It’s kind of like asking, “how to make eating enjoyable?” For some, this is a hard concept, but I think it’s mainly because they need to learn a few good tricks! I’ve had 10+ years to learn a lot of tricks, and countless hours on the open road reasoning out why I love the sport so much. With this acquired knowledge, I’m going to go over what I think may be limiting your fun odometer when it comes to road cycling!
1. Ride with friends
Easy enough, right? Well, apparently not. I let my friends know that I want to ride with them all the time, yet they still hesitate to get out with me. For some reason, people think they’ll be too slow, that they’ll weigh others down, and for a number of ridiculous reasons, decide against riding with others. First off, if someone lets you know they want to ride, they do! Don’t let the voices in your head tell you otherwise. From my perspective, I know what I’m getting into, and I wouldn’t ask if I was worried about the pace. So, get a hold of those people! And don’t be afraid of the pace. Only you can dictate how much you can push. Communicate that with your friends and they’ll ease up. There’s no shame in being tired or going a little slower. You’re out there to have fun, be social, and enjoy yourself, so do what you need to do to make that happen!
2. Join a group ride
Maybe you need a little bit of healthy competition to spice things up. Join a group ride and just like that, one to two hours go by, you’ve blown off some steam, and you’re back to that happy place. You can also treat a group ride as a time to simply follow, go with the flow, make no decisions, and just pedal. Be a fish in a school and let your legs decide if you’re going to swim up current or meander downstream.
3. Enjoy food
‘Nuff said. Most cyclists are controlled by their appetite and find much pleasure in eating. Make that part of your ride motivation. Whether it’s that donut shop you’ve been drooling about all week, or the café with those oh-so-delectable vanilla lattes and scones, find your mid-ride indulgence. If you’re anything like me, you’d kill a man for a good donut. Not only are you breaking up your ride to get some much needed fuel, but you’re also adding that enjoyment factor you’ve searching looking for. “Mmmm, dooooooooonuts” – Homer Simpson.
4. Run Errands
Yes, run your errands on your bike. If you’re the kind of person who literally has no time and finds it hard to justify going out for a bike ride, take away the stress by getting shit done at the same time!
5. Ride somewhere new
You don’t have to go far to ride somewhere new. It’s as easy as turning left instead of right on your normal route, and committing to exploring.
If you’re bored of your backyard, then change it up. Load up your car and ride in a new area. Go ride with a friend you haven’t seen in a few months; reconnect with them and enjoy uncharted territory. The bonus of driving is that you can escape the busy areas and go to a more cycling-friendly environment. Whether you’re escaping the city or just getting out to lightly used roads, plan something fun!
6. Train towards a goal
Is focus your issue? For some cycling just isn’t fun without a goal, so make one. Register for a Gran Fondo, set a timeline to tackle a century, commit to a charity ride, or plan a cycling vacation. (All of these pair great with #1 and often lead to #5, too.)
The internet is stocked with writing and photos of people enjoying great cycling destinations. Find a place that’s calling your name: Girona, Spain, Southern France, Belgium, Taiwan, Northern and Southern California… just to list a few; these are some of my favorite areas to ride.
You can tour anywhere in the world or plan one in your neighborhood. A long weekend cycle tour could be just what you need.
Around every corner is an adventure, you just have to think outside the box. Plan a trip for next week, next month, or a year from now, and find your Zen on the bike.
This may all sound very rudimentary, but maybe you never really thought about it. What is it about your bike ride that you’re not enjoying? Hopefully this article has helped you solve just that!