Variety is key to enjoyment and motivation in the long run. I challenge myself to mix up my training every now and then, once a week to a few times a month. It forces me in a fun way to learn a new skill, navigate new terrain and gently apply pressure to my comfort zone.
Variety can also mean trying different equipment. Hire a gravel bike, enter a crit if you are a fondo person, do a group ride if you are a solo gal, or go along with an office team triathlon, a come and try day at a BMX club.
Here is 21 things I have done to challenge myself in a fun way that has all contributed to progression towards my career as a pro.
- I did a come-and-try day at the velodrome on a track bike.
- I attempted bike-polo on a fixed gear bike in Germany.
- I did a few pairs MTB races – one with my boyfriend, another with a female friend, and another with a guy I met the day of the race!
- Raced a handicap criterium.
- Went to Wednesday night BMX gates.
- Rode my BMX in an indoor skatepark and launched it into a foam pit.
- Tried a NYC style spin class featuring dance moves/nightclub DJ sets.
- Did a virtual hill climb race on FulGaz.
- Did a real hill-climb mass start race in Catalonia.
- Toured with a steel bike around Japan and camped on the streets.
- Participated in roller-racing with bike couriers in Brisbane.
- Entered a track stand competition with bike couriers in Japan.
- Rode a Lime e-bike around Sydney and over the Harbour Bridge.
- Challenged myself to ride up the steepest streets in Barcelona on a city bike (not electric!).
- Ridden downhill at a bike park with chairlifts for the way up.
- Tried skiing once in the Pyrenees (it’s a no from me).
- Attempted to rollerblade along the Brisbane river bikeway (many of the same muscles, very different centre of gravity and skills).
- Entered a mass start gran fondo in Hokkaido.
- Taught beginners how to ride a bike.
- Entered a cyclocross race and took beer hand-ups every lap.
- Rode home after work to a river, slept outside in summer, and rode to work the next day.
- Attempted riding a unicycle, as my younger sister can ride one!
I am sure I could add 20 more things to this list!
Here are a few bucket list things I still want to add to my alternative-bike adventures
- Cycle tour around South America (inspired by cycling about)
- Race an Alley-Cat
- Try a tandem bike
I challenge you to find an alternative bike activity when you get a chance, and start your own list!