The end of the affair?

Will my love of cycling return with the spring?

Will my love of cycling return with the spring?

The insistent buzz of my alarm woke me with a start. I reached out into the pre-dawn darkness to switch it off, then snuggled back down under my duvet. Getting out from the cosy warmth of bed has been proving a challenge of late, and on that particular morning my legs were having none of it. ‘C’mon guys,’ I urged them after five minutes had gone by. ‘You can do it.’ Nothing. Another few minutes went by with no sign of movement, so I made them an offer: ‘If you get me out of bed I won’t make you cycle into college today.’ That got their attention. It’s always difficult to motivate myself to get on my bike at this time of year – but this year it feels even harder. I thought it was because I was bored of my commute – and who wouldn’t be, after five years ploughing the same furrow? I thought, once I started my new commute, I’d rediscover the joys of cycling again. But that hasn’t happened. Already, after just three weeks of pedalling to Lambeth and back again, I can feel the same reluctance. I can hear that little voice in the back of my head that says, I’m tired, I’m cold, my legs ache…I don’t want to do this. Where I used to resolutely pedal through the even the worst weather, I’ve started to use the slightest excuse as a reason to leave the bike at home. I’ve found myself sitting on the Overground, book in hand, thinking how glad I am not to be on my bike. I’m just not getting the same joy I used to get from cycling. It’s turned into a chore. Compare that to yoga, which I started doing a few months ago. Yoga has certain advantages over cycling, not least that I can do it without having to leave the comfort of my bedroom. I can even do it on my PJs if I want to. The biggest benefit of yoga, however, is that it’s pretty much guaranteed to make me feel better. The day’s stresses and my body’s tensions just melt away. After a yoga session, I feel relaxed and happy – it’s like a high, and it’s addictive. Cycling just doesn’t have that effect, not anymore. (Cycling does have one major advantage over yoga. No matter how flexible I get, even if I manage to get my legs behind my ears – which is unlikely to happen soon, if ever, as I’ve only recently become able to touch my toes – yoga will never be any good as a means of getting from A to B.) I did have one brief glimmer of hope over the weekend. I was on my way to a friend’s house for a late lunch. She’s notorious for her appalling timekeeping, so I wasn’t particularly worried about getting there on time. The sun was just starting to peek out from the clouds, and there was a tiny hint of warmth in the air. As I pootled along with the sun on my face, I realised I was enjoying being on my bike for the first time in a long time. Most of the time when I’m on my bike I’m pedalling headlong to get somewhere – to college on time, to home, to get out of the cold. Perhaps if I weren’t so focused on getting to where I’m going – perhaps if I took the time to enjoy the journey, and if the weather were better – I might rediscover my love of cycling.

22 thoughts on “The end of the affair?

  1. True it’s easier to stay at home, comfy and do yoga.

    Will this motivate you?: I am recovering from a head injury due to another cyclist crashing into me 2 months ago. Now I realize how much we rely on our brain to move every limb, see things, respond and to even absorb images of scenery flying past us on a moving vehicle.

    Treasure the cycling independent mobility.

      • Thx for the good wishes. I’m a lot better than 2 months ago, when it was very tiring just to walk 3 city blocks with someone beside me. Or just making a meal without getting dizzy and needing to lie down.

  2. Take a break if you feel like it – maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder for cycling. Rather than the end of the affair, it might just be that the honeymoon period is over!

  3. I completely understand this!! There are many days I just dont want to when it is cold or wet or early or all of the above. I agree, when the weather is nicer and you cycle for fun it will make a huge difference.

    On a side note, I tried yoga once, and got motion sick with all the up and down. The bike will call you again when it is ready. Until then don’t beat yourself up kid.

    • Absolutely. I remember a yoga teacher once telling me how important it was for cyclists to do yoga. Cycling tightens our leg muscles, and the yoga stretches them out. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to cycle or do yoga for the past few weeks 😦

  4. I understand how you feel! I’ve not been on my bike much over the winter – just don’t feel like it. But while I’m definitely not loving the bike right now, I am looking forward to falling back in love… when it warms up a bit more!

    And for whatever reason, we’re not the only ones:

    Here’s to the return of the Cycling Mojo soon.

  5. I’m so glad that it wasn’t just me. Mind you, I’ve never tried yoga so don’t have a comparison.

    For some reason, after I went back to work after Xmas I just found it *so* difficult to motivate myself to get the bike out. I’ve been getting the bus three (or even four, one week) times per week and cycling the other days.

    This is the first week that I’ve cycled to work four days in a row (and, before anyone asks, intend to tomorrow as well!), and I am realising how much more enjoyable it is than sitting on the bus with all the other potatoes.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure your relationship with your bike is just having an up-and-down and the two of you will have more happy times ahead!

    • After a few weeks off my bike, I’ve definitely come to realise just how much more enjoyable it is to be cycling, than stuck on a train or bus going nowhere. Now I just need to get better so I can get back on my bike soon.

  6. Having lost a ton of weight, I frankly just find it cold. Cold and miserable. Cold that goes into my bones. Cold that chills the soul. I haven’t been on my bike since that late blast of warmth in early November that we had. And I won’t be back on it again til significantly higher temperatures are back. But when they *do* come back…try and stop me 🙂

  7. I have a feeling you’ll change your mind when it warms up a bit. I eliminate the “same old-same old” by changing routes. My commute is 12 miles of country roads, (I live in the country in Iowa, USA and my work town in only 7,000 souls), but at times I do a 30 mile ride before work. It brings me alive. Having said that, I’ve only ridden 2 times this month. It’s just been too cold. Our overnight low last night was -10F. Nope.

      • I hope you feel better soon Jude. As for beating the cold and/or wet and hence keeping your muscles loose, well I find cycling tights underneath trousers plus an appropriate number of comfortable wicking base layers help, and I noticed that as you use flat pedals, try Endura Baa Baa Merino socks (my feet sometimes get cold more than the rest of me apart from sometimes fingers) plus Altura Night Vision overshoes. I have also worn DHB overtrousers over the tights on wet days. You can wear or put on afterward street clothes over base layers and at times I have been lucky not to sweat too much if I don’t pretend to be Cavendish/Wiggins/Froome 😉

        Also does Eva have mudguards? If not get some Crud Road Racers; they are full length, light and reliable and I had them on my (stolen) Planet X road bike. My Saracen Hack 2 has SKS Raceblades; they are good but don’t entirely protect feet and drivetrain but once a week this wash is easy for me to do even on my balcony:

        Happy riding once you are better 🙂

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