How do you get your cycling mojo back after COVID?
The COVID pandemic has a lot to answer for, not the least of which is that it made many of us into hermits, so I’m keen to help women all around the world get your cycling mojo back. I revisit this topic every couple of years because it is such a recurring theme for so many women, me included. Interestingly the word mojo originally referred to witchcraft, but like many words, it has changed over time to mean a skill that seems to come from something magical or supernatural.
There’s no one answer to how to get your cycling mojo back but these tips might help:
Focus on how it makes you feel
I sometimes wake up in the early morning and want to go back to sleep, but I force myself to get out of bed because I know that I will be happy when I’m on the bike and when I return from my ride. I have never been on a ride that I have regretted, so I focus on this thought when I’m tempted to turn my alarm clock off and roll over. Just push through that feeling and you’ll be rewarded.
Organise to meet a buddy
If you commit to a friend to meet up for a ride, then you are far more likely to get out of bed. My friends and I always leave each other with a ‘thanks for the ride’, because we are grateful for each other’s company, and we might not have turned up if we weren’t committed to each other. The night before a ride send out a few messages and make a firm commitment to meet up. Then don’t let your friends down.
Be realistic – Don’t over commit
When you first get back to riding don’t commit to a daily ride. Take it slowly with a once or twice a week commitment and build up from there. You’re more likely to succeed if you’re realistic. I remember reading that it takes 21 days to form a habit, so do this for at least three weeks before it is likely to stick.
Give yourself time to get your fitness back
Don’t expect to be back to your previous fitness level straight away. You’ll be slower and find the whole experience physically challenging at first. Push through this feeling and you’ll be rewarded. Trust me. Those good endorphins are well worth it.
Buy something new
I’m very motivated if I’ve got some nice new pieces of equipment. This could range from a whole new bike, to some nice new kit or accessory, or could be as minor as some funky new socks. It can give you renewed confidence, like when you wear a new outfit that makes you feel good.
Check your equipment
If you haven’t been on your bike for a while then make sure it’s in good working order before you jump back on. You’ll need to pump up the tyres and check that the inner tubes and tyres are both sound. You should also lube the chain and make sure the gears and brakes are working well. If in doubt, take it to your local bike shop for a check-over. And of course, dust it down and remove those spider webs.
Prepare the night before
Get all your gear ready the night before and have it ready to go including your bike and bike equipment, plus your apparel and drink bottles. That way you won’t have to think about the things you need when you’ve just woken up, and you won’t decide it’s all too hard and go back to bed.
Sign up for an event
Signing up for an event like a mass participation ride or an upcoming race program is a great way to get you out on the bike. You know you’ll need to train to make the ride an enjoyable experience and to reach the other end. It’s also a great way to connect with cycling friends because you have a common training goal and will encourage each other.