Whether it’s a casual ride with friends or a planned route with your local cycling club, cycling in a group can be a lot of fun. It is also an option that currently eludes many of us and may continue to do so way into the future so we thought it might be nice to take a closer look at some of the things that make riding alone a truly gratifying and pleasurable experience. Let’s face it, if ever there were a time to explore the possibility that you might just be your own best company – it is now. So, whether you’ve always been a lone wolf or are just starting to discover the joys of riding solo, here are a few of the reasons that cycling alone is awesome.
Spontaneity is the name of the game
We’ve all experienced the inkling while out on a group ride to go explore an unmapped road or take an impromptu pause by a particularly pleasant pond. When you’re out on your own, there is no need to pause and arrive at a consensus if an intriguing opportunity presents itself. You’re totally in control and can decide to deviate from your planned route if the urge strikes. You’re also not confined to any specific timeframe and can, therefore, start as early or late, ride as fast or slow, and as long or short as you like. If having full reign over the entire shape and scope of your ride is a bit daunting, keep in mind that you can still connect with other local cyclists to trade route tips and get inspired. Remember – you might be alone but you’re not lonely!
No fear of getting dropped
For many cyclists, the worst feeling they experience on their bike is getting dropped by the rest of the pack. Whether you’re having an off day or just didn’t take the time to properly fuel for the ride you had ahead of you, sometimes, even pushing your hardest just isn’t enough. Depending on the crew you’re riding with, falling behind might also mean having to tolerate some “good-natured” teasing at the top of the climb while you’re already experiencing the deflation from bonking. No such fear when it’s just you and your bike. If you run out of steam earlier than expected, you’re free to pedal as slowly as you want to get home – and whether or not you tell anyone about what happened is completely up to you.
The freedom to get lost in your own thoughts
There’s no doubt that cycling can be incredibly meditative. The repetitive action that keeps you in your body and in the moment gives your mind the opportunity to tune out and recharge. When riding alone, you won’t have any conversation to interrupt your thoughts and distract you. Although this can definitely feel like an obstacle at times, it also provides the occasion to get more comfortable with yourself and to retreat inwards to benefit from some valuable “me time”.
An opportunity to develop confidence
Speaking of getting more comfortable with yourself, cycling alone is a great way to cultivate confidence and focus on your personal development. Cycling a long distance unsupported is an accomplishment worth congratulating yourself for. If your mind starts to wander to unpleasant or boring places, just remind yourself that you’re doing something that fosters self-reliance and problem-solving skills. You’ll soon realize that there is plenty to feel good about.
The ability to stick to your training plan
If you’ve been struggling to carve out the space to really focus on your personal training plan, now is a great time to do so. Cycling alone provides the ideal opportunity to concentrate on your interval splits, climbing or sprinting and gives you the flexibility to push your body according to how it’s feeling on any given day. You might have to work a bit to compensate for the atmosphere and energy you get from a group but if you really have a specific area you’re working on, you’ll appreciate training free from the restrictions of a group.
Just don’t forget to be safe while riding alone!
All that being said, riding alone also requires additional attention to be paid to safety. Even in an era of less traffic and mandatory social distancing, there are still very real threats that exist. When venturing out on your own, always make sure you are well prepared, have taken reasonable precautions, and never put yourself at risk. See our safety tips for riding alone to get yourself feeling ready and confident to take your solo cycling game to the next level!