At some point after purchasing a bike, every new rider experiences a loss of motivation. Try these ideas to re-spark your enthusiasm and remember why you bought a bike in the first place.
1. Ride at a Different Time of Day
You groan every time that 4:30 alarm goes off. Even if you do manage to pull yourself out of bed, that bad start is going to impact the rest of your ride. So why put yourself through it?
Some cyclists love the early mornings, but plenty of people just aren't cut out for it. Check the number of hours you're sleeping; that early morning ride might actually be depriving you of valuable rest. If your body keeps telling you to stay in bed, it might be a great idea.
Instead, move your daily ride to the evening. It will give you something to look forward to at the end of your work day. Ride before dinner to work up an appetite, or ride after dinner to burn those calories. Catch sunsets instead of sunrises. Spend a few evenings riding under the stars.
You need to make time for the bike, so choose a time that actually works for you.
2. Visit a Beautiful Location
When you first bought your bike, you probably pictured yourself coasting down a gorgeous mountainside. Yet when you go out for your daily ride, you find yourself winding through city streets.
Recapture that magic by scheduling a weekend trip to somewhere amazing. Find a trail you've always wanted to travel. Choose a city that you've never visited. The world is full of breathtaking cycling routes that will get you excited about the sport again.
Tape a picture of your destination near your bike rack; you can also use it as your phone's lock screen. Whether you're saving for the trip or heading there next week, motivate yourself with dreams of that perfect bike ride.
On a slightly smaller scale, don't forget to visit your local parks and trails. If you already know your neighborhood's cycle routes by heart, drive to the next city over and try their trails instead. The spirit of exploration is half of the reason to own a bike in the first place.
3. Sign Up for a Cycling Event
Some people get into cycling for their health, others are looking for a bit of competition. Whatever kind of athlete you are, find a cycle event that's suited to your skill level.
Most cities hold at least one bike ride in the spring or summer. Look for charity events that bike for a cause. Casual events are a great way to meet like-minded cyclists. More competitive races are a good way to show off the endurance you've been cultivating all year.
Once you've found an event, train for it. If you skip on your daily ride, you won't be in shape for the actual race. Research the conditions of the race and mimic them in your routine. Increase your personal time; you might even have a chance of winning.
If you discover that you love biking with other people, see if your local cycling club does group rides. New friends who love to bike might be exactly the motivation you need.
4. Buy a New Piece of clothing
When you were a kid, you probably dreamed of tricking out your bike with ribbons, bells, baskets, and other fun accessories. Now that you're an adult, you can actually afford those things. Sure, your tastes might have changed a little, but you can still ride in style.
What about some new kit? Cycology has a vast range to suit your style; jerseys to bibs and everything in between. Try adding new bar tape to your handlebars; you probably need it anyway.
These little presents will help you get excited about riding again. You won't just be going out for a ride, you'll be getting up to use the new kit you just bought.
Space out your purchases. Get yourself a new present every time you feel down about riding. If cycling is your main hobby, you deserve to feel supported in it - even if that support is coming from yourself.
5. Make a Ride Playlist
What's a long bike ride without something to listen to? Good music (or a podcast!) are time-tested motivators that will help you get through nearly any activity.
Start by timing your average bike ride. Make a playlist that will wind down just as you're rolling back into your driveway. If you ride the same route every day, take note of when you tend to turn onto a new street or leave the road for a hidden trail. Try to set up your playlist so that the song changes when your route does.
Don't forget to experiment with different kinds of music. If you usually listen to classical, try riding to dance pop instead. Put on an album that you always meant to listen to as a teenager. Or try podcasts if music isn't your thing.
You don't have to do all of the work yourself. There are plenty of amazing cycling playlists put together by other bike enthusiasts, like this one on Spotify. Find a pair of headphones that you like, and make sure you can still hear the traffic around you, and get moving.
Motivation comes and goes. The challenge of any hobby is maintaining your interest after the initial excitement wears off. Be kind to yourself and remember to ride for the joy of it. You might have bought a bike to get healthy, but you should stay on the bike for the ways that it enriches your life.