So you’re going to try to get out on the bike more often this year? The first thing you can try is setting yourself some tangible goals. Make sure they’re realistic so with a bit of work you can start ticking them off.
Look for organised rides like Bendigo by Bike or the Greater Bendigo Parks Ride in March. Want to ride somewhere different? Go to Geelong for Amy’s Ride in January or Shepparton for the Fruit Loop ride in September.
Most rides offer a number of distances. So you can start off with a 15 or 20km challenge and work your way up. The point is, having a ride marked in your calendar means you have something to work towards.
Be kind to yourself with your training regime. Don’t take it too fast. It is important to get out regularly, but it’s just as important to give yourself some rest time each week and after you tick off each goal. Consolidate at each goal and then start working towards the next one.
All cyclists reach plateaus as they aim for the next challenge. You won’t be the first person to feel as though you’re not getting anywhere at some stage in your career. Don’t despair. Just enjoy getting out on your wheels and before too long you’ll start to pick up again. The important thing is to keep that habit up.
Try riding to work a couple of times a week. Or find some company to ride with. Team up with a friend. It always helps get you motivated if someone is waiting to meet you for an early morning ride.
Join a mountain bike club or a Bicycle Users Group. There are usually organised rides to on offer that will take you places you mightn’t have been before. Start a workplace BUG. Mixing with like-minded people keeps your enthusiasm high.
Give your bike some regular attention as well. Keep it clean and well lubricated.
But the main thing is to enjoy yourself. You won’t keep up any kind of exercise regime if it’s not rewarding you with more than improved fitness. Celebrate all your achievements – your first 30km or getting up View St hill are definitely worth bragging about!
See you on road soon, God willing. Eddie Barkla
First published in the Bendigo Weekly Friday 5 January 2007.