Staying motivated to cycle the same routes over and over again

Riding the same routes day after day can get rather boring for most, but somehow I’ve developed the ability to fend off that boredom and happily cycle the same roads here in San Diego over and over again. There is one particular route that I have been riding three mornings a week for the past 5 years, and I still enjoy it as much as I did the first time. It’s a low-traffic 10 mile loop with 700 feet of vertical climbing that takes about 45 minutes to complete, and I’ve done it enough times that I could do it blindfolded. It’s the perfect pre-work workout.

Here’s a short video I put together showing this particular ride on my 2009 custom-built cross bike. Since this route is actually a loop which goes around the neighborhood 5 times, I sped up the last four laps so that you don’t have to watch the same scenery over and over again:

So how exactly do I stay motivated to keep cycling this same route day after day? Basically, I think of bike riding as an escape from the stresses of day to day life. It doesn’t matter where I ride, what I’m riding, or how far I go. What really matters is that I’m outside breathing the fresh air, getting the blood flowing, and maintaining my strength and endurance. On top of that, the things I see are different on each ride. My neighbors are certainly an eclectic bunch of folks and it’s always nice to get out there and see what’s going on. Here are some other ways I stay motivated:

  • Since the route is a loop I ride multiple times, I sometimes switch it up by riding it counterclockwise instead of clockwise. The elevation gain is the same, but the intensity of the hills are different in each direction.
  • Keeping detailed records of my rides with my Garmin GPS and Strava encourages me to push harder sometimes, trying to see if I can break my own personal record on certain segments.
  • Doing the same ride on different bikes keeps things interesting as well. My road bike is faster on the climbs than my cross bike, but the cross bike simply flies down the hills thanks to it’s higher gearing and weight.
  • Riding before work helps to wake me up and get me ready for the day.

The fact that I’ve ridden this particular route over 700 times at the time of this writing is proof that it’s one of my favorites. There are a lot of great places to ride a road bike in San Diego, but it’s unlikely that I’ll ever ride another route as much as this one. The motivation to get outside and stay healthy keeps me going, and I expect that I’ll be riding it for years to come as long as I keep seeing the positive mental and physical benefits of being on the bike.

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