Overindulged over the Christmas break? Feeling lethargic and struggling to get motivated to ride your bike? We know how you feel. When it’s cold and wet outside, riding your bike can seem like the last thing you’d want to do. But get out there we must, time to get up off the sofa and onto the saddle. Gear up, 2013 is going to be a great year.
We’ve got ten ideas for you to kickstart the year and boost your motivation:
Get app smart
Most people have smartphones these days and there are literally dozens of training apps, like Strava and Endomondo, that can make it easy to track how much riding you’ve done. You can also set weekly and monthly riding goals and use such apps to keep on top of your goals. Sharing them through Twitter and Facebook with your riding buddies so you can compare how much you’re all doing.
New year, new trails
There’s nothing like riding new trails, and we’re betting there are new trails to be explored right on your doorstep. The easiest way to explore new trails and areas is to just ride them and follow your nose. You can get more advanced by using Google Earth to explore areas that might be hiding good trails (it gets pretty addictive looking for the best hillside and imagining what may lie beneath that forest canopy). Or how about building some of your own? Even better still, get in the Bike Magic forum and ask around.
Enter an event
There’s no easier way to find motivation to ride your bike than having an event, a goal, to aim for. With hundreds of events across the UK, from cross-country races to marathons to the new breed of enduros, there’s something for everyone.
Make 2013 the year when you ride somewhere completely new. Never been to Scotland? Never ridden Dartmoor? The UK is littered with top riding spots and most are but a short drive away, so why not broaden your riding horizons and go explore some brand new trails. If you’re stuck for inspiration, the Bike Magic route guide is a good place to start.
View Bikemagic UK mountain bike trail guide in a larger map
Learn new skills
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can always teach a mountain biker new skills. There’s been an increase in the choice of skills courses available right across the country, and they cater for all abilities. So if you’re just getting into mountain biking and want to learn the basics like how to handle rooty corners, or have been riding for 10 years and want to make 2013 the year you finally learn how to jump, a skills course is a good investment.
Enduro is one of the newest and most exciting disciplines in mountain biking and they’re getting more popular every year. There’s currently two series in the UK so chances are there’s a round not that far from you. Enduros feature timed stages with non timed linking sections and are predominantly downhill focused. Most courses in the UK require nothing more than a decent trail bike and some knee pads.
Book a riding holiday
Fed up with wet muddy trails? Now is the time to book yourself a riding trip to somewhere sunny. Get a couple of mates together and book yourself a holiday where the trails are guaranteed to be dry and dusty. France and Spain are popular choices, but Italy, Austria and further afield places like Canada, New Zealand are all on our list of places we’d love to go on holiday right now.
Cycling to the office is a great way to keep fit, but unless you’re fortunate enough to have an awesome off-road commute, it’s likely miles of road lie between your home and office. As Rod Fountain has discovered, a cyclocross bike is a great way to make the commute more interesting, and is ideal for sniffing out bits of cheeky singletrack and dicing with cars and buses that dominate the roads.
The days are all too short, but with the advent of seriously high powered yet affordable bike lights, there’s less excuse than ever for stopping your riding just because it’s dark. Night riding is brilliant fun and is really good for honing your skills. There’s also nothing like the thrill of dashing between the trees with just a small pool of light to illuminate your path.
Make new friends – join a club
There’s loads of well organised mountain bike clubs around the country and they are a good way of meeting like minded people. Most organise weekly rides, weekend jaunts and regular night rides, so if you’re bored of riding on your own, why not join a club and make some new riding friends.