By John Ray
I grabbed my bike and set out for my commute on a beautiful, 72-degree, sunny day with no wind. Perfect, right? It was. It was also the last day of January. Crazy. But even though the weather was absolutely perfect, I almost didn’t go. Over the winter, even one as mild as we’ve had this year, I have fallen out of the habit of reaching for my helmet instead of the car keys. The results have showed up around my waistline and in my attitude. I needed a strong dose of motivation and maybe you do as well, so here is my prescription in the form of some New Year’s motivations.
- Take a trip. Being able to explore different places and terrains goes a long way in sparking your imagination and motivation and helps keep the home turf interesting. Set a goal of riding all or part of the Katy Trail , or explore a bike-friendly city like Austin, Portland or Washington DC*. A few years back my wife and I toured the National Mall in DC at night on bikes. It was exceptional.
- Set one day a week as your “No Car” day. One big trick to making commuting a habit is to plan well ahead. Don’t wait for the urge to hit you. Having “No Car Wednesday” (or whichever day you choose) forces you to plan ahead, gives you something to look forward to and build on.
- Don’t go it alone. Find other bikers and “bike pool’ on your commute. Find enough people and you might be able to take turns “driving sag” for the group and offering support, schlepping bags, etc. Knowing someone is expecting you to join them makes strapping on the helmet and leaving the car in the garage that much easier.
- Set a goal to ride an event. Join in the bi-annual Square to Square ride, take part in the Joe Martin Gran Fondo or OCA’s Hazel Valley Gran Prix .Taking part in events like these is a great way to give extra purpose to your commuting, introduce you to other riders and get to explore some really great parts of our area you might not otherwise see.
- Get smart. Subscribe to various websites and blogs. Obviously, you need to start right here with Ozark Cycling Adventures, but also check out People For Bikes, Bicycling and Bike Commuters.
Motivated already, aren’t you? Now let’s get out there and put in some miles!
Grace and peace, y’all, J.
*Forbes Top 10 Bike Friendly Cities: Philadelphia, PA, Tucson, AZ, Austin, TX, Denver, CO, Portland, OR, Louisville, KY, Washington DC, San Jose, CA, Indianapolis, IN, Chicago, IL