SF Cyclotouring

Ride reports and other ramblings from a San Francisco cyclist.


Losing Focus

Confession time! I didn't ride this weekend. I didn't ride the weekend before that, either (but I was out of town, so I do have a valid excuse). On top of that, I haven't done a big ride since mid-April. I did ride 52 miles to work on Bike to Work Day in mid-May, but that route was entirely flat so it hardly counts...

I was going to ride on Saturday, but had some familial obligations so I shifted it to Sunday. I had intended to wake up, gulp a quick breakfast, swap some tires around on the Kogswell, and head out for a half-day's saddle time. Instead, that Sunday I woke up and ended up fettering most of the morning and early afternoon away in front of the computer, lulled into a YouTube stupor, blasting old Peter Gabriel videos (more) on the PC speakers. I'd always loved PG's music in high school and college, and re-finding this stuff was like opening a lost Christmas present... I also learned that his excellent bassist is Tony Levin, and Tony invented a nifty bass-playing gizmo called Funk Fingers. Oh Interweb, curse you for being a most random and excellent time-waster! My wife got pretty exasperated..."I thought you said you were going out for a bike ride?!?"

I know that everybody needs an occasional day of doing nothing, but I'm not sure that's what's going on here. Generally, I eat, breathe, (over)think, and sleep all things bicycling -- too much so. So why then, given a perfectly nice day and a solid chunk of time to go outside and enjoy it, am I entirely unmotivated to go out and ride? For the past several weekends, getting out on the bike has been like pulling teeth, and I just don't understand it! It seems that, unless I have confirmed plans to meet folks for a ride at a specific time, that I just end up lallygagging about.

Ironically, I do know that the new Kogswell is part of the problem.... Not that it's a bad bike, but it (or I?) needs lots of tweaking, adjusting, and experimenting to figure out this low-trail thing. So that adds some mental overhead to riding -- instead of just heading out for some miles, I've got to futz with the bike and keep mental notes of what works and what doesn't. Plus, I don't yet feel as if I've worked out all the bugs, so I'm not confident enough with the bike to take it on longer or mixed-terrain rides. I've been tempted to just ride other bikes, but if I do that then I'll never "finish" the Kogswell.

Tangent: One of the downsides of owning lots of bikes is that one or more of them always needs some kind of attention: repairing/fixing/cleaning/adjusting/whatever. I'm half-tempted to box up a few of my bikes and shove them in my attic or something to reduce my "mental clutter"!

It's like when I was in school, and had a big exam the next day: I'd find any excuse (even laundry or housecleaning) to put off studying, procrastinating until the last minute and then frantically studying all night...

Maybe I need some psychoanalysis, I don't know. What I do know is that, unless I find some motivation, I'll never sort out the Kogswell, and I'll never be in good enough shape to attempt (let alone finish!) the La Ruta Loca mixed-terrain 200k on July 19th!

What tips or tricks do you use to stay focused on riding?



Blogger Gino Zahnd said...

Funnily enough, I did a similar thing the previous three weeks. I just wasn't motivated to ride. I do it every now and then, not ride that is, and I've come to not feel so guilty about it as I once did. It's just cyclical, like everything in life.

Do I think about riding during the not-riding periods? Sure. But I don't sweat it. I go kayaking, or drink beer, or sit in front of the computer, or play guitar, or run errands on my town bike. And then, when I DO decide to get back on the bike for a real ride, it is exhilarating all over again.

So don't sweat it my friend. Just enjoy other things, and when you come back to the bike, you'll be refreshed, and ready to keep tweaking it, or just pedaling it.

1:45 PM  
Blogger blackmountaincycles said...

...and I too have been a slacker with regards to getting out for rides recently. For me, it was an impromptu ride that was just a hoot that got me out again, and again. The change was simply the right fork on my frame. I'd been riding with a 20mm too short fork (because that's what I had). Finally got around to putting the correct length on it and it was like a new found friend. The bike's got to be fun to ride.

4:52 PM  
Anonymous alex wetmore said...

If the bike isn't ready and you want to put on miles now then I'd just ride another bike. The Kogswell will still be there when the riding weather goes downhill.

I'm worried about losing focus as well, especially since I'm interested in building my cargo bike. My riding time and my workshop time are one and the same, so building ends up taking time away from riding if I do it.

When I need motivation I try to organize something with friends so that I have fixed plans and a fixed schedule.


5:21 PM  
Anonymous Andy Sohn said...

Dude, I am having the same problem. I have one functioning bike, the old Bridgestone MB2, and am a little tired of fixing the same old problems on the daily driver. I kind of feel like just going out and buying a bike. Definitely riding less. I am buying a Rawlands but can't say I am looking forward to building it up because of the debugging thing. Box Dog Bikes on their blog asked frameset or complete bike. I wrote BIKE.

11:09 PM  

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