Transform Your Cycling Mindset: How to Finally Make Time for Riding and Make It Stick

Author: Kier

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We all know cycling is good for us, right? But knowing and doing are two very different things. Instead of just talking about why cycling is good, let’s look at some cool tricks to help us make time for it and stick with it. Ready to change our cycling game? Let’s go!

male cyclist riding at col de madeleine

The Time Crunch: “I Don’t Have Time to Ride”

Life gets busy, and cycling is often the first thing we skip. But is it really about not having time? Let’s find out with a simple trick from some smart folks at Leeds Metropolitan University.

The 1-10 Scale

First, think about how much cycling you can realistically do. Before you commit, ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being ‘no way’ and 10 being ‘easy peasy,’ how likely am I to do this?” If your answer isn’t a 9 or 10, make it easier. Keep going until you get there.


We often think we need a full hour to ride. But what if we broke it into smaller chunks? Ten minutes here, fifteen minutes there. It all adds up. The key is doing it regularly, not for how long.

Cyclist in orange jersey riding on a sunny country road

The Motivation Myth: “I Lack Motivation”

Motivation can be tricky. One day it’s there, the next day it’s gone. But what if we didn’t need motivation at all?

Habit Stacking

James Clear, who wrote “Atomic Habits,” suggests adding new habits to ones we already have. For example, if we always have a morning coffee, we can add a quick 5-minute ride right after. Over time, this new habit becomes as automatic as our morning coffee.

The Power of Small Wins

Start small. Really small. Like, embarrassingly small. The idea is to create a series of small wins that build momentum. Maybe it’s just putting on our cycling gear. Then, it’s stepping outside. Before we know it, we’re halfway through a ride.

A cyclist in yellow jersey and helmet riding on a rural road.

The All-or-Nothing Trap: “I’m an All-or-Nothing Person”

Ever plan a 30-minute ride but realize you only have 26 minutes, so you skip the whole thing? Welcome to the all-or-nothing club. This type of thinking is a cognitive distortion, a term used to describe irrational thought patterns that hinder our progress.

Embrace Imperfection

Perfection is the enemy of progress. Instead of aiming for a perfect ride, aim for a consistent one. Even a 5-minute ride is better than none. Over time, these small actions add up and create a positive feedback loop, gradually building our motivation to cycle more regularly.

The Fun Factor: “I Don’t Like Riding”

This can be a tough one. The standard advice is to “find an activity you enjoy.” While this is great advice, it’s not always practical. Maybe the type of cycling we love is wildly impractical (like mountain biking in a flat urban area).

Temptation Bundling

Temptation bundling is a concept where we pair an activity we don’t like (riding) with one we do (listening to our favorite podcast). For example, we can only listen to the podcast while cycling. This way, we look forward to our ride because it comes with a built-in reward.

Social Rides

Humans are social creatures. Riding with friends or joining a cycling group can make cycling more enjoyable. Plus, it adds a layer of accountability. We’re less likely to skip a ride if we know someone is counting on us.

Cyclists riding on a road towards an old stone arch bridge surrounded by leafy trees.

The Mindset Shift: “Riding is a Chore”

If we view riding as a chore, it’s no wonder we avoid it. But what if we changed our mindset?

Reframe Riding

Instead of seeing riding as something we have to do, let’s see it as something we get to do. It’s a privilege, not a punishment. This simple shift in perspective can make a world of difference.

Focus on the Benefits

Instead of focusing on the effort, focus on the benefits. How do we feel after a ride? Energized, accomplished, happier? Keep these feelings in mind as motivation.

The Routine Rut: “I Get Bored Easily”

Doing the same ride day in and day out can get boring. Variety is the spice of life, and the same goes for cycling.

Mix It Up

Try different routes to keep things interesting. Cycling through new neighborhoods, parks, or trails can make each ride feel fresh. Not only does this keep us engaged, but it also works different muscle groups, leading to a more balanced fitness routine.

Seasonal Activities

Take advantage of seasonal activities. In the summer, go for a long scenic ride. In the winter, try indoor cycling or fat biking in the snow. This keeps our rides fresh and exciting.

The Goal Game: “I Don’t See Results”

It’s easy to get discouraged when we don’t see immediate results. But fitness is a long game.

Set SMART Goals

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Instead of saying, “I want to get fit,” say, “I want to complete a 50-mile ride in three months.” This gives us a clear target to aim for.

Track Progress

Keep a cycling journal or use an app to track our progress. Seeing how far we’ve come can be incredibly motivating. Celebrate the small victories along the way.

The Support System: “I Feel Alone in This”

Having a support system can make a huge difference in our fitness journey.

Find a Riding Buddy

A riding buddy can provide motivation, accountability, and companionship. Plus, it’s more fun to share the experience with someone else.

Join a Community

Whether it’s an online forum, a local cycling club, or a group ride, being part of a community can provide support and encouragement. We’re all in this together.

a group of four cyclists riding on a straight country rode

The Final Push: “I Can’t Stick With It”

Sticking with a cycling routine can be challenging, but it’s not impossible.

Make it a Priority

Schedule our rides like any other important appointment. Put it on the calendar and treat it as non-negotiable.

Be Kind to Ourselves

There will be days when we miss a ride or don’t give it our all. That’s okay. Be kind to ourselves and get back on track the next day. Consistency is key, not perfection.


Transforming our cycling mindset isn’t about relying solely on willpower or fleeting motivation. It’s about discovering practical strategies that fit our lifestyle and making cycling an integral part of our daily routine.

By addressing common barriers and shifting our mindset, we can consistently find time for riding and enjoy the many benefits it brings.

So, let’s get on our bikes, explore new paths, and pedal our way to a healthier, happier future. Our future selves will thank us for every mile ridden.

Photo of author


Kier focuses on improving all things bike, and is always looking to take his ability to a new average (hopefully a higher one!). When not on the bike Kier is normally downing coffee and cake.
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