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Tips for cyclists to kick start 2021

Joe Robinson
15 Nov 2020

Some easy goals to get you riding this January such as going vegan or riding with a local club

Most of us will be starting 2021 having set ourselves a few goals for the year, and for cyclists, that usually involves a goal or two on the bike. But 2020 was different to any year we've experienced before and chances are it was lacking in cycling holidays or sportives, so the new year could be a busy one for us cyclists.

Chief among any goals we might be setting are usually themes such as getting faster and/or losing weight but there are also more specific targets like Strava KOMs or local 10 PBs, too.

The only thing is that January is a bit doomy and gloomy and isn’t too conducive to kick-starting these new, big goals.

So to help, Cyclist has compiled five simple things you could do this month to act as a leg up for the rest of the year and get you riding your bike this January.

There’s something for everyone with simple things like going on a club ride to challenges that do not even involve the bike such as cutting out the alcohol for January.

Five tips for cyclists to kick start 2021

1 - Complete the Strava January Cycling Distance Challenge

This one is pretty simple. All you have to do is go on Strava, click ‘Join Now’ on the cycling distance challenge and then go for a ride.

You will be ranked up against everyone else who's signed up for the challenge and even have the chance to filter the leaderboards to compare yourself against those you are following.

Any ride you record throughout the month will count towards your total except those logged on indoor trainers and on Zwift, encouraging you to embrace the great outdoors.

If you can clock up a total of 1,250km for the entire month, Strava will gift you a finisher’s badge.

If you do not reach that target, that’s not to worry as you haven’t lost anything and are likely to have got yourself out on the bike more than if you hadn’t signed up.

Read more: Tips on cycling through winter

2 - Dry January

The festive period is not just a time for family and giving, it’s also a time for excessive alcohol consumption. Not just beer and wine, either, you end up drinking stuff like sherry, Baileys and Advocaat that’s been buried in the cupboards since the same time last year.

Either way, it has most likely made you feel sluggish, bloated and have you doubting whether you’ll ever drink again.

Newsflash, you will drink again but you could probably join thousands, if not millions, of others attempting Dry January. All you need to do is not drink any alcohol for the entire month of January, easy.

A couple of weeks off the sauce can have you feeling much fresher and even losing a few pounds while saving some in the wallet as well.

Additionally, it could help you re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol and lead to a lasting change in habit that could help your health for the better.

Read more: Can you mix cycling and alcohol?

3 - Go vegan

Even the word ‘vegan’ is enough to get Piers Morgan turning the colour of a beetroot, it’s one of the most divisive diets/lifestyles out there.

Why does it bother people so profusely? Who knows! Either way, it is a lifestyle fit for Adam Hansen, track cyclist Jack Lindquist and MMA-fighter and cycling-fanatic Nate Diaz, and they are all in peak condition.

Be warned, mind, as going vegan will not lead to you having a better diet immediately, vegans can still be unhealthy. But it is likely to see you eating more fruit, vegetables, beans and pulses which is a good thing.

What going vegan will also do is make you consider food more carefully.

Take grabbing a spot at lunch at work. It’s unlikely that you would take much notice to what’s in that packet sandwich, as long as it’s quick and you like the fillings. However, if you go vegan, while deciphering whether the product you plan to eat is animal-free, you will likely look more carefully at what’s actually in the product and whether it is any good for you.

And that is a bonus.

Read more: Can you fuel for cycling as a vegan?

4 - Sign up for a big sportive

Now, this could be your local club-organised event or something big like RideLondon or even an international ride like Grand Fondo Stelvio or the Marmotte, but getting ahead of the curve and signing up in January will get you motivated like nothing else.

Having that specific goal and date in mind gets you chomping at the bit to go riding and will be the motivation needed to curb the January blues and brave the harsh winter weather.

You can target something early, like next month’s Hell of the Ashdown, to force you into working hard from day one or you can choose something later in the year, like August’s RideLondon, and build yourself a regimented training plan to stick to for the year.

What's more, with it being so early in the year, you may even find some of these events offering early bird entries and cheaper flights, if travelling abroad, making it more cost-effective than signing up later in the year.

A good tip for this is to book it with a mate. It’ll create some healthy competition between you both to reach peak fitness and also stop you dropping out closer to the time through fear of letting someone down.

5 - Go riding with your local club

Riding with other people is brilliant. It’s really sociable, you tend to average a higher speed and you can sit in the wheels when you’re knackered. The fact you’ve committed to a ride with other people will also see you less likely to skip a day on the bike, too.

So, this January, how about going riding with your local cycling club? Once that becomes a legitimate, sensible and safe thing to do again, give it a go.

If you are a ‘soloist’ looking to find some riding friends you can use tools like British Cycling, Strava or Facebook to find clubs in your area, members to contact and links to routes.

And if you are already a loyal member of your local cycling club, you can even try this too. We are not asking you to turn your back on the usual crowd but one weekend ride with another club won’t hurt.

What it will do is introduce you to more like-minded riders in your area and probably earn you a few more Strava followers, too!

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