Cycling Plans For 2019

With Christmas out of the way (other than paying off the credit card bill), and New Year celebrations over with, thoughts turn to what 2019 may hold.

Whilst conversations with normal people (my wife) revolve around what we need to do with the garden (answer: burn things), how I still need to complete various painting jobs, and getting two of the childrens’ passports renewed, my internal monologue is entirely centred around cycling:

  • How do I maintain the modest amount of momentum built up from 7 rides since Christmas Eve (not quite the Festive500; perhaps the Turkey242.8)?
  • How to spend the Wiggle voucher kindly gifted to me by my sister-in-law?
  • Can I justify a new bike in 2019…?

With that in mind, I thought I’d share my cycling-related objectives for 2019 with you, dear readers.

And not my wife.

(Yes, I know they are not ‘SMART’ objectives but I am not one for New Year Resolutions. Just getting them out of my head, even in generalised form is progress. Baby steps…).

Ride 4,000 km in 2019

Hmm, I can’t seem to find on Strava the exact distance I cycled in 2018 (that was logged on Strava). Since we’re in 2019 already, it’s telling me what I’ve ridden year to date (which appears to be 37.3km).

I know I was tantalisingly close to the (not so) magic figure of 3,500km. It was something like 3,465km. To be honest, with various kids rides, a summer evening outing with my son’s cubs pack and a family ride along the Monsal trail, I was probably there or thereabouts.

Scrub that, I’ve found my Veloviewer 2018 ‘infographic’ and it seems I did 3,467km, spread across 111 days (almost a third of the year) and spent 140 hours on the bike.

(Also, if you want to know what an ‘Eddington Ride’ number is … prepare to be confused)

Anyway, I want to ride further in 2019.

I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes writing different numbers in the sub-heading above (i.e. my target annual distance). It’ll change again before I post it.

It’s difficult to know what is feasible. I feel like I rode quite a lot in 2018 from the perspective of imposing on my wife (when I’m on the bike, generally she is stuck at home with the kids).

But 3,500 km really isn’t that much compared to some…

Damn it, let’s go with 4,000km on the basis that I need to find time to do all the other things on the list (that also result in me neglecting my child caring responsibilities…).

Ride In The South of France

After two years of summer vancances at home and away in the UK, it’s time for another Mediterranean training camp, er, family holiday.

This time we’ve managed to score the use of a villa in the south of France that belongs to friends of my parents. It’s in somewhere called Mougins, which (a squiz at Google Maps tells me) is just behind (north of) Cannes.

Now I haven’t worked out exactly where they go riding, but loads of pro cyclists seem to live around Nice and Monaco.

Armstrong famously tested on the Col de la Madone:

Actually, looking at the detail of that Strava segment, pros Michal Kwiatkowski and Ian Boswell have already ridden it in the first 3 days of the year.

As I’ve done on trips to Majorca in the past, my plan is to hire a road bike and try to pretend that I, too, am a professional cyclist, training near the Cote d’Azur. The slight issue seems to be that where Puerto Pollense has the excellent Pro Cycle Hire for the provision of a suitable steed, bike rental places near Mougins (indeed anywhere in the region) feel few and far between.

If you’re reading this and know of a good bike rental place near Cannes/Mougins, I’d be delighted to receive a recommendation. Or you may find me writing later in the year about the tribulations of taking my bike with me…

Try Bike-Packing

I’ve been listening to the ‘Explore’ series offshoot from the Cycling Podcast (in particular I recommend Episode 4 – where Lionel and Ned Boulting ride to the seaside and record themselves talking bike). I’ve also watched a few Youtube videos (vlogs!) recounting multi-day, point to point rides where the object clearly was to roam and enjoy the journey (as well as to challenge), rather than simply to ride for fitness and speed.

I have been somewhat enthused and wish to try riding more than 1- to 4-hour loops near my house (even if those sort of rides can take me into beautiful Peak District scenery).

road cycling with lights
Mont photographs bike in front of a field in Derbyshire…

I have little desire (yet) to carry a tent and wild camp (camp wildly?) in a layby somewhere in Snowdonia. No, I’m thinking more ‘flattish ride spread over a weekend, staying the night (and refuelling) at a nice gastropub’.

That sounds glorious in anyone’s book. I just need to find a ride partner of two.

Do a Challenging Sportive in the Peak District

Last year saw me complete RideLondon for the second time. Whilst I did some riding in the pointy parts of the Peak District as training for that, it’s been ages since I did a proper ‘Sportive-length’ ride up there (otherwise known as a Sportive…).

Indeed, when I did some Peaky Sportive-ys a few years ago, I either chose the shortest route on offer, or aborted and cut short the distance on the day.

That sort of thing has to stop.

2018 proved that I can do a reasonable amount of training when I put my mind to it. RideLondon in 2019 doesn’t hold much appeal (I’m sure I’ll learn to love it again). I should really try to do one of the more challenging Peak District sportives, in either the middle distance (which generally would have plenty of climbing) or, whisper it, the long distance (which would likely have a metric fugload).

As I’ve written this post, I’ve discovered that the Peak Epic (where I’ve ridden the short route before) has been cancelled for 2019. So that leaves maybe the Tour of the Peak in May or the Peaks Tour in September (where even the ‘short’ ride looks quite challenging).

Write More Frequently on the Sportive Cyclist Blog

Some of you might be aware that I make a little (very little) money from this blog. It’s enough to cover website hosting and the email list, plus some bike kit to use and review. The income comes from a mix of display advertising and affiliate commissions on products I link to in my posts.

I’d love to make working on the website my full time ‘gig’. In an ideal world, I would write blog posts in the morning and ride my bike in the afternoon (you know… testing, reviewing). I’d go meet interesting bike people and companies and write about them on the blog. Perhaps even attend some pro races in Europe (as a spectator…).

Given the gap between blog earnings and the salary from my day job, this remains for now a pipe dream. I don’t know if it’s even possible (though there do seem to be other full time ‘content’ producers on the interweb…).

If it is ever going to be possible for me to make a living income from writing about cycling on the internet, I do need to …. actively be writing about bikes on the internet.

road cycling and bonfires
Burn it! Burn it all!

So this is going to be the core habit that I’ll attempt to build in early 2019: writing daily for the blog.

In a similar vein to my 30-(or 35-)day riding challenges in the past, I’ll set the daily barrier for success low. Rather than a minimum of 15 minutes on the turbo, I’m targetting 250 words (500 on weekend days). Hopefully I’ll write more on average, but 250 words is enough to get the cross on the calendar (don’t break the chain!).

This should mean that’ll be posting more regularly on the blog (unless I find myself writing ‘I am a fish’ 62 and a half times each evening).

Ride In A Group More Regularly

During the course of the final few weeks of last year, I started riding with a small group of chaps from my village. It’s not quite a cycling club (yet…) but Sunday morning seems to have become the time when a group of us meet up for a ride.

And (shock horror!) I’ve discovered I really enjoy riding with other people! Experience and fitness levels vary. Some have been riding longer than others. Everyone seems enthusiastic. And you know it’s starting to take hold when the whole idea starts to become a running joke* amongst the cyclo-wives.

(* You know, one of those good-humoured, supportive jokes. Not a ‘taking the pish out of your husband for thinking he’s the next Geraint Thomas’ type jokes. No, not at all…)

Anyhoo, the time passes super fast in a group. And whilst these mini-group rides have so far been at a relaxed pace as the group finds its feet, I know that riding with others tends to push me to put more effort in.

I’m keen to make 2019 cycling less of a solitary pursuit; more a sociable one.

Sort Out The Garage

Being kind, our garage is a cluttered mess. Being less kind, it’s a dump. My ambition for 2019, as our house extension project draws to a close, is to tidy it up. Which doesn’t sound like much of a cycling objective. Bear with me…

Whilst I accept that the garage has to store a modest amount of non-cyclo-stuff, being honest, the main tidydriver is to:

  • make a it more useable bike workshop space; and
  • provide a paincave location (i.e. where I have the turbo trainer set up) that doesn’t immediately cause my heart rate to jump straight into zone 5 simply due to all the clutter and shizzle.

Whilst the garage doesn’t exactly house an Aston Martin, the damp, litter-strewn conditions aren’t ideal for keeping various bits of bike (okay, and garden equipment) free from rust and general signs of degradation.

I have to climb over piles of plastic kidjunk (ride-on things, broken boogie boards, a Minnie Mouse table and chairs) just to get to my bike stuff storage shelves. Which themselves are so disorganised that the removal of one item (the bottle of chain lubricant, say) causes the whole lot to fall to the floor, a la Buckeroo or Kerplunk (or any other childhood game where the aim is to avoid shi..bble going everywhere).

That stops now. Or maybe this weekend. I’m clearing out the junk. I’m creating a (modest) dedicated bike maintenance space. I’m going to put in storage racks for the kids’ bikes. He says…

Over To You

So those are my (hastily fashioned and ill thought out) cycling ambititions for 2019. I’m off to email the link to this post to my wife, so she has at least some idea what goes on in my mind (I think she knows…).

What are your bike-related plans for 2019?

Maybe a new bike? On a new riding challenge to tackle?

Perhaps you plan to build an augmented reality, smart trainer, Zwift-palace with integrated wind tunnel?

Let me know in the comments below. Maybe you can inspire me to add something else to my list.

Happy 2019 cycling!

20 thoughts on “Cycling Plans For 2019”

  1. If you’re using the website version of Strava (ie not the app) go to “My profile” and it will have a section of stats for “Last 4 weeks”, “2019” and “All time”.

    The “2019” is actually a drop down menu. Click on it, and you can choose any year for which you have stats recorded on Strava.

    • Good idea. And I should be just back from my training camp family holiday so hopefully I’ll be as fit as a butcher’s dog.

  2. No sportives for me, but I want to do the Audax UK Easter Arrow to York. 400km in 27hrs or less. Have done quite a few 200km audax rides and a 300km ride in 2018.

    Have you tried any Audaxing Monty?

  3. Funny you should mention the pain cave and the Zwift set up. My Xmas present to myself this year was the KICKR Core. Got that set up in the basement now and just started Zwift and am now able to ride along with my brother who lives on the west coast in Oregon. We can now ride together – kind of interesting.
    I too have to work on sorting out the garage; not for the pain cave [basement], but because I store the bikes there and it is my work/hobby shop and it quickly fills with junk etc. Fortunately, we have an actual shed to store the garden shizzle.
    Cheers to 2019.

    • That sounds like a really nice use case James. Technology sometimes gets a bad rap (kids always on screens, losing social skills) but your example shows how you can use it to do bike rides (sort of) across continents. When his son was at uni, my builder used to Facetime him and they’d both watch a football match together (that they used to do in person). A colleague at work uses t’internet to watch his son play college soccer in the US each weekend (he’s at uni there) – something he wouldn’t have been able to do 10 or so years ago.

      Anyway, enough soppyness. Maybe we should get together a Sportive Cyclist Zwift Club that gets together for club rides in each person’s respective pain cave? Of course I’d have to buy a smart trainer and get Zwift…

  4. In order to give you a little motivation for those upcoming blogs, you should know that this reader, at least, loves your writing style (and content) a LOT. Keep it up Monty. You also motivate me to do more with my bike (which, it must be said, would not be difficult!).

  5. Hi Monty, as usual I enjoyed you blog, but I have a question unrelated to today’s subject – what is a good cycling app to measure total altitude climbed over a ride? I’ve signed up for the Birmingham Velo in May which has about 5000 ft climb in 100 miles, so I wondered what the climb was on my normal route. To cut a long story short Cycle Droid gives me 2200 feet, but individual readings vary by 10-15%; Map My Ride gives 1250 feet consistently (+or- 20); Strava says 1500 feet (+ or – 12). Obviously considerable difference between them. I’m happy using Apps on the phone, and I imagine the different GPS options would be inconsistent anyway!
    The only times I have done a hundred miles was round the Vale of Evesham – so pretty flat! I’ve just passed my 70th birthday, so would like to know what I’m in for.
    Appreciate any guidance you can give.

    • Hi Pete. It’s a good question, which I am thoroughly unqualified to answer. But that has never stopped me writing about a subject on this blog. What I might do though is save it for a blog post (I’ve got to use my 250 words a day somewhere) and come back to you.

  6. Great article Monty as always. I look forward to your humorous but insightful blogs, so on hearing that you are planning on upping your output makes me even happier.

    I can relate to what you say about riding with a group as being a lot more fun and interesting. I have been riding on Saturdays with more or less the same small group for 10 years or more although with many changes in membership. Unfortunately once a week is not nearly enough to build a good fitness base so solo riding is generally the only option, but motivation for that is sadly lacking. Luckily I have discovered Zwift, so at least I don’t feel quite as guilty doing a session on the trainer instead of doing a real ride. I’ve currently signed up for the 9 stage Tour of Zwift so am scheduled to do stage 3 tomorrow after work even though it is summer time here in NZ and has been quite hot & sunny out.

    I’m never alone on Zwift but also seem to attract at least 1 blowfly into my training room (garage).

    I will endeavour to use your affiliate links more to support your cause.

    Thanks again. Peter

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