Saturday, 1 January 2011

Review of 2010

Once again my track record against the year's cycling resolutions is a bit mixed. I achieved some of my goals, but missed more. Purely on the numbers I'm a bit disappointed with myself. Being walloped by a car back in October was definitely the low point of the cycling year. It's no excuse, but it was one of the factors in falling short on the numbers. The other factor was either my inability to set myself realistic targets, or my inability to achieve the targets I set myself. Either way, it doesn't really matter. What's important is that I've had some lovely days out on the bike, a variety of different experiences, and quite a lot of ground has been covered. Looking back over the whole of the year it has been thoroughly enjoyable, and I feel reasonably satisfied.

I knew that setting a goal of cycling 3,759 miles over the year was going to be ambitious, and I was absolutely right. In the end I covered 3,010 miles. That's a long way short of the plan, slightly more than I covered in 2009 (2,853), and slightly less than I covered than the year before (3,019). I'm plateauing at about 3,000 miles a year.

I wanted to reach an Eddington number of 50 in 2010. At the start of the year I didn't think that was very ambitious, but at the end of the year it stood at just 49 (i.e. I've ridden 49 rides of more than 49 miles since I started counting). Just one more 50 mile ride would have allowed me to put a tick against this one. To fall short by just one ride is a bit galling.

I didn't manage another 100 mile ride in 2010 either. My longest was 76 miles, but I did do half a dozen rides of more than 70 miles. I was particularly keen this year to clock up rides that were longer than 60 miles. I did better at that than I had in 2009, but not as well as I hoped - with 16 rides in 2010 of more than 60 miles compared to 10 in 2009

I did better than I planned on reaching famous churches. The idea here is to take a list of famous English churches, rank them by the distance from home, and ride to them in turn. Each time I reach one the next is a bit further away. Each year I seem to set my ambition a bit too low for the number of churches I reach. In 2010 I planned to reach the 40th, and ended up reaching the 50th furthest from home. Since I started this project it has proved to be one of my better ideas. Many of the churches are in pretty little villages, but not all. So it has encouraged me to explore areas that wouldn't otherwise occur to me, and taken me to some interesting places as well as helping me to gradually increase the length of my rides. I can't help feeling that the idea has run its course now though. To reach the next tranche would involve round trips of about 70 miles, and take me to places of no great interest, through busy road networks. I need an alternative for 2011.

I had a wonderful week cycling in the west of Scotland back in May. It was not the ideal weather, but I saw plenty of glorious scenery, met some lovely people and generally had a whale of a time. I had also intended to do at least one overnight trip with the bike in 2010, but I never managed to fit that in. On shorter trips I had plans to fill some of the local gaps in Open Street Map, and retrace more of the routes around London that Charles Harper charted in 1902. I've done a bit of both, but not as much as I would like. On the other hand efforts to locate Blue Plaques, old Milestones and local War Memorials have worked reasonably well as incentives to vary the short trips I take exploring  local byways.

On progress towards reaching the ideal height for my weight, the least said the better.

That leaves the question of what goals to set myself for 2011. My track record in setting and reaching annual targets in 2009 and 2010 is iffy to say the least. More importantly cycling has to fit around some significant family and work plans for 2011. For various reasons this is going to be a particularly difficult year to predict. So my current thinking is to go with a target of cycling 3,000 miles over the whole of the year, but otherwise to track short-term progress on the basis of a "project of the month". We'll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone for sticking with my ramblings in 2010, and best wishes for 2011.


townmouse said...

Happy New Year

Purely selfishly, I was hoping you'd set yourself a target of 'blog more frequently' for 2011

gom1 said...

What a lovely thing to say! Thank you. With such encouragement I'll have to try harder - for quality as well as quantity.