Phil Godkin

Wheel & Sprocket - Fox Point  Fit Specialist and Training Hub Coach

A new year of biking begins!   Phil Godkin, who teaches all kinds of riders, shares ideas to create a fun and inspiring year-long plan to ride your bike.

Your Personal Plan

Start by making a plan and set consistent goals for yourself that are:

  • Realistic -Set the right expectations. Compare yourself to yourself and avoid adopting someone else’s riding goals.  

  • Attainable  - How will you accomplish the goal?  Think about consistency, timing, and more. 

  • Stretch - Step outside your comfort zone!

Start now:  Don’t wait until spring 

I’ve seen many customers “take the winter off” only to backslide on all the significant gains they made the year before.  It takes three to four months of consistent biking to build up sustainable performance.  That means that you’ll feel your best at biking in late summer if you begin in spring.    

You can change that by starting your biking now. Take an indoor class, use a home trainer/stationary bike, or better yet combine those with actually riding outside. Check out our Training Hub and Paul Makela’s Winter Riding Advice for more information.

Join a Ride  

Get inspired and help some really great organizations by participating in some of the terrific rides throughout the upper Midwest like Active Transit Alliance’s Bike the Drive, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Scenic Shore 150, or the Wisconsin Bike Federation Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW). Many riders want to complete a century ride or log over 1,000 miles by year-end. Pick an event or milestone to start building your plan. 

Work with a Coach (or online program)  

Whether you want to ride 10 miles without stopping or beat your previous race times, I suggest you seek out a formal training program. Personal trainers are ideal to help you with strength and endurance exercises that will benefit you on the bike.

Some web-based programs will give you a plan, but you will need to be more disciplined with those to see any benefit.  

Keep It Fun  

My rule of thumb: Enjoy “today’s” ride for what it brings you. With that mindset, you can take pleasure with both small and large accomplishments with each ride.  

Stick to the Plan

Write up a schedule, put those rides on your calendar, track yourself, reward successes, and more.   Make sure you also build in rest days!  

Your Bike Plan 

Your bike should be personalized to you and your type of ride. I have different bikes for different purposes.  

Make Sure Your Bike Works   

A bike requires maintenance.  You truly enjoy your ride when your bike works properly.  Take your bike in early for a service review to check tires, brakes, gears, and more.  

Sadly, a bike that isn’t working often just sits in the garage or house which means you lose out on the great benefits of riding!

Get A Proper Bike Fit

When your bike is adjusted correctly to your body and your riding style, you are more comfortable, more efficient, more powerful, and less likely to sustain injuries. I have seen riders experience intense muscle pain that could have been prevented with a proper bike fit. 

Take time to get your body properly positioned and fit on your bike with a professional bike fit expert.  Our goal with bike fitting is to allow for more comfortable touch-points between you and the bike (seat, hands, feet) to help you improve your riding performance.

Your Body and Your Bike Evolve

Ask yourself “how does my body “now” relate to a bike you bought many years ago?” Are you riding with “tension” or truly relaxed?

Bodies change in size and shape over time.  And bikes have evolved as well.  If your body has changed, then it may be time to re-position or re-orient yourself on your existing bike or think about a new bike. For instance, larger body size is better suited for a more upright bike like an FX or Verve than most road bikes. 

Remember  “compare yourself with yourself” and avoid using someone’s body type as your guide to your ride. Two people may look the same but an individual body “likes to live on a bike” differently. That’s why it's important to work with professionals who can fit you with the right bike. 

Be proud of your body type and get the best bike to fit you - and truly enjoy the ride!