As cyclists, sometimes we get into slumps that make it difficult to enjoy the hobby we love or even stop us from hopping on the bike at all. It could be bad weather, brutal winter cold, or just an incredibly busy schedule that kills your motivation. Not much feels worse than knowing you could have ridden today but didn’t, so check out a few of these ways that you can get yourself excited about riding again!
Make Some Riding Goals
Setting attainable goals is a great way to help the riding experience and get motivated, as you will have the extra sense of accomplishment along with the fun you had riding. Goals can be simple, such as riding 50 miles a week, or riding all the way to the top of a local mountain or other large climb. Likewise, goals can also be set to be difficult on purpose, like training for an Ironman or riding 10,000 miles in one year.
Conversely, setting goals that are too ambitious can have a negative effect on you and can contribute to your slump. If you set a goal like “I will do a 100 mile ride every single weekend” and by the second or third weekend you’re already sick of spending that much time in the saddle, you’re likely to just not want to ride at all. Instead of saying you’ll do a 100 mile ride each weekend, say you’ll do at least one ride each weekend regardless of length and then gradually ramp up your goal from there. Set realistic goals for yourself and make sure that it’s not only a goal worth reaching, but it’s fun.
Join A Group Ride or Club
For many cyclists the social aspect of the sport is one of the best parts of riding. If you’re getting bored of riding the same old routes and having no one to talk to but the scenery, you should check with local bike shops or area Facebook cycling groups to find group rides that you can participate in. These groups can help you not only meet fellow cyclists, but can also help your riding skills, stamina, and speed. Another benefit could be finding new routes or trails to ride that you hadn’t known of previously. Groups can usually be found for all riding abilities and distances, and in addition to local bike shops, you may also find rides hosted at local businesses like breweries or coffee shops. “Drinking club with a cycling problem” is a phrase thrown around in my city fairly regularly!
Run Errands or Commute
A fun way to squeeze in some time on the bike while doing things you were going to do anyways is to ride there! Grabbing a bite to eat with friends? Ride there! Heading to the bank to cash a check? Ride there! Grabbing a few things at the grocery store? Toss on a backpack and ride there!
And if you’re fortunate enough to live close enough to work, try commuting by bike. It may seem daunting at first but it’s really not that hard, and you can even check out our introductory series to bike commuting here. It’s a fantastic feeling finishing out each day with a relaxing bike ride home and knowing you don’t have to worry about squeezing in a ride after dinner, which will leave you more time to spend with your partner, spouse, and/or kids.
Try Mountain Biking
Sometimes the slump we get as road cyclists is not so much feeling lazy or just not wanting to ride, but rather it’s not wanting to deal with the traffic we have to ride with, particularly after experiencing a nasty aggressive driver. Thankfully, you can get your cycling fix free of cars and trucks by riding in the woods! Mountain biking is a great way to get in the miles without the normal worries you get riding on the road, and can feel like an even better workout as trail riding is more of a full-body experience than road cycling can be. You’ll certainly earn that post-ride meal, and may find an excuse to get another bike (we all want an excuse for another bike, right?!).
Some parts of the world are also experiencing a growth in what’s commonly called “gravel grinding,” which is basically road riding but on gravel roads. Many use it as a way to get long days in the saddle with minimal traffic. If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with an abundance of gravel and dirt roads this can be another fun alternative to the road without the stresses of heavy traffic.
Ride at Night
Riding at night may seem like an odd suggestion, but riding much later than you normally would and in the dark can create a surreal experience compared to your normal morning or afternoon route. If you’re new to riding in the dark I’d suggest sticking to your regular and familiar routes at first, but you’ll quickly find that they feel different anyways. Enjoy the lighter traffic, eerily quiet surroundings, and the wonderful sense of calm that you feel when riding on a quiet night.
Do you have another way that you turn to so that you can get out of riding slumps? Let us know on our Facebook page!
Rob is a New England native who has been living in Charlotte, North Carolina, since 2012. Upon learning how to ride at the age of five he quickly found that everything is better on a bicycle, and hasn’t stopped riding since.