Be a better biker in 2016. While you're at it, be a better person too, writes Kath Bicknell.
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Cycling Central
31 Dec 2015 - 7:28 AM  UPDATED 31 Dec 2015 - 7:56 AM

One year wraps up and another begins. It’s a time to reflect on the journey over the last little while and recalibrate the compass for the months ahead.

Here are our riding resolutions for 2016.

Ride with people who make you feel good. The people who make you laugh. Challenge you. Celebrate your achievements. Love the post ride feed as much as you do. Inspire you to be a better rider. Make you want to be a better person. Ditch the rides with people who make you feel like you’re not fit enough, strong enough, trendy enough.

Nourish your body. Eat more vegetables. Cook more meals at home. Drink coffee because you want to, not because you have to. Food is your petrol. Treat your engine to the premium option rather than the cheap substitutes.

Take an active role in your recovery. Bank quality sleep. Get a massage. See a health professional about that niggling pain. Enjoy a weekly cruise ride to counteract all the smashfests. Recovery days let your body repair itself. They make you stronger for the challenging rides ahead.

Set goals. A hill climb challenge. A cycling holiday. A tough event. Work out what you need to do to get there in good shape. Plan the small steps so you can take the giant leap. Enjoy the sensations goal setting provides: excitement, motivation, anticipation, the pride from overcoming obstacles, the satisfaction of reaching the destination.

Break out of your comfort zone. Lift your skills game. Pick a ride that’s further than you think you can pedal. Or steeper than you think you can handle. Ditch your regular Tuesday route and ride somewhere unfamiliar. Rediscover the city you’re in. Learn something new about the country you call home. Watch your skills and fitness improve with sheer curiosity propelling you forward.

Join a club. Or rejoin one. Know there are people to ride with on the days you have no one to ride with. Write some local events in your calendar. Use them to get to know other cyclists and to better know yourself. Say yes to social functions. Cheer on your new mates as they unlock new achievements too.

Indulge a little. Find a way to make that trip to your dream riding destination. Save up for that upgrade you’ve been thinking about each time you ride. Buy those overpriced bibshorts that everyone swears by. Cyclists are chronic for always wishing they were faster. Celebrate the health and fitness you have while you have it.

Be more patient. With developing riders, with yourself, with that injury that’s slowing you down, with people who should know better, with cyclists who are still building the skills and fitness you are lucky to have. These things take time. A little encouragement always goes a long way.

Give back to the sport. Volunteer your time, your skills or some cash. Help to build a trail, to run an event, to lead a local ride, to coach some developing riders or to rally support for more cycling infrastructure and opportunities. This sport would be a shadow of what it is without our volunteers. Reduce the burn out on others by pitching in yourself.

Build on your abilities, support others and look after health. It’s hardly a complicated list. But that’s what makes riding so fun. There are always things to improve on, new skills to learn and interesting people to meet.

As you strive to become a better cyclist we hope this sport continues to make you a better person off the bike too. Lay the foundations for an exciting 2016.