Happy New Year!

Sam on his Surly

Happy New Year from Broken Spoke! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the festivities, but all good things come to an end, and with the turn of the year, traditionally thoughts start to turn to self-improvement and the dreaded New Year’s resolutions.

All this talk of getting thinner, fitter, cleverer and happier can sometimes get a bit depressing – especially when you read that as many as 78% of New Year’s resolutions fail to stick.

Don’t worry though, there is an easier way – did you know that the rusty bike sitting in your shed could provide the solution to (nearly) all of life’s problems? Read on for suggestions for bike based New Year’s resolutions which will have you freewheeling through 2015.

Set a cycling goal

One way to help with the motivation is to set yourself some goals. This might be as simple as a weekend ride down the river to Abingdon and back, but why not think a bit bigger? There are lots of organised rides that you can join; for a couple of ideas, check out the Cowley Road Condors (a local club), Isis Cyclists (Oxford & surrounding bike rides for women) or Bike Oxford (an event in September).

Or you could just set your own challenge; taking a tent on the back of your bike and setting off into the countryside is one of the nicest ways to travel, and you can get surprisingly far – see Emily Chappell, Julian Sayarer, Mark Beaumont or Tom Bruce for some very ambitious inspiration! Dreaming of a long summer expedition is often the best motivation in the dark days of January…

Learn to fix your own bike

Want to learn the art of patience? Be more self sufficient? Maybe your goal for 2015 is to pick up a new skill, or just to save a bit of money? Learning to fix your own bike is a great way of meeting all these life goals, as well as meeting some great people, and having fun along the way too.

You can start by bringing your bike into one of the friendly drop-in workshop sessions at Broken Spoke – there’s a fully stocked tool kit, lots of spare parts for sale, and friendly mechanics to help set you on your way.

If there are more difficult jobs you need to do, or you want some specialised knowledge, then why not sign up for a Broken Spoke mechanics course? These cover all levels and are a great way to finally work out how that little fiddly bit you’ve been staring at for days actually works!

Commute more regularly

Maybe you are one of the many people who rides to work, but mainly on the sunnier days when you don’t have the difficult decision to make when you get up in the morning. It can be hard to motivate yourself to ride when the weather is grim, but getting in the habit of just riding every day can actually make it easier. What better time to start riding in the rain than at the year’s ebb in January! Check out some of our tips for winter riding here.

If your commute is short and you’re just wearing the clothes that you wear to work, you might not even notice, but regular commuting is a great way to stay in shape, and has other health benefits too – think of it as mindfulness and the gym combined. Were either of them on your resolutions list?

Introduce a friend to cycling

If you are setting off on a trip, it can often be nice to have a bit of company! We all know how fun riding bikes can be, and how much easier it is to get around Oxford, but there are many people out there who just haven’t tried it. Why not make your make your resolution about helping someone else, and convince a friend or colleague to get their bike out of the shed. Many people haven’t even considered the possibility of commuting by bike, or just need someone to show them how to ride in traffic. Think of it as one less car to get in your way on the route to work, as well as your good deed for the year! If you don’t feel confident helping someone to ride, our cycle training instructors are here to help – here’s what they do.