Switching from commuting to leisure riding

united4ever

Über Member
Due to working from home permanently I no longer have a commute. 99% of the rides in my adult life have been the commute.

Am hoping to keep it up...very much a case of the first mile is the hardest.

Went out for a very short (30 minute) ride tonight which was nice but no plan at all just making decisions on approach to junctions which way to go. Do you find having a destination and pre planned route more enjoyable? Must admit I loved the commute for its efficiency (am getting to work for free, exercising and enjoying it all at the same time).

Secondly, I can see with family life (two small kids) am going to be limited to an hour or less most days when I do get out. This means I am seldom going to get to ride anywhere new (just the same streets within a few miles of my house). This can be a bit boring. Was thinking of jumping on the train for a few stops and getting off at a different stop each time and riding back but not always going to be doable with an hour or less a day. I could make time for longer rides but most days it will be harder to commit to it and will just end up putting it off. Any tips on making routes interesting near your house? I prefer not to use komoot etc. I look at a screen all day at work.

Any advice for these specifics and keeping up and enjoying cycling without the need that a commute provides.
 
Shopping and food are always a good cycling destination. Going to view or collect something that you want to buy, or going somewhere new for lunch or similar can give your cycling a purpose :okay:
 
OP
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united4ever

Über Member
Shopping and food are always a good cycling destination. Going to view or collect something that you want to buy, or going somewhere new for lunch or similar can give your cycling a purpose :okay:
Yeah, I love food so this is a good idea. There's a great fishmonger 5 miles away so a nice easy 10 mile round trip there. Will look up a few more food places to go.

The training plan sounds a bit alien to me. Sounds a bit serious but will look into it as an option. Thanks
 

ebikeerwidnes

Über Member
I have 2 types of ride
firstly a normal ride with a specific route or destination - some have a variation where I can do the short cut or the normal or the longer version
but they are all mostly the same
I have about 3 of them with a fourth under development!!

and a second type where I start in a general direction - maybe a previously planned route - but then spot a new path/road/track and just veer off and see where it goes
the second type are more exciting - but I am never sure I know where I am or how I get home - sometimes I get home and feel Ihave done a serious ride - then find I only did 15 miles - the stress makes it seem longer!!!!

I just ride where I feel like it - and if I see something unknown I may- or may not - veer off
who knows - that is the point in being retired!!
 

cougie uk

Über Member
I like cycling to a route. I plan a route and let my Garmin beep to let me know when to turn. It's very relaxing. I usually plan my routes a few days before I go and I've usually forgotten most of the roads I'm using by the time I'm on them.
 
Any tips on making routes interesting near your house? I prefer not to use komoot etc. I look at a screen all day at work.

Any advice for these specifics and keeping up and enjoying cycling without the need that a commute provides.
Get a paper OS map or two and a compass (or some plates of different sizes!) and draw light pencil circles around your house at eg 2 miles, 5 miles, 7 miles. Now either explore at random, or make up routes, within those circles, around the circumferences, across the diameters ... if you're needed urgently back home, you're not very far away if you go back by the most direct route.

Can you do the normal weekly shop by bike? You'll probably need to go more often than you would if loading up the car, but it'll serve a similar sort of multi-purpose that commuting did for you. There are probably many more 'routine' necessary journeys that you can do on the bike, too. Library, dentist, haircut ...
 

lazybloke

Lying in the grass looking at the clouds
Location
Leafy Surrey
Due to working from home permanently I no longer have a commute. 99% of the rides in my adult life have been the commute.

Am hoping to keep it up...very much a case of the first mile is the hardest.

Went out for a very short (30 minute) ride tonight which was nice but no plan at all just making decisions on approach to junctions which way to go. Do you find having a destination and pre planned route more enjoyable? Must admit I loved the commute for its efficiency (am getting to work for free, exercising and enjoying it all at the same time).

Secondly, I can see with family life (two small kids) am going to be limited to an hour or less most days when I do get out. This means I am seldom going to get to ride anywhere new (just the same streets within a few miles of my house). This can be a bit boring. Was thinking of jumping on the train for a few stops and getting off at a different stop each time and riding back but not always going to be doable with an hour or less a day. I could make time for longer rides but most days it will be harder to commit to it and will just end up putting it off. Any tips on making routes interesting near your house? I prefer not to use komoot etc. I look at a screen all day at work.

Any advice for these specifics and keeping up and enjoying cycling without the need that a commute provides.
On that second point, early mornings and late evenings can be good for sparing a couple of hours (or more) for a ride.

That was my approach when my children were younger, and in many ways I now prefer riding at those quieter times.
My last three rides started at midnight, 5:30am and 6:30am!
 
Can you replicate your commute every morning before starting work? That was the same route, right? A bit of exploring/research to find a decent round trip of x miles. Start your working day refreshed. Maybe over time develop a few alternatives so that there is always an "easy" one for the days you really don't feel like it.

I'd often "take the long way home" from work just following my nose but a lot of my commute was rural and I didn't have your responsibilities. I'd imagine heading out regularly with no particular place to go could get boring and demotivating quickly. It's one thing to say "I'll go to X" and end up at Y because you changed your mind, something different to head off with nothing in mind.

Do you have any interests? Architecture ( Churches, bridges?), history (cemeteries?), local landmarks? Photography? A shot of the same place every day/week can be interesting to look back on.

Using the bike wherever possible will help. Shopping, errands etc.

I get your reluctance to follow a screen but it may help you find a few good routes (cycle.travel is good for planning quiet round trips and Osmand on your phone will help you follow it until you're familiar).
If you do take up the idea of visiting every church/bridge etc. and plan to photo them, then Strava/RWGPS (even on your phone) can record the ride with photos. A nice record to have and motivation when you need it. I love mine.

Good luck!
 

SkipdiverJohn

Deplorable Brexiteer
Location
London
Many of my local rides are just utility errands where I find riding is the quickest and most convenient way of getting them done.. If postman leaves me a card, I'll put my mini-rucksack on my back and nip down the sorting office when I'm next free to collect.
If I order someting online or via eBay I use click & collect wherever possible so I don't have to wait in or risk some total muppet courier leaving objects on my doorstep to get nicked. Mostly it tends to be fairly small sized stuff, so it's out with the rucksack again and another couple of miles ride each way to pick up.
If I get in from work to find a cheque for me needing to be paid in, that usually gets done by bike too. All these sort of tasks add up to some useful activity mileage when you are doing them regularly and you keep on top of your things to do list at the same time.
Small shopping I will sometimes do by bike, but anything bulky enough to fill a pair of big carrier bags I generally do it on foot instead as it's easier than laboriously cramming panniers and trying to get the excess to stay put on top of the rack.

If you do say, four, 5 mile round trip utility rides a week, that's a thousand miles a year. Then if you do another 20 mile ride a week on average, that's another thousand miles. If the weather is playing ball, it's easy to clock up quite a bit more than that, so long as it's nice enough out for a ride to be enjoyable. 40 or 50 miles a week is easily achievable just by making a point of using a bike to do a bit of running around. You don't need loads of time, and I find a couple of hours here and there on days off and weekends, is enough to fit in some miles. The main factor for me is the weather, if its shite out I don't ride, if it's nice out I do.
 
My read is that you want to ride regularly after forgoing the commute and you have an hour or so to spare due to small kids. Why not head out early in the morning but aim to cover at least 15 miles. The train stop approach is a good idea as it adds variety.

The important thing is to have a routine that you must commit to where the focus is a ride and a target mileage.
 

Sittingduck

Legendary Member
Location
Somewhere flat
I hate following GPS on a ride but equally don’t like not knowing where I am going. So I either use a route I am familiar with or plan something new with google maps first and memorise the key junctions etc. Not very romantic but there you go.
 

bikingdad90

Veteran
I am in the same boat as you @united4ever, three under 10’s at home. I normally set off about 8pm once the younger two are in bed and then do 45mins to an hour loop round one of my three regular routes. I have lights on my bike as it gets dark around 8:50pm now.

Getting out and riding is the main thing; it is boring at times doing the same route so if you have flexible working it is well worth taking an extra hours lunch (1:30hr) and doing a long lunch loop sometimes? What I also do to get out the house is pack the laptop and ride to a cafe a nice distance away on the occasional lunchtime, it’s a change of scenery, some background noise to replicate the office and good coffee available!
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
Before my riding was restricted I'd usually go out with a destination, usually a cafe, and a route in my head but would often decide which way I went when I got to a junction. Now I'm restricted to just a couple of hours out I still have a destination but its just a place' but I will start with a route in my head but often I'll vary it.
 
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Sterlo

Early Retirement Planning
Location
East Yorkshire
Bit of both for me. I do planned routes but often will just head in a general direction and decide which way to go at a junction on a whim or depending how good (or not) I'm feeling at the time. Love going out on a 30ish mile bimble on an evening when the traffic has died down.
 
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