We all recognise the sound of rain against our bedroom window and we know how it’s a powerful inducement to drift back to sleep again or skip our planned training session. Our minds magically conjure up a thousand reasons why we shouldn’t go out on that bike ride – it’s too cold; I did enough miles last week; I haven’t got the right tyres on the bike; it’s too windy; I’m too tired. Suddenly, our cycling motivation diminishes.
Both the summer and winter months can produce endless wet weekends, where our motivation to ride our bike can ebb away. Plus, there are just so many other things that need to be done at the weekend, right? So, how do we make sure we keep cycling throughout the year? How do we break out of our inactivity?
Below are a few ideas that should help ensure year-long cycling motivation:
- Professional athletes train every day of the year – they don’t shirk at the sight of rain or a bit of wind or cold. If we want to be at our best for the big event we’ve entered, or generally at our fittest, then the hours spent on the road through the miserable months will pay dividends and put you in great stead for warm weather summer rides.
- Treat the sunny days as your personal reward for having endured the cold and wet ones – training when the conditions are tough will build your endurance and your resilience. If you get cold then pedal a bit harder.
- Plan your training schedule before you see the forecast and set mileage goals for November through to May. Stick to them! If you cycle with a group then never let them down – never be the one who is late.
- We are surprisingly waterproof and rain doesn’t hurt us. Cycling in the UK can be a wet experience, throughout the year. Enjoy it! Wear appropriate clothing (accept that you will get wet whatever!) and prepare your bike as much as you can. If you are lucky enough to have a second bike then fit mudguards and get ready to visit the bearings as often as possible; wheel and bottom bracket bearings often fail because they get ignored.
- In extremely bad weather conditions, cycle at home. Turbo trainers are a great way to get some miles in from the comfort of your own home. Set your back wheel up on a turbo trainer, put on some inspirational music or watch a readily available spin/turbo video, and get pedalling! You’ll find it to be quite the lung buster.
- Ultimately, cycling motivation can only come from inside us. If you think of cycling as simply a pleasurable pastime then you know what to do when you hear those raindrops against the glass. But if you want to be stronger, ride faster, climb better, and stay on the pace for the whole day, then get up and go for that ride.
Key note: If the conditions are genuinely unrideable (icy road surfaces and/or strong winds) then don’t take the risk; have a backup plan. Turbo trainers are a useful tool for monitoring fitness, but in the same way that rowing machines don’t make for better rowers, indoor trainers won’t necessarily make you a better cyclist. That can only be done on the road. For a cheap alternative to the trainer, get yourself a set of rollers. Yes, you’ll need to practice to get comfortable, but they will make you a better rider.
If you have any motivational tips, let us know!