Surviving Blue Monday by cycling

What exactly is Blue Monday?

Designated the most depressing day of the year, Blue Monday is said to fall in the third week of January. 

Originally coined in a press release for Sky Travel in 2005, the concept of Blue Monday is based on an equation balancing a number of factors to ‘prove’ it’s the day when nationally our spirits hit rock bottom.

These include lowest level of daylight, longest time since pay day, bad weather, failure of new years’ resolutions, low motivational levels, time since Christmas – in short, the negative flip side to the excitement of a new year. 

Swiftly dismissed as meaningless pseudoscience by academics, nevertheless Blue Monday still has traction probably because its claims feel true even if the maths doesn’t quite stack up. 

If all this sounds pretty miserable, don’t despair. At Red Kite Cycles we’re firm believers in the bike’s ability to help us live better and be happier. So, here are our tips on how to overcome the Blue Monday demons on two wheels.

1. Going for a ride is always a good idea.

Yes, the weather may look rubbish. Yes, it still gets dark early (though increasingly less so!) but you will never regret going for that ride. 

Riding a bike will make you feel good – it will get your blood pumping and boost your serotonin levels. You’ll gain a sense of achievement, burn some calories and have something to say for your day. It’s a common saying in cycling circles that the hardest distance is from ‘bed to shed’. So get organised in advance: pump up your tyres, get your kit ready, then just jump on and pedal. 

2. The weather isn’t nearly as bad as you think

When it’s cold and rainy outside, it’s easy to put off cycling plans for another day. But in reality, the weather has to be apocalyptically bad to ruin a good ride. A good waterproof jacket (and waterproof trousers if it’s pouring down) is all you need for an enjoyable ride in the rain. The same is true for combatting the cold: wear layers and have a good pair of gloves and winter socks to keep you cosy when the temperatures drop.

A blog from the sustainable transport charity Sustrans debunks many of the myths that prevent us from getting out on our bikes. 

3.  Set yourself some goals / make some plans 

Boost your motivation by setting yourself some cycling goals. They could be charity sportives, riding with a local group or a cycling trip you need to train for. Having a focus for your cycling will motivate you to get out and ride. Once you’ve bagged them, you’ll be encouraged to keep going and set yourself some more. 

Check out the British Cycling Calendar 2023, which has dates of all kinds of rides from cyclocross to easy café rides in your area

4. Make a training plan

You know you want to get fitter and better on your bike, but unless you make a plan for how you’ll get there it’s unlikely to happen. 

Schedule sessions in your diary and choose a mix of different distances, solo rides and group rides or Zwift sessions if you’re a fan of indoor training.  

Take a look at the excellent Cycling Weekly free training plans for beginners, intermediates and racers. 

5. Get social

Riding is brilliant fun with friends. It doubles the hit: the pleasure of good company with the glow from exercising. Grab a friend or a gang of mates and go for a coffee ride.

Take a comfortable spin along a scenic ride and stop at a café. This is a particularly good habit to adopt if your usual activity with mates is going to the pub.

Do something active together, make some memories, and hey there’s no reason you can’t stop for a pint afterwards! 

 Plan a route using the Komoot app or choose a National Cycling networks route.

6. Cycling can save you money and time

Are you getting the most out of your bike? Could you put it to work more? Using your bike to replace car journeys will have a fast, positive impact on your wallet.

It’s easy to repurpose a bike into a commuter bike: you just need to fit mudguards, maybe a luggage rack, and get a good lock.  Soon you’ll find you’re saving money on fuel and parking and win back time wasted in traffic jams. And with the development of more cycling lanes and bike parking in Birmingham and Solihull, journeys by bike are increasingly becoming a no brainer.

And if all else fails, come and see us in the shop for a free coffee and let us motivate you!