How do I get stoked on cycling again?
I used to be pretty pumped to ride my bike no matter what. If I couldn’t get to the mountain I’d at least go do some “freeride flicks” in the snow or put some kilometers on my cross bike.
Lately I’ve had no motivation to go earn my soggy skunk stripe and have returned to snowboarding for my downhill adrenaline fill after a 5 year hiatus.
It may just be the snow this season, but I never used to shake my head at my friends who’d exclaim how tacky the powder was on their snow ride.
I also used to read mountain bike content non-stop, but even my interest in that is waning.
I’m clearly broken. Please fix me.
A Broken Man
As we plunge into January, the excessive alcohol consumption of the holidays is finding a place to camp out on our bodies and the guilt and ambition of the New Year is taking hold. So thank-you for the perfect question to get 2017 rolling. And the perfect time to think about some ways to re-find our interest and get off our asses.
But before we do that…
It’s okay to not be stoked
The social media era has created general feelings that we’re not doing enough. Ever. You could be swimming with dolphins on a Hawaiian reef and you scroll through your Instagram feed and there’s some jackass petting a shark in Fiji. There’s always somebody that’s travelling to a better place, riding better trails, with better people, and doing it all with better skills. It’s easy to feel somewhat inadequate if you aren’t slaying foreign trail with a can or Red Bull in one hand and a Gopro in the other. It’s pathetic.*
Now, it sounds like you aren’t holed up on the couch eating cookies and binge watching The Crown, rather you’ve just found a different sport that you are enjoying presently. But even if you had slipped deep into an unmotivated sloth, so what? It’s okay to not want to do things. It’s okay to take a break for a while. It’s even okay to not like something anymore. If you’re not that into bikes right now, so what? Embrace it. There are billions of people that don’t ride mountain bikes. Maybe you’re one of them now. Maybe you won’t be later.
If this doesn’t sound right to you, then…
It’s incredibly easy to create excuses to not ride. String a few of these non-riding events together and you can build yourself a nice little bike-free rut, where “it might rain next week” becomes a reasonable justification for skipping tomorrow’s ride.
If you’ve reached the point where your funk is dark and stinky, you may have to compel yourself into action. Some ideas for forcing your own hand:
- Tell somebody else of your plan to ride your bike. It’s much harder to bail on something if you’ve told somebody else that you’re going to do it.
- Make a plan with one other person to go ride. If you commit to a ride with one other person, it’s going to be much harder to bail on them. It’s easy to bail on yourself or a larger group.
Hopefully just getting back on your bike is going to be enough to re-ignite your stoke. If not…
Do something that you know is fun
Nothing kills my impetus to ride faster than thinking about the climb to the top. Even though I only shuttle a couple of times a year these days, it’s pretty easy for me to get motivated to just ride my bike down the hill without having to expend the energy to get to the top. I know it’s going to be fun so this is one way I find I can jump start my interest.
Maybe for you it’s a trail that you love, or an area that you like to visit, or maybe you’re even one of these strange people that enjoys riding up a particularly steep hill. Whatever it is, dig up a memory of an extremely pleasurable time on your bike and try to re-create it.
But maybe you’re sick of doing the same old thing, so you should…
Do something new or unfamiliar
The world revolves around new experiences. We wouldn’t have toilet paper, rice crackers or soda water if people weren’t willing to pursue new experiences.
Maybe now is the perfect time to take that road trip you’ve always been talking about. Or to ride that new trail that everybody is talking about. Or try a fat bike or something. I mean, springtime is probably better, but your funk can’t wait. Do it now.
Even with all of that, though, you might need to…
Promise yourself a reward
Yes, the riding of the bike itself should be the reward. But if that isn’t enough, once you’ve finished your ride, give yourself a reward, and tell yourself all about it during the lead up to the ride. Maybe it’s a fancy beer or a nice dinner or a Big Mac. You’ve done a good thing. Treat yourself to something that you normally wouldn’t and use that to motivate yourself to get off your own ass.
As for your concern about no longer vociferously consuming mountain bike content…well done.
*That’s @davetolnai if you feel like following me on Instagram
Uncle Dave’s Music Club
One of the most exciting and interactive live events that I have experienced is Dan Deacon. Dan is an exuberant, classically trained musician who has created a career out of strangely melodic electronic noises. If he’s not organizing a dance contest he’s handing out lyrics for a sing-a-long (watch him work the crowd with his homemade player piano at an NPR Tiny Desk Concert for an example). He’s a wizard.
I first discovered Dan in 2007 through his Spiderman of the Rings album. This thing is crazy. It pounds. It emotes. It visits strange worlds. It’s a great, great album. “Crystal Cat” isn’t the best song on it (I think “Wham City” takes that title, but it’s over 12 minutes long), but it’s a pretty good representation of what you will find and the video should make you smile, because if a fat, balding guy dancing around in front of lo-fi psychedelic images doesn’t get you excited about things, I’ve got nothing for you.
Broomer – you may not be the sort (god forbid) to make New Year’s resolutions, but we’re going to give you some help to get 2017 off to a solid start. You win a one-year membership to Ryan Leech Connection (value $19 USD/month). Congrats!
Ryan’s courses will make you a better rider – or you’ll get your money back. Ryan will even answer your questions personally. How sweet is that? Send us an email to collect your prize.
If you’d like to get your year off to a good start, fire an excellent question to Uncle Dave.
An all-access pass to Ryan’s curriculum based learning courses which cover a variety of skills such as manuals, bunny hops, balance, wheelies and more. His tutorials aren’t just about entertainment, they’re designed to be engaged with step by step. Ryan is ready to answer any questions, like your own personal coach. He champions an integrated approach to skill development in this membership site by including access to a range of custom-tailored physical fitness and mental fitness practices for mountain bikers.
Do you ever leave the bike for a few months?