As cyclists, we know it’s easy to get caught up in the nitty-gritty of riding—worrying about speed, watts, max efforts, calorie intake. Or, maybe you realize that you’ve fallen into a stale routine, getting out there to check a box on a mental checklist, riding the same loops over and over without much thought.
When that happens, it’s easy to lose track of why we fell in love with riding in the first place. Because it’s fun.
During Bike to Play week, hosted by Bicycling and Degree (the official deodorant of Bike to Play Week), we want to encourage you to break out of your usual routes and make your rides more fun this week. How exactly do you do that? We have some suggestions below to inspire your fun adventure.
Don’t forget to document your ride, and share it with us using the hashtag #BIBiketoPlay.
→ Ride your bike on a new-to-you route
We often end up riding the same old roads and trails without even thinking about it. Now is the time to do some research and learn about a place you’ve never explored on bike before. Open up Google maps and find some fresh bike-friendly roads, or explore new routes using your favorite app, such as Strava, MapMyRide, or Trailforks.
→ Ride your bike with no plan in mind
Go out for a ride where you don’t think in advance about where you’re going. Turn off your Garmin or Wahoo, and go down roads you’ve never ridden before. Just don’t forget basic safety! Tell someone when you expect to be back, bring your GPS with you, and keep your bearings so you don’t get lost.
→ Ride your bike to a new-to-you local business
Times have been tough for local businesses recently given the COVID-19 pandemic; use a ride to patronize a local business you’ve never visited before! A coffee shop, a cafe, a restaurant, a winery, a bookstore, a clothing store—the options are endless! Make it more fun by planning a scenic route, and invite a friend or two to come along with you.
→ Ride your bike with a friend whom you haven’t ridden with before
Do you know someone who’s interested in starting to ride but needs a buddy? Or what about your friend who you spin with on Peloton every other day, but you don’t actually get out on the roads? Plan a bike date during Bike to Play Week! If your friend needs help tuning up their bike, lend them a hand. Or if your friend doesn’t have a bike, loan them one of yours, or find a place for them to rent one.
→ Call out of work, and ride your bike during the workday
Take a mental health day or a personal day, and get out on your bike for an adventure. A good tip—don’t post about your ride on Instagram or Strava, to make sure your boss and team won’t find out. Use your best judgment here—we don’t want you to lose your job! (Our Rider-in-Chief Bill Strickland can send your boss an absence note, if needed.)
→ Go out and do a skills ride instead of a fitness ride
Just get out and goof off on your bike, like you did when you were a kid. Pop wheelies in your driveway, ride in the grass with your friends in a nearby park, or set up an obstacles course. Don’t focus on numbers or distance; work on different skills or tricks, and think about having maximum fun.
→ Try a different kind of riding
If you typically stick to the roads, try a mountain bike ride. If you’ve never ridden a pump track before, find the one closest to you and give it a ride. Always wanted an excuse to ride gravel? Now is the time. Shake up your routines, and you may find that you love a different kind of riding.
→ Make an on-bike scavenger hunt with your friends
Come up with a list of things that you need to find while on a bike ride; for example, a red flower, a blue front door, a birdfeeder. Then, recruit family and friends to participate with you, and send the list around. It can be a competition or just for fun. Later, you can all gather safely in person or on a Zoom call, if you are in different places, and compare what you found.
→ Join a new group for a ride
There are local clubs and bike shops all over the country that regularly host group rides of different lengths and speeds. Reach out to a new group and join for a ride at a time that’s convenient for you. You may even make some new friends.
→ Ride in your closest national or state park (or something similar, if you don’t live near one)
So many national parks have bike trails, so use this week as a reason to hit up those trails if it’s not part of your normal routine. Before you go, here are some tips on riding in national parks.
→ Find your closest rail trail or bike path via Trailink
Traillink is an incredible resource for cyclists, and if you’re not using it regularly, you should be. Traillink is run by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and it works to document and protect trails in order to get people outdoors more. It features trails all over the country, so no matter where you live, you should be able to find a path to ride.
→ Arrange a group lunch ride with your coworkers or with friends
Whether or not you already use your lunch hour regularly to work out, get some more people involved during Bike to Play Week! See if your coworkers want to join you, or if you’re still working remotely, ask friends and neighbors to get out in the sunshine. You can even plan a bike picnic—pack up some sandwiches and refreshments in your backpack, bike basket, or pannier, and ride to a beautiful place for an outdoor lunch.
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