have moved online, but watch this space as Rothar will be running home mechanics course as well as professional mechanic courses in 2022.
Resolution 3. Join a club
Motivation can be tough when the weather is poor and the prospect of a cold, wet solo ride is the last thing you fancy.
Joining a club is an easy way to address the issue – offering the chance to join like-minded people to share your passion for all things two-wheeled. If the weather isn’t particularly appealing, the fact you can share the ride with friends makes it a lot easier to get out of bed. Ireland has plenty of cycling clubs.
Joining a club isn’t for everyone, of course, but with many offering the chance to join a few rides before committing to a full membership, it is well worth giving your local outfit a chance.
Resolution 4. Save for an e-bike
E-bikes are one the solutions to tackle climate change, but they are not cheap compared to say a regular hybrid.
Putting away just €20 a week will put enough in the kitty to invest €1,000 in an e-bike come next Christmas. And why should it just be a new bike you save up for? How about some new hoops, a cycling holiday or a winter training camp instead?
If you can cut costs from your daily routine, whether that’s quitting smoking, cutting down on drinking, or commuting by bike, your can spend the rewards on cycling.
Resolution 5. Introduce a friend to cycling
You’re here for a reason: you love cycling. You know how good it is for the body and the mind. Why wouldn’t you want to share that with your favourite people?
It’s been shown to improve mental and physical health, it can satisfy that competitive edge or provide a cheap and sustainable way to travel. Children can do it, adults can do it, families can do it, friends can do it and couples can do it.
Really, as far as we’re concerned there are very few downsides, so why not introduce someone to cycling this year? You could end up with a new cycling buddy and they could end up discovering a potentially life-changing passion. You might even work towards some of those goals together.
Resolution 6. Enter a race or an event
Racing is at the heart of cycling and it’s easy to get involved, whether it’s a road race, an hour-long crit, cyclo-cross racing or time trialling.
Engage your competitive streak, pin on a number and have a crack at racing. Cycling Ireland has a list of events you can join, you just need to be a member.
Resolution 7. Go on a cycle tour or on a Greenway
Cycling is about exploration: finding previously unridden roads, tackling new climbs, putting a pin in the map and devising a route to get there (and back).
There are few better ways to see the world than by bicycle, so why not plan your own tour? It can be done in Dublin with the Lazy Bike Tours, in Waterford on one of the Greenways, or in the West of Ireland for a proper exploration of the country