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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172

    Unhappy How do I get motivated again??

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    Hi there fellow commuters.

    I've lost the motivation to bike to work. My head says "do it!". My heart says..."Naahhh....another time".

    The back story:
    In 2005, I started "really" bike commuting - 53 days during the year. My '06 New Year's resolution was to beat 56 days, and I did....barely. I got about 60 or 63 days in -- based on total mileage on odometer / average distance - I haven't counted on my log yet. The fact that I haven't bothered to count is sort of indicative of my larger problem. I haven't commuted since October 30th, and I'm not terribly motivated to hop back on the bike. Oh....I look at it, parked all lonely in the garage, with the panniers strapped to it expectantly.
    I have a couple of issues:
    1. Herniated disc in neck, makes riding painful.
    2. Riding partner is out with a busted up knee, so he's off the bike for a while, so no one to egg me on.
    3. It's cold and dark and wahhhh! I'm not too thrilled to risk my bod out there on the mean streets.
    I know, in my brain, that I can easily put these concerns to rest:
    1. My relatively short (7.5 miles each way) won't kill my neck. I have ice packs at work, a great chiropractor within walking distance of my office, and if that fails, a drugstore across the street to load up on Vitamin I (Ibuprofen)!
    2. I've ridden loads of times without him (in the dark, too!) before...and I can do it again.
    3. I have lights. I have tons of reflective gear. I've ridden before in the dark. My DH has better lights - and he doesn't use 'em! I could use his, if I really felt light-deficient.

    So....
    When faced with 3 lame excuses that are nonetheless keeping me off the bike....how can I motivate myself to get back out there????
    I even signed up with the BikeJournal.com's 2500 mile challenge and that's not working....I actually thought of pulling out the rollers tonight! {{shiver}}

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Shelbyville, KY
    Posts
    1,473
    Regina:

    Sometime we all simply need a break even from the things we love and some breaks are long than others. Please don't beat yourself up over this for when you are ready to get back on your bike you will.

    Have you given any thought to a riding a recumbent to relieve the tension on your neck?

    Take care,
    Marcie

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    MD suburb of Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,832
    Hey, Regina.

    What's your alternative? Driving? How's the traffic--bad enough to make you fed up? For me, the hassle and expense of driving and parking, or the annoyance of all the cell phone talkers on Metro, make it easy to get on the bike every morning. (I've been bike commuting full time since last March.)

    I think it just becomes a habit, like eating right or exercising regularly or flossing your teeth. Maybe you can decide to just do it for a week, and see if it becomes a habit again.

    You can't beat our weather lately for January commuting, so take advantage of it!

    Hope all is going well and that the shoulder is getting better. I love ibuprofen!

    Janice

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    DuPage Co IL
    Posts
    865
    Commuting can't be a guilt-motivated activity for me - I'm tired of guilt! So I made myself a fun-o-meter and I measure every day against my rating scale.

    To ride to work, I need a fun-factor of at least 5 (and mood and physical well-being will tip the scale arbitrarily). Starting out at 10, I subtract 2 for dark coming or going, 2 for below freezing, 4 for chance of rain above 50% and 3 for winds over 15mph. All those things are fun-suckers.

    Sounds stupid but it gives me something concrete to use to make my decision and not feel guilty because maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

    But ultimately, if you're just not having fun, forget it. I think you'll find your motivation will rise again when your partner is back on the bike and birds start chirping in April and the blooms are on the cherry trees!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    Thanks, guys.
    Janice - (Hey there! I haven't "seen" you in a while!) I think that's part of my problem....I have an easy ride on Metro as my alternative - 3 stops, Glenmont to Silver Spring, and I really can't say it's all that bad. I don't even have to deal with parking - DH drops me off at the Kiss-and-Ride on his way to Gaithersburg.
    I seem to find that once I cut back on the bike in the Fall, it's hard to start back up again. I do fall out of that "habit". Today's a perfect example: Planned on riding. Last night said...Nahhhh (hence the post).
    RE: the neck - thought for about a half second about a 'bent. I'm hoping I can focus on my twice-daily traction and that will suffice in time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    Nuthatch...I like your scale - I may have to incorporate that! But a dark, cold, rainy, windy morning has got to be a MAJOR fun-sucker, as it would all add up to 11!!
    (but...oh...maybe that's the point! Time for coffee!)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,135
    I just tell myself on the rotten days "these are the miles that **really** count!!" I don't have Metro, though ... and accidentally on purpose I haven't figured out the bus route here. I imagine how "important" my very existence out ther eon the bike is - everybody who sees me is aware that yes, it can be done! (Some of them don't even think I'm a lunatic for doing it.) It's gotten other people riding. HOpefully it will get my spare tire shrunk

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    8,548
    for me, it's like a rockpile. The less I ride, the more rocks pile up, and last night a landslide was threatening. I put my every mile on BikeJournal and I noticed that over 1000 people had already posted miles and I hadn't done a thing yet. So against my own will, in the middle of watching a movie with DH,
    I went down and pedaled 6 sweaty miles. Now I have something that proves i have "started."
    I think a lot about how my health has changed in the last 3 years, and don't want to go back...
    This weekend our bike club has 2 different rides planned and I might not do either. But if i don't, i will have to force myself back to the basement. As awful as riding the windtrainer is, it keeps me from sliding too far back when the weather is finally conducive to riding outside.
    I like that point scale: -4 rain , -2 dark and hmm, it's been windy too. It'll be a while before i commute to work again.
    Mimi Team TE BIANCHISTA
    for six tanks of gas you could have bought a bike.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Downunder
    Posts
    292

    what worked for me during winter

    dont know if this will help, but in winter when it was hard to motivate myself, i put all my cycling clothes on the floor beside the bed so i literally stepped onto them when i got up

    my reasoning... i couldnt leave them on the floor and go to work, and putting them away was more effort than putting them on

    and it worked, cos i'm a "get up, visit the bathroom, dress and ride" type of person with all the showering stuff at work....

    dont know if it will help, but it worked for me.
    To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived This is to have succeeded - Emerson

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    178
    I fell off the commuting boat in late November. Brutal cold that left me weak for weeks. So I started taking the bus to school. And then even when I got a little better, I figured, "don't want to risk getting sick again before exams," and the excuses snowballed from there.

    Don't ask me how I survived the bus as long as I did. Inhumanely crowded, never on time. What is your metro ride like? Is it as fun as biking?

    It takes me less time overall to bike. I don't have to worry about leaving super early to ensure I catch a bus to campus on time, and it's WAY faster to get home on a bike than it is waiting in rush-hour on a crowded bus! How satisfying is that?

    I was worried I'd be terribly out of shape after being out of the game for so long, but my fitness level is coming back quickly. It's never as much work as the first time! Remember that!

    Commuting to my seasonal summer job is another story--I share a vehicle with my brother, and it was scarcely around when I needed it last season. The commute is 25km round trip--doesn't sound bad, till you factor in the 8 hours hard labour I worked in between! Still, when you're out of options it doesn't matter what your motivation level is!

    Good luck--your desire to ride the bicycle will return when it's ready!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    oklahoma
    Posts
    271
    If you have a bike that allows you to raise your handlebars if they are not already that might help. I think it helps to have some other people that you are in a contest with such as I am in a contest with other teachers some at other schools. We do not win anything it just makes it more fun when you know someone else is going to be out riding in the group. A break is a good thing and before you know it you will be commuting again. Good luck!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    Thanks for all the replys.
    I was hoping that signing up for the 2500 in 2007 contest on BikeJoural would inspire me. That, and the fact that when I walked out of the office the other day at 5:30, I could see the orange of the setting sun in the western sky (translation: daylight is returning - just last week, it seems, the sky was totally dark at that same time).
    I'm not lacking for motivation on the weekends - just commuting. I think I won't sweat it if I finish out January on Metro. It's very easy and beats driving. Sure...I'd love to be biking, but I don't think it's healthy for me to beat myself up for not riding. My neck is still healing and the year is still young.
    Somebody slap some sense into me if I'm still whining like this in May!
    Thanks everybody!!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Posts
    627
    I am having the same thoughts as you about commuting, Regina. Once it dropped into the teens in the morning, it was no longer fun and so I quit riding for my commute. I get up at the same time and ride the trainer. It is not very much fun, but I work up a good sweat. I currently walk to our trax station 1+ miles away, ride trax to within a mile of the office and then walk the remainder. It is different and I find I do enjoy it. We haven't been lucky enough to have morning temps warm enough to inspire me to start riding again. I worry that my motivation won't be there when the weather warms up, but I did take my commuter bike in for needed maintenance and it is now "ready" for the ride.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    DuPage Co IL
    Posts
    865
    Quote Originally Posted by Regina View Post
    Nuthatch...I like your scale - I may have to incorporate that! But a dark, cold, rainy, windy morning has got to be a MAJOR fun-sucker, as it would all add up to 11!!
    (but...oh...maybe that's the point! Time for coffee!)
    YEAH! Negative 1 rides are actually staying in bed an extra 30 minutes and having two pots of tea (or coffee)!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Sonoma County, CA
    Posts
    658
    Regina,

    Your commute can really help you reach the 2500 miles you signed up for. My standard commute is only 4.3 miles each way. I do it 3-4 times a week, with a few longer distances thrown in during the long days of summer. I track my miles on bike journal and the commute miles are also tracked on my clubs website. I ended up with 2300 commute miles - almost half of my total miles for the year! Those little distances add up!
    "Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There's something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym." -- Bill Nye

 

 

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