Do you want to cycle more in 2023? We have some top tips for how you can set yourself and your family some cycling goals for the coming year.
What do you want to achieve?
Be specific and realistic. If you want to cycle more, think about how that might look for you – does that mean more short cycle journeys, or a few longer rides on the weekends? If you decide in January that you are going to do three 20 mile rides a week or never get in your car again, the first time you don’t manage that will feel like you’ve failed. Instead, look for easy ways you can get more cycling into your life, like replacing one car journey a week or adding a loop of the park onto your ride to work. The momentum will soon build and you’re more likely to stick to your goals.
What motivates you?
Perhaps you want to do a certain number of miles a week or month, or want to improve your fitness. Or maybe you want to cycle more together as a family, and plan for a cycling holiday in the future. Maybe it’s the money savings from cycling that make you want to get on your bike, or perhaps it’s the benefit to the environment from driving less. Whatever it is, keeping your motivation in mind is a good way to keep going, even when you might not feel like cycling.
Once you have your goals and motivations in your mind, how do you achieve them? If your experience of cycling is mostly from pootling around your local park on the occasional sunny weekend, or if you haven’t been on a bike since childhood, then it can be difficult to know where to start.
Get some cycle training
If you’re not too confident about cycling and need some help to get back in the saddle, have a look at our family training. The training will help you improve your confidence when cycling, including on the road, and help you plan routes – sometimes what’s holding us back is finding an enjoyable scenic route! It’s also a great way to see your kids putting their Bikeability skills into action and helps them build up their confidence.
Discover the options for cycling together
Cycling as a family is a great way for you all to stay active and enjoy spending time together. It’s not always straightforward though, especially if you have children of different ages or abilities. We spoke to two mums, Faith and Jas, about their cycling journeys as families and got their top tips. There are lots of options out there, including follow-me-tandems that let you attach your child’s bike to your own so they pedal but your steer, and cargo bikes that are great for younger children. Whatever your family looks like, there are ways you can get out there and cycle together.
Plan your routes together as a family
Cycling together is a great activity for all the family, especially if you are riding somewhere scenic or exciting. In our Summer cycle route blog we have some great ideas for routes all over the country, plus links to find more routes near you. You could also cycle to school with your kids – check out our tips for cycling to school here. Whatever the ride is you want to do together, involving all the family in choosing the route will get them engaged and excited before you pedal off.
Join a local cycling group
Cycling groups are a great way to get out on rides in a setting that feels safer than striking out on your own. You can look on Cycling UK to find groups or Let’s Ride from British Cycling for social rides near you. Joining a cycling group or a led ride is a great way to get started as they will plan the route, often off road, plus you have the added safety of cycling in a group. It is a fantastic way to get some cycling in and improve your confidence, as well as meeting other people who are interested in cycling. You can find rides and groups that suit you, including groups that are more relaxed, and lots of rides that are perfect for families to take part in.
Get an app
If your major motivation is seeing the miles mount up, then a cycling app is a great way to cycle more, as it helps you record your rides. Many have information like your average speed and how long the ride took, so you can see how you improve over time. Some also have competitive elements so you can see how you rank against other people using the app and riding the same routes. There are lots of apps to choose from, including ones that help you plan your route and share your ride with your friends. The British Heart Foundation has a handy list of free cycling apps here that cover all the bases.
Sign up for a long ride
A great way to stick to your cycling goals is to have something to work towards, like a long ride or even a cycling holiday. Training with an event in mind can help you get out on your bike even when you might not feel so motivated. Sustrans have some great ideas for long rides – all of them are over 100 miles but you can always do part of the route or split it up over a few days.
Or you could take up the challenge to ride 54 miles on the BHF London to Brighton charity ride this June to raise money for the Bikeability Trust – you can see more about the ride and find out how to sign up for it here!
Whatever your cycling goals are for 2023, there’s a way to get out there and get on your bikes. Just remember to have fun while you’re doing it!