Make 2024 Your Best Year on the Bike

Everyone sets their New Year’s resolutions with the best intentions, and most of us follow through on them, at least for a little while. This year, make them stick by following our training tips and leveling up your performance with the best cycling gear from Rudy Project.

Resolution #1: Train Smarter

Instead of blindly deciding to “ride more” in 2024, put together a SMART plan for your cycling ambitions. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, the five elements of a successful training program. 

The more SPECIFIC the goal, the clearer it becomes in your mind. So instead of saying, “I want to bike a 100-mile century ride this year,” say, “I want to ride the Life Time Big Sugar Classic on October 21.” This step sets a deadline to reach the goal, defines a location where it will occur, and adds some details to the type of training required.

Logging and charting your progress is crucial to sticking to any resolution. Thankfully, training for endurance sports such as running, cycling, or triathlons provides tons of MEASURABLE data. Mileage, speed, heart rate, and watts are the big ones. You can use a training app to track your journey or a journal. The more you log, the more you generate a positive feedback loop that propels your training momentum. 

ACHIEVABLE focuses on picking a goal with a high probability of success rather than frustrating failure. For example, maybe you want to try the 100-mile course at the Big Sugar ride. But realistically, you can’t commit the time needed to train for that distance. So, understanding what’s achievable, you dial back our ambitions to the 50-mile route.

RELEVANT feeds off Achievable. It’s best to build your 2024 goals around activities you already do or have time to develop. For example, you may dream of competing in a half-iron-distance triathlon, but if you’ve never run or swam regularly, this isn’t the year for that goal. If you’re just starting out and want to try a triathlon, start with a short sprint race.

TIME-BOUND is simply assigning a defined deadline to your goals and resolutions. When you do that, you can work backward to the present and build out a training schedule and a step-by-step program that takes you to success. 

Resolution #2: Upgrade Your Cycling Gear for Success

Who wouldn’t want to start the new year with a new bike, like maybe that tri-bike you always wanted? If you can swing your dream bike, good for you! But to keep this list more relevant and realistic, we’ll highlight several key pieces of cycling gear you can add to your kit this year, ranked in no particular order.

1). Cycling Glasses
A dedicated pair of cycling-specific glasses is the must-have gear you never knew you needed. They reduce eye fatigue thanks to their ability to block glare and UV rays. The lens tint will sharpen contrast and visual acuity. Depending on how large a frame and lens you choose, the physical coverage will block the wind from drying out your eyes while you ride. If you wear prescription glasses, try a dedicated pair of prescription cycling eyewear to add performance optics to your riding experience. 

UPGRADE: Photochromic lenses, such as Rudy Project’s ImpactX lens, change from clear to dark and back within seconds, depending upon the amount of ambient light. With or without a prescription, these specs will become your go-to choice for all-conditions riding.

2). Cycling Helmet

Most cyclists will choose a helmet based on fit and value, which are both legit considerations. If a helmet doesn’t fit, you won’t wear it. But comfort, in terms of weight and airflow, becomes paramount after more than an hour of riding on a hot summer day. Rudy Project cycling helmets have long put a premium on airflow and lightweight design, but not at the expense of safety.

UPGRADE: Get an appropriate helmet for the type of riding you do: Aero bike helmets offer “free speed” for racers and triathletes. The Rudy Project Nytron is the optimum blend of the aforementioned ventilation and aerodynamics. Want more “free speed”? Try Rudy Project’s Wing helmet. Its removable visor and adjustable front vent let you determine how comfortable or aero you want to go.

Mountain bikers should choose a helmet, such as Rudy Project’s Protera+, with a visor to block sun glare and protect against branches and debris. It also puts more impact protection over the rear of the head, ideal for backward tumbles on unpredictable hills and rugged terrain.

3). Cycling Shorts

Whether new to cycling or starting your 20th year, cycling shorts with a padded chamois crotch are as integral to your riding comfort as your saddle. And like a bike saddle, not all chamois shapes, fabrics, and pad thicknesses work for everybody. Find the one that lets you ride without chafing for hours.

UPGRADE: Bib shorts fit better, feel more comfortable, and hold their fit longer than cycling shorts. Thanks to the shoulder straps, bibs keep the all-important chamois pad right where it should be, tight against the skin so it doesn’t cause chafing. Since there’s no waistband cutting into your stomach, cycling bibs allow for easier diaphragmatic (belly) breathing during intense exertion. That means deeper and fuller breaths when you need them most.

4). Cycling Shoes

Like helmets, cycling cleats — and clipless pedals designed for them — are often chosen for fit and value. And like bike helmets, there are specific shoes for road cycling, triathlon, and mountain biking. Pick the right shoes for the type of riding you do. 

UPGRADE: Invest in high-quality insoles for your cycling shoes. These will correct your leg drive, preventing your knees from flaring out or flaring in while applying downward force and saving those knees from a lot of extra wear and tear. This tip can make a world of difference, so work with an experienced bike fitter to dial in your pedal, shoe, and insole solution.

With a SMART training plan in place, you’ll be ready to start chasing your cycling goals. And when you upgrade your kit with premium cycling helmets and sports performance eyewear from Rudy Project, you’ll take on every ride with unrivaled protection, comfort, and performance. That is how you start the year strong.