I love cycling.
Hopping on the bike, spinning my legs, and putting those miles behind me.
Riding in the fall when the pumpkins start to grow, and the leaves start to turn color is absolutely my favorite time to ride.
As much as I love cycling, I don’t think I am alone when I say that being a consistent cyclist is sometimes a struggle.
We, as female cyclists particularly, have so many obligations.
Many of us have work, kids, families, friends, and other things that can make being a consistent cyclist very difficult.
Sometimes we feel like getting our rides in is just impossible. We look at our schedule, and there aren’t any gaps.
When there are gaps? You’re freaking tired from EVERYTHING ELSE you and your mind and body have been up to.
It’s so easy to get frustrated, and put cycling on the back burner until you have the time.
Then, it feels like that time never comes. Getting on your bike and being a consistent cyclist takes a back seat to everything else you think you need to do.
I know exactly how this feels because, my friend, I have been there. So, many times.
In this article I will give you 5 actionable tips that you can implement in your life right now to go down the path of being a consistent cyclist.
Tip #1: Take a Long, Hard Look at your Cycling Mindset
Your cycling mindset is quite simply how you think about cycling and the role it plays in your life.
Are you the sort of cyclist who fits in rides when and where she can?
Or are you the sort of cyclist who plans to cycle, and works your days around your rides?
Notice that there is no right or wrong here.
It is perfectly fine for you to be one or the other…and your mindset might even change day to day or week to week. Mine sometimes does!
It truly doesn’t matter what kind of cyclist you are, but if you want to be a consistent cyclist, you need to be aware of your thoughts around cycling and be intentional about your cycling mindset.
It’s completely fine if you are fitting in your rides around everything else as long as you recognize this and then take the next steps to get the rides in.
Consistent cyclists are “in the habit of cycling regularly.”
Try on that thought, and see how it feels to be a person who is in the habit of cycling regularly.
Does it make you feel good? Make you feel strong? Does it make you feel intentional about riding?
If so, come up with an intentional plan for fitting in those rides!
Tip #2: Define “Consistent Cyclist” for Yourself and Plan Your Rides Weekly
I always say that intentionally planning your rides is the cornerstone to being a consistent cyclist.
Also, YOU get to decide what it means to be a consistent cyclist.
For me, it is scheduling and completing 5 rides a week of around an hour per ride.
I know this is way too much for some, and not nearly enough for others.
Consistent cyclists are in the habit of cycling regularly and know that they need to plan their rides.
Every week, pick a day (I like Sundays or Mondays) to sit down for a few minutes and write down which days and times you are going to ride.
I actually pick alternate days and times so that I know that if I miss my ride after work one day, I have time scheduled in the evening to get it in. Or, if my Monday is a HOT MESS (as Mondays often are) I can get my ride in at the same time on Tuesday.
I am in the habit of consistently riding five times a week. I ride Monday OR Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday OR Friday, and Saturday and Sunday.
The start and end of my work week is when I require the most flexibility in my schedule, so I always have Monday and Thursday rides scheduled, with Tuesday and Friday as my backup in case my Monday or Tuesday doesn’t go according to plan.
Also, sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate on certain days, and I can plan my schedule around the weather forecast if I don’t feel like riding indoors.
This schedule works GREAT for me, but the beauty is that you get to decide what works great FOR YOU.
Tip #3: Have an Indoor Backup Plan
I cannot tell you how many times this year I have planned outdoor rides that have been canceled due to weather.
I lead a wonderful women’s group ride out of Competitive Edge in East Longmeadow, MA every Wednesday night during cycling season.
In case you are wondering what cycling season is for our Wednesday rides, it is the season where we get good daylight between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30 to ride!
Unfortunately this season the weather on Wednesday nights has been complete and utter garbage. I had to cancel at least 3-5 Wednesday night rides…sometimes for weeks in a row.
Many people get out there on their bikes in the rain and cold but I am NOT that kind of girl. I absolutely need an indoor option to move my body.
I have an indoor smart trainer, and a Peloton bike. This means there is literally zero reason for me to skip a ride when the weather is bad.
I can just run down to the basement and hop on a bike. It’s amazing.
I know that indoor cycling setups can get really pricey, but I think they are a very worthwhile investment for a girl who wants to be a consistent cyclist.
Interested in an indoor trainer?
If you don’t have an indoor cycling option or don’t want to invest in one you can still commit to moving your body indoors.
Youtube has so many strength training workouts for cyclists, and a ton of bodyweight strength workouts if you don’t own indoor weights.
You want to make sure that you move your body in some way during the time you set aside to cycle in order to keep yourself in the habit of being a consistent cyclist.
Tip #4 Make it as Easy as Freaking Possible for You to Ride Your Bike
Sometimes we lack a little bit of motivation to be a consistent cyclist. We have the time scheduled to ride, but we don’t feel like it.
I am here to tell you it is completely OK to not want to do something, but still actually do it.
I love to acknowledge this.
I will say, “I don’t want to ride today, and that’s OK. I am going to do it anyway.”
My brain will try to tell me that I would rather sit on the couch, have some snacks, read a book, or really do just about anything other than get on the bike.
Instead I simply say “OK brain, I know you don’t feel like riding, but you’re going to do it anyway.”
I put on my cycling clothes, and I hop on my bike, and that’s it. No drama.
Additionally, I make it as easy as possible for myself to commit to the ride.
I will tell myself that I am only going to ride x number of minutes, or x number of miles, even if I have more planned for the day. Chances are once I am on the bike I will be perfectly OK with the original plan that was keeping me from getting on the bike.
And if I am not? That’s OK too!
Also, consider limiting the clothing or the equipment you take with you on your ride.
There are some things we don’t really need in order to just get on our bike. I can skip the heart rate monitor, the bike computer, even the padded bike shorts if it’s not going to be a very long ride.
Taking the path of least resistance to getting on your bike ensures you are that much more likely to get on it.
Once you’re on? Your muscle memory, your endorphins will take care of the rest, and you will feel awesome.
Tip #5: Give Yourself Grace During the Process of Becoming a Consistent Cyclist
New habits take time to develop and actually become habits. In other words, it would be nice if we could just say “I am in the habit of being a consistent cyclist” and have that instantly be true forever and ever.
The reality is that it will take some time before your mind and body fully commit to the habits you want to proactively develop, and this is OK.
If you miss a cycling workout for whatever reason, even if that reason is you chose to eat ice cream on the couch and watch Netflix, it’s OK.
Simply tell yourself, “I missed my ride today, and that’s OK. I will make the next ride on my schedule.”
Beating yourself up, telling yourself that you are bad for not following through, and just feeling awful about your missed ride, or even missed several rides is not going to give you the result you want.
Instead, consider forgiving yourself, telling yourself it’s OK, and make a point to follow through with your next ride.
A Final Note…
Remember, you are the one in charge.
You are the one who gets to decide what being a consistent cyclist is.
You get to choose what being a consistent cyclist means today. And you can always re-choose for tomorrow.
For me, becoming a consistent cyclist means that I care about my body. I care about my health.
It keeps me on the path of getting faster, leaner, and stronger.
It makes me feel amazing. It makes me feel good.
Being a consistent cyclist means that I ride regularly, and it is one thing I can do to take care of this one mind and body I was given.
It helps me make better choices about what I put in my body, and how I fuel my body.
If you follow these five tips, you too can become a consistent cyclist or stay on that path of being a consistent cyclist.
It will help you make commitments to yourself, and to follow through with yourself.
It will help you take care of yourself so that you can be strong enough to take care of everyone and everything else.