10 New Year motivation tips for cyclists

© Kathrin Schafbauer

Fire up your mood and motivation this year with these morale-boosting strategies

The New Year is here and it is time to kick-start an exciting new year of cycling. “It can be tough to stay motivated in the New Year, especially after the Christmas period when it’s easy to overindulge and take time off the bike,” explains Samantha Varley, Cycling Product Manager at Sportive Breaks (www.sportivebreaks.com).

“In winter, it’s cold, wet and gloomy outside, so it can be hard for many to stay focused and keep their cycling up.” Here are ten simple ways to reignite your motivation and get back out on the road.

Commit to an event

“Whether you’ve done a cycling event before, or never done any, booking a race or challenge will give you a fresh focus and something to aim for,” explains Varley. “This could be a sportive, a gran fondo, an adventure or a cycling holiday.

© Henning Angerer

With something like this in the calendar, it becomes a real target to get fit for and keep you motivated. You can also enter a local race. There are plenty of cyclocross races and road criteriums taking place up and down the country that anyone can enter.”

Set some new goals

“One of the easiest things you can do to stay motivated is to set yourself some new goals for the year,” advises Varley. “These should be realistic and achievable. Perhaps you want to rack up your own new record number of kilometres on Strava, or reach a certain number of metres climbed in the year. You can also look at things like improving your FTP or losing weight. Once you’ve set these goals, share them with your friends to spur each other on.”

Draw up a training plan

“A sure-fire way to stay motivated this year is to adopt a full-on training plan,” says Varley. “Create your own, follow one online, or work with a cycling coach. The plan should always be to deliver a certain outcome, or certain results, so it’s a great way to get to where you want to be and keep up that motivation.”

Buy some new kit

“Cycling isn’t about having all the latest kit, but having something new can refresh your motivation,” explains Varley. “This could be something as big as a new bike, or perhaps some new wheels. But it could also be something smaller like a new jersey or snazzy socks. Having that new item can have a placebo effect in making you feel fitter, faster or fresher.”

Follow a virtual challenge

“One of the great benefits of cycling these days is the amount of readily available technology apps to make use of,” explains Varley. “This is particularly helpful in winter when it’s not always so easy to get out.

Indoor training apps like Zwift allow you to ride, train and race from the comfort of your own home or garage. You can also join a race series or event series such as the Tour de Zwift. Having regular stages to tick off will help to keep up that focus and sense of achievement over time.”

Enjoy a competition

“Try signing up for a Strava challenge out on the road too,” says Varley. “There are always plenty of distance-, time- or climbing-based challenges to have a go at outside, which often reward you with prizes or money off certain cycling brands.”

Try a different discipline

“Whatever your usual discipline is, why not change it up and try something new or different this year?” suggests Varley. “If you’re a roadie, head out off-road on a gravel or mountain bike. If you’re an off-roader, then try the opposite and put some miles in on the road.

© Sebastian Stiphout

Or how about trying something totally different, like the velodrome or a BMX pump track? Trying a thrilling alternative can really spice up your love of life on two wheels.”

Learn from the pros

“As with any sport, watching the pros do it live on TV motivates you to want to do it yourself,” says Varley. “Watching Wimbledon makes you want to play tennis. And watching a Grand Tour or the Classics makes you want to cycle. Take this a step further and go and watch some real-life cycle races. Once again, the velodrome is an amazing place to visit when the track cycling is on over winter, or get the wellies out and head to a cyclocross race. Watch how it’s done, then get out there yourself.”

Join a local club

“Joint a local club and find some new people to ride with,” suggests Varley. “Riding with new people can bring new motivation, and there is often a plethora of different club rides that you can take part in, for all disciplines and abilities. Don’t forget how important the social aspect can be.

© Henning Angerer

If you’re already a member of a club, you can still find new ways to hook up with different people. Why not try out the new Link My Ride app, where you can create rides and invite other local cyclists.”

Ride somewhere new

“It’s important to freshen up where you ride,” says Varley. “Riding the same roads time and time again can become monotonous. So try planning a new route on Strava, Komoot or Ride With GPS. Take that turn you’ve never been down and see where it leads. Perhaps travel to somewhere totally new. New routes and roads can easily be found online if you need some extra inspiration.”

Samantha Varley is Cycling Product Manager at Sportive Breaks