It can be tough to figure out how to spend more time in the saddle, but these ideas will help make it happen. By Emily Furia and the editors of Bicycling
“Where do I find the time to ride?”
Funny you should ask this very common question among riders. The truth is, riders of all levels struggle to fit riding into a busy schedule. So here’s how to make it happen:
Use the buddy system. Guilt is a strong motivator. Set up a riding group with one or two friends at most; just small enough that your skipping the ride spoils it. Large groups go off whether you show up or not.
Get a plan together. If you think ride time will simply appear during your day, you might as well put your bike on Craigslist. Schedule it on the family calendar, in your datebook, on your work schedule—where you can be sure others will know you’re busy.
Log every ride. It could be a total fitness tracker data dump or just the date and route in a notebook. There are multiple training benefits to this, but also the though of blank space on the calendar often strengthens the urge to squeeze in a ride.
Seize the moment. When ride time rolls around, go for the ride; postponing it sets a negative precedent. Cycling is a sport of momentum: The more you ride, the more you’ll ride.
Bring the office with you. Boldly suggest to colleagues or clients that your next meeting should take place on a group ride. Or buy a couple cruisers for your office—they’ll be easier on your expense report than a month of greens fees, and even non-cyclists can experience the beauty of doing business on the roll.
Use your wallet. When all else fails, pay someone so you can ride. Hire a babysitter, a cleaning service, or a lawn-care company. It’s an investment in your health. It’s worth the money.
Define your loop.The number-one way to guarantee that butt meets saddle: Map out a 30-minute loop for those occasions when you’re short on time or can-do attitude. More often than not, you’ll ride longer than planned; the rest of the time, hey, you rode half an hour.
Use your stomach. Your belly is a motivator, too. Pick a delicious destination at least as far away as half the total distance you want to ride. Maintain an honest pace there, enjoy your treat, and pedal back.
Always look for new opportunities. Look at your daily routine in terms of how much riding time you lose, and you’ll find ways to prune. If cooking dinner takes 40 minutes each night, that’s more than four hours over the workweek. Spend an hour or two on Sunday cooking chicken, prepping salad greens and stocking the fridge with a few nights’ healthy meals. Things like watching television and posting on web forums will feel even more expendable.
This article originally appeared in The Big Book of Bicycling