What is the cycling season? Certainly, the race circuits have schedules and organized century and metric century rides have solidified dates. If you’re aiming for anything on those calendars, that may define your cycling season. Typically, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere tend to think of the heart of winter as a bit of down time, either because we’re snowed in for a couple of months or just unable to squeeze rides in during short daylight hours. Whether your season is nearly year-round or begins when balmy weather returns, this week and next week I’ll go over ways to prepare you to get back on the bike for your season:
- Fix It First– If your bike had mechanical or fit issues at the end of your previous season, solve them before beginning your new season. Mechanical issues can cause an accident or leave you stranded, and fit issues can cause you pain, or worse, injury. Bestowing some love on your bike can make it more reliable and a lot more fun to ride, even if it’s the basic maintenance of replacing a chain or tires. Seek the help of a professional for any fix or fit adjustments beyond your capability, or for a professional tune up to begin your season. They’ll be able to point out anything that you might have missed, or if a part on your bike has a safety recall notice.
- Gear Up– Check your equipment for signs of wear and tear. Determine if there’s an item that could make your season safer, more comfortable, or more fun (don’t overlook the fun factor – it’s a big motivator and the reason many of us ride). Maybe you need a good cycling rain jacket, long-fingered gloves, or a larger seat bag. Even if you think you’re well equipped, remember that over time bike shorts can become threadbare, helmet materials can decay, and older taillights may have flashed their last flash. Invest in the essentials and maybe something fun to kick off your season. Some fun cycling tank tops or even cycling dresses can add the motivation you need to get back on the bike for the first time in months.
- Buddy Up– Find motivation through friends, groups, and clubs. Winter doesn’t end until the second half of March, and even spring can pose some daunting weather, which can kill any momentum you’ve developed. Fight the urge to hunker down in imperfect weather by connecting with other cyclists now. Plan some rides with friends or even join a cycling club. If someone is expecting you to ride, it’s easier to stay committed. The social aspect of cycling can be significant motivation.
Check back next week as we cover three more ways to start your cycling season off right!