real life cycling

Is it time to give up cycling?

Quality Roads

It’s January 2016, and the New Year is upon us. The world is awash with people making the most of this clean slate by setting goals, trying to give things up, or resolutely sticking to their guns and carrying on with old habits regardless. As it happens I’m not a new year’s resolution kind of guy, as I made very clear in a previous post: ‘not my new year’s resolutions’.

However, all this talk of giving things up got me thinking – if I was the type to make new year’s resolutions what would I be thinking about giving up (thinking about, you’ll notice, not actually…)

It would have to be something I do to excess, so writing blog posts about the weather, perhaps, or maybe boring my wife to tears with out of context pro-cycling analysis. Could I really give up either of these deeply ingrained habits?

Maybe I need to go for the big prize. Much as I enjoy…no, am obsessed with riding my bike, maybe, implausibly, I could give up cycling?

road cyclist (pixabay)

Thanks to Strava I know for a fact that in 2015 I spent 210 hours and 8 minutes on my bike. That kind of cold statistical detail puts a whole new spin on things. It equates to 8.7 complete days on the bike, which sounds a lot, but is actually only 2.4% of the year. That means that for 97.6% of the year I wasn’t riding my bike, which in anyone’s books is irrefutable evidence that I do not cycle to excess.

On that basis, I definitely won’t be giving up cycling.

What this does tell me, however, is that if I did give up cycling I would have 210 hours and 8 minutes of spare time to dedicate to some other, maybe more useful pursuit.

Maybe I could take up knitting?

A brief trawl of knitting forums on the internet – not a world I’m familiar with, I have to say – gives me the impression that, after making the rather large assumption that I know my way around a pair of knitting needles, it takes around 20 hours to knit a jumper. With my new found free time I could reasonably rattle out 10 ½ jumpers per year – that’s practically a cottage industry. Get the timing right and I could produce  jumpers with baubles, reindeers, and Santa suits on them, to service the annual ‘comedy’ Christmas jumper market.

The alternative to cycling (Image: via

But why restrict myself to knitting Christmas jumpers?

In his 2008 book ‘Outliers’, Malcolm Gladwell put forward the now much-touted theory that to become an expert in a given field is less to do with any kind of natural ‘talent’, and more to do with around 10,000 hours of practice. The obvious conclusion here is that if I give up cycling and fixate on something else, then in just 47 ½ short years I could be world class at whatever activity I chose.

I could be the world’s top ranked octogenarian tennis player, or a professional footballer with the technical ability of Lionel Messi in the body of a crumbling old man. Which, thinking about it, doesn’t sound all that appealing.

Back to plan A I think: stick rigidly to all my old habits regardless, continue cycling, and leave the Christmas jumper production line to someone else.

In fact, after analysing the numbers I reckon I need to work on my percentages in 2016. If I’m spending 97.6% of my time not cycling then, strictly speaking, finding a better way to spend my time should involve more cycling.

That’s a plan.

You could even call it a New Year’s resolution.


15 comments on “Is it time to give up cycling?

  1. Whew, you scared me there for a minute! I am glad you are not giving up your cycling to knit sweaters, no matter how beautiful they would turn out to be.

    Isn’t crazy the amount of time we spend off our bikes? What are we even doing with our lives?

    My friends and family tell me that I bike “all the time”, when really I am hardly on the bike at all, percentage wise. If I ever start cycling 16 hours a day, that can truly be called “all the time”.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You started out in such a blasphemous way!! Whew!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Of course your new year resolution could be to add something to your life rather than give up something. With that viewpoint why not add more hours on the bike in 2016. Heck even if you doubled your time in the saddle it amounts to only 5% of your annual life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Trouble is Strava only gives you the ride time, not the duration time, cleaning, mechanicing, bike shop visits, changing, shower/bathing, online shopping etc. etc. Still good time value though.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Love the post mate! I was thinking the exact the same theme when I analyzed my 2015 stats.
    276 hours, totaling 4260 miles. Compared to my 2014 stats of 246 hrs and 3488 miles. 149 vs 112 rides respectively.

    In fact I will try my best to actually cycle LESS in 2016. I felt burnt out at times this past year and often I was bored out of my skull. And, it was my best (most productive) year so far in 11 years of riding, Go figure.
    As with everything in life, without a balance of interests, a love or a passion can quickly turn into a laborious task…

    Even though I rode more miles and spent more hours than ever, I did not ‘feel’ like it was a good year. It was an eye opener for me for sure. To the lads and lasses who ride 5k, 7k, 10k and beyond, 4k is chump change. But for me it was a bit tedious at some points. Prior to cycling in 2004, I was an avid tennis player for about 7-8 years.

    So for this year, I will try to get back into playing some tennis and attempt to balance both sports I really do love. I think for me 3k or so is about the sweet spot, but we’ll see. It’ll be in-flux plan as I go along…but my goal is to WANT to ride each and every single time I take to the saddle.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Much as I enjoy clocking up the mileage It’s as much about quality as quantity for me. If it becomes a chore then something is not quite right.

      Also, even when you’re training to get properly fit then mileage is not everything. Training smarter is more important than training longer!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Higher, further, faster | ragtime cyclist

  7. I came across this Blog after a Google search on how to quit cycling as it appears that I may have to do just that. I’m an avid cyclist and currently on our National Squad, with hopes of one day competing in the Olympics. Bear in mind however, that I’m from the Bahamas, where cycling is not all that big and while we have went as far as to compete in the Commonwealth Games, we’ve never actually finished, the Olympics is still my dream.

    Unfortunately, years of poor bike fit and riding through pain have led to a torn meniscus, surgery on my knee, Chondromalacia and according to my surgeon some arthritis. I’ve had two bike fits over the past two years. And this year I came back so strong that it seemed I might have actually been making a comeback. But once again, the pain is back and it’s different than before, which means there is probably something wrong.

    I hate to bring such gloom to a such a light hearted post, but I just thought I would get your thoughts on the idea of actually giving up cycling. I’m a 34 year old man, but the thought of it actually brings tears to my eyes every time. Cycling is like life for me. It’s taken me to places I would have never seen otherwise and there is still so much more I would like to accomplish….

    Well, I guess that was a Blog Post in itself…. Maybe if cycling I stop I will start a blog with my new found time?! I used to spend between 15 to 25 hours a week on the bike depending on the time of year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • 15 – 25 hours? Wow!

      I only know that were I forced to give up cycling I would find it very difficult to replace. But hey…people have to put up with far worse.

      I hope you sort out your injury problems and get back to something like your best!


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