September 9, 2016
Josh Tack is Adventure Cycling’s membership manager.
If you haven’t already heard about Kurt “Tarzan” Searvogel, he broke the record for distance ridden in a year with a total 76,076 miles. To get an idea of the work that goes into such a feat, take a gander at his mileage log. That’s a prime example of staying on the ball, and it got me thinking about motivation to ride.
Riding any distance yearlong isn’t as easy at it sounds. Anything from bad weather to a bad mood can hamper a riding day pretty quick, not to mention that too much riding can lead to burnout. I don’t come close to putting 365 days in the saddle each year, but I do manage to turn the pedals each week from January through December. If you’re looking for ways to keep riding fresh and exciting year round, in my experience, switching up riding styles helps a lot. Here’s my rough seasonal template:
December through February is cold in Montana, and while fat biking has made these months a little more bearable, I’ll always opt for some vacation time to the south. There are tons of great southern bicycle touring or riding destinations, such as Arizona, California, or even Mexico. If you want to make some plans for the winter of 2017, Nick Carman and Lael Wilcox are putting together a Baja Divide route that looks incredible.
With the pavement thawing out and the trails muddy, this is road season. It’s a time to stretch the legs and start working on tan lines when possible. This is also the time of year that local group rides start to pick up, offering a great chance to reconnect with your riding friends.
June through August can be pretty hot ... so cool off in the shade! After months on the road, mountain biking offers new terrain, scenery, shade, and a new perspective on riding.
September through November can be a tricky stretch. You’re losing daylight and after nine months of riding, you could be losing steam too. I’ve always enjoyed hitting the gravel roads around this time. Again, you can find some new terrain, and with limited daylight, it’s nice to be on low-traffic roads.
At any time, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and do something unexpected. Whether it’s an event ride, race, or maybe a cycling biathlon, shaking up your routine is a great way to spice up your year.
Top photo Casey Greene | All other photos by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears once each month, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and offering advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.