I didn’t really set any goals or resolutions at the start of this year. I kind of just let last year’s resolutions roll over, and the only bike related one was a rather non-committal nudge to ‘ride more’. Whilst that had worked to some degree, the idea of using more specific challenges and goals as motivation is a pretty new one to me but something I’ve been kicking around more of late.
Goals are a tricky thing, psychologically. They need to be challenging enough to inspire you, but not so challenging that they seem like they’re out of reach. You have to want them more than you fear them.
At the same time, you have to acknowledge that there will be a lot of things standing in the way of achievement, so you have to consciously make time to work towards your goal whilst also not beating yourself up if unforeseeable and unavoidable life events prevent you from getting there. There is also the possibility that you’ll set yourself a goal and then later realise that you didn’t want it all that much after all. All of this is completely ok.
So what goals have I set myself this year?
Ride 1500km in 2022
In 2021, I rode 970km and the year before was 1220km. Having just got the Campervan last year, we were out of town a lot at weekends and I didn’t take my bike. I want to try and exceed 2020’s effort. Goal added to Strava: 62km ahead of plan at time of writing.
Climb 9386m in 2022
Seems like a weird number? That’s because it’s double last year’s elevation gain. Straddling the border between North Wales and Cheshire means that I get to choose between gruelling hill climbs and sedate rambles across the Cheshire plains. I normally choose the latter and I’m trying to mix things up a bit. Getting better at climbing will help achieve some of my other goals. Goal added to Strava: 49m ahead of plan at time of writing.
Long Distance Desires
I haven’t really fleshed this one out yet but I have been toying with the idea of trying Audax/Randonneuring for a while, and 2022 might just be the year. I like the idea of spending all day in the saddle but I’m not sure how ambitious or capable I am of long distance riding at the moment. I guess there’s only one way to find out. I’m tentatively reaching towards a flat 200km and a hilly 100km. Whether it ends up being an officiated Audax UK event or not I aim to stick to the minimum speed of 14.3 kph including rest stops. Just typing this one out I can feel some resistance to it (fear of discomfort and failure) so I should probably sign up for an organised ride – I think having a date in the diary will make it more of a commitment.
3 Speed / 30 Miles
Back in the day, the English three speed bicycle, a sandwich and a flask of tea was capable of taking you pretty much anywhere – and I have a sneaking suspicion that nothing has changed. A 15 mile ride out for a picnic sounds like heaven. If I play my cards right and pick a warm spring day then maybe I can squeeze in a nap on the bank of a river before the 15 mile ride home.
S24O Micro Adventure
For those unfamiliar, S24O stands for ‘sub-24-hour overnights’. A term coined by Rivendell’s Grant Peterson, this is bike camping for folks who are short on time. The idea is simple, hop on your bike in the afternoon or evening, find a spot to camp, and ride home in the morning. It’s a way to spend a night under the stars without the planning and scheduling headaches that come with longer tours. In terms of touring, it’s about as mini as a mini-tour can get. I’m not going to re-invent the wheel here, you can get all there is to know about S24O’s right from the horse’s mouth by reading this Adventure Cycling article.
Whilst I would love to take on Land’s End to John o’Groats, that kind of distance (1189m/1913km) is going to be a big time commitment regardless of how fast I ride and is probably a tad ambitious for a first self-supported bike tour. Being a cautious type, before heading out for 10+ days I’d like to cut my teeth on a shorter route (2-3 nights). It’ll give me the opportunity to fine tune my packing list, get a feel for what my average daily distance should be, find out how good I am at finding wild camping spots – that kind of thing.
I think that should keep me going for this year.