The mental roller-coaster of cycling

Discussion in 'General Cycling Discussions' started by johnnyb47, 7 Jan 2019.

  1. johnnyb47

    johnnyb47 Über Member

    Hi and hope you're all well.
    Cycling can be physically tough going sometimes. The dark cold nights ,or that strong head wind that seems to be relentless whatever direction you go on your ride can make cycling hard going at times but i think the biggest barrier we suffer from is to having the wrong mindset from time to time, I find the hardest part of cycling is getting the bike out of the front door as opposed to being in the warmth of the house. Once it's out the door and im on my way i couldn't be happier.
    It's all about adopting the right mind set and mental attitudes to enjoying cycling. Over the relatively short time I've been cycling, I've noticed i have gone through a roller-coaster ride of trying to keep focused of why i cycle. At the very beginning i started as a means to try and reset my chaotic personal life. With lots of personal things going horribly wrong, i just wanted to get back to basics and escape them by tiring myself out in a positive way in the form of excercise,fresh air and a change of scenery. It worked wonders and has changed me so much for the better.
    As cycling has become a more and more prevelent part of my life, you do tend to hit mental walls with it. Pushing harder and riding further doesn't come without its problems. As you see yourself improve and the weight drop off, you can quite easily find yourself starting to take your self to seriously. Obsessing about average speeds to feeling you've under achieved in your weekly miles. It soon becomes a distant memory of the reasons why you started cycling in the first place.
    What I've learnt though over the thousands of miles I've done, is to take stock of what you've achieved every now and again, and try and reset your mental approach towards your cycling. Go for ride without your bike computer sometimes.It feels strangely liberating not staring at what miles you've done on it. Take time to stop a view the sights around you instead of soldering along. There's many an experienced cyclist on this website than me who may agree or disagree, but from my limited experience cycling can be as mentally challenging as physical.
    All the very best
  2. hoopdriver

    hoopdriver Veteran

    East Sussex
    I have never had a cycling computer and never want one. To me cycling is about just what you mention in your last par - an opportunity to slip away into a slower, quieter gentler paced world and look at the things around you. I may ride at a brisk pace sometimes, but I am never in a hurry on my bike, and fitness, to the extent it occurs, is purely a by-product.
  3. raleighnut

    raleighnut Guru

    On 3 Wheels

    Just enjoy riding. :bicycle:
  4. You are right Johnny. There are many mornings when it is blowing a gale and raining at 4am and I dont want to leave the warmth of my house for my 20km commute to work. Especially in winter. But 10 minutes down the road I am spinning in a low gear and am toasty warm. It is never as bad as it sounds outside. I dont have to ride my bike to work. I have a perfectly good car in the carport. But every time I ride my morning commute I become a little more resiliant. It makes summer riding so much easier.

    Hoopdriver. Why do you think cycle computers are just for speed?

    I have just sat and planned a 45km ride home on roads and tracks I have never ridden before on Ridewithgps. Before I start my ride home I will flick the route onto my Wahoo Bolt and just follow it all the way home. I have used paper maps for years and still have them as a back up. But using a cycle computer is far easier. I rode across Tuscany in the same way in the summer. I had far more time to admire the scenery instead of messing about with maps.

    Sometimes you have to embrace progress and unless you have tried it you have no idea what it is like.
  5. mudsticks

    mudsticks Über Member

    Me neither with the bike computer.

    I can see a couple of practical applications, but otherwise I imagine it just makes cycling into another competitive thing, either with others or with ourselves.

    With reference to another thread of '"What makes you happy"
    I'm pretty certain that endless comparison, and competition with others and yourself leads to a lot of unhappiness, and discontent...
    Leading either to overblown pride, and aggression (yuk) , or despondency and feelings of failure.(yuk again)

    Neither is useful for a life, or a society well lived in. Imo

    I've loved cycling since I was a kid, but to me it represents freedom to explore new places, exercise, going places, being in interesting scenery, and a quick efficient and low cost way of getting places.

    I'll go off for weeks at a time sometimes, cycling and camping, but still to this day I couldn't tell you how far I've been.. I don't see the relevance - it's a break from daily life, responsibilities, and work where things do have to be measured, and acheived, and quantified.

    Don't turn leisure cycling into another form of work.
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2019
    cheys03, Milzy, FishFright and 5 others like this.
  6. Just an add on.

    Going through Tuscany, I rode through the centre of Siena and Florence. I sat and planned my route on Komoot on my phone whilst having lunch and sent it over to my Wahoo Bolt and just followed it. It worked like a dream. 550km without a single hitch. Getting through Siena and Florence with a paper map would have been a nightmare. When I got home I could see exactly where I had been. I could even go on Street View and put myself on the roads I had ridden.

    I appreciate that not everyone is interested in that kind of thing but it does make touring much easier and you get to see places you would not usually see.
  7. mudsticks

    mudsticks Über Member

    Yes I can totally see it for mapping, and might be tempted to get one for that reason.

    Although when getting a little 'mislaid' whilst touring with paper maps, I've definitely got to see some places I wasn't intending to :rolleyes:
  8. Drago

    Drago Guru

    Occasionally cycling can be mentally challenging. However, for me it's a period of peace and contemplation. Me time. Just my brain mulling things over, refreshingly concerned only with the immediate requirement to turn pedals and stay upright. Mentally it's very invigorating.
  9. DCBassman

    DCBassman Veteran

    As a non-commuter, getting out of the house is my biggest hurdle. I cordially detest getting cold, at all. Wet just as bad. So, living where I do, I'm never going out every day. But the mecahnics and the peace once out - priceless.
    Drago, johnnyb47 and Heltor Chasca like this.
  10. Going on holiday means seeing places you have never seen before.

    I used to be good at that. Its one of the reasons I bought a Wahoo Bolt. :whistle:
    dave r and johnnyb47 like this.
  11. Tigerbiten

    Tigerbiten Veteran

    I agree that the hardest part of any cycle trip can be the first step out of the door/sleeping bag if the weather's bad.

    As for the cycle computer/gps unit debate, I have one for simple piece of mind.
    With a basic route plotted into my garmin etrex 30 I know if I cycle into a strange city, I easily be able to navigate my way out of it without being forced onto main roads.
    Again if you want to skirt around the edge of a city using a complex route on back roads, having it plotted into a gps again make it so easy.
    Apart from that, I didn't really need it as even touring in western europe, I could still read road signs, but it's still handy.
    But once I got to eastern europe and all the road signs are in a cyrillic script then even basic navigating got a lot harder and I found it more needed.
    johnnyb47 and DCBassman like this.
  12. Slow But Determined

    Slow But Determined Nid Yw Cymru Ar Werth!

    Personally I find the hardest part of cycling is riding with others especially when you get a "time chaser" in your group.

    If I'm on my own I can ride all day at my pace, take time out to look at stuff, stop when I want not when they get a bl--dy phone call!!!
  13. Phaeton

    Phaeton Guru

    Oop North (ish)
    I agree totally with this,
  14. DCBassman

    DCBassman Veteran

    Apart from a few rides with my wife around 20 years back, I've never ridden with others apart from massed rides like London to Brighton.
    mudsticks and johnnyb47 like this.
  15. Rooster1

    Rooster1 I was right about that saddle

    Reading your post, it could have been written by me. I share the exact same ups and downs. I've managed to get a new bike which is a real boost to my mojo levels.
    johnnyb47 likes this.
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