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Revive your cycling motivation: Expert tips

If your good intentions for 2020 are on the wane, here’s how to get back on track – by experts who make a living from being motivational

Michael Donlevy
31 Jan 2020

New year, new you? Or is your bike still where you left it before Christmas, gathering dust rather than covering kilometres out on the road? We've got 12 tips from experts to get you motivated to get back on your bike and in love with cycling again.

1 Head for the hills

‘Aim for three PBs on Strava hill segments. It adds a competitive element to training – even if you’re competing with yourself – and for variation you can pick three hills of different lengths and difficulty.’
Tom Newman,

2 Have something to aim for

‘Set yourself a goal, whether it’s entering a race or sportive in the near future or signing up for something longer term. Or both, because an upcoming event will give your training purpose, while a longer-term goal allows you to set smaller, short-term targets on your journey towards a bigger goal.’
Ric Stern,

3 Act like a kid

‘Find the fun again. When “can’t be bothered” starts to creep in, making time to fool around on a bike is a great way to rediscover your passion for cycling. A day’s mountain biking is the perfect pick-me-up and gives you the excuse to hoon around like the kid you used to be.’
Andy Tomkins,

4 Act like a grown up

‘Take someone under your wing. The idea of learning from experienced riders on club runs is something many people haven’t had the benefit of, and there are so many things about riding bikes that aren’t obvious. You could give someone the gift of sharing what you’ve learned without them having to make the mistakes you might have made.’
Will Newton,

5 Ride on rollers

‘It can be tricky at first, like riding on ice, but it’s a useful skill to master and it will help you improve your leg speed – and therefore your cadence – while keeping you steady on the bike. Try riding for 20 minutes at 100rpm to improve your pedalling efficiency and make you a more complete rider.’
Tom Newman

6 Go back to school

‘Learn a new skill. What better way to motivate yourself by showing off to your mates a one-minute trackstand at a red light when they all have to “dab”? Best to learn this skill in the same way as you’d approach juggling, though – complete anonymity until it has been perfected. A bike mechanic or even a bike-building course can be fun, too.’
Andy Tomkins

7 Take a new direction

‘Freshen up your routes. Riding the same roads in the same direction can get repetitive, no matter how much you love riding a bike. Ride regular routes in reverse, get a map out and plan a new route or get in the car for a long weekend somewhere new.’
Ric Stern

8 Escape the numbers

‘Ride without data – no limits, no targets. In the app era we’re living in, it can be very easy to lose sight of the simple joy of riding a bike. Think about when you first rode a bike as a child. You didn’t have a power meter or heart rate monitor and no one told you how long you had to ride for.’
Will Newton

9 Go see a pro race

‘Marvelling at the speed, sounds, atmosphere and adrenaline rush of a pro cycling event is guaranteed to re-energise you. A light sprinkling of escapism and dreaming in a training plan is a beneficial supplement.’
Andy Tomkins

10 Buddy up

‘If a group of friends turns up at your house in full kit it can be hard to say no, even if you were planning on spending Sunday morning in bed.’
Ric Stern

11 Feel the power

‘Aim to improve your FTP (functional threshold power) by 10% by the end of April. FTP is the average power you can produce over the course of an hour, but it can be measured via a 20-minute FTP test (see, in which you ride as hard as you can in that time, record your average power in watts and divide it by your weight in kilos. Over the next three months combine hard efforts of less than an hour, longer, easier fat-burning rides and sensible nutrition to see fitness improvements.’
Tom Newman

12 Get some new habits

‘Goals are all very well, but there’s a more effective way to improve, and that’s by implementing small regular habits. This might be as simple as drinking more water during your day, stretching your hip flexors or doing some daily foam rolling. The secret is to ask yourself what habits a cyclist who (insert goal here) would do every day.’
Will Newton

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