January 1st rolls around and the Strava statistics tick back down to zero. It's an odd time of year where you look back on the last twelve months with a mixture of happiness and sadness.
I've completed the Festive 500 for the last couple of years but firmly believe Christmas is about spending time with friends and family. It's okay to ride for a little while on Christmas Day but you've got to keep it short and sweet and spend the majority of the time being festive.
Unlike previous years, completing the Festive 500 was harder this year owing to some poor planning on my part but also the wide range of horrible winter weather we encountered here in Yorkshire.
New Years Eve 2016. I'm sat, or more accurately wedged into the sofa. Christmas has past and I've completed the Festive 500 and my mileage goal for that year. I hadn't set any goals for 2017 and was looking for something different to target other than riding as far as possible. Almost simultaneously an article from Red Bull pops up on my Facebook timeline and someone sends me a link. Titled "Seven incredible stats on Strava" it starts with a piece about someone that rode a million feet of elevation in a year. Immediately I knew I had my goal.
It's that time of year where a single snowflake in London causes chaos whilst up in the cold, dark north people still think it's not quite cold enough to put the central heating on yet. Up and down the country we've seen plenty of ice and a reasonable amount of snow in most places. This sort of weather can be a cyclists worst nightmare, but it doesn't have to be...
Now, if you're all expecting to me slope off and chat about how we should stick to the indoors and get racing around the fantasy island that is Watopia, then you've probably come to the wrong place.
When you're get back from a club ride, or a sportive, and sometimes even a race, one of the first bits of grumbling that normally appear on any forum or Facebook page relate to the standard of group riding on that particular occasion. The ride or race might have been great but if someone didn't feel safe in the group they will probably mention it when they get home and so ensues the lengthy discussion on how to improve the standard of riding in the peleton of riders out each week.
Leg shaving cyclists. A topic a bit like marmite amongst the blokes out there generally. Some fully rock the smooth movement and others outright refuse to even set sight on a razor. It's one of those things that can draw laughs from your non-cycling mates but is part of 'being cool' amongst a lot of road cyclists.
As much as I would love to ride my bike as my full time job I can't, but recently I swapped jobs and joined a new company so that I could ride my bike more. This reminded me of some of the important things to remember when you're a cyclist in an office environment and the funny things that tend to become part of life as a commuter. Here are three things I've learnt as a commuting cyclist.
Anyone that follows me on Strava will have noticed that during May and June all I seem to have done is ride my bike for a living; admittedly it wasn't bringing in the money but it I was riding as though it was. I left my job and took some time to live the life I could only normally dream of living. I would have loved to carry on but being 23 and without a magic money tree i've instead settled for something of a middle ground now. However, all of this resulted in me being called the 'faux pro' as I pranced around Yorkshire ticking off mile after mile.
I've ridden over 1,000 miles in the last two weeks and 2,300 miles for the entirety of May. I quite often get asked how I manage to ride so much without getting tired. So I thought, seeing as I've just ticked off a pretty epic month I'd share a bit around what I do to make sure I'm in a good place for riding.
Fear not, I haven't suddenly turned into a potty mouthed cyclist that's going to chase you down the road and nor have I taken to a game of Mad Max in my car. I have however, taken to Twitter recently and seen the endless reams of video footage showing close passes or dangerous manoeuvres from cars and the arguments that tend to ensue in the aftermath of such postings.
The Tour De Yorkshire is back this weekend with three days of hard racing covering 490km (304 miles). This is a race that in the three years since it's inception has drawn massive crowds from across the country and most certainly helped Yorkshire and the UK in their successful bid to run the 2019 World Championships.
Billed as "A reet proper hard bastard bike race" with a bit of a back story about a bloke called Malcolm, it would take place in the heart of Yorkshire in the quaint little village of Saxton, heading around a rolling seven mile circuit that had ample opportunity for a breakaway, but wasn't so hilly that the race would split to pieces from the go.
In February I wrote a little bit about how I was struggling a little bit to find my buzz in cycling after spending so much time on the road in the last few years. Since then, I've been able to finish up the reliability rides and think a little bit more about what I plan to do with the year in order to get back that buzz back.
There is nothing worse when you're sporty than waking up one morning with a head that feels like you've sunk a thousand tequilas and a throat that seems to have visited the sandpaper factory. Illness is your worse enemy; you know it means countless days without riding, sitting staring at the bike and cursing the world as though everyone around us is the biohazard that brought the misery. But just what do we do when ill?
Reliability rides have evolved into the opportunity for cyclists from all clubs across a region to come together and test themselves in a high tempo training ride over about 100km (60 miles). Given the invention of GPS and the constantly improving technology of bikes there is no longer a need to test the gear and more of a desire to test the rider and see just how well training has gone.