Bespoken Word – New Year's empty promises or genuine bike life upgrades?

Riders at night
(Image credit: Ben Wolveridge)

New year, new you. New Year’s resolutions. I’ve probably even used “New Year’s revolutions” as a crap cycling pun in the past. However you frame it, this tradition of pretending we can burst from the fatty, lazy chrysalis of Christmas like some sort of aggressively ambitious, boundless energy is hollow hype. Especially if you’re a bike rider in the phase of the shortest, nastiest days of the year and probably at your annual low point of fitness. But then maybe it’s the reaction to the traditional excess and idleness of the ‘festive period’ that provides the impetus we need to make these mostly empty promises? I’m certainly not immune either, but let’s have a little story time for how that’s going so far...

The 2024 story so far

I spent New Year’s Day morning in recognition that the ‘No Dig – No Ride’ Police would rightly lock me away for a long time based on my current ratio of riding vs trail building. Having ridden the latest local new bit of trail on Tuesday, it definitely needs some work to open up what my unskilled eye thought would be a ‘twisty tech’ start, but is actually so slow it’s painful.

That Tuesday ride was partly due to a promise to myself to clock the good days on the forecast and ride then and write later, rather than ending up frustrated in the filth after filing copy when the rest of the Bike Perfect team was still on holiday. The e-bike I’d lent to a friend had a ‘limp mode’ glitch that resulted in multiple stops for attempted fixes and the promised sun soon turned into steady, heat sucking rain. And of course the test sample CO2 inflator I’d ditched my trusty pump in favour of somehow managed to off gas it’s entire charge into thin air rather than putting any pressure into the front tire that went flat half an hour from home.

I started getting ready for the Thursday night ride at lunchtime so I was actually there on time. But then I changed half the components on my Pace MTB while doing quick video reviews of the ones I was pulling off and burnt through all the extra time. So I still ended up rushing loading the van and dropped my phone in the back lane where it got run over.

Bike with flat tire

Good intentions of 2024 have largely been a deflating experience so far (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

And, and, and..... 

In short, all the ‘new me’ changes I’ve made in the first few days of 2024 have been far from a complete success. If there’s one thing I am to a fault though it’s stubbornly unrealistic, so I’m not giving up yet. After wasting hours of time I could have actually been training scrolling through workout reels from various coaches and influencers, I’m finally going to sign up with a proper program next week. And hopefully I’ll learn from past lessons that clearly teach me that I need to be patient and pragmatic with adding gym work into my life rather than rabid and rapidly injured.

That’s probably a vain hope though as my ridiculous habit of over reaching means I’m also planning to learn to wheelie just so Doddy from Mondraker can’t laugh at me anymore. And work out where an apostrophe is supposed to go to finally calm the echoing rage of my 7th grade teacher [and make your editor a happier person – Ed]. And spend more time on DIY. And do more drawing. And train our new hound to be a little less ‘free range’ so he can come trail riding with me. And do yoga. And really get my YouTube channel into gear properly while also catching up on over 100 reviews I need to write up for Bike Perfect. Oh and properly launch the ‘adventure before dementia’ “Time Travel Gravel” route video project my wife and I started working on last year. My family and friends would probably appreciate if I was less distracted all the time, finished the jobs I half started and that I showered more rather just thinking, "well I’ll be getting sweaty/muddy again in a few hours so what's the point". I should probably learn to touch type with more than four fingers too, seeing as that’s how I actually earn the money that could potentially support these unrealistic dreams if I got the words out faster. But then I’d need to stop responding to every WhatsApp I get instantly and knock the LinkedIn habit I accidentally started over Christmas on the head.

E-MTB rider after a crash

Maybe actually learning from my lessons rather than just repeating them until I properly hurt myself is the key to a more successful 2024?  (Image credit: GuyKesTV)

Doing less not more in '24

But clearly what I really need to do is take a step back and actually be realistic. Look at the time I genuinely have rather than hating myself when 20 hour days as a default lifestyle can’t get the job done. Recognize the talents (that shouldn’t take long) the flaws (that’s a much longer list) which form my DNA. Unravel the twisting life helix of unlearnt lessons and repeated ‘work harder not smarter’ examples so I can steer myself more towards evolution than extinction. And then - as my long suffering wife/carer Sarah neatly puts it – concentrate on the things I want to do, not the things I ‘ought’ to do. 

So as an experiment I’m actually going to end this piece while it’s still a reasonable length rather than rattling on forever as usual. Because maybe the resolution I need to really make for 2024 is that ‘do more’ isn’t always the right answer…… 

Guy Kesteven

Guy has been working on Bike Perfect since launch in 2019. He started writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit, he’s also penned a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too.

Current rides: Cervelo ZFS-5, Specialized Chisel, custom Nicolai enduro tandem, Landescape/Swallow custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg