New year’s cycling resolutions

At the half way point John o' Groats
As we welcome in the new year, it’s time to make your new year’s cycling resolutions. Here’s 21 ideas for 2021

*This article was published prior to current lockdown restrictions. We're advising people to follow the guidance on exercising in our Q&A article*

It’s 2021, and while the coronavirus pandemic is not behind us yet, with the roll out of the vaccine, many of us are probably thinking about their next cycling adventure. 

The new year is the perfect time to make a fresh start, think about making changes and strategize how to accomplish your goals. 

One of the biggest mistakes many of us make on 1 January is setting unachievable goals -knowing what we want to do but not properly thinking about the steps we need to take to get there. 

For tips on how to set goals and how to stick to them, visit Action For Happiness

  1. Decide on your goal
  2. Write it down
  3. Share your goal with others – why not let us know about your cycling resolution on social media?
  4. Break down your goal – make sure it’s SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound)
  5. Plan your first step
  6. Stay motivated – if you’re struggling, try revisiting your goal, it might need changing or refocusing
  7. Celebrate – don’t forget to congratulate yourself not only on reaching your goal but on every step towards it. 

If your cycling ambitions for 2021 could use some polishing, or if you’re not sure what you’d like to take on, here are 21 suggestions for things you could commit to do in 2021. 

Cycling routes to explore

1.    Take on one of these epic cycling adventures

The Great North Trail

Explore the huge variety packed into Scotland and northern England: from rolling hills and dales to remote windswept moorland, crumbling castles to hidden waterfalls, swooping singletrack and old Roman roads and everything in between. The nature of the route varies in different areas - from rugged upland trails across exposed moorland, suitable for more experienced mountain bikers, to sections of canal path and disused railways perfect for family days out. Take on this mammoth ride in one go, or break it down into sections, there’s something to suit everyone. 

King Alfred’s Way 

Immerse yourself in 10,000 years of history by riding this 350km loop around historic Wessex, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Alfred the Great. The route starts and ends in Winchester where Alfred is buried, and connects iconic monuments including Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle, Iron Age hill forts, Farnham Castle, and Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals.

Land’s End to John o’ Groats

Cycling UK has been helping cyclists ride from Land's End to John o' Groats (LEJOG) for over a century. The iconic route which covers the entire length of the UK is a challenge that many thousands of people take on each year. We’ve developed an End-to-End pack which contains:

  • Four separate route guides (depending on whether you want to ride as fast as you can, or take a more leisurely route)
  • Background information covering how to transport your cycle to and from both ends of the UK
  • Record sheets to track your progress, allowing you to apply for a certificate/badge/T-shirt upon completion of the ride
  • Details of cycle-friendly accommodation the length of the route.

Cape Wrath Fellowship 

For 70 years, Cycling UK’s Cape Wrath Fellowship has put cyclists to the test. Located in Sutherland in the Highlands of Scotland, Cape Wrath is the most northwestern point of the UK. This rugged, windswept headland is renown for its natural beauty and challenging coastal path. This route can be added on to the Great North Trail or Land's End to John o' Groats. Let us know if you cycle to the lighthouse and your name will be added to the Cape Wrath Fellowship.  

2.    Explore British Cycle Quest

The British Cycle Quest (BCQ) is a unique cycling challenge. If you feel like discovering new places all over Britain, then maybe taking on the BCQ is the resolution for you. 

The BCQ is all about getting outside and cycling to find as many points of interest across the whole of Britain as you can. There are no time limits - and you're on your way as soon as you've cycled down the road and located your very first checkpoint.

You can also receive BCQ certificates and buy medals for collecting clues. You’ll gain your first certificate when you’ve visited 10 sites. When you’ve visited all 402 sites, we’ll present you with an engraved medal.

3.    Discover new places

There’s no better motivation than going out for an adventure. Why not discover new places in 2021 by finding new areas to cycle. It doesn’t always have to be a totally new location, even finding an alternative route on your daily commute can add a touch of adventure to your ride. 

Use our journey planner to find a new route or look through our routes section for adventures further afield.  

Learning something new

4.    Learn a new skill

Cycling UK offer a range of training courses that are designed to support groups and individuals to develop their skills in leading and cycling instruction. During the coronavirus pandemic we are delivering selected training courses and participant ratios have altered, to ensure compliance with social distancing regulations. We aim to bring back the full suite of training courses for participants as soon as we safely can. For more information please contact the training team

5.    Try a different kind of cycling

We can all get a little stuck in our ways. But maybe this is the year to try out a new kind of cycling. We’ve got all the information to help you whether you want to try out road, off-road, mountain biking or Bikepacking. 

6.    Try making your own energy bars

There’s probably no better time to learn how to make your own mid-ride snacks. With many cycling cafes not currently open due to the pandemic, and a need to socially distance, we’re all making sure to take along our own pick-me-ups on those long rides. Maybe you could ditch the shop-bought snacks and try creating your own. Here’s a few of Cycling UK favourites. 

Be the best you

7.    Look after your mental health

It’s always important to look after our mental health, especially after a particularly challenging year. As we begin 2021 why not make a resolution to take regular actions that improve our wellbeing. Remember cycling isn’t just excellent physical exercise, it's great for our mental health too.

Perhaps practice being mindful when you’re out on your rides, or think about riding with a friend or cycling group. If you ever need additional support check our resources page and other articles on cycling and mental health

8.    Get fit

Cycling is excellent exercise. It helps people meet recommended physical activity guidelines, improves their physical and mental health and their wellbeing, while reducing the risk of premature death and ill-health. Cycling fits into daily routines better than many other forms of exercise, because it doubles up as transport to work, school or the shops etc. It’s easier than finding extra time to visit the gym and far less costly.

If your resolution is to get fit or lose weight then cycling is a fantastic way to start. But remember, you’re more likely to achieve your goals if they are specific. Think about breaking it down, your first target could be to cycle a particular distance. Push yourself, you can likely achieve more than you think. 

9.    Try yoga 

The practice of Yoga is now widely acknowledged around the world for a host of outstanding physical and psychological benefits. Practicing yoga is an excellent accompaniment to cycling; an activity which also requires us to hold, somewhat unnatural, body positions for extended periods. Yoga can improve performance, make you feel more comfortable on a bike, reduce chances of injury and can even help you to overcome some of the psychological challenges cycling presents.

Challenge yourself

10.    Challenge rides

The Challenge Ride Series is brought to you by Cycling UK Member Groups, and is a fantastic way to explore the British countryside in like-minded company. Due to the coronavirus pandemic events in 2020 were unfortunately cancelled but they will hopefully be back in 2021. Keep your eyes on the Cycling UK website for further details.  

11.    #12nightsoutin1year

Cycling UK encouraged everyone to get out and enjoy a night out under the stars at least once a month in 2020 and we’ll be continuing in 2021. Spending time outdoors, in nature and in the green space is a well-known tonic to modern day life. 

To help provide an incentive, each month there will be an award for the best picture summing up your overnight adventures.

Small changes for big impacts

12.    Start cycling to work

If you’re looking to cycle to work then Cycling UK can help you. With over 140 years’ experience, we champion the importance of making cycling a safe and enjoyable way to get around every day. We want to share our love of cycling, expertise and support with you as you commute by bike.

We’ve got tips, motivation and technical advice. Everything you’ll need for making a lasting change.

13.    Cycle with your kids to school

There’s no denying that cycling to school is a great way to build physical activity into everyday life while improving fitness and mental wellbeing. In fact, teachers find that pupils who don’t arrive by car are more relaxed, alert and ready to start the day. In addition, riding a bike provides the perfect opportunity for kids to learn about their local area, develop wider social networks and gain independence.

Check out these top tips on how to start travelling to school by bike. 

14.    Replace short journeys

In 2017 nearly 70% of trips were under 5 miles and just under 25% were under 1 mile. These distances can be comfortably ridden by bike. Perhaps think about switching from your car to your bike for some or all of your shorter car journeys in 2021. If you need some advice on how to get started check out our advice for beginners

Get involved

15.    Join your local cycling group

Cycling UK has around 1000 cycling groups and clubs across the UK offering thousands of rides and events for all abilities. Every Cycling UK member can ride with any Member Group and non-members are always welcome to try out riding with a Cycling UK group.

Find your local cycling group.

16.    Take part in the World’s Biggest bike ride

Thousands of people of all abilities, experience, and age took part in Cycling UK’s first World’s Biggest Bike Ride event on 12 September 2020.

From roadies to mountain bikers, seasoned tourers to family groups, the fit to the not so fit, cyclists from across the country logged rides to celebrate the bike and the joy of riding.

Make taking part in our next World’s Biggest Bike Ride on Sunday 30 May during Bike Week one of your 2021 resolutions. 

17.    Sign up to help Cycling UK campaigns

Subscribe to Cycling UK’s Cycle Campaign news which includes a monthly round-up of stories, comment, diary dates, publications and ways to help our campaigns.  

18.    Join Cycling UK

If you’re not already a member join Cycling UK in 2021. Your membership will enable us to have a louder voice to lobby government, campaign for improved rights and inspire millions more people to cycle. You’ll also receive great cycling benefits including insurance, discounts, and expert advice and information. You can join as an individual, household, or even as a supporter. There's an option to suit everyone. 

Find out about all the incredible benefits that come with a membership and sign up today

Give something back

19.    Volunteer

Give a little time to cycling in 2020 and become a volunteer. There are plenty of ways you can help others cycle from giving an hour of your time to a day a week. Around 9000 people volunteer to help Cycling UK so find a volunteering role that suits you and discover the rewards of volunteering.

20.    Help your workplace become more cycle friendly

If you’re not the boss at work but you still want to encourage more people to cycle and in turn encourage more cycle support from your employer, setting up a cycling group at work is a great way to start. 

Read our guide explaining how you can go about setting up your group and what the group can achieve once it gets going. 

21.    Introduce someone else to cycling

It's astonishing how many people have never learnt to ride and bike or haven't ridden in years and need some help and encouragement. If you'd like to teach an adult to cycle watch our video and help a friend. If you have children or grandchildren you can ensure the next generation learn to ride, watch our how to teach a child to ride a balance bike or how to teach a child to ride a pedal bike for more information.