Today represents my one year anniversary of getting into cycling, following a 23 year break! Like many cyclists who are re-discovering the wonders of being out on two wheels, my initial motivation was to get fitter and lose some weight.
Looking back, in May last year when I did the Manchester to Liverpool bike ride, 30 miles seemed an astonishing distance, something to train for. Here I am today, considering that a basic training ride. I looked at some ride stats earlier, and was surprised to see that I have covered 1,821 miles since beginning to log my rides in August 2009. 1,242 of those have been between January and May this year (avg. 250 p/m), 982 of those in the last three months (avg. 327 p/m). Clearly, I'm getting fitter and stronger.
I got my first road bike in August last year, prior to that I had a hybrid. Now I'm lucky enough to own a top of the range road bike. I've learned a lot, in the past 9 months particularly, so I want to share my top learnings. These are the major things that have had an impact on turning cycling from something that - initially - was just a quick charity ride, into a really brilliant new hobby (in no particular order).
- Committing to do a charity ride. Where it all starts. Gets you out on the bike, turning the pedals and motivated to do something.
- Losing weight. As you cycle more, you realise what a positive effect it can have on your wellbeing.
- Joining a cycling club. I joined Warrington cycling club - North Cheshire Clarion. This club is brilliant as it caters for new riders and is not an elite club.
- Getting a heart rate and cadence monitor. Aswell as monitoring speed, this helped me to understand how to ride faster and within my personal capability.
- Completing my first 100 mile Sportive. That was a big motivator as it made me realise that I could do the distance. Main target now is to improve the time.
- Logging my rides. This is important so that you can really see how you are progressing. I used mycyclinglog in the early days.
- Getting a bike fitting/body scan measurement. Made an instant impact to my comfort, set-up and power transfer on the bike.
- Buying a turbo trainer. During the poor weather, it allowed me to still put miles in the legs.
- Doing lots of Sportives. By having lots of rides in the diary, it helps keep you motivated and getting out, even when you don't fancy it.
- Writing this blog. I'm glad I did as I can see it's helped lots of other people - I've had around 6000 visitors since sending it live and I'm encouraged that the visits keep getting stronger.
So, in conclusion. I'm really glad I did that first ride, I'm really glad I joined a club, I'm really glad I stuck at it and I'm really glad to have met so many great people both on and off-line. Thanks for reading everyone.