Justin Millar

Dwindling daylight derails dedication

Now that daylight saving time is over and darkness increasingly creeps into my waking hours, the good bicycling habits I built up during the warmer, brighter months are suddenly in jeopardy. The weekend exercise ride is still something I look forward to; it’s the “just got home from work and it’s dark and cold and I don’t have enough coffee for tomorrow morning and I really should go out and get more” ride that I struggle with.

Commuting in Lower Downtown Denver

Those short, one to three mile trips to the grocery store are easy during the longer, warmer days, but I now find only fleeting motivation. The store is so close and it will only take half an hour at most, yet it seems further away than it did just a few a weeks ago. Assuming that I am not alone in this lagging motivation, how do we get over this mental hurdle?

Layer up: Wearing the appropriate gear and clothing goes a long way.

Think of the environment: Making those one to three mile trips by bicycle makes a difference. Short trips make up the majority of car trips and they pollute more per mile because of their stop-and-go nature. Cutting into the enormous number of these trip helps cut down on pollution.

Think about motivating others: Being out there riding reminds others that it is doable. Just remember to smile. We don’t want to give the idea that we’re suffering! Seeing brave souls riding in sub-zero darkness can serve as a motivator for all of us.

Think about your mind: Imagine the mental strength that could be gleaned after months of character-building rides!Ski Goggles

Use inertia to your advantage: I find it amazing how my body gets the message to shut down on a fall or winter evening when I sit for any prolonged amount of time. I have to keep moving in order to make these rides happen, so if I know I need to head to the grocery store after work I don’t sit down when I get home.

Remember that it’s actually fun: Riding through the snow can be an exhilarating experience!

Finally, as a wise sage once said “Be indifferent toward darkness. If you think too much about darkness it will surround you.”

If you’re still not buying in, at least there are only!? seven more weeks until the days start to get longer. And if you have any tips or tricks that I forgot to mention here, please share them in the comments.


Justin Millar

About the Author: Justin Millar

Justin handles all our bookkeeping including accounts payable and receivable, helps manage the online store and provides event support. His diverse background provides expertise any number of ways in the office. Justin enjoys riding around Boulder with his young son in tow.


Bryan - Reply

I have fun making winter biking a quest for adventure. It’s no longer about hi average speeds and sprints – it’s about surviving whatever nature can throw at you. Commuting in the darkness and coldness is actually quite exciting. Lights ablaze cruising on fresh snow down a wooded bike path is a unique treat which very very few will ever enjoy. Find an alternate route from work (or use the sidewalks) to skip the main roads with slipping and sliding cars. Get some studded tires so you can really enjoy the ride without worrying about the whoops-smack of an icy fall. I call my studs “health insurance”.

Check the thermometer in the morning as a challenge to cycle in lower temps than you ever thought possible. Read up on all the clothing tips because warm and dry are THE most important cycling stats. Work your way up to that Ice Biker Badge when it drops below zero! Your friends, family, and co-workers will never look at you the same way again. Make it a Winter to remember.

kathy p - Reply

great thoughts! I’m in the same boat when not feeling motivated when a little chillier and dark, but need to push myself, if only for short ride. thanks.

Robin Martin - Reply

Great photo, Justin! Dwindling Daylight motivation in MANY ways…keep riding!


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