_DSC10032013 was a good year for this particular cyclist. We had a proper summer for the first time in years, and I did a reasonable job of making the most of it. I rode further than I ever have before, both in terms of individual ride length and overall total distance for the year. Whilst I injured myself a few times, I have managed to dodge any serious damage and haven’t unintentionally broken myself since about April. I feel like I have come out of this year a better rider both in terms of fitness and skill, if those terms are not too grand for my strictly limited abilities.

Of this year’s rides there were too many good days to single out any one as the most rewarding, but if I have to choose a landmark then I’m probably proudest of doing the West Highland Way; it was a pretty serious challenge for me, and one where I think I did my best. As for low points, I’m most disappointed in myself for bailing out of Relentless in the middle of the night, but I’ve reconciled myself to what happened, I enjoyed most of the riding, and I learnt a lot from the whole experience, so it wasn’t all bad.

Of the bike-related things that I didn’t write about on here a couple were quite noteworthy. I joined a local cycling club for the first time, and have been enjoying getting out on the road in a group a few times a month. I went on a skills course in November, and was surprised to discover how much someone who has been riding for twenty-odd years can learn in just a few hours. I will probably write a bit about both these subjects at some point in the near future.

I have some aims for next year. A group of us are planning to do the Fred Whitton Four Seasons ride, which is going to need some serious preparation if it is to be in any way enjoyable. I want to commute to work by bike much more often, as I really let this slide after a good start in early 2013. I have been meaning to do the Mary Towneley Loop for years now so I should really get around to that.  After our Helvellyn adventure in September I really fancy doing some more bivvy rides, and I have ideas for a couple of good ones not too far from home once the worst of winter blows over. I have a huge list of other rides and bike-related things I’d love to do, and ticking a few of those off would be brilliant. And, of course, the Tour De France is going to be riding over the hills I grew up on, and I will be there. If things go even remotely to plan, 2014 should be a fine year.

Happy new year! I hope you have a good one.