riding alone, advice, motivation?

I wrote yesterday about missing my bike. I haven’t been riding much since the bike rally. This year there was no Gran Fondo, no Three Port Tour. Instead, August was about boats not bikes though one day Sarah and I managed to combine the two. That might have been my last ride on my road bike of any distance and it was more than a month ago.

While there isn’t snow on the ground. Weird.

Since then though I’ve been faced with the challenge of riding alone and in the face of that challenge mostly not riding.

In the past Tracy had loved doing things alone. Not me.

I work alone most of the time and I like to combine socializing with fitness activities. When I’m feeling more competitive I like to work out with others because I find it’s much more likely to motivate me to go fast and ride longer.

I find riding alone lonely, not particularly motivational, and frankly, a little bit scary.

When I look for cycling motivation, this is the sort of image that speaks to me.

Who wants to be out there alone?

Well, not even Tracy now. But Past Tracy.

But given the new big job and extra demands on my time, I’m finding I’m not free to ride when others are riding and then when I have time, there is no one to ride with.

I’m a bit bummed out about it.

But I’m trying to think of the bright side.

Here’s one thing: I can do my own thing. I can ride at the speed I want to ride that day and not worry about dropping people or worry about keeping up. I can do intervals and hill repeats.

Further, there’s no need to compromise my schedule. I can just go when I want to go. I’ve got some free time during the daylight hours in the week. I should just ride.

And I will.

I’ve been thinking though about safety. Yes, I’ve got ID with me at all times. I can fix a flat and I’ve got the stuff to do that. I’ve got my phone. I’ll keep my rear light on.

Anything else?

I’ve thought about using either Google or Garmin’s Beacon service to allow family members to track my rides.

So what’s your advice? Assume I need to ride alone at least some of the time. I can’t just ride with other people every few weeks to stay fit enough. It needs to be a regular thing.

What’s your motivation?

So you have any safety tips?

Here is a short film I love about a woman riding alone in the fall.

4 thoughts on “riding alone, advice, motivation?

  1. To me now, cycling is like sleeping : I need to bike.
    I ride for health, both physical and mental.

    I do lots of solo cycling, because my partner retired early over 15 yrs. ago. I had been working full time most the time. So diferent stages in life.

    I actually don’t enjoy much group riding often. It prevents me from focusing on riding, things around me. I always feel as if I have to pay special attention and not crash into others.

    I actually find it abit distracting to talk much with people while riding. I seldom chat lots even with my partner when we bike. He doesn’t like talking much either. So we suit each other. 😉 as a cycling couple.

  2. As for the safety thing…I solve it easily. When living in Toronto, Vancouver and now Calgary, most of my local rides are 80% on park paths. You can bike long distances up to 100 km. each for these cities. So I’m not the one critiquing bike paths. So I feel quite safe.

    No, I don’t bike out in country roads on my own…there have been some cycling fatalities on flat roads in Alberta. Pretty shocking. I have no trust now with drivers and cellphones, GPS screens. Just scary even on city streets to see some drivers and their behaviours.

  3. My cyclist husband’s two cents:

    That’s all great, but there are times when it’s hard to get motivated to get out there so these are the things I do to try to stay motivated.

    I set goals, weekly, monthly and annual mileage goals. I set goals on the types of riding I do. Each week has a long slow distance ride, some shorter brutally painful rides, rides with some climbing, and a ride with someone at a lower fitness level. This also keeps me from riding the same routes the same way day after day which leads to boredom.

    I train for specific events. These days I don’t ride competitively but I do like to ride centuries and I treat these events as rewards for my training. I like to enjoy them and not treat them as epic accomplishments.

    I use Strava. Seeing the accomplishments of other riders I follow inspires me and the fact that they can see what I’m achieving (or not achieving) is a motivating factor as well. Strava allows me to analyse the crap out of every ride and even segments of every ride. Many of us humans are data junkies. Just like fantasy football motivates couch potatoes to watch even more sports, the amazing amounts of data that our cycle computers and Strava provides me with makes me want to produce even more data. And remember, if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen.

    I join the National Bike Challenge each year. It provides a friendly competition based on the total mileage and the number of days ridden on a national, state and local level.

    But mostly, I don’t beat myself up too much when I fall short of my expectations, whether it’s mileage, days ridden, average speed or a Strava kom. I try to have fun every ride. That makes it easier to get out there the next day.

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