It’s hard to find the motivation to ride your bike when it’s cold and wet outside. There are too many temptations to stay cosy inside. And yet… if you can find that motivation you’ll almost certainly never regret it. Once you’re out it’s never that bad (except sometimes, when it is).
One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to ride with other people. Making that small commitment to turn up on a group ride is hugely rewarding. It introduces you to new people and places, and helps develop your fitness and skills.
Braving the slop
On Sunday, eight of us headed out on one of our regular Cycleshack off road rides. It had been raining for weeks and ground conditions were terrible. Within the first mile we were covered in mud and heart rates were topping out. If I hadn’t arranged the ride I don’t think I would have gone out and so I would have missed all the fun.
We were a disparate group, but that only enhanced our ride. We had a man in his eighties riding a 30 year old bike and another person who hadn’t ridden for 30 years out on a new bike. With regular stops to catch our collective breath and scrape the mud from our drive chains we got to Black Cap – and we basked in the actual warmth of the sun’s wintry rays. With a bit of effort, we transformed a murky morning in Lewes into a bright beautiful day on the downs.
We live in times where you plug your turbo trainer in Zwift to get interactive cycling experiences online. And sure, that has its place but it’s no substitute for actual, shared riding time. When an octogenarian is sliding sideways through Stanmer on a bike and giggling, you know you’re on to something good. He rode trails he’d not been on before (and in truth might quite sensibly have shied away from) and I got more inspired than ever to just keep riding my bike, whatever the weather.
With 20 miles done, we returned to the shop for coffee and Cycleshack 10th anniversary cakes. We reflected on the ride and enjoyed the collective sense of mirth and well-being that comes from sharing a challenging and frankly silly experience. There is no substitute.
Join the fun
We’ll be running off road rides throughout the year from our Cliffe High Street shop. Find details on our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our rides list. You can also join our Strava club Cycleshack Riders to get ideas for local riding routes.
So, come and join us. No one takes themselves too seriously – and they’re right not to. Get out, get muddy, get fit and, as the late Ken Dodd regularly said, be prepared “to exercise your chuckle muscles”.