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.
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!
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.