We're all for New Year's resolutions—any attempt to better yourself is positive and should be celebrated. But while most of the country is focusing on hitting the gym or cutting carbs, we cyclists are setting our own goals and milestones for 2019.
Appropriate for cyclists of all shapes, sizes and ability levels, this checklist includes 10 items that can help improve your cycling experience in the year to come. Take it as is, or tailor it for your own needs and goals—either way, tape it to the fridge, and use it to guide your cycling season in the right direction.
Get a bike tune-up.
You foam roll your legs and stretch every night (or should...), so it's time you did the equivalent for your bike in 2019. We suggest you learn how to do routine maintenance yourself, but if not, your local bike shop can help get your bike back into shape. A proper tune-up generally includes a head-to-toe onceover, cleaning the frame and components, tightening loose bolts, truing the wheels and adjusting the shifters and brakes. This maintenance should be done at least once a year to keep your bike in safe, working order.
Hone your bike handling skills.
No matter how many miles you have under your belt, honing your bike handling skills is something you can always get better at. Being able to handle your bike can not only help you prevent major accidents, but it can also improve your efficiency on descents and your ability to ride in a group. Build these skills in 2019 with these articles on how to improve your bike handling skills.
Replace your old cycling bibs/shorts.
Sure, they're comfy and broken in, but you might be surprised to know every pair of cycling bibs/shorts has a shelf life. Of course, this depends on how often they're used and washed, but take time in 2019 to inspect your closet to see if the elastic is shot (nobody wants to draft behind that) or if the chamois is discolored or damaged. We know they can be expensive, so check here for affordable options.
Set a yearly cycling goal.
While it's still early, determine how many miles you'd like to ride in the new year. Divide that number by the number of weeks remaining to figure out how many miles a week you need to complete to hit your goal. If miles aren't your thing, set a weekly time goal or say you'd like to have X number of rides completed before the end of the year. If you aren't sure what's realistic or what your goal should be, these tips can help point you in the right direction.
Put yourself in a situation where you're surrounded by faster riders—opt for the group ride that's faster and more experienced than the one you currently ride with. Regardless of if you're dropped or not, riding above your limit and out of your comfort zone will help boost your own speed and endurance over time. Better yet, you'll meet other cyclists with more knowledge and experience who can help you gain new skills, show you new routes or simply push you to the next level.
Work on your mobility.
Cyclists are notorious for having a terrible range of motion. It's not totally our faults—the repetitiveness of pedaling a bike (and sitting for so long) can tighten muscles and reduce flexibility and mobility, which can ultimately cause injuries over time. Just as you schedule bike rides throughout the week, be sure to schedule designated time for mobility work like foam rolling, stretching and strength workouts.
Finish a ride without Strava.
Nowadays, it seems we never leave home without a bike computer attached to our handlebars or our smartphone in our jersey pocket. This means that while we may be technically riding alone, the internet is watching and recording our rides for our riding buddies and the public to see. We're all for Strava and the metrics that can help boost performance, but schedule a few rides throughout 2019 that don't include any technology. It can be liberating, and help you relate back to the reasons why you fell in love with cycling in the first place.
Complete a metric century ride.
Surprisingly, a metric century is an obtainable goal within a calendar year—even for non-cyclists. A metric century is a 100-kilometer bike ride (just over 62 miles) and is considered a rite of passage for anyone who considers themselves a cyclist. It's certainly a challenge, but with the right training plan and mindset, you'll be crossing the finish line before you know it. Click here for tips on how to complete your first metric century ride.
Finish a century ride.
If you'd like to take your 2019 up a notch past the metric alternative, consider completing a full century ride (100 miles, not kilometers). Considered the marathon of the cycling world, this distance is significantly longer and takes a more serious training regimen to complete. For expert tips on how to train for your first century ride, click here.
Introduce cycling to someone new.
Whether this is teaching someone to ride a bike for the first time, getting someone out on a beach cruiser or decking your friend out in your spandex for an afternoon spin, be sure to share your passion for cycling with others in 2019—shaved legs and a huge ego not required. There's nothing like sharing your favorite routes by bike, and it's a great workout to boot (but we don't have to tell you that).
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