New Years Resolutions. Bah!

A new year. A new start. And all that other bullshit…

Next Tuesday half the country will uselessly commit to a bunch of “resolutions” that they will have abandoned by the end of February. The mainstream media will of course feed this fever, much like they feed everything else that is a waste of everyone’s time and attention.

The thing is, if losing weight, paying down your credit card or finding a new job was really important to you, you wouldn’t be waiting for an arbitrary day in the year to make a start. You would stop eating crap, start living to a budget and begin applying for jobs now. The whole New Year’s Resolution thing is a load of bollocks.

So with that in mind, I give you my New Years Resolutions. All of which kick off on Tuesday.

1.         No alcohol at home. I will enjoy the odd night out with my colleagues though; I won’t be that guy. Oh… and only the best beer or whiskey

2.         I will do my base-miles every week (other than holidays). I think 100km (62-miles) is a decent target for a guy with a young family and an occasionally busy job. Commuting 3 times a week will easy exceed that – so even on my 2-commute weeks, a Sunday ride will easily cover it

3.         I will swim an average of 4km a week. That’s 160 lengths – around three 1-hour sessions at my leisurely pace

Of course this was essentially the fitness regime I adhered to during November when I started commuting again. So really it’s more of a reboot after the excesses of Christmas.

For me it isn’t the mince pies, chocolate or turkey sandwiches that cause me problems, more the hours a manager in the food industry has to work. Rather than a festival of booze and food, Christmas represents 7-day weeks, long hours and the odd bottle of festive Rioja on expenses.  So no, it’s not all bad.

Cycling and especially commuting have taken a back seat over the past month. My Strava has been barren and the only rides I’ve indulged in are spiky little jaunts to Asda on my singlespeed.

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So yeah…. January 1st, I plan to kick on.

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Back on the bike

Recently I have begun cycling again. In my early-to-mid 20’s I was an avid and passionate mountain biker. I rode most evenings, and I would be out on the trails almost all of the weekend. I stopped cycling when working shifts and having kids meant time had become a premium commodity.

When I was about 24 I was fit — I mean really fit. I regularly went away to the Lake District for a long-weekend and rode up and down hills for 8-10 hours a day. I loved it. But then I stopped. I stopped and I got fat. I even gave up football.

I am now several stones over my ideal weight (if several can be stretched to about 5?). I’m unfit and I drink too much. My weight has meant that I have a bad back and I get out of breath if I try moderate exercise.

I started cycling again before Christmas. I took on a local trail that before would have been a quick week-night blast in my heyday. I was fucked. I could barely do it. If it hadn’t have been for a puncture half-way around, I think my riding buddies would have just shot me.

Obviously, with long winter nights and working through the day, riding opportunities are rare. But I have made sure I get in at least one ride each weekend — even when the ground is covered in snow and ice. And yes, I’ve started to build up my stamina and general fitness. The impressive leg muscles I used to display have woken from their decade long slumber, and while still yawning and getting used to the bright light of routine exercise, awake they certainly are.

Cycling isn’t cheap. Well it could be if I wasn’t such an insufferable geek. Anyway, since December I have bought a £1,000 slick-tyre hybrid, and my beloved Orange mountain bike has been booked in for a serious overhaul (well-worn late 90’s kit is no good on the fashionable trails). A full new 2012 Deore XT transmission, Race Face finishing kit and set of fancy new Rock Shox forks are sitting in a Merlin Cycles checkout basket, waiting for me to find the funds to pay for them.

To finance my rekindled interest in cycling I have started selling my hi-fi and other gear on eBay. I have never sold anything on eBay before so it’s a new experience for me, and I have to say it, I’ve been bitten by the eBay bug… C’mon everybody, let’s party like it’s 1997!!

Every ping of my phone gives me the shivers. Is it a bid on my loudspeakers or my CD player? Or maybe it’s another 50p placed on the XBOX X-Factor game the kids never even opened? Anyway it’s all coming along beautifully, and my Paypal account is beginning to swell, ready for the day when I click buy on that bumper Merlin shopping cart.

To make the most of this cycle-based spending, I need to continue to work hard on my fitness, and that includes making time in the evening to do some exercise every day — either on my hybrid, my fixed bike, or getting out for those runs I’ve been threatening for weeks. So that’s why I have written this post. I want to document (and shame myself into) getting down to the twelve-and-a-half stone target I have set myself. I have 18-months from today. You with me? Great.

UPDATE: While I’ve just posted this, I actually wrote this on Tuesday. Since then I have got two of those runs in and a decent bike ride today.