Happy new year and decade to all readers and followers!
One year ago as part of my new year resolutions for 2019, I set myself a number of objectives. It’s now time to review those targets and set new ones for the year ahead. The key focus for me last year was around cycling – which I’d only been doing for about 18 months at the time – caffeine reduction and lowering plastic usage. I’m pleased to say that I’ve made progress on many fronts to varying degrees!
For cycling, my target was to increase my mileage. I’d done 1145 miles in 2018 so I’d set my base target slightly higher at 1200 miles, with a stretch goal of 1500 miles. That stretch goal turned out to be a better objective since I hit it with room to spare: 1766 miles for the year. That figure does include about 150 miles of electric-assisted riding, but even excluding that, my objective was met!
This time around, I’m upping my targets: a base level of 1600 miles with a stretch target of 1800 miles. That may seem a little low but I’m not expecting much, if any, electric assistance this time around and I don’t expect any greater availability of time. I don’t commute so, finding time for decent rides can occasionally be tricky – especially if the weather is off. This target keeps me roughly on track with 2019 but with an attempt to push myself a little bit to get the higher goal.
Beyond cycling, my other resolutions last year were around reducing caffeine and lowering plastic usage (particulary around single use plastics). I achieved both of these to a degree by deciding to stop using my coffee pod machine, which was horribly wasteful with a number of plastic pods ending up in the bin each day. I still need to scrap the machine but it’s been sitting idle now for a number of months. I’ve gone back to the good-old cafetiere which takes longer to brew and therefore it discourages making numerous cups of coffee per day.
Plastic reduction is a difficult thing to manage because it is so pervasive but as an ongoing objective, I still want to find ways of cutting down on wasteage as a whole. At the moment, I’m not sure where I’ll find the next saving but I’ll keep looking. For a start, though it will be a difficult one, when it comes to clothing (especially cycling clothing) I want to use fewer fabrics that include materials like polyester and nylon.
Whilst most of my objectives were hit, there were a couple that didn’t quite pan out. The main one was re-doing my 2018 ride to Leicester which, at 45 miles, I’d found very difficult 18 months ago. I did however make my first rides to Rugby and Kenilworth though both of these were shorter. My longest trip in 2019 was about 40 miles but that was difficult and I didn’t feel quite ready to re-attempt the Leicester trip. Whether that will come up again in 2020, I don’t know. But I will probably re-do both the Kenilworth and Rugby rides.
I also had an objective to start using electric-assist (though to not depend on it) and whilst I did try a conversion kit from Swytch Bike which was finally delivered in February 2019 after I backed it on Indiegogo a year prior, the whole thing was an exercise in failure not helped by a shambolic attitude from the company itself. I’ll probably do a separate post about this at some point, but in short the kit was not only faulty, it wasn’t fit for purpose in its design. However, the company has washed its hands of any responsibility to the point where they now have my returned kit but have also failed to issue an agreed refund – stay away from Swytch!
So, whilst I got maybe 80-90 miles of use out of that kit before I had to abandon it, and I did some e-assisted riding in the Netherlands over the summer, it’s not something that became a regular part of my riding. This is one reason why I didn’t repeat the Leicester ride. The intention was to have the kit help me out as a range extender but it ended up that the option was not available.
Whilst e-assist is fun, I’ve got no plans to revisit converter kits on my day-to-day bike. It might be something that I’d try on a second cheap bike as a project, or maybe I’d even look at a second dedicated e-bike should space ever permit. But it’s not something for the year ahead.
Summary 2020 Objectives
In summary then, my targets for the new year are:
- Ride 1600 miles minimum, with a stretch target of 1800 miles;
- Re-visit the Rugby and Kenilworth rides first done in 2019;
- Continue looking to reduce plastic usage, including in clothing choices (e.g., less polyester, nylon etc.);
- Continue with meat reduction;
I have one final major objective for the year, and that is to finish building the main structure of my garden outbuilding. The last couple of years has seen me demolish sheds, get a new level base installed and design the basic layout of the building. Work has stalled though and I’ve lost momentum. I need to restart and keep going, to get a usable building which will serve as a bike store, office and garden shed.
I’ll revisit this early in 2021 to see how I’ve done, and especially to see whether I can hit those cycling targets!
Have a great 2020!