Year Review 2021

And so we reach the last day of 2021. Compared to 2020 it’s not been a bad year, off the bike at least.

However, on the bike the numbers say, and I feel it has been significantly down.

That’s not to say it’s been a bad year – there are, I believe, reasons why this is the case. Reasons I shall address below.

Here’s the high level summary – though right off the bat I will say … 2000w 5sec peak power?! I think we can all agree that something went wrong with that recording 🙂

Comparatively, the numbers are down overall.

  • Less time spent on the bike (by 5 hours over the course of the year);
  • Nearly 1000 less kilometres logged;
  • Only 2 fewer activities
  • ~15,000 less meters climbed
  • Lower max temp (33c last year, 28c this year)
  • Lower average temp (17.9c last year, 15.1c this year)

And so on.

Why is this?

Well, it’s probably down to a major increase in outdoor rides:

  • 94 outdoor rides in 2021
  • 69 outdoor rides in 2020

That’s been the single biggest change this year. I’ve been outdoors way more. Waaaaaay more.

If there’s an opportunity to ride outside, even if it’s not the nicest conditions, I’ve taken it. Considering the blog is named CyclingIndoors (kinda regret that now), then yeah… just over a third of my rides were outdoors this year.

Outdoor Rides

Out of 94 outdoor rides, some of them had to be better than others, right?


It’s hard to pick from all the rides I enjoyed this year, particularly as I am a fat fingered buffoon and broke not one, but two phones this year, so wasn’t able to photograph much along the way.

However, here are my Top 10 favourite outdoor rides.

1. The Christie Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride 2021

No doubt about it, this was the standout ride for me this year. My first 100km ride, my first time riding in a big pack, my first time riding away from home… a lot of firsts that day. It was a hard ride, no doubt about it, but I loved it.

Hoping to do this one again in 2022 for sure.

2. The Duke of Lancaster

This was a long ride in fairly cold conditions. I remember taking my gloves off several times to take pictures and struggling to put them back on again as my fingers were so numb. What made this ride were all the sights of the historic old city. Loved it.

3. Rivington 10 Climbs

This ride will stick with me for two reasons:

The wind, and the absolute soaking I got for my troubles. I’ve never been so wet on the bike before or since. It was so bad that as I turned the pedals, water would leak out of my shoes. Shoe covers were purchased shortly there after.

Lovely scenery though, looking forwards to trying this route – or similar – again when it’s nicer weather.

4. Out And Blackburn Again

Blackburn. It’s basically Preston with a more successful football team. Up until that ride I’d never seen Ewood Park up close, nor did I know that Blackburn had a Cathedral.

It was so lovely and sunny. I remember eating my banana on a bench on the way home thinking: this is the life.

I’m easily pleased.

5. Beaten The Steep ‘Un

Failing a climb is never a fun thing. I don’t think I had ever failed an indoor climb before.

But outdoors? That was something different.

I consider a failure as having to stop before the top. And my first time up Jeffrey Hill via Forty Acre Lane ended with a stop about two thirds of the way up.

That was in 2020.

I managed to best that climb in 2021. Only once. But making the top was a good feeling, I can tell you that. And the descent was epiiiiiiiic.

6. Tree-mendous

Ahh, sentimentality. Call me a sucker, but I do enjoy it.

This one could have been better, had I made it out before Christmas Day. However, getting down to Winckley Square to see the tree was nice even if it was after the big day.

7. James Bond Up North: Cold ‘un, Aye

Discovering new roads / routes is always fun, especially when you find a hidden gem like this waterfall early on a Sunday morning.

8. A Prime Day For Cycling

Sadly one where I didn’t have a working camera.

This one showed me the ridiculous scale of Amazon’s operation. Eye opening.

9. Curry In A Hurry

My performance on this climb wasn’t great. However, the route, the views, the weather? It was all spectacular. A truly lovely day out on the bike.

10. Out For Lunch

There was nothing ‘special’ about this ride. But that’s kinda what makes it special. It was just a regular dinner time bike ride, in the sun, on an otherwise regular day at work.

Being able to get out on the bike, even for an hour, breaks up an otherwise normal day. It makes it better. It’s exactly why I love my bike.

Sunshine, fresh air, and a workout. What’s not to love?

My Goals For 2021

Here are the goals I set for myself at the end of 2020.

  1. Attain an FTP of 3.9w/kg or greater
  2. Join a real world group ride
  3. Cycle an indoor metric century
  4. Finish the Zwift 2020 Academy Workouts
  5. Try The Sufferfest
    1. AKA complete the 4DP test
  6. Ride the Manchester to Blackpool cycling event (if it’s on)
  7. Cycle in a foreign country (if I can get there)
  8. Continue blogging & vlogging every ride

Performance Against My 2021 Goals

  • Attain an FTP of 3.9w/kg or greater
  • Laughable. Even if I hit an FTP of 245w (which I’m currently dubious about) I’d still only be at 3.66w/kg. Probably need to lay off the whacky backy for this years goal.

    For clarity, 3.9w/kg would mean an FTP of 265w… so yeah, no.

  • Join a real world group ride
  • Sadly, not really. Not a small bunch ride like I had in mind.

    Unsurprising as I didn’t really try. I had this in mind at the time when lockdowns and social distancing were still very much a thing. As the year progressed, this slipped farther from my mind even as social distancing eased.

    • Cycle an indoor metric century

    No, I did the outdoor version instead.

    This pretty much sums up my year actually. Where possible I went outdoors. 100km on the turbo? Not very appealing.

    I don’t feel so bad about missing this one.

  • Finish the Zwift 2020 Academy Workouts
  • This was a left over from Covid related illness.

    To confirm, yes, I completed before ZA2020, and ZA2021. I’m sure I will be receiving a phone call any day now to confirm my placement with Alpecin Fenix.

    One out of four so far, doing well…

  • Complete the 4DP test
  • Oh yes, that was a fun day.

    Actually, as savage as that test is, it is by far and away the most valuable single activity I did on the bike this year.

  • Ride the Manchester to Blackpool cycling event (if it’s on)
  • It was on, and I managed a time of 3h 35m.

    Looking forwards to repeating this in 2022.

    • Cycle in a foreign country (if I can get there)

    Sadly not.

    The closest I got to this one was heading to Edinburgh, where I could have technically completed the goal with a Boris bike – or their Sturgeon-based equivalent.

    However, what I actually had in mind was something of a cycling road trip. And I didn’t even get close.

    • Continue blogging & vlogging every ride

    Blogging, yes.

    Vlogging, not so much.

    Not sure if that will change in 2022. I can’t find a way to make the vlogging that exciting, so I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

    My Goals For 2022

    In no particular order:

    • Attain an FTP of 3.66w/kg or greater
      This is a significantly more realistic target, and feels like a solid ask. The judge of this will either be the 4DP test or the Zwift 20 minute test. Ramp tests do no count.
    • Cycle an indoor metric century
      Yeah, why not, let’s roll this one over.
    • Complete my second 4DP test
      Valuable stuff, no matter how much it hurts.
    • Beat my time up Forty Acre Lane
      6m 14s is the time to beat
    • One hard climb per month
      I think this is where I have been slacking off the most
    • Ride the Manchester to Blackpool cycling event (if it’s on)
    • Complete at least one other metric century ride outdoors
    • Cycle in a foreign country (if I can get there)
    • Continue blogging every ride

    I can’t think of anything else to add to this list right now.

    Maybe something related to running. I’d need to buy some proper running trainers. I do believe a variation in exercise wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    Though it may not look like much has changed, there have been several improvements to my other site,, this year.

    I have several bigger additions in progress, mostly around the mapping functionality.

    The big thing I want to add is a “find my location” type feature, which will allow me to find myself when on holiday / away from home, and find interesting looking climbs nearby. I have most of this done and am aiming to launch the update over the next month or so. It’s very much a labour of love / hobby project, so am not putting timescales on anything.

    Generally though, I find the site useful but not essential. Yet.

    I have some other cycling programming projects currently in progress, so we shall see what happens with them over 2022. Not saying too much just yet, but hoping to keep them all very much Open Source (aka free) and more importantly, fun.


    Maintaining a fitness routine is hard.

    It’s hard when you have the routine established, and it’s even harder to get back into it when you break it.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that if I didn’t have this blog, I wouldn’t have made the progress I have. Frankly, I would likely have quit long ago.

    But knowing I have to get off the bike and be honest with myself, and with you, keeps me motivated. Sometimes the feeling of not letting you down is a bigger motivator than not letting myself down. How mad is that?

    The fact people come and read about the workouts and bike rides of a distinctly average middle aged British nerd 🤓 never ceases to amaze me. And the fact some of you even come back more than once? Mind blowing 🤯

    We’re over half a million words deep into this blog now.

    And another nerd stat? Nightly backups are at 17.3gb and growing. That’s a hell of a lot of pictures.

    Thank You

    Thank you so much for visiting Cycling Indoors this year. As I mentioned above, knowing people stop by and read my ramblings is a pretty huge motivator for me, particularly during the harder efforts.

    For those of you who have left a comment, sent me an email, given me kudos or other interaction on Strava, a Ride On on Zwift, and / or helped me in one of the many other ways, may I offer you an extra special thank you. I truly do appreciate it.

    I feel 2021 has been better than 2020. And whilst I’m not expecting a great deal from the world in 2022, I do honestly believe it will be better than 2021. It’s not that tall an ask really, is it?

    Have a very happy New Year, and let’s see what 2022 brings.


    2 thoughts on “Year Review 2021”

    1. Happy New Years!

      C pace partner on Zwift is a quick way to nail 100km. I think it’s about 2hrs 40min on Tempus Fugit route.

      Fingers crossed for covid to bugger off in 2022, or even the kids to have a whole year in school would be nice!

      • Cheers Phil – good shout on the pace partner, that’s pretty much what I had in mind. Nice bit of coco. 3 hours on the turbo though… hard to prioritise that if there’s any chance of an outdoors ride on the cards. Best get it in whilst the weather is still bad.

        Saw on the news this morning that the UK has decided to ‘live with covid’ … for once, something I agree with. Sucks, but it’s for the best. Maybe some kind of normality will return in 2022.

        And yeah… kids in school, that’s the most exhausting bit for sure. Bad for them as well. God knows what it’s going to do for their generation.


    Leave a comment