Finally. Spring is upon us. The days are getting longer. The desire to get outside and ride is growing. Unless you have been able to ride outside throughout the winter, it’s probably best to ease into outdoor riding. Here are a few tips to make the transition from winter to spring riding more enjoyable.
Have appropriate expectations. Well, isn’t that true about life in general? Nonetheless, when it comes to jumping on the bike after a long winter hiatus, it’s best to ask yourself about goals, hopes and desires. So, let’s see, what’s an example of an inappropriate expectation? Hmmmm…..haven’t ridden outside since October and you expect to feel good during a 3 hour ride with a bit of wind and some hills. NOT. This brings us to the second point.
Start with slower rides and shorter distances. Ok, reign in the enthusiasm and focus on having a great experience on the bike by building in success. Go slower than you really want to go and end your ride with something left over which will leave you wanting more. Doesn’t that sound more fun than ending a ride feeling like you never want to do that again?
Ride by yourself and then ride with others. Huh? Ride by yourself first to assess your fitness and get your bearings. Take as many rides alone as you need to feel comfortable. Then consider joining others of approximately the same riding level. This support will encourage you to go a little longer. Then, consider riding with others who have a slightly higher fitness level. Ugh, right? Well, you will ride longer and harder when you ride with those you are little above your level. Sometimes it takes that little push to find the courage to try to go beyond what you think you can do.
Set some goals or aspirations for the summer riding season. Planning that trip to Italy with Experience Plus!? Considering riding your first Century? Taking time to set some intentions will help motivate you to follow through on those training rides on those days when you just don’t feel like going.
HAVE FUN! This should actually be tip #1. Stop and remember why you like riding your bike. And, if you can’t remember, then go on a ride that will help you remember. Example – cruise your neighborhood or the local bike trail. Get in your “little kid” mindset. Remember riding your bike when you were 10 years old? Nothing but fun. Make that feeling happen. Fall in love again with riding. You’ll be glad you did.
The moral of the story? In order to ensure a smooth transition from winter hibernation to outdoor riding, start out slow and short, have appropriate expectations, first ride alone and then with others, set some summertime goals and have a blast while you are doing it!