Have you ever lacked the motivation to get out on your bike on a cold or rainy day?
Have you ever sat on the couch watching TV when deep down you knew you should be doing something else?
Have you ever been afraid to step onto a weighing scales?
Have you ever been frustrated with yourself?
Well, the main reason for all of the above is lack of a clear motivation or goal. If you are training towards something it makes you get out in all weathers. If you are inspired by something that you have seen or been part of, it makes you get out. If you feel accountable to someone else it makes you do something. Here are 50 things that you can do in 2018 to get inspired and stay motivated and maybe just enjoy your cycling more no matter what level of cyclist you might be. Do 1 or do all 50 but at least do something!
1 : Ride somewhere you have never been before. That might be a back road 10 minutes form home or it might be a sportive at the other end of the country. The main thing is to get out there and discover something new.
2 : Stay out for a night. Think of a friend or relation who lives at least 150km away and leave home at 10 or 11pm and cycle through the night to visit them. At least that way you can be sure of a hot shower and a cup of tea when you arrive.
3 : Enter a race. If you have never raced before, join a club, take out a racing license and go ride a race. You might even try a local club league race first but try it and see just what all of the excitement is about.
4 : Join a club or find a group. This morning it was cold and windy but I knew that some of the Dawn Raiders would be waiting at 6.15am. Once you give that thumbs up on whatsapp the night before there is very little chance to turn back. It’s the same for weekend spins. If you are meeting a club or group you put on your gear and go. There is too much temptation to stay in bed if its wet and you are just going out by yourself.
5 : Ride 1000k in a month. It could be 500k or 2500k but set yourself a target. Once you have that clear goal to aim for you won’t miss any spin due to laziness.
6 : Become a Classics rider. All of the monument classics now have a sportive associated with them that’s run over the same course. Often these will be on around the same weekend as the professional race. You get to ride the course at your speed the day before and then see up close just how fast the pros go the day after. I have friends who have now ridden all of the classics. Some are former professionals and some are sportive riders.
7 : Treat yourself to a sports massage. Sports massages are not only soothing on your aching muscles but they also benefit recovery. They can also be relaxing and we all need to relax every now and then.
8 : Ride the Tour de France, or at least a stage of it. The Etape du Tour is a fantastic annual event on closed roads that lets you experience exactly what the pros will go through a number of days later. Find out more here : http://www.letapedutour.com/en/the-race/route . You could also ride a ‘Rebel Etape’. Set off hours ahead of the pros on an actual stage and see how far you can get before being stopped by road closures.
9 : Become a Strava Cowboy : The app that tracks your rides and shares them with the world can be a great way to track your progress. You can also see what your friends are doing.
10 : Go to Belgium to watch a cyclocross race. Join tens of thousands of fanatical cycling fans who love cycling, rain, beer, mud and frites in a carnival like atmosphere where there is constantly something exciting to watch.
11 : Discover a new city on a city hire bike. Most European capitals now have bike hire schemes and there is no better way to see a city or anyplace for that matter than on a bike. Plus you get the added bonus of doing some training along the way.
12 : Go end to end. Cycle Mizen to Malin. From the very tip at the bottom of Ireland to the very top. You can do it over 5, 4, 3, 2 or even 1 days. It’s up to you.
13 : Take a day off work to watch a full stage of the Tour de France live on TV from start to finish. Go out early in the morning for a 2 hour ride and go pretty hard so that your legs are sore. Then you can really appreciate relaxing on the sofa guilt free. Watch the early break go and see if you can pick out which move will stick. Then relax as the French countryside leads you up to the dramatic finale.
14 : Ride for 24 hours. You can pick a loop or a route but make it something epic. Maybe do Dublin – Galway – Cork – Dublin, or any variation.
15 : Go on a Sunshine Training Camp. Calpe, Mallorca, Gran Canaria or Lanzarote are all very cyclist friendly destinations which all have an abundance of great cycling routes and plenty of bike hire and guides available. Many companies specialise in these holidays so you could take the hassle out and let someone else do the organising for you.
16 : Ride the Marmotte. The most climbing in any single day sportive on some of the most iconic alpine climbs sets the scene. Finishing at the summit of Alp d’Huez makes it truly iconic.
17 : Climb Everest. Pick a climb, any climb. Find out the difference in altitude from bottom to top in meters. Then divide that into 8848 and you know how many times you need to go up and down. Always add on a bit extra just to be on the safe side. There could be nothing worse that going through all of that pain for your Garmin to read slightly off and you only do 8820m. I over did the extra bit slightly at 9200 but that then leads to its own issues. You begin to wonder what if you kept going and did an even 10,000 meters in a single day. That’s still another itch to scratch.
18 : Ride the trans Atlantic Way – Cycle from Dublin to Derry. Then do every bit of the Wild Atlantic Way and then cycle from Kinsale to Cork. https://www.transatlanticway.com/ If you want an easier version try one of the days of the Wild Atlantic Way Sportive or even just head off with a backpack or panniers and stay in b&b’s along the way making your own time and itinerary.
19 : Go Naked. I’m not talking about one of the World Naked Bike rides, although you could do one of those too, but what I mean is go out on your bike with no garmin, no strava and not even a wrist watch in sight to monitor your progress. Ignore all technology and look in over every ditch. Stop at every bridge and look down at the water. If you live anywhere near the sea take off your shoes and socks and dip your feet in the water. Experience all that surrounds you on the bike ride. Take in every moment and notice just how fast the day passes once you get over the initial restlessness and naked feeling of being electronic free.
20 : Find a friend who never cycled since they were a child. Give them a loan of one of your bikes or borrow a bike from another friend and bring them on a very easy loop around quiet backroads near where you live. Point out the things that you noticed on your ‘naked’ days and share your passion for cycling. Help them to breathe in the fresh air, feel the exhilaration of a sweeping descent and let them see just how good a bike ride can make you feel. It might just change their lives, but if not it will help you to appreciate yours all the more.