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What to do when bored with your bike routes?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

What to do when bored with your bike routes?

Old 09-07-19, 09:49 PM
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NoWhammies
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What to do when bored with your bike routes?

After a summer of riding the same routes over and over again I am having trouble getting motivated to go for a ride. This won't be an issue much longer (hello winter!) but all the same. As much as I enjoy getting out on my bike for a ride on the weekend or a quick ride after work, the thought of doing the same ride/route takes the joy out of it.

I cannot be the only one experiencing this, no? How are you folks avoiding having boredom setting in? Especially those of you who are fortunate enough to ride year round.
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Old 09-07-19, 10:16 PM
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I tag along with a group that welcomes new folks and go wherever they're going. Helps to explore new routes that I might have avoided or not known about. Also helps avoid dangerous routes that I might have tried before hearing from other folks who know the area better.

Sometimes I'll try a new route solo at night when there's less traffic. Often there are routes that are sketchy in daytime but at night I'll see only one or two vehicles over a 20-50 mile route. I use two or three lights, front and rear, so I'm as visible as it's practical to be. I usually have fewer problems with negligent drivers at night than during the day.
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Old 09-07-19, 10:22 PM
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Change it up.

Get a fixed gear.

Or a gravel bike and do some local mixed surface loops once or twice per week. I bring my drop bar gravel bike to the MTB park every so often just to freak out the mountain bike guys.

Take the bike on an overnight trip to a B&B.

Go for a <gasp!> trail run.

@canklecat's recommendation to ride at night is excellent.


-Tim-
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Old 09-07-19, 10:31 PM
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Ride the same routes, but in reverse. You will be amazed how much you will see/notice.

Ride safely!
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Old 09-07-19, 10:39 PM
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^^^ This. I rode a soft 20 miles with my wife last Saturday, then turned around and rode the exact route in reverse... only faster.

Or make a mental game of it. If I'm not feeling motivated to do a route, I play a game of "red light, turn right!" in which I make an effort to not stop at all-- moving time and elapsed time should be equal. Left turns can be tricky to time, and a 20 mile morning can quickly turn into 35, because I can't time a damn left!

Another is I pick an arbitrary HR number, and don't let myself either go below or above that number. Same with power, speed on climbs, etc. This morning I tried to keep my HR at 138 for as long as possible. Staying on one number is tough.
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Old 09-07-19, 10:39 PM
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BTW, if you do night rides use plenty of light. In rural areas, or recently grown up 'burbs, it helps to broaden the beam to light up the roadsides. I also use a helmet light -- I think Tim does as well. Lots of critters lurking nearby. With a helmet light you'll at least see their eyes glowing. Sometimes I'll combine a steady helmet light and a flasher, although at night some strobe cycles can be annoying even to me from behind, so I mostly use flashers when near traffic.

I might eventually pop for a Light & Motion Taz, but for now I'm using pairs of single LED lights, including a sorta-pair, an L&M Urban 500 and Rando 500, on the bar on either side of the stem. I'll angle the beams outward just a bit to see the edges clearly. That's at least as essential as overall brightness. I can set both lights to medium (around 250 lumens, I think) and it's plenty bright and broad enough to dodge the usual deer, tank possums, etc.

And I use at least a pair of taillights, usually an older Cygolite Hotshot 50 on low steady and another 150 on slow pulse. And a Blackburn 2'Fer on the back of my helmet -- weighs next to nothing, and helmet lights really grab attention with the slightest bobble or turn of our heads.

Side lights are good too. I don't use spoke mounted wheel LEDs on my road bikes but do on my hybrids. I see some good, narrow lightweight LED strips lights that I plan to try on the road bike seat stays or chain stays. But wheel mounted lights really grab attention without being unnecessarily bright. I see 'em a lot in group rides and they really pop.
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Old 09-07-19, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
I tag along with a group that welcomes new folks and go wherever they're going. Helps to explore new routes that I might have avoided or not known about. Also helps avoid dangerous routes that I might have tried before hearing from other folks who know the area better.

Sometimes I'll try a new route solo at night when there's less traffic. Often there are routes that are sketchy in daytime but at night I'll see only one or two vehicles over a 20-50 mile route. I use two or three lights, front and rear, so I'm as visible as it's practical to be. I usually have fewer problems with negligent drivers at night than during the day.
this. invest in some quality lighting and embrace the night riding. amazing how different the area looks/diff business, light signal and traffic patterns if in an urban area. if rural,
you'll likely count the cars passing on one hand-esp if it's after midnight. rock some blue öyster cult for extra credit.
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Old 09-07-19, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
Ride the same routes, but in reverse. You will be amazed how much you will see/notice.

Ride safely!
There is a local ride around this island near Seattle. Clockwise, has an exhilarating descent. Counterclockwise, it becomes the climb from hell.
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Old 09-08-19, 12:22 AM
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Everyone’s motivation for riding ebbs and flows regardless of the routes you’re riding. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and do something else for a while and come back to cycling. If you’re only riding weekends and getting bored then maybe find a group to ride with. Chatting with others makes a ride go by much quicker. Or drive to the valley and start your ride in Fort Langley and go east through Sumas and Chilliwack.
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Old 09-08-19, 04:07 AM
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As mentioned, riding a route in reverse is a good way to mix it up. Having a quiver of road bikes that you can ride doesn't hurt either.
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Old 09-08-19, 04:15 AM
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What to do when bored with your bike routes?

  • Ride them in the opposite direction.
  • Adopt a mission of riding all the rural paved roads within a 200 km radius of where you live.
  • Drive to other areas to ride.
  • Take at least one week each year to go to another part of the world to cycle ... 2 or 3 or more is better.



Then give a thought for those of us who need to ride flat, quiet routes in a very hilly, busy area. We've got the following, and we have to drive to each of them.

  • A very small town we can ride little loops around. That usually gives us 10-15 km if we ride up and down each street.
  • A short path (half gravel / half paved) between that town and another even smaller town. Out and back gives us about 15 km.
  • The Cycleway in the local city. That can give us as much as 28 km.
  • A bit of meandering near a beach on the other side of the city. Probably 10-15 km if we hit all the streets. But it's only good in the off season. The area is too busy in summer.
  • A mountain trail (packed dirt / gravel) that might give us 25 km.
  • And a loop (mix of sealed and gravel) that's about 30 km long.

Last edited by Machka; 09-08-19 at 04:25 AM.
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Old 09-08-19, 05:57 AM
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I'm guessing the OP has some sort of GPS, so getting lost is not a problem. What's stopping you(OP)from getting on the bike and just going? Walk out the door, pick a direction, hop on and go. You will be back when you get back. Take the structure out of it and make it an adventure.
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Old 09-08-19, 06:54 AM
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Here in Rhode Island, the bike club has the entire state mapped out for best cycling routes, (Rhode Island is a very small state) as well as adjoining areas of Massachusetts. Consequently, see if a local bike club has many routes to ride, and if so, join that club to learn the routes. I especially enjoy those routes that are adjacent to the waters of Narragansett Bay or Buzzards Bay in Mass. Where most of my rides are within 40 miles of home, occasionally I venture 50 or 60 miles away which opens up scores of new roads to ride.
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Old 09-08-19, 07:03 AM
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New roads to ride can help.

Local bike club routes are likely to be on ridewithgps. The routes often include obscure roads that are quiet and scenic. It's the result of years of many different riders refining good route ideas into even better ones.

I follow a few riders on strava that are always riding new routes. I got some good ideas there.

~~~

I can easily find reasons to skip a solo bike ride. I like group rides: the set time and route gets me out the door.
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Old 09-08-19, 08:02 AM
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Walk out your door and go left instead of right.
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Old 09-08-19, 08:02 AM
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I run into this around this time every year. I'll second the night riding, and the reverse route approach is surprisingly effective--it can seem like a whole different ride. Flinging around my old MTB on the local trails really does the trick for me, though, even though I'm usually in way over my head. So much fun.
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Old 09-08-19, 09:41 AM
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Drive your bike to places you haven't ridden yet. It won't be long until snow starts gracing the peaks, fantastic scenery to ride through.

I've felt unmotivated to ride my favorite Seattle loop for the ten thousandth time, and at the same time I've looked forward to getting to route 20 and covering some miles.
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Old 09-08-19, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Go for a <gasp!> trail run.
Reported.

Just kidding, trail running is a good suggestion. It's fun in a way that street running isn't, it's gentler on your body, and it's when more demanding than cycling, great for your fitness.

Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Everyone’s motivation for riding ebbs and flows regardless of the routes you’re riding. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and do something else for a while and come back to cycling.
And this too. Sometimes when you're not feeling motivated to ride, it's ok to do something else for a while. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and you'll start wanting to get back on the bike again.

Nordic skiing is fantastic cross training. I'll be in Winthrop in late December having a blast on ski trails, you should come help me celebrate my birthday.
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Old 09-08-19, 09:56 AM
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I search ridewithgps.com for rides somewhat near me that look interesting that I've never done. Sometimes I have to put my bike on my rack and drive a bit, but it's rarely more than an hour away.
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Old 09-08-19, 10:07 AM
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If I'm riding with a group then I don't care if it's the same route. There's enough going on to keep me from thinking about the monotony of the route.

Riding solo I do find doing the same route, sometimes multiple times a week, does get tiresome. Reversing it is a good idea. If you know your area well enough then just going out and deciding where to go on the fly can lead you to some interesting places.
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Old 09-08-19, 10:12 AM
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Buy new bike crap, of course.
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Old 09-08-19, 10:58 AM
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Not sure who is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to ride the same routes that you don’t want to...
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Old 09-08-19, 11:01 AM
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Great idea to rid some routes in reverse. I'll have to give that a go when I'm on my bike next.

The idea of start riding at night is a good one too. I'll have to invest in some quality lights first.

@Dirt Farmer thanks for the website. I'll check it out.
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Old 09-08-19, 02:33 PM
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Never happened. Yet. And I ride the same route all summer long, because it's short and sweet, as is the part of the day which is cool enough to be out. I love riding at night as well.
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Old 09-08-19, 02:35 PM
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Great thread. I recently got into this situation, too. I have turned my normal loops into training rides. And now, drive to new locations, about 30 mins. away. Also, I have my wife or daughter, drop me off, 40 or so miles away and ride home. Hope this helps. KB.

Oh and yes, having a stable of bikes, breaks up the boredom , too. KB
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