It can be hard to find motivation and even harder to get out of our comfort zone and push ourselves further, so here are some top tips on achieving both.
Firstly I need you to think about where you are on your own cycling journey - don't compare yourself to others, but think about your own health, fitness, experience etc. With that in mind, what is your "comfortable distance" (CD) and "slightly scary distance" (SSD)? With regards to your SSD, this might be a distance you've already done, or a distance you'd like to achieve, but it's important that it's your personal goal.
Sometimes just getting out on the bike is hard even if it's well within our CD range. The faff of getting changed, getting the bike out the shed, thinking of somewhere to go. Much easier to not bother.
I find the best way round that is to commit to something "comfortable" in the very near future - whether that's agreeing to meet a friend, signing up to one of our social rides, a ride with a local club or something from www.letsride.co.uk Finding the motivation to make that commitment is really quite easy when you're sitting on the sofa in the cozy warm. Finding the motivation to go out on your own when you're all tucked up in bed on a weekend morning isn't, especially at this time of year. Arguably no-one will care if you actually turn up or not (well, maybe your friend will if you chose that option!) but I find that if I've said I'm doing a ride, then I will and I'm sure you will too.
So that's your CD rides taken care of... but what about your SSD ride? For that we should take advantage of a human trait known as "construal level theory".
Put simply, CLT says the further away something is, the less we are able to think about it - we're unable to focus on the details. For us as cyclists that means we're always going to more optimistic about events that are a good while away. For example, if I asked you to cycle your SSD instead of your CD this weekend, you'll come up with reasons why you cant (if you don't then replace your CD with your SSD and come up with a proper SSD!) - it's too cold, you're not fit enough, you're not sure. However, if I asked you to do it at the end of the summer, you're likely to agree - you've loads of time to get fit, the weather will be better, you'll have done training etc.
So go and find that SSD event in the summer (preferably The Big Fat Bike Ride 2019!) and sign up for it. Now.