14 Cycling Goals That Have Nothing To Do With Watts, Time Or Distance
Yes, data can be motivating, but for some of us it can be... a little 'same-same' to only focus on how many watts you're throwing down or your FTP score. If you're looking to inject a little bit of variety into your goal setting, here are 13 bike-related goals that you can set for yourself that have absolutely nothing to do with time, distance or watts.
1 Try out some Strava Art rides
Whether you normally ride by yourself or with a group, a great goal to shake things up a bit is to try out some Strava Art! You can either choose your own adventure and design a course yourself using Google Maps, or use Strava’s latest update to draw an outline of the general spot you want to ride, and create a route for you using Route Builder!
The path is assembled from the billions of previous runs and rides that the app has stored. Their database is one of the largest geotagged fitness-data hubs in the world – so they know the places cyclists should and shouldn’t go.
2 Cross train for additional strength
Obviously riding your bike is a great way to get fitter and more skilled, but cross training in a different sport (or just doing some strength and mobility work at home) is a great way to build strength and make sure you're not over-developing some muscles or forgetting to balance out your body.
Some examples of cross training might be:
- Yoga cultivates health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental and social) through the regular practice of a range of many different techniques, including postures and movement, breath awareness and breathing exercises, relaxation and concentration, self-inquiry and meditation.
- Pilates is low-impact, focusing on flexibility, muscular strength and endurance. The exercises are performed with an emphasis on precision technique; balanced postural alignment; core strength; controlled, flowing movements; and using breath to center the mind
- Group fitness classes range from high intensity to gentle reconditioning and everything in between... simply do a google search for a gym or studio near you
- Gym programs are an excellent way to get something created specifically for you. Perhaps you have an injury you want to be mindful of, or maybe you have kids and want a gym and home program you can squeeze in between the other million things you're doing.
It would be remiss of us not to mention our MindBodyBike app as a way to inject some cross training into your regime - particularly if you're a beginner and looking to start doing some yoga, stretching and strength workouts.
3 Learn more about your bike
The mechanics side of things isn't a lot of women's strong suits. Sure, you may in theory know how to change a tyre or put your chain back on, but do you feel you could do it road or trail side without needing to call an Uber?
Learning more about bike maintenance is a great goal to set yourself. Perhaps it's something specific, like "I want to learn how to bleed my brakes" or "I want to be able to take the back wheel in and out easily." Whatever level you're at, that's cool!
Our growing library of resources in MindBodyBike are designed to help empower you to do just that. Don't see what you need? Send us an email to [email protected] and we can create something just for you.
4 Learn to lift the front wheel
Learning a new skill is a great way to set a new cycling goal - and lifting the front wheel, while mostly handy for mountain biking, is also handy for navigating curbs and smaller obstacles on the road bike.
There are a ton of YouTube resources to help you get started, or you could ask a coach or a friend who can already do it to teach you. For mtbers, it will make your riding so much more controlled. You'll be able to tackle tricky ascents with confidence and be able to go down larger drops that you might usually walk. For roadies, it will mean you can look super cool when you arrive at the cafe and hop up onto the curb and casually rack your bike next to your table.
Or, if you're super hard core, you can take this as training.
5 Test ride a new kind of bike
If you're reading this, you're probably already into bikes so we don't need to twist your rubber arm too much when it comes to convincing you to get a new bike... but if you're not quite ready yet, a great goal is to test ride (or day hire) a bunch of new bikes to get a feel for them.
Chief Chick Jordana recently took an eMTB out for a spin to achieve this very goal...
" As you can imagine, before my first real ride on an e-MTB I had some pre-conceived ideas of how the ride would go down. I was pretty confident that I’d feel great riding it and enjoy not getting too puffed on the hills. Having the type of personality I do I was also pretty sure the smug factor would be high."Jordana Blackman, Chief Chick CWRB
You can check out the rest of the article here.
6 Tackle a new hill
Maybe you've been avoiding it... maybe you've just never felt up to it, or never had anyone to tackle it with. Whatever the excuse, set a goal to tackle a new climb. It doesn't matter how fast you go. It doesn't matter how long it takes you. Climbing is not only a great way to improve your strength and stamina on the bike, it feels so damn good when you reach the top and take that selfie.
Extra points if there's a cafe with a view at the top so that you can take a breather and post on Insta!
7 Learn to track stand
Track standing is not just for track cyclists! If you're not sure what a 'track stand' actually is, it's when you're able to keep the bike stationary without putting your feet down or leaning against anything. It requires a great deal of balance and coordination, and tiny micro-movements (or ratcheting) to be able to balance but not move.
"When would I ever need to do that?" I hear you ask?
If you're a mountain biker, you need to be able to manouevre the bike while moving very slowly. Whether it's a particularly technical section or a super tight corner, having the balance and coordination to do a track stand will help you out HEAPS with the control of your bike will mtbing.
As a road rider, it's always nice to feel super in control of your bike and may come in handy when nevigating narrow chicanes or banana bars on rides, and even riding down ramps with hairpin turns!
8 Dial in your cadence
Cadence is the rate at which you pedal when you're on the bike. While it's true that cadence is a number/stat, it's merely the number of pedal revolutions per minute (RPMs). This goal is around getting more familar with your cadence and concentrating on increasing the RPMs so that you can ride more efficiency. A higher cadence will allow you to pedal for longer, and - if you practice - go faster.
Studies have shown a higher cadence means an increase in blood flow to the muscles – which in turn, means more oxygen in the blood and a higher aerobic performance.
Increasing your cadence is helpful on the road and the trails. If you're a MTBer, a higher cadence will mean you can get more pedal strokes in to help you clear tricky rock gardens and technical ascents (though you don't want to go too high on climbs so that the front wheel slips).
On the road, a higher cadence - or even just the ability to vary your cadence - means you can tackle different kinds of terrain on your ride, such as flats, rolling hills and bigger climbs, with more control.
9 Practice your breathing
Most of us have pretty much worked out how to pedal fast and breathe heavily. But what if we told you this isn't the only way to breathe on the bike?! Why not make a goal to master your breath so that when you pedal fast, you're not breathing heavily but breathing FULLY.
Here are some strategies to pedal harder for longer:
- Sync your breathing to your cadence - this is an exercise to be more mindful of your breath and get into a rhythm. Try 3 revolutions for an inhale, and 5 to exhale to focus the body on what's happening collectively, almost distracting yourself from the effort involved to do each activity on its own. Once you've nailed this technique, things like rolling hills become non-events
- Breathe through your nose - nasal breathing takes advantage of your lungs’ ability to extract oxygen during the exhale, resulting in 10–20% more oxygen intake. Research published by the International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science found breathing through your nose to be potentially more efficient at medium-to-high intensities
- Practice gut breathing - did you know lung capacity decreases with age? Ikr :| Starting at age 30, you lose about 10% of your lung capacity every 10 years. This means that a cyclist in their 20s literally has twice the lung capacity of someone in their 80s. Gut breathing is learning to maximize the amount of oxygen in your lungs per breath. By forcefully exhaling and emptying the lungs completely, you can help slow down this process and allow a greater intake of oxygen upon inhaling
- Focusing on mindful breathing helps performance. While breathing is typically something our body does on autopilot, try to think about breathing from time to time — it’ll make you stronger.
10 Plan a trip to a bushfire affected area
We're sneaking this one in here because there's no reason why travel shouldn't be a goal! As everyone is aware, Australia has been hit hard by a bushfire crisis that has not only devastated land, animals and property, but has had a double whammy of causing a lot of businesses to really struggle.
A cycling goal you can set yourself this year is to plan a trip to a bushfire affected area. Ride your bikes, eat at local restaurants, volunteer with local shelters. Make a weekend out of it if you can. Business owners will truly appreciate it and if you post about what you're doing on social media, it will have a knock on effect of showing all of your followers how great it is to be out and about in Australia.
11 Join a new cycling group in your area
Yes, it's great to ride with your friends - the people you know well and already love... but it's also a great goal to join in some new rides and change up your week. You may do a search on google or on Facebook to try and find a new cycling group in your area!
At Chicks Who Ride Bikes, we're trying to help connect you with the world of women's cycling. If you run a group or know of a group that is women's only or female friendly, please let us know using the buttons below:
12 Try out a different kind of riding
Even if you're a die-hard mountain biker or purist road rider, there's room to try out a different sort of riding style. It doesn't matter whether you're a racer or a recreational rider, the below cycling disciplines offer different pathways for your next cycling goal, even if it's just to borrow a bike and see what it's all about!
- Cyclocross consists of many laps of a short course with features such as pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount. Compared with other forms of cycle racing, tactics are fairly straightforward, and the emphasis is on the rider's aerobic endurance and bike-handling skills.
- Trials is a discipline of mountain biking in which the rider attempts to pass through an obstacle course without setting foot to ground. Trials riding is an extreme test of bike handling skills, over all kinds of obstacles, both natural and man-made .
- BMX involves sprint racing on a purpose-built track which usually consists of a starting gate for up to eight racers made of various jumps and rollers and a finish line. The course is usually flat and has large banked corners that help the riders maintain speed.
- Gravel riding can be a combination of a road/tarmac and mtb/mud/dirt riding. The versatility of gravel bikes makes them a great option for multiple cycling pursuits!
13 Say yes at least once a week
This is more of a personal challenge, but try to set a goal to say YES to an offer to ride once per week. Whether it's a Zwift before work or a group you've always promised you will catch up with some day - text back and say yes. It's crucial to being able to keep your motivation and variety in your schedule!
14 Get some coaching
Coaching is a great way to improve skills on the bike, no matter if you ride on the road or a mountain bike! Do a google search, put a post in a Facebook group or ask friends for a recommendation to find a coach that's able to work with you on your schedule and at your level!