If you have some other method of transportation, the occasional temptation is there to eschew the bike for a day, a week, or even for the entire winter. Bike commuting can seem old or boring if you’ve been doing it a while. Here are some tips for staying motivated.
- Ride a different bike. Swap bikes with a friend or co-worker you trust or switch one of your other bikes out as your commuter bike.
- Try multi-mode commuting. Over winter, I switch to a bike/transit commute which allows me to choose how far I want to ride depending on where I choose to get on and off. You can also drive part-way or drive in, then ride home. Ride back to work and drive home the next day.
- If you have a geared bike, try a “one gear” commute. Over a few days, use trial and error to find the one gear combination that works best for your commute.
- Pick up and throw away one road hazard per day: nails, screws, tacks, and big chunks of debris. Don’t neglect your traffic awareness, but try to make a point to get one piece of potentially harmful debris off the road.
- Find some new routes. Talk to fellow cyclists or just go exploring on one of your recreational rides. Not seeing the same scenery every single day can keep things interesting.
- Recruit some friends. It’s a lot easier to keep riding if you have a buddy to talk to and at least share the misery of a chilly morning or baleful headwind.
- Take some pictures. You can use your camera phone, an inexpensive digital point-and-shoot or even a disposable camera! If you see something interesting, there’s no harm in taking a break to enjoy it and capture it to admire and share later.
- Reward yourself. For every week of car-free commuting, do something as a small reward. You might need to get your significant other to sign-off on this.
- Greet anyone and everyone that you pass. One of the great things about riding a bike is that you’re out in the open. Say hi to joggers, dog-walkers, and even pedestrians hogging the multi-use path by walking three abreast… not that it ever happens…
- Mix up your commute a bit with small errands that you can run on the way home or to work.
Getting out of the “boring commute” rut is often as simple as changing something small on occasion. What are you doing to keep yourself motivated? Tell us in the comments.