The fast-paced nature of our lives can make it hard to find time for cycling. Amidst work, family obligations, and leisure plans like marathoning new shows, cycling can often take a backseat. In this blog post, we discuss the challenges of finding time for cycling and help you with some tips to overcome them.
So, how do we prioritize our time, and how do other factors, such as work, family, and hobbies, influence our decision-making? Try implementing some simple strategies to carve out extra time for cycling!
Here are some common reasons why some people struggle to find time for cycling:
- Prioritizing time with a partner or children
- Feeling too physically or mentally exhausted for cycling
- Having availability at less-than-ideal times for cycling, such as after 8 pm
- Preferring to engage in other activities, such as watching Netflix
- Not feeling comfortable cycling in rough weather conditions or extreme temperatures.
These are some of our suggestions for finding the time and creating cycling opportunities.
1. Get Organized & Prepared
Making decisions can be stressful and take a lot of energy, even for small things. To make it easier, simplify the process by preparing in advance. For example, if you plan to ride in the morning, get everything ready the night before.
- Check the weather forecast and mentally prepare for any conditions. If it's supposed to rain, remind yourself that you've ridden in the rain before, and it can be enjoyable. Don't let the rain be an excuse to stay in bed. Using the proper apparel, you can ride safely and comfortably in all weather conditions.
- Set out your cycling clothing, helmet, shoes, and accessories in one place before you go to bed.
- Fill your water bottle, pack your food, ID, spare tube, CO2 cartridges, and money in your jersey pocket or seat bag.
- Make sure your bike is ready by cleaning the chain, pumping up the tires, and ensuring that your lights are charged and attached.
By doing this, you don't have to decide to go cycling in the morning. You can get up ready to enjoy your next ride.
2. Take advantage of morning time
Get up an hour earlier and use your time efficiently. Before or after work is a fantastic time to go on for a ride. It might be easier during summer when there is more light and warmth. And we get it! It can be harder to motivate yourself to get up an hour earlier in the winter and ride in the dark. But you'd be surprised at how much you can accomplish in a short amount of time. Depending on your speed and terrain, you can get in 10–20 miles twice a week.
Early rides also offer other benefits, such as:
- Observing the wildlife that is active while most people are still asleep.
- Encountering less traffic on the roads
- Enjoying the best weather for riding in some places during the summer.
3. Start bike commuting
Commuting can be a valuable training session. According to US census data, Americans spend more than 25 minutes each day in their cars driving to work. This time is nearly twice as long in population-dense areas. That's 50 minutes to almost 2 hours of the day spent in traffic instead of riding.
Use the time you've already set aside to get a workout in and consider that it may take less time to cycle than to drive. You'll be amazed at how quickly you can accumulate time and miles with this strategy. Plus, it's good for you and the planet!
Don't underestimate the fitness benefits of bike commuting. If you already bike commute, adapt your habits to maximize training benefits. Tips to kick-start training while commuting:
- Use the extra weight of your work gear to make your quads burn uphill.
- Cycle hard to and from traffic lights. The stop-and-go is excellent power training.
- Push the pace to catch other cyclists.
- Choose a route you enjoy and time yourself weekly, trying to match or beat that time.
Additionally, there may be financial incentives to bike commuting, such as tax benefits and employer reimbursement for supplies, as part of corporate wellness programs. Plus, think about all the gas money you can save!
By taking advantage of these opportunities, commuting to work can be a solution to include cycling in your day-to-day life.
4. Integrate family time and cycling
Combine your love for cycling and quality time with your family by cycling together. It may require extra planning and preparation, such as setting up multiple bikes or transportation arrangements, and you may not be able to achieve the same training intensity. But you can stay active and foster an interest in cycling among your loved ones. It could even lead to future fun family activities such as a cycling vacation.
If your children are young, you can use child seats or trailers to add extra resistance to your ride. Plus, it makes it easier to return to your regular road bike without the added weight.
5. Get your trainer out
If you find it hard to make time for bike rides during the week, consider incorporating indoor training sessions into your routine. Utilizing a turbo trainer in addition to weekend rides can help maintain your fitness throughout the year. Investing in a trainer can be a great way to add flexibility to your schedule and save time. The convenience of indoor training is undeniable, and here are a few reasons why:
- The gear requirements are minimal. Wear your riding shorts, bike shoes, and a jersey while you pedal in the comfort of your own home. You don't even have to wear a helmet!
- The trainer allows you to focus on interval training without distractions from traffic, road hazards, and weather. The perfect solution if you struggle with severe winter conditions, for example.
- It eliminates the need to travel to a specific location for your workout, allowing you to stay on track with your workout schedule and daily schedule.
- The trainer is a great time-saver, allowing you to multitask during your workout. You can get solid training while catching up on emails, conducting meetings, or chatting with loved ones.
Incorporating indoor training into your schedule can be a great way to maintain your fitness levels and stay on track with your cycling activity. It provides a convenient and efficient solution to ride, regardless of the weather or other conditions.
6. Add your rides to the calendar
Set aside time each week for three dedicated cycling sessions with a partner, family, friends, or solo. Make it clear to those in your life that these rides are a priority. Treat your rides as you would any relevant appointment or meeting by scheduling them into your weekly routine. It will make cycling a consistent part of your life and a priority.
Plan your rides, including the day, start time, route, and duration. For example, "Monday 6:00 am-7:30 am, "Coastal Trail" ride, 90 minutes." By putting it on your calendar, you'll be more likely to stick to your plan.
7. Use your weekends
Maximizing your weekend rides can be challenging, as you may have a lot of other responsibilities with friends and family. However, by planning and preparing your gear the night before, you can make the most of your time and be out on the road early in the morning. This way, you can squeeze in a decent ride before the rest of the house wakes up.
Another option is to organize a group ride with your family or friends. This way, you can enjoy the experience as a group and make cycling a social activity. Doing this will also help you stick to your schedule and make it a routine.
Bonus Suggestion: Find a riding partner
Finding a riding partner can increase accountability and motivation to stick to your planned rides. Additionally, riding with someone else can make the time fly by, making the experience more fun and enjoyable.
By following these tips, you can find more time for cycling and enjoy its benefits. Whether you are cycling for fitness, stress relief, or just pure enjoyment, make cycling a priority in your life.
Do you find it hard to find time for cycling? Or are you looking for a riding partner? Share this article with your family and friends and get their help to keep up with your training.