Being a regular rider around Sydney it can be easy to think you’ve ridden every path and seen every trial. Often we take the roads that we know best and have in mind the speeds we want to be travelling at and what we want to “get out of the ride”. Whether it be a Strava segment, new PRs, getting from A to B or nailing a new skill.
The trouble with always trying to achieve something with your rides can be that you hold yourself to standard and if you don’t achieve that goal you feel like you have somehow failed. So you push yourself harder and harder until cycling goes from being something that you loved to something you become a slave to.
They say it takes 10,000 hours to become good at anything, but being good at something doesn’t make you great. Slaving away to your 2 wheeled gods will only get you so far, so how do you rekindle your velo relationship? How do you get back to the love of cycling? Well I can only tell you what has worked for me and perhaps it’ll work for you too.
I was finding myself looking at my bike on the weekends and secretly hating its stupid face (yeah mature), I felt like I should be going hard all the time. I was also becoming a bit of a brat on slower club rides and on social rides, impatient to ping off the front once given the opportunity. I was turning into a lycra clad monster. I realised this after a string of stressful rides where the only person I had to blame was myself. So I looked within and thought of all the rides I had recently done that had been enjoyable and found that they were mostly all of the ones where I had no idea where I was going.
Hence, the adventure ride and the birth of the bicycle reset button.
The beauty of heading out on the bike and not knowing where you’re going or where you’ll end up is pretty mighty. The rules are simple:
- No planned route – you can have a vague idea but you’re not allowed to spend too much time on familiar roads
- Bring lots of spares – god knows where you’ll end up so bring food and lots of water
- Give yourself lots of time – there’s no rushing about
- Employ a guide – if the idea of getting lost on purpose freaks you out, maybe employ a friend to take you on a ride somewhere new.
By sticking to these rules you should be lost within the 30mins of the ride. You’ll become a pro at going slow (don’t want to miss that hidden track or sign), U-turns will happen, again and again, you’ll realise how darn hilly Sydney is (that hill you just went down? Yeah now you have to go up it again) and slowly but surely you’ll find yourself in new places. You’ll also find yourself not checking the garmin for your average speed or time, instead you’ll be looking for the busiest café or the nicest park to stop at. You may even find your love of cycling returning. Best of all, it makes for a great story and what’s cycling without a bit of bragging.
By making this part of my routine I’ve found some pretty cool things in Sydney. I’ve visited historic sites, found secret gardens, drank the worst and the best coffee going, spoken to cockatoos stumbled upon fairs and markets just to name a few. All whilst going 20km/hr and having the best time. So where’s your next adventure?