A year on two wheels: 2016 Edition

Back again, happy new year!  I limped over the finish line for Coffeeneuring this year and, just as with last year, I thought it’d be a nice idea to do a year in review.  I started copying over my data from Endomondo to Strava this year, and veloviewer make a nice little Strava infographic to sum the 12 months up:

velo-view

My primary goal this year (and new year’s resolution) was to cycle at least 1000 miles over the course of the 12 months, and I did that!  Essentially I figured if I aim to cycle at least 20 miles per week I’d have no problem reaching that target, knowing that it was more than likely I’d go over it from time to time.  I managed that in great time, pipping over the 1000 mark in September!  However, that week when I made it over the milestone is an appropriate summary of the rest of the year.

A little while before I’d hit the mark I’d been unwell in August with what turned out to be a folic acid deficiency.  It left me completely exhausted for a few weeks, unable to run up a set of stairs, never mind go on a ‘proper’ ride, and this ended up setting the tone for autumn and winter.  Whether this low spell hit me harder than I’d originally thought or merely led to some very bad luck essentially meant that I kept getting sick, again and again, from October onwards.  Add to that a few minor mechanicals, poor weather, and a busier work schedule, and my cycling took a nosedive.  My monthly stats show it clearest:

2016-miles

That’s a shocking drop for anyone.  I basically went through a cycle of:

  • Get sick
  • Slowly start riding again as I got better
  • Weather or something cuts my riding back
  • Start to get sick again

For the last 4 months of the year.  It’s demoralising; I’d even packed my bike and kit on my xmas break to get out on a boxing day ride that got cancelled for those very same reasons.  My coffeeneuring got hamstrung by it, my casual riding was, even my commuting was cut back by it.  Chances are I’ll set up the turbo trainer in this new year to keep me ticking over at least.  Fingers crossed that this won’t carry on into 2017 (though as I’m writing this I’m sick with bronchitis, of course.)

Really though, despite all these negatives, 2016 has been a great cycling year for me, easily my best ever.  I went from being nervous of doing rides of more than 6 miles to comfortably riding 20 miles a day in the summer for my commute, I took part in my first public event in the form of a Sky Ride, I learnt a ton about the mechanical and maintenance side of cycling that’s been really enlightening, and I’ve routinely had a fantastic time going out for a spin.  What’s not to like?  When you’re not out cycling regularly as I haven’t been recently it’s easy to get lazy and complacent, so it’s worth remembering from time to time just how enjoyable cycling can be.

With that in mind, I should set myself some goals for 2017!

Goal 1: Single-ride mileages

The majority of my riding is relatively short in distance.  I ride regularly, but it’s typically around 5 miles per-trip, especially at this time of year.  That’s always going to be the case for more casual riding, such as running errands, but there’s no reason why I can’t ride further when I kit up and go out purely for cycling’s sake.  First target: 25 miles, and if that goes well, keep upping it, 30, 35, 40, and finally the half century!

 

Goal 2: SOME form of bike-tour

Last year I’d hoped to ride the Trans Penine Trail, and though I did a good chunk of prep and gearing up I was ultimately beaten by sickness leaving me unable to do any serious riding come August/September.  Bicycle touring is still something I’m really keen on, but it’s a big commitment that, if something happens like last year, isn’t particularly well spent.  With that in mind, I want to do some kind of bike tour, but it doesn’t have to be anything spectacular.  Even something as simple as a one-night trip would be great, just to see how I take to it and gauge what else I could do.

 

Goal 3: Get the Holdsworth ready

I bought an old Holdsworth back in October, and though I’ve stripped it and thought about some plans for it I haven’t done much else yet.  Getting that bike up and running is a big thing on my to-do list, and once the new year well and truly gets going I’ll be looking to really start that off.  I’d like it to be similar to a randonneur bike (and ride it in Eroica if all goes to plan), but we’ll see how it comes out eventually.

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