The main reason why we ride is because we love it! Cycling can be challenging, playful, hard, or fun, but it should never be stressful or annoying. Unfortunately, it’s easy to see it that way sometimes. Let’s go over the most common reasons why cycling can become stressful and find ways to make it enjoyable again.
Compare yourself less to others
It’s really easy to feel annoyed and frustrated when you get dropped during a group ride or when your nemesis crushes you on yet another hill climb. Use it as a fuel to keep training and improving, but don’t let it ruin your enjoyment of riding. Take a look at your own speeds and times on the same route from a year ago. The less you compare yourself to others, the easier it will be to enjoy your own progress.
Look at the data less
Sometimes even looking at your own data can be the reason why you don’t enjoy riding. Strava is a great tool that offers you so many numbers to motivate you and show progress. It’s also really good at making you feel like you’re not making enough progress. If you get too caught up in metrics and measuring and you see that it’s getting annoying, try an experiment. Go for a ride without tracking it! It will feel uncomfortable and like a waste of time at first, but stick with it. Focus only on how you feel and how fun it is to simply ride. You might just rediscover something that got lost in the numbers.
Avoid annoying routes
Some routes are really good for training. They offer just the right combination of hills, and the surfaces are great. The problem is they are not perfect in other aspects. Maybe you have to ride through the whole city to get to the good spots. Or maybe there’s too much traffic, noise and simply not a nice scenery along the way. All of those things matter too. If you come back home annoyed and slightly irritated, perhaps you should find a different way next time to feel good after a ride.
Reframe how you look at climbs
Sometimes routes have the exact opposite problem. You really like the scenery, the views, or the destination, but there’s an annoying climb in the middle. Climbing hurts and it’s natural to not like pain. But if you dread the climb even before you get on your bike, you suffer unnecessarily. Revel in the challenge, face it head-on. If you change your attitude like this, you’ll feel better about yourself and you might even feel less pain during the climb itself. Research shows that pain associated with negative emotions is worse than pain with positive thoughts.
If you don’t feel motivated from inside, take a break
It’s easy to feel motivated when you just signed up for a big exciting event. Such motivations might not last, though. Sometimes it’s not a sign of laziness, it’s your body telling you that you need to rest more. Listen to your body and take those signs seriously. Healthy, well-rested cyclists should feel excited and happy to ride on most days. If you don’t feel like that for weeks, it’s a red flag. Don’t push past that or you might not only lose enjoyment of cycling, but get in trouble too.