Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Cyclists

Jan 13, 2024
Gravel rider

2024 is here and it’s time to get rolling! The start of a new year offers an opportunity to reevaluate old routines and set new goals for the following twelve months. Now is the time to aim high and set the intention for your best year of cycling yet. Whether you’re new to cycling and hoping to grow, a masters athlete on a quest for your personal best, or a lapsed cyclist looking to rekindle the joy, we’ve got you covered: read on for Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Cyclists!

1. Look after your bicycle

How many of us are guilty of arriving home after an afternoon on the bike only to jump into the shower and then start prepping a post-ride meal, without giving a second thought about our dirt-splattered (or downright filthy) bicycle? Especially in winter, our trusty steeds need that TLC. This year, make it a priority to look after your machine: scrub it down after rides and stay on top of maintenance. If bike care is already integrated into your routine, consider learning a new maintenance skill, like wrapping bar tape, truing a wheel, or indexing gears. Your sparkly clean bike will turn heads, ride better—plus you’ll save money by extending the life of your components!

 

2. Try a different discipline or style 

Getting bored with the same old, same old? Throw some spice into your routine by mixing things up with a different discipline or a style of riding that’s outside your comfort zone. Try winter fat biking, get out into the deep woods on a mountain bike, challenge yourself with audax, or see what it’s like to ditch the gears altogether on a fixie. You don’t need to invest in a whole new bicycle (unless you want to): if you’re a road biker, dip your toes into time trialing or hill climb challenges; if you’re into gravel biking but usually stick close to home on day rides, plan an overnight bikepacking adventure. Trying something new will shake things up, expand your skill set, and build your endurance in the process. 

3. Invest in yourself  

Give yourself permission to spend money on the activity that brings you joy. Whether it’s a new set of hoops, an indoor bike trainer, or something small like waterproof shoe covers to keep your toes cozy on those wet days—there are many ways to make your time on the bike more enjoyable, even if your budget is tight. Do some research and think about what would elevate your game (hint: it’s probably not another jersey if you’ve already got a closet full of them). Invest in a more comfortable saddle, a pair of high-quality bib shorts, or a Dynamic Cyclist subscription to improve your strength and mobility and ride pain-free in the new year. 

 

4. Connect with your community 

This year, make a resolution to get involved in the cycling community. Join a club, organize a weekly group ride with friends, or volunteer to build trails. There are so many ways to be part of the broader cycling communityand give back. If you’re not sure where to start, ask other cyclists, search online, and join local Facebook pages for cyclists in your area. If you’re already involved in a group, consider stepping up to play a bigger role. Being part of an interconnected community will give you more reasons to ride, and open the door to new friendships and opportunities.

5. Aim for consistency 

Consistency paves the path to progression. If you want to get serious about your training this year, make it a goal to do things consistently. From personal experience, this is perhaps the least glamorous but most rewarding resolution an athlete can make. Build positive habits around activities within your control, like training a certain number of days a week and going to bed at a reasonable time. Start small with one or two things, and once you dial that in consider adding something else. Nothing happens overnight—improvement takes time plus hard work. But big dreams are achieved through daily habits, and by doing small things consistently, you’ll effectively work toward your goals in manageable, bite-sized chunks. Don’t berate yourself or throw in the towel if things go sideways: just hit reset, give yourself some grace, and try again.

 

6. Incorporate stretching and mobility 

Speaking of consistency, one of the most time-effective consistency goals a cyclist can make is to incorporate daily stretching and mobility. As with any repetitive motion, cycling can lead to imbalances in the body, and even injury: overdeveloped quads and glutes, and underdeveloped hamstrings and hip stabilizers. Doing just 15-20 minutes of mobility work a day will yield demonstrable results in your power and endurance, plus accelerate recovery. Dynamic Cyclist stretching and mobility programs can help you ride your best, and feel your best. Start now, and reap the benefits all year long! 

7. Prioritize your nutrition 

Ever returned from a ride so famished that you find yourself eating right out of the refrigerator? Or worse, depleting your glycogen stores and bonking to the extent that those final miles home feel like an interminable purgatory of pain and suffering? If so, 2024 is the year to start taking your nutrition seriously. Fuel your rides, and don’t skimp on the post-ride recovery drink/meal. Keep your fruit bowl full, and ensure that you have greens and veggies in your crisper. 

Remember: your body is your machine. Better fuel means better performance and recovery. You don’t need to cut the cake from your cafe stop, but do pay attention to what you’re eating and consider how you can address nutrition gaps: maybe this means adding a fresh salad to dinner, ingesting more carbohydrates while training, or buying protein powder so that you can get something into your system quick after a ride.

 

8. Enter an event

An event on the calendar gives you a tangible goal to work towards, and might also provide the boost of motivation to push through a tough workout, or maintain consistency when your schedule gets hectic. From century rides to Gran Fondos, road or cyclocross races and multi-day tours—there is no shortage of options to choose from. Sign up solo, or find some friends to register with and share the experience. Dynamic Cyclist has a range of training plans to help you prepare.

9. Rest up 

Sleep is vital, especially for athletes who are incurring more stress on their bodies. Eight hours is the broad recommendation, yet according to the National Institutes of Health, most of us get less than seven hours of sleep a night. This chronic lack of sleep has negative implications on our health and wellness. We all know the feeling of waking up cranky and irritable if we don't get a good sleep, but science has also linked poor sleep to a host of serious health problems ranging from high blood pressure to a weakened immune system. This year, make a resolution to practice good sleep hygiene. Create a routine where you go to sleep and wake up at similar times each day, limit screen time before bed, and remove non-slumber activities like work from the bedroom. Avoid working out or big meals close to bedtime, as these activities can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Your bedroom is where your body recovers: make it a sanctuary, and watch your performance (and mood) improve.

10. Have fun!

Remember what hooked you on cycling in the first place: for many of us, it was the feeling of wind in our face, the freedom of exploring our neighborhood with our friends, or the joy of tearing downhill at escape velocity. Over time, the sport has shown us new ways to challenge ourselves. However, with that growth comes a more dedicated commitment to structured training and fitness that sometimes causes us to lose sight of the fun.

This year, give yourself a chance to have fun. Invite a friend out for a ride to catch up, explore new routes in your commute to work, or visit a destination that you’ve been longing to return to (or visit for the first time). Wave hello to strangers, get lost in flow state, or unleash your legs on lonely backroads. Remember that you don’t have to ride your bike—you get to. Cultivate a mindset of gratitude, and use whatever sparks joy in your heart to motivate you through the next twelve months and beyond.  

Cheers, and good luck in 2024!

 

 Written By Meaghan Hackinen - a Kelowna-based writer and ultra-cyclist whose two-wheeled adventures have taken her from Haida Gwaii to Mexico’s high plateaus, across Canada and the United States, and from North Cape to Tarifa along some of Europe’s highest paved roads. Meaghan loves to compete and doesn’t shy away from pushing her limits. In 2023, she placed first overall in the Silver State 508, the Buckshot and Lost Elephant bikepacking races, and set a new overall course record on the Log Driver’s Waltz as an Individual Time Trial. Meaghan’s new book, Shifting Gears: Coast to Coast on the Trans Am Bike Race (NeWest Press, 2023) documents her entry into self-supported endurance racing. 

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