Tag Archives: habit

Going public on Cycling goals for 2014

So far I been reflecting on goals for 2014 in Approaching the year end and considering future goals then I came over all mad and brave in Going public on a goal for 2014. The Leicester Sprint Triathlon. So what about cycling more generally for me? It must be time for “Going public on Cycling goals for 2014”.

This is about personal goals related to being more intentional about my health, the issue is typified by my inability to lose weight and keep it lost. I am 2kg heavier than a year ago, my body fat percentage is currently 26% (24% a year ago). Currently, just over 100kg I really want to get close to 80kg (although realistically it is a long time since I stayed under 90kg for very long).

So for cycling I am setting two goals based about two habits which seem to have been effective in the past.

  1. I will ride a bike at least 1 mile every single day. By simply getting on the bike I make sure I have done some exercise and most days once on the bike I do a lot more than 1 mile.
  2. I will complete a 100 mile ride once each month. I find these are really helpful in burning up fat. I have even booked dates in my calendar for these right through the year to try to make sure they happen. They are:

January 24th Friday
February 14th Friday
March 21st Friday
April 25th Friday
May 9th Friday
June 6th Friday
July 12th/13th Saturday/Sunday (Dunwich Dynamo) = 200km
August 8th Friday
September 13th Saturday (Historic Churches)
October 17th Friday
November 7th Friday
December 5th Friday

Hopefully that will bring my annual mileage back up to about 5,000 in the year (2011 total miles was 4,700; 2012 total miles was 5,500; 2013 total miles is 3,500).

Along with the swimming and running needed for the triathlon I am hoping this will help tackle my ongoing concern with my weight.

I am also committing myself to some stretching and core muscle work as I know I benefit from them. I am not entirely confident about my ability to stick to these having failed so many times in the past. For the plank I can currently do 60 seconds and so my goal is to simply increase that by 1 second a day. I am still working on what stretching to do.

Fortunately, I love doing the cycling so the goals are much easier to stick at than goals related to weight loss or other exercise.

Approaching the year end and considering future goals

So with just a few days of 2013 left I’m starting the process of reflecting on the year just ending and considering my goals for the year to come.

I will have cycled just over 3,500 miles which is about 2,000 miles down on 2012. I am putting that down to last year’s LeJoG ride and the training for it. Probably the key loss for me has been a much reduced number of longer day rides.

On the plus side I have had some fantastic rides on my Bike For Life which continues to be all that I had hoped for: a delightful bike to ride that is incredibly reliable, low maintenance and practical.

Less good is that my Pearson Touche fixie has been off the road for a while. Hoping to find time to sort that out soon.

Next step is going to think about my goals for the next year and how public I am going to be about them. For various reasons (including an approaching 50th birthday towards the end of 2014) I want to be more intentional about my health than I have achieved in the past. Making that challenge harder is my proven poor interest and stickability at daily routine and good habits. Riding a bike is going to be a key part of this but it isn’t enough.

Maybe more on that later.

I am also interested to see how the blog develops over the next year now that I have moved it onto a more powerful hosting platform. Suggestions are welcome.

100 today! Daily Habits work

So today is my 100th day in a row that I have kept my “Ride a bike every day habit”.

According to HabitForge.com I have now succeeded 100 days in a row. It has been 175 days since I started monitoring the habit with a success rate of 91% as I have ridden a bike 160 times in the last 175 days (most of those “failure” days were right at the beginning when we went on holiday without a bike).

When I started the habit I was thinking of 21 days to establish a habit and I suppose the target of cycling for a month was obvious. I was really pleaszed when I had achieved over 45 days and back in October wrote: Habit failed after 46 days.

Having reached a nice large milestone I guess the pressure is on to not break the chain. However, there is also the suspicion that if I did break it the challenge of getting back to the same total would seem very daunting. Still hopefully before that happens I will feel truly confident that I have established riding a bike everyday as a lifelong habit.

For me this habit was set at exactly the right level. It is easy to achieve each day, but having got on a bike the sheer enjoyment of riding takes over and has resulted in a huge increase in the number of miles I am riding (514 miles in 2011 so far), that in turn has been really helpful with my diet.

Suffice it to say I am convinced that simple daily habits are an excellent way to motivate change. Highly recommended.

As for tools to support forming these habits I use three. If you like very simple prompting with tracking then HabitForge.com is excellent. If you want something a bit prettier and you use twitter then quantter.com is good, it works on a monthly basis which may suit some habits better (I mainly use it for my diet along with thelinediet.com).  If you prefer to track lots of numbers rather than just days in a row then daytum.com is excellent ( I use it to track distances ridden with subtotals by bike and a breakdown between work and leisure). There are also apps for phones although I have found the web based ones suit me better (I can get to them on my phone anyway).

Record habit

So today was the 47th day in a row of my cycling habit. That is a new record for me, my previous record was 46 days in a row.

I nearly let it slip by as I have come down with a cold and the weather was yucky – that is a technical term for some snow and other stuff.

Still we needed some stuff from Asda so I nipped out this evening, mainly because it is so much quicker and easier to go there by bike.

Feeling better for achieving 47 days in a row. Wonder how long I can keep it going for.

Habit failed after 46 days

Yesterday I did not cycle. There are plenty of excuses (packing away folding caravan, driving to Leicester from Cornwall via visiting eldest son at Oxford), but there will always be excuses.

So today I start from zero again, this time with a target of cycling 46 days in a row to beat.

Very much like Christian faith really. We fail, we are forgiven and we start again (and then repeat the cycle constantly).

Today will be cycling to Rearsby Convent for a Circuit quiet day, got to leave soon so had better finish finding out where Rearsby Convent actually is 🙂

Riding the Cornish Mining Trails

Had a lovely ride this morning from Carnon Downs Caravan Site down to Devoran (via Point) and then along a stretch of the Mining Trail.

A beautiful route of mostly off road riding on good quality tracks (if it has been Twelve wet then mudguards will be helpful to keep your bike clean). Went past the Bissoe Cafe and Bike Hire and then onto Twelve Heads.

Sadly I made two navigation errors by not noticing the “Mining Trail” signs in two places, so first I went on off the main route towards Portreath. Then later I missed the “Mining Trail” as I only saw the Sustrans National Cycle Route 3 and ended up following a (minor) road route past Gewnnap Mine to Redruth. I went down to the bottom of Redruth but once the route started climbing up the other side decided that was far enough and retraced my steps.

If I had realised I could download (PDF) a detailed map first then I would probably not have gone wrong 🙂

Anyway I stopped at the Cycle Cafe at Bissoe for a welcome Bacon roll, coffee and chocolate thingy on my way back.

It was a lovely day and I was on my Pearson Touché fixie (although note I now have “courier” style handlebars as pictured plus mudguards and a rear rack). What really pleased me was that despite this being anything but a flat route I did not have to walk at all. I might have been panting like it was going out of fashion by the time I reached the top of what seemed like endless steep climbs but I did actually make it to the top. I am very confident that I would not have been able to do that a few weeks ago. This habit forming is really working!

I did have one funny incident though. On the climb back to Carnon Downs Caravan Site up Point Road I fell off. Not sure what happened 🙂 Probably pulled too hard on my left hand and pulled it off the handlebar thus throwing myself off the bike. Whatever, I toppled over (going very very slowly at the time) and sat down for a few moments getting my breath back. No harm done although a lady who passed in her car while I was getting up was very concerned that I was ok.

One of the very nice things after a ride like that is the beautiful shower facilities at Carnon Downs Caravan Site, they are lovely and warm and have lots of private bathrooms with loo, wash basic and shower with oodles of hot water.

Missed seminal habit moment

It is good to note that I have now cycled every day for 44 days.

A bit sad that I missed marking the 42nd day (Sunday) here on 42bikes.

The habit is getting stronger & riding is easier. Weight loss has slowed but slow improvements to body shape continue.

My thanks to habitforge: Forge new habits. Change your life! for helping me so far.

My September cycling review

September has been a significant month for me and cycling.

  • I cycled all but one day in September.
  • I have now cycled 25 days in a row.
  • I have cycled over 260 miles for work. That is over £50 in expenses but by not driving those miles I have also saved the Leicester North Methodist Circuit £50
  • I have cycled something over 350 miles in total in September
  • Bullitt 01I got my new bike, a Bullitt Clockwork from LarryVsHarry. I love it and have not ridden another bike since.
  • I have explored quite a lot of Leicester by bike, plus some of the countryside to the east.
  • I accompanied my friend and boss when she did a 50mile round trip to Synod, an amazing increase over a previous maximum distance of 12 miles
  • This new blog has started to get going and now has over 20 cycling related posts and several readers
  • I have not once needed to go somewhere for work and not wanted to cycle
  • I have only used the car 4 times for work in the month (3 visits to Northampton, one trip to Loughborough Crematorium via Birstall).
  • I have been out cycling with Jane several times for shopping, parties or visiting Mum.
  • I have carried home the contents of a very fully shopping trolley from Asda in my Bullitt.

Most of all I have really enjoyed cycling this September 🙂

Habit formed?

According to habitforge.com I now have a new habit successfully established. I have cycled everyday for 21 days (and about to go out by bike so it will be 22 days). However, more reading seems to suggest that forming habits is not quite as straightforward as originally claimed by various self help websites – no surprise there 🙂 So I have taken advantage of an offer by habitforge to keep monitoring my new cycling habit.

In the process of forming this habit I have now recorded over 200 miles cycling for work this month (plus a fair bit of leisure cycling but I have not recorded the miles for that). I have done a little thinking about what that means financially.

I get 20p per mile for cycling so we are looking at about £500 a year. With slightly less expensive tastes in bikes than I have, that should be enough to fund a reasonable bike and all equipment. Albeit by laying out the money upfront and gradually recouping it.

Of course if I factored in £30 a month saved on gym membership then you can start to spend nearly £900 a year on bike and equipment which should be enough for most of us 🙂 Will even be enough to cover the cost of a Bullitt! 🙂

Just nice

We had a lovely evening out at friends tonight for a birthday meal. We cycled there and back and it made for a great start and finish to a very pleasant evening with good company. It is just under 4 miles each way and so can be a gentle ride without any need for special clothes or equipment, just hop on and go.

When it is so easy and convenient why don’t more people do it and why don’t we do it more ourselves?

Or alternatively what has changed that we are making this our norm when it has not been so before?

Some thoughts:

  • Yes the bikes do matter. So much easier to ride in nice clothes if the bike is upright and has really good mudguards (fenders).
  • Having bikes so they are just ready to go is critical. You don’t want to be fetching them from the bottom of the garden, moving the car to get them out. Lights need to be ready at hand and work well.
  • The bikes have to be reliable. You don’t want to feel you need to take spare parts or tools.
  • Unless you live in one of those places with a fantastic infrastructure it will take a few minutes longer than by car. Leaving late so you are in a frantic rush will put you off cycling. We ended up being a bit early so were able to just potter along.
  • Establishing cycling as a habit has helped me tremendously. I now have only tomorrow (Sunday) to go and I’ll have cycled 21 days in a row. It has made a big difference in making it simply automatic that I will go by bike.
  • The infrastructure helps. It could be infinitely better but a proper separated cycle path (albeit not up to Dutch standards) along the short stretch of the A46 between Syston and Wanlip makes a huge difference.
  • The bikes need a really easy way to carry the bits you want to take whether it be a coat for the trip home, wine, gifts. A basket or similar is so much more convenient – although a Bullitt is even better 🙂
  • A spouse who enjoys a gentle ride with you really helps 🙂
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