Monday, July 14, 2008

How Do You Keep it Fun?

My recent post about what it means to be a serious rider spurred some interesting comments from reader Dave (scroll down at the original post, linked above, for the comments) about how to keep riding fun. It got me thinking about the tricks I use. I’m going to post a couple, and then I’m going to ask you to use the comments link, at the bottom of this post, to add your ideas to the list. Do you ever hit the doldrums with your riding? What do you do for it? Without further ado, some ways that I keep it fun:
  • Remove the cyclocomputer from my bike (sacrilege!) and go for a ride just to go for a ride – for ice cream, to see the top of a local hill, to explore a new neighborhood.
  • If I can’t stand the idea of losing track of my miles, I’ll cut down a Post-it note to stick over my cyclocomputer display while I ride. Depending on my mood, I’ll use one of two kinds of Post-its: a) those tiny page-saving rectangles. If I cut off all but the sticky part, it fits right over the speedometer portion of my display, but I can still view other stats – which I restrict to either total time or total miles, basic info that I can’t use to push myself too much; b) Other times, I don’t want to see any info while I ride, but I still want to track my data. At those times, I cut out a larger Post-it to cover my whole display (leaving in the sticky part to hold the note on the display). Costs nearly nothing; works like a charm. A word of warning: Just knowing that my data is being tracked can push me to ride too hard. Sometimes it's just better to leave the computer at home.
  • Take a couple days -- or more -- off the bike altogether. When I first started riding last year, this seemed impossible. I had to ride my standard six days a week. These days, I ride more like four or five. (Not everyone is lucky enough to have that much riding time; I just finished grad school and still haven't found a job, so my schedule has been flexible). These days, I try to take one week out of every four or five to chill out. During these breaks, I ride less mileage on fewer days. Or I'll plan a week off around a long weekend away with my wife -- that way, we get a chunk of quality time together. (I'm often far away on the bike during her days off, or in the basement adjusting on my derailleur, etc.) As these breaks approach, I often feel apprehensive, like I will lose something precious without my riding days. But frequently I have my best riding weeks ever after a break like this. The body and mind become so refreshed by a break from my daily obsession.
OK. I know this is a relatively new blog and doesn't have a ton of readers. But there are definitely a handful of you who come daily. It would be great fun to hear from you.

I know some people are a little leery of commenting on a public blog, but rest assured: You do not have to be a Blogger member, and you can simply click on the Anonymous button to submit your comments without any identifying info at all. (You might want to also click the button that will send you updates, because then you can keep track of the conversation.)

OK, so – how do you keep it fun?

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