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road.cc readers suggest remedies for those times when your enthusiasm for getting on the bike dips

Most of us experience a dip in enthusiasm for cycling occasionally and just don’t fancy getting on the bike as much as usual, but the good news is that it’s a temporary affliction. Here’s how to make sure you come back to your senses as soon as possible. 

We asked road.cc readers for tips on getting the old cycling mojo back again, and many of the replies we got are included here. Bear in mind that some of the suggestions are mutually exclusive, so you need to choose what you think is right for you.  

Ride new routes

“My enthusiasm usually only dips because I get bored with the routes I have to ride, so I take my bike for a road trip,” says Charlie Jenkins. “Pack a bag, throw the bike in the back of the truck and head out on an adventure.”

If you’ve cycled in the same area for a long time you’re bound to know the local roads and might not find them particularly inspiring any more, but you can always find new routes, especially with navigation apps like MapMyRide and Strava Route Builder (still in beta phase) out there. You can also get new ideas from ride-mates and online forums.

Check out 26 of the best smartphone cycling apps for iPhone and Android 

Read our feature: GPS cycle route planning made easy

Higher level Garmin Edge bike computers (the 820, 1030, Explore 820 and Explore 1000) have a Round-Trip Course feature that suggests routes for you based on your chosen distance. This might come up with ideas you’ve not considered.

Garmin Edge 1030 - maps.jpg

Garmin Edge 1030 - maps.jpg

Check out our review of the Garmin Edge 1030 cycling computer here. 

Try a new type of cycling 

“Do something different,” says Greg Wright. “If you usually ride on the road, try riding off-road. If you usually ride solo, join a group. If you've never ridden on a velodrome, give it a try.”

Lauren Van Riessen Velodrome wall ride Rio Olympics 2016

Lauren Van Riessen keirin wall ride at the Rio Olympics 2016

Jari Mutikainen also likes to mix it up.

“It’s the trick of holy trinity: mountain bike, gravel, and road. Switch to the next one when needed.”

Battle on the Beach Entry 2015-Singletrack

Battle on the Beach Entry 2015-Singletrack

There’s a whole load of other cycling disciplines out there if you feel you’re stuck in a rut. 

Go to our sister site off.road.cc for everything you need to know about mountain biking

Check out 18 of the best 2018 gravel and adventure bikes

Bikepacking (CC BY-ND 2.0 Jeff Moser|Flickr)

As well as giving you a new challenge to get stuck into, this could open up new routes for you to ride (see above), new scenery to check out and perhaps an excuse to get yourself some new toys. Speaking of which…

Buy some new stuff!

“Buy a new bike,” is Dan Hopkinson’s suggestion for rediscovering your mojo.

Bianchi Oltre XR4 - riding 3.jpg

That sounds like a fabulous idea to us. Get yourself a new Bianchi Oltre XR4 and you’ll have no trouble motivating yourself to get out and ride it. Guaranteed! The trouble is, that’s going to work out very expensive if your enthusiasm dips on a regular basis

.Fizik R3 Aria.jpg

“Buy something new for your bike that you always wanted – new kit or shoes,” says Nathan Belmont. 

Anything that’ll make your ride experience more pleasurable sounds like a good option.

Check out our clothing reviews here.

Eastway Zener - saddle and post.jpg

Read about 19 of the best saddles. 

token_bling.jpg

token_bling.jpg

Or you could pimp your bike on the cheap to give it a lift. 

Set yourself a challenge

“Set a target reward like a big challenge ride or a cycling trip away,” says Mark Tarbard.

Martin Burrows says, “Signing up for a charity ride gets me back in focus.”  

Or you could follow Piotr Wybieralski’s suggestion: “Go on Strava and check out those segments that you want to PR next.”

Bikepacking (CC BY-SA 2.0 8bar Adventures - Morocco - High Atlas|Flickr)

Bikepacking (CC BY-SA 2.0 8bar Adventures - Morocco - High Atlas|Flickr)

Getting a goal might well focus your mind. You might plan to compete in a race or take part in a sportive, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be an organised event. You could set yourself a personal challenge or a fitness goal. 

If you’re a goal-orientated person and this approach is likely to work for you, set a SMART objective. In other words, make your goal specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. 

If you rode a particular sportive in 5hrs last year, for example, you might aim to ride this year’s event 15mins quicker. You’ll need to work out how you can do that, and break it down into specific training weeks – and once you’ve done that you’ll be far less likely to skip rides.

Team road.cc Winchester ride out - smiling for the camera.jpg

Team road.cc Winchester ride out - smiling for the camera.jpg

Or you might set yourself the aim of doing a century ride by the end of August, or a coast-to-coast ride before your next birthday.

Making your goal something you’ll enjoy and really want to achieve will help you stick to it.

Make it fun! 

The goal-orientated approach (above) isn’t for everyone – not all of the time, at least.

“Forget the goals, targets and expectations and just get back to riding your bike,” says Chris O’Connor. “Leave your GPS device at home, forget about all the hype that you have to be faster and just ride for the sake of riding. Once you find that love of cycling again, get back to setting yourself attainable goals.”

Dave Branston’s suggestion for regaining your enthusiasm is similar: “Forget the targets and ride for fun to start with. Vary the days you ride. Leave time for family. Lighten up and don’t take it so seriously!”

Jonathan Cross says, “Slow down and smell the roses. Join some relaxed group coffee rides. Try some relaxed tours, maybe starting with a one night credit card tour somewhere nice.”

Damian Passlow suggests, “Don't try to peak all year round. Maybe get off Strava so you don't end up turning every ride into a race.”

Several other people had similar suggestions.

 Kinesis Aithein - Jo descending (Geoff Waugh Photos

If you’re struggling with motivation it could be because you’re not adding enough fun to the mix. As well trying out new routes and perhaps a new cycling discipline (see above), you could try developing an enjoyable skill such as descending, or ride to the coast… use your imagination!

Check out 14 tips for better descending. 

Ride with other people

“Find a riding buddy,” suggests Jon Koh.

Liesl Hacker says, “Go out with a group of mates who you know will encourage you and help you to get back to fitness.”

Riding with other people is the most popular way that road.cc users suggest for rediscovering cycling enthusiasm. 

sunny group riding.jpg

Yes, cycling on your own can be great too, but riding with a friend, a group or a club can make things easier, providing camaraderie, support, encouragement and enjoyment. 

Read 8 reasons to join a cycling club and how to find the right one for you. 

Book a cycling holiday

A change is as good as a rest, right? Book yourself a cycling holiday somewhere hot and sunny and you’re bound to fall in love with life on two wheels again. 

If you think everyone who goes on a cycling holiday is a Tour de France-wannabe, think again. Of course, there are full-on training camps for those who want them, but there are also plenty of other cyclist-friendly hotels around the world, some of them offering guided rides for various abilities and aspirations – such as the Belvedere in Riccione, Italy, where we hold the annual road.cc Italy Week.

 

Read 10 reasons you should come to the Belvedere.

You’ll come back with added fitness and a renewed enthusiasm for cycling.

Give yourself a break

Losing your enthusiasm for cycling could indicate that you need a break.

“Usually I dip from the pure exhaustion of exerting myself too much and trying to make goals over the same stretch of road or trail over and over again,” says Seth Peterson. 

“The best way I've been able to get back into it is to take a week or two off cycling. I'll go do an alternative workout, either outside or in a gym. Then, get back into it easy. Go on a easy, sightseeing recovery ride. By that time you'll have realised how awesome and fun cycling is. It's all about getting back the sense of fun in cycling, as that's what got us all hooked.”

Top advice. 

Barbecue - dave asleep

Barbecue - dave asleep

Taking time off the bike might make you worry about losing fitness but the reality is that a few days away won’t do you any harm. Your body will get the chance to recover fully from your last ride and you’ll gradually start to feel less jaded. Granted, you’ll slowly start to lose your edge after about a week of inactivity, but by that time you’ll probably be itching to get back in the saddle anyway.

 

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

7 comments

Avatar
peted76 [1105 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Don't beat yourself up about your performance. Accept that not every ride can be your best.

Don't beat yourself up about not being on the bike week in week out. Accept that there'll be peaks and troughs.

Go exploring, local lanes, housing estates or grand days out.

Try new stuff, borrow a different kind of bike and try it out (MTB, 4X, BMX, Speedway, CX, Tandem, Recumbent) there's more out there than we sometimes see...

 

Avatar
StraelGuy [1442 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Coffee. Mainly coffee...

Avatar
Richard1982 [103 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

"If you've never ridden on a velodrome, give it a try.”
You could have found a better picture to encourage people!

As a track coach I spend a lot of my time trying to convince people to give it a go. People assume it's all just people crashing and falling off because that's usually all you hear about and the crashes are usually fairly dramatic. In reality track riding is safe, crashes are pretty rare as you don't have the unpredicability of traffic, surface issues and corners that you have on the road. Even racing on the track crashes many times less frequent than your typical local Cat 4 crit.

Avatar
fincon1 [10 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Enter a sportive. Choose a distance that will challenge you. The need to get fit will spur you on as it approaches, and the day itself will be fun in all sorts of ways. New roads, new people to meet. 

I did my first in 2016. I did two last year, including my first 100 miles. This year I'm aiming for three, starting with the Tour de Yorkshire Ride which I did last Sunday. My mojo is great!

Avatar
StraelGuy [1442 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Agreed, sportives are great. I did two last year and I'm doing my second one of this year on Sunday, a 75 miler Wiggle one in Darlington.

Avatar
Zermattjohn [272 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Get lost.

No, seriously. Just ride, don't have a pre-planned route and just head off. See where you end up, it's great to discover new places you've not been, or discover cunning little cut-through's you didn't know existed. This is even more fun on a bike capable of going off-road, on canal towpaths and the like.

Getting off busy roads with all the grunt of driver hassles has been a great pick-me-up at times - just remembering what it was about being on the bike you fell in love with in the first place.

Avatar
fixation80 [21 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
Richard1982 wrote:

"If you've never ridden on a velodrome, give it a try.”
You could have found a better picture to encourage people!

As a track coach I spend a lot of my time trying to convince people to give it a go. People assume it's all just people crashing and falling off because that's usually all you hear about and the crashes are usually fairly dramatic. In reality track riding is safe, crashes are pretty rare as you don't have the unpredicability of traffic, surface issues and corners that you have on the road. Even racing on the track crashes many times less frequent than your typical local Cat 4 crit.

Plus one for this advice, after the initial courses and induction, which can for the sake of safety be a little too clinical, the buzz from being on the track, racing in a league is fantastic. I was so took up with track racing I was still 'at it' at seventy four. I have had the pleasure also of watching skinny kids develop into the Pro riders of the road today, Adam Blyth, Ben Swift, the Yates twins and some of our female track Olympians. A junior national track champion made appearances at Manchester going on to world championships and the Tour de France winner, Sir Bradley of course. A brilliant time since Manchester velodrome opened, get down to the track and enjoy.