I have a confession to make.
A pretty fundamental confession for someone that runs a cycling blog.
This post probably ranks as classic commercial suicide (or it would be if this blog could be described as being remotely ‘commercial’).
Right Grimpeur. Stop the wittering. Get it off your chest and then tell us what you’re going to do about it (for yes, dear reader, I have a cunning plan*).
(* And my ‘cunning plan’ needs your help, so please do read to the end of the post.)
So, The Confession
Forgive me readers for I have sinned. I have not ridden a bike for 81 days.
Which is 11½ weeks. Which is very nearly 3 months.
Which is pretty shocking really.
How, you ask, do I justify spouting advice about cycling when I’m patently not practising the activity in question?
Ha! Trick (rhetorical) question – I
don’t can’t justify offering up any advice. As you should know by now, my writings are not based on my cycling ability.
[Waffle… waffle… pathetic excuse… even more pathetic excuse.]
Whatever excuse I come up with, it really boils down to the fact that for 81 days, I have prioritised a series of other activities (some important, some not) over cycling.
Simple as that.
What Am I Going To Do About It?
If it’s a simple problem, it should be a simple solution (although not an easy one).
My saddle absence is down to me having chosen to do other things when I could have been cycling. My solution is to do the opposite. I will make a deliberate effort to prioritise cycling in the future.
But ‘prioritise cycling in the future’ is too woolly.
What does that mean? How am I going to judge whether I’ve succeeded in my aim?
I They You Would Ask That
I don’t know about the future, but my immediate priorities are:
- Get back into the cycling habit
- Build up to an adequate level of fitness
For me, developing a habit is an important component of cycling regularly.
After a period off the bike, there is an inertia that sets in. My cycling kit spreads around the house. My bike chain could probably take a bit of lubrication. I’m not sure I fancy that first hill.
All of these (little) factors combine to make the journey between ‘I’d quite like to go for a bike ride’ to ‘lycra-clad rear end attaching to saddle’ one that requires considerable willpower. A surprising number of less desirable uses of my time suddenly take precedence.
When I have got into a cycling habit, the mental barriers between thought/general desire and specific action are much lower. The decision to go for a ride is almost taken for me. I am more likely to do the activity (cycling) that, deep down, I know I want to do.
(Quick aside: I’m sure there will be some of you that read this with confusion. “Stop bleating and just get on your bike”, you will say. Good news – cycling obviously occupies a higher position in your ranking of pressing needs. Your mental barriers are low. However, do spare a thought for those of us that need the occasional shove, mental or physical.)
How To Build A Cycling Habit
I’m sure there are many ways to do this but, for me, I’m going hot turkey.
I’m going to make a commitment to cycle every single day in June 2014. That’s 30 days (count ’em) of cycling on the trot.
The rules are simple.
1. Every day, starting on Sunday 1st June, I must ride for at least 20 minutes.
(I’ve chosen 20 minutes since it’s short enough to be doable but long enough so I can’t do my cycling simply by riding up to pick my son from school (unless I add on an extra loop). My theory is that if I cycle every day for a minimum of 20 minutes, some of those sessions will turn naturally into longer, harder rides.)
2. My session can take place on any bike, including the turbo trainer (looking after my kids limits my ability to ride outside on some days).
And that’s it. Nothing about intensity, intervals, hills or active rest. I’ll work that out as I go along. This is all about training me to put my bum on a saddle.
Please Help Me
If you can spare just 20 seconds of your time to help me achieve my goal, I would be cataclysmically grateful.
I am more likely to stick to the plan (and get over the pre-session inertia factor) if I have Sportive Cyclist readers looking over my shoulder (not literally) and judging me (I’m sure you do this already).
To that end, please can everyone who reads this add a comment below this post. Something to indicate that you know my mission and that you’ll be watching me.
It doesn’t have to be nice or encouraging. Mild abuse is fine. Tough love will work just as well here.
My theory is that if
a lot of some people are following along, I’ll be shamed into doing this.
How Will You Know If I’m Doing It?
I haven’t fully thought this through.
For the bare bones, you could always follow me on Strava.
(so make sure you’re either following me on G+ or have liked the Sportive Cyclist Facebook page).
I’ll obviously be posting updates to this blog, but a daily statistics post is likely to have people unsubscribing in droves. I’ll probably do a weekly round up, with some insights into how I’m finding it.
If you’re feeling inspired to do something similar to me (let’s face it, who isn’t inspired right now? … Bueller?…. anyone?), feel free to state your goal in the comments below this post and contribute to the G+/Facebook and blog post discussions in the future.
PS. I Love You
PS. Please do make a comment below. Even a simple ‘+1’ or ‘I’m watching you…’ in the box will be enough to let me know you’re there (and freak me out).
PPS. Hat tip to my friend Brian Stephens for inspiration. Brian has run a series of 30 day challenges on his blog and Google+ page – go check him out if you want to get involved in the next one.