Cycling every day. Making it a habit.

Here are a few things that I find are helping in my intention to ride more consistently in 2015.

First off is managing time. I work around 30 – 40 hours a week. Based at home and travelling to various locations. I’ve got four school age kids. I’m a family man with family commitments. There are plenty of other things that could distract me. All of these things can be excuses for, “I haven’t got time to ride my bike” or words to that effect.

I work it by going to bed before 11pm. This means I can get up by 6.00 am every morning without feeling sleep deprived. I can then ride for at least an hour and a half and be home to see the kids off to school each day. I have in the past set an alarm to remind me to go to bed. These days I’m quite good about it and don’t need the alarm to remind me anymore.

I’m not taking rest days. If I miss one day the chances of me missing a second increase and so to a third. If I miss a third then the habit is gone. I then have to motivate myself to start again. That often takes longer than I would like. I don’t really need a rest day anyway. It’s not like I’m pushing myself hard every ride.

I have my clothes to ride in ready to put on. This is really important.  In the winter this can make or break it for me. I do not want to look for my socks in the morning or wonder if I should wear this or that. I layer up according to how the weather appears from my bedroom window. My current garb consists of:

  1. Defeet wooly boolie socks
  2. Defeet Kneekers
  3. Aldi winter cycling trousers
  4. Karimor shorts
  5. Giro Junction cycling shoes
  6. DHB overshoes
  7. Speg winter cycle jersey
  8. Knights of Mo’ Bay long sleeve raglan cycling jersey
  9. Aldi soft shell cycling jacket (sleeves unzipped)
  10. Aldi winter cycling jacket
  11. Solo merino buff
  12. Endura BaaBaa Merino Skip Beanie
  13. Speg SiberDry water resistant gloves

Seems like a lot to see it all in one go. Everything listed I was wearing when I went out this morning just before 6.00 am. It was snowing first which was then followed by rain. I didn’t get cold or very wet at all. Certainly not so much that it bothered me. If it’s been mucky out I stick my clothes in the machine on a quick sports wash soon as I get home. I hang them to dry on a clothes horse in front of a radiator. All ready for the next day.

The quicker I get out the door in the morning the better. Other than dressing and having a pee the only other thing I do before leaving is to drink a pint of water from a jug I’ve had chilling in the fridge overnight. Into the jug I mix three table spoons of Chia seeds, a tablespoon of sugar and a squeezed whole lemon and lime. I prepare this before I go to bed. From bed to road in about 15 minutes. I shower, do my teeth, eat breakfast and what not when I get back. Sorted!

So that’s how I’ve made it a habit to cycle every day so far this year. I’ve doubled my mileage at the weekend. This is me putting in the base miles. I’ll be adding to them with my audax rides every month and forays along the North Sea Cycle route with my good friend Azeem.

So far I’m just about matching the miles I did by this time last year and in 2013. Difference being is the miles in 2015 are going up steadily and not in fits and starts. I’m hopeful that if I keep these habits up I’m going to get through 2015 injury free and do the 10,000 miles I want to do by new years eve.

Base Miles January 2013 - 2015

Base Miles January 2013 – 2015

Life has a habit of not sticking to my plans though. I know and have already had a day when I needed to mix things up. Next post I’m going to cover how I am dealing with the stuff that happens that might normally derail my good intentions.

If you have any ideas, tips or experiences of your own about getting into and sticking with a cycling habit I’d be pleased to hear about them in the comments. Cheers. Enjoy your rides.

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