Many people ask me how you get your cycling mojo back after a break. There is a myriad of reasons why you might have stopped riding your bike. For me, a life-changing event threw me off my normal course about eight weeks ago when my beloved Dad died suddenly. As you grow older you know this life event is coming but I was not ready for it, maybe nobody ever is.
So, this time around the advice about how to get your cycling mojo is for me. Not only have I lost my cycling mojo, but I’ve also lost my blogging mojo. My dad Dennis was one of my biggest blogging fans. He regularly asked me how it was going and I know he read my posts. This is the first time I’ve been able to write about his death, albeit with tears streaming down my face.
I have returned to riding but with less enthusiasm than I usually have, and this week I’ve been laid low with a head cold that’s resulted in a persistent cough. But in a few days, I’ll be ready to go again.
There’s no one answer to how to get your cycling mojo back but these tips might help:
Be kind to yourself
This is my favourite piece of advice for any situation. We are always so hard on ourselves, me included. If you really don’t want to get out of bed to ride your bike just stay put and wait until you’re ready. It took me a full two weeks before I could even contemplate riding my bike after my Dad died. I just didn’t want to.
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 inner circle of cycling buddies has encouraged me to join them in the past few weeks, but they’ve been very understanding when I’ve faulted.
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. I’ve signed up to ride the Bowral Classic in October so that will now be my training goal.