Yay, it’s summer, the finest time of the year for being outside and feeling happy, healthy and free! And of course, though we’d never suggest that you can’t have just as much fun on your bicycle in the winter as in the summer, there ain’t nothing better than cycling in just shorts and a t-shirt with the sun beaming down on your face.
So in the spirit of making the most of this wonderful time of year, here are ten inspiring, fun-filled cycling activities and goals that will make these summer months the best you’ve ever experienced.
1. Try another cycling discipline
Try a style of riding you’ve never experienced before, whether that’s hiring a mountain bike at a trail centre, taking your commuter along a canal path or ditching the knobblies for slicks and trying road cycling. Many bike shops have demo fleets so if there’s something you’ve always wanted to try, make this the summer that you do.
2. Complete your first century
Riding a hundred miles is no easy task but it’s a great milestone to aim for. How about building up the length of your rides with a view to completing a ‘century’ before the clocks go back?
3. Invite a friend for a ride
Why not make this the summer that you help someone else start cycling? Aim to share the joy of cycling with at least one of your friends this year. Could you arrange for them to borrow a bike or help them get their own bike back on the road?
4. Set a new PB
Is there a hill you ride up regularly that you find quite a challenge? Why not ask a friend to time you or sign up for a free Strava account so that you can see how quickly you usually complete it. Depending on the length, you could aim to knock 10% off your original time by the end of the summer setting yourself a new Personal Best in the process.
5. Learn how to fix something
There’s nothing wrong with taking your bike to a shop to be repaired but doing it yourself can be very satisfying. Of course, we should all know how to change a puncture in case we get stuck miles from home with a flat but how about learning to adjust your gears or headset? YouTube is great for tutorials or try a class somewhere like London Bike Kitchen.
6. Go somewhere new
It’s easy to get stuck in a cycling rut and just ride the same old routes all the time. So how about going just slightly further afield? With as little as a 40-minute drive you can get out of your immediate locality and find new lanes to explore. Sites such as Kamoot and Mapmyride are great for discovering routes so stick your bike in your car and start somewhere other than home.
7. Enter a sportive
Sportives are good fun and are a great way of seeing a new part of the country without spending hours pouring over a map. With someone else doing all the planning, sign posting the route and even taking care of all your food and drink, all you need to do is ride and enjoy yourself.
Fab kit for summer adventures
8. Have a cycling mini break
All you need is just one night away from home to turn a bike ride into an adventure. ‘Bikepacking’ (aka cycling and camping overnight) is a real buzzword at the moment and it’s popular for good reason. But if roughing it just isn’t for you, how about booking a B & B for a night and filling your Saturday and Sunday with pedaling?
9. Try Clipless pedals
Wearing cycling specific shoes that attach to your pedals is possibly the easiest way of improving your performance on a bike as you’ll pedal more efficiently and lose less power. At first, it can be disconcerting having your feet stuck to the pedals but if you stick with it you’ll never want to go back to floppy trainers.
Slip into Clipless: Be sure to read Lara Dunn's advice about smoothing the sometimes bumpy transition from flat pedals to clipless.
10. Ditch the gadgets
Cycle computer, heart rate monitor, power pedals, training schedule... they can all make us a bit… unspontaneous... and all that staring at the cycle computer on your stem sometimes means you never really connect with your environment. Make it your mission this summer to disconnect regularly and set off on a ride with no gadgets, no schedule and no aim whatsoever.
So what do you think of our ideas? How many of these do you intend to tick off this season?
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