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Blazing Saddles: New Year Revolutions

Making ‒ and often immediately breaking ‒ New Year’s resolutions is an age-old tradition all over the world as we pass from one year into the next. Hope, and its close cousin, self-delusion, are abundant at this time of year as we promise to be better and brighter versions of ourselves. In Thailand, in fact you get not just one, but three clear chances to make and then try to keep your resolutions, as Thailand munificently celebrates three separate New Years – Gregorian, Chinese and Thai!

By Baz Daniel

Sunday 2 January 2022, 11:00AM

Baz enjoys his victory stance overlooking the Phuket coastline. Photo: Supplied

Baz enjoys his victory stance overlooking the Phuket coastline. Photo: Supplied

On January 1 of course, we enter the Gregorian year 2022, then on Tuesday, February 1, the Chinese year of the Tiger will spring forth and in April we’ll magically slip into 2,565 on the Thai Buddhist calendar. It’s a great time for cyclists to take stock and set goals for their future.

Thailand’s cyclists, like us all, have had a challenging year of viral restrictions and constraints, certainly in travelling around the country. However, the Andaman region’s environment, air quality and traffic have all improved with far fewer tourists around, making cycling more enjoyable and a thoroughly excellent way of counteracting the vectors of ill health such as high blood pressure, obesity, lethargy and poor-quality food intake.

Let me then suggest some New Year’s cycling resolutions as we enter 2022.

First and foremost is for the government to develop and fund a well-considered programme of cycling infrastructure, particularly a network of cycle-ways separated from other traffic. I had the extreme pleasure of cycling in New Zealand just before the global COVID pandemic and riding on some of the huge network of separated cycle paths and trails which crisscross the country.

Cycling in Kiwiland is an absolutely delightful way to experience the natural bounty of that magnificent country on two wheels and in complete safety. Thailand and Phuket deserve the same! For the government, your New Year’s resolution is quite simple. Convert all the grandstanding hype of the TAT and the like into concrete action. Start planning and building a programme of cycling infrastructure as part of the post-pandemic tourism rebound that is safe, scenic and fun.

For us ‘Lycra Louts’ in Phuket, our resolutions should be highly specific, reasonably attainable and fun… or quite frankly they aren’t going to last even until the end of January. “Lose weight and cycle more” just doesn’t cut it. That’s far too vague to have any real meaning.

Here are five simple resolutions to help you get fitter and enjoy cycling more.

Fastship Phuket

1. Cycle on at least three occasions and for a total of over 60 kilometres each week. Keep a written or digital record and post it on social media so that all your friends and family know you are making the commitment.

2. Cycle with a group of other enthusiasts, some of whom are better and stronger cyclists than you. Research shows that athletic performance improves through association and imitation of those who are better than we are. In addition, cycling in a group is motivating fun and you get to share coffee and gossip after your ride.

3. Cycle before breakfast at least twice each week. This is safer, cooler and gets you out of bed and on the road with just an orange or a banana in your stomach. You go to bed earlier the night before and soon you’ll find you want to be out in Phuket’s gorgeous sunrise and enjoying the best part of the day.

4. Set a specific cycling objective and publish it to all your friends and family. “I will cycle my age in kilometres in one hour on my next birthday” is a good example. That’s a bit of a challenge if you happen to be over 70 like me, so tailor your goal according to your abilities right now and what you can reasonably expect to achieve by your next birthday.

5. Book a challenging cycling holiday or event such as cycling from Bangkok to Phuket with Martin Brott’s Siam Bike Tours (www.siambiketours.com) with your friends and then train up to be able to achieve and enjoy it.

Happy New Year from Bicycling Baz!

“Bicycling” Baz Daniel has been penning his Blazing Saddles column, chronicling his cycling adven­tures in Phuket and beyond, since 2013.

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