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It’s Time To Confess (My Dirty Secret…)

My cycling secret

I have a confession to make.

A pretty fundamental confession for someone that runs a cycling blog.

This post probably ranks as classic commercial suicide (or it would be if this blog could be described as being remotely ‘commercial’).

Right Grimpeur. Stop the wittering. Get it off your chest and then tell us what you’re going to do about it (for yes, dear reader, I have a cunning plan*).

(* And my ‘cunning plan’ needs your help, so please do read to the end of the post.)

So, The Confession

Forgive me readers for I have sinned. I have not ridden a bike for 81 days.

Which is 11½ weeks. Which is very nearly 3 months.

Which is pretty shocking really.

How, you ask, do I justify spouting advice about cycling when I’m patently not practising the activity in question?

Ha! Trick (rhetorical) question – I don’t can’t justify offering up any advice. As you should know by now, my writings are not based on my cycling ability.

Whatever.

Excuses

[Waffle… waffle… pathetic excuse… even more pathetic excuse.]

Whatever excuse I come up with, it really boils down to the fact that for 81 days, I have prioritised a series of other activities (some important, some not) over cycling.

Simple as that.

What Am I Going To Do About It?

If it’s a simple problem, it should be a simple solution (although not an easy one).

My saddle absence is down to me having chosen to do other things when I could have been cycling. My solution is to do the opposite. I will make a deliberate effort to prioritise cycling in the future.

But ‘prioritise cycling in the future’ is too woolly.

What does that mean? How am I going to judge whether I’ve succeeded in my aim?

I Thought I They You Would Ask That

I don’t know about the future, but my immediate priorities are:

  1. Get back into the cycling habit
  2. Build up to an adequate level of fitness

For me, developing a habit is an important component of cycling regularly.

After a period off the bike, there is an inertia that sets in. My cycling kit spreads around the house. My bike chain could probably take a bit of lubrication. I’m not sure I fancy that first hill.

All of these (little) factors combine to make the journey between ‘I’d quite like to go for a bike ride’ to ‘lycra-clad rear end attaching to saddle’ one that requires considerable willpower. A surprising number of less desirable uses of my time suddenly take precedence.

When I have got into a cycling habit, the mental barriers between thought/general desire and specific action are much lower. The decision to go for a ride is almost taken for me. I am more likely to do the activity (cycling) that, deep down, I know I want to do.

(Quick aside: I’m sure there will be some of you that read this with confusion. “Stop bleating and just get on your bike”, you will say. Good news – cycling obviously occupies a higher position in your ranking of pressing needs. Your mental barriers are low. However, do spare a thought for those of us that need the occasional shove, mental or physical.)

How To Build A Cycling Habit

I’m sure there are many ways to do this but, for me, I’m going hot turkey.

I’m going to make a commitment to cycle every single day in June 2014. That’s 30 days (count ’em) of cycling on the trot.

The rules are simple.

1. Every day, starting on Sunday 1st June, I must ride for at least 20 minutes.

(I’ve chosen 20 minutes since it’s short enough to be doable but long enough so I can’t do my cycling simply by riding up to pick my son from school (unless I add on an extra loop). My theory is that if I cycle every day for a minimum of 20 minutes, some of those sessions will turn naturally into longer, harder rides.)

2. My session can take place on any bike, including the turbo trainer (looking after my kids limits my ability to ride outside on some days).

And that’s it. Nothing about intensity, intervals, hills or active rest. I’ll work that out as I go along. This is all about training me to put my bum on a saddle.

Simples.

Please Help Me

If you can spare just 20 seconds of your time to help me achieve my goal, I would be cataclysmically grateful.

I am more likely to stick to the plan (and get over the pre-session inertia factor) if I have Sportive Cyclist readers looking over my shoulder (not literally) and judging me (I’m sure you do this already).

To that end, please can everyone who reads this add a comment below this post. Something to indicate that you know my mission and that you’ll be watching me.

It doesn’t have to be nice or encouraging. Mild abuse is fine. Tough love will work just as well here.

My theory is that if a lot of some people are following along, I’ll be shamed into doing this.

How Will You Know If I’m Doing It?

I haven’t fully thought this through.

For the bare bones, you could always follow me on Strava.

Watching a Strava feed can be a little tedious (shush, who said that?). My thought is to provide some daily colour via Google Plus and Facebook

(so make sure you’re either following me on G+ or have liked the Sportive Cyclist Facebook page).

I’ll obviously be posting updates to this blog, but a daily statistics post is likely to have people unsubscribing in droves. I’ll probably do a weekly round up, with some insights into how I’m finding it.

If you’re feeling inspired to do something similar to me (let’s face it, who isn’t inspired right now? … Bueller?…. anyone?), feel free to state your goal in the comments below this post and contribute to the G+/Facebook and blog post discussions in the future.

PS. I Love You

PS. Please do make a comment below. Even a simple ‘+1’ or ‘I’m watching you…’ in the box will be enough to let me know you’re there (and freak me out).

PPS. Hat tip to my friend Brian Stephens for inspiration. Brian has run a series of 30 day challenges on his blog and Google+ page – go check him out if you want to get involved in the next one.

 

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{ 84 comments… add one }
  • John Kenyon says:

    Hurrah! Now I don’t feel as bad for having been out of the saddle for 10 days – my Ride London training going brilliantly… Longest ride thus far is 61 miles – felt ok at the end, but had someone then placed Box Hill & Leith Hill in front of me, I may have shed more than a few tears… Next big ride shall be Shrewsbury to Borth on the Welsh Coast – 75ish miles and a relaxing train ride back home 🙂
    I shall be watching (virtually, not from behind bushes with a long lens)…

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Excellent. Thanks John. Pleased to hear your training is going well. Will look out for photographic equipment in any event…

  • Love it. Respect to you John; a self-analyser is a better person for having that skill…Answer is horribly simple, commit to some venture with others, such as a charity Sportive, ambition to ride to somewhere or similar; the fear of collapsing in a gasping heap in front of others will then automatically make your rear connect with saddle, even if only to fetch essential stuff (run out of loo roll?), in the days running up to the venture.

    We are all fundamentally programmed to conserve energy, so you need to invent a motive; works for me. With a Microlight also beckoning on calm sunny days, I oft need a strong personal push to sweat that hilly ride instead of drifting down to the hangar.

    Luckily the Boss likes cycling too, sounds like you haven’t got the offspring to that stage of self babysitting yet?

    Cheers

    Phyllis Stein

  • I’ll be watching with interest to see how you do. I think 30 days solid riding is a pretty tricky challenge – you do need rest days especially if you’ve been out of the saddle for a while (although I do concede that you can do easy / recovery rides).
    I’ll be watching on Strava and Twitter.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Giles – you’re right. Certainly for the first two weeks I’ll be making sure I don’t push things too much.

  • I’m going for my first ride in nearly two weeks this morning….and not entirely sure I’m looking forward top it. LOL So I feel your pain. You got this though.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Tara. That’s it isn’t it. Two weeks and you don’t fancy it suddenly becomes three months and you have to publicly embarrass yourself on the interwebs…

  • Jamie says:

    I’m watching

    On Strava

  • Andrew Grant says:

    We’ve all found ourselves in this situation from time to time, and there are plenty of fairly hefty reasons and excuses…..work, family, duty calls, errands um…….and the longer the lay off gets the harder it is to crank it ok up again. Indeed irs easy to over justify the absence by how dutiful you were being, and the vicious circle goes round another fateful twist.

    However my solution is to assume what’s gone has gone and draw a line under the past, and leave the guilt there. It only needs one outing, rather than a commitment to 30 to start the paradigm shift. Like dieting, so you had a week stuffing chocolate. Forget it and move on for tomorrow. Once back on the road literally, you’ll quickly remember what the obsession was all about even after flailing up some steep hills. The endorphins will return to kick you in to wanting more. After all even those brave enough to do The Fred, and ended up doing the walk of shame, have signed up again for another year!

    courage Mon brave

    Andrew

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Andrew. You could well be right about needing only one ride, but I also want to experiment with the idea that if I’m ‘forced’ to go for a ride each day, how will I fit it in, what will I cut out of my so-called busy lifestyle. Time will tell…

  • ijbedds says:

    Good luck with the plan there Andrew, the first step is always the hardest, I shall be following you on strava forthwith!!

    I’ve just found out I’m off to the South of France at the beginning of July to ride La Marmotte (or at least the route), I’m going to blog about the training on my unread blog in an attempt to motivate me to get out and push myself so it’s not completely terrible when I get there

    Have you thought about maybe doing a picture a ride? posting a picture on Fbook (which I don’t use) or Instagram (which I do) may also lead to being a good record of the highs and lows. I always know when I’ve not ridden for a while, the legs on my lycra shorts are loose and the waistband is tight.. best of british however, I’m sure you’ll enjoy awakening the cyclist within!

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Ian. The photo idea is a good one. Let’s see how my archaic iphone 3GS handles that. Good luck with the Marmotte (route)!

  • Lloyd says:

    I ride to work almost every day no matter what the weather and I don’t just ride I record my times on Garmin and race myself improving each day and throw in the occasion long ride aswell, I’ve just started triathlons so have reasons to train. I’m doing London again this year and the most I rode prior to 100 miles was 60 don’t think you need to ride 100 miles to know what it is like just 3-4 hours in saddle is enough to give you an idea

  • John says:

    Go for it. I keep telling myself to get serious so from Sunday I will be going for it as well

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      That’s the spirit John. See you out there. Let us know how you’re getting on in comments to future posts – assuming I survive… 😉

  • Duncan says:

    Andrew ..brilliant!! I am the idiot with one leg doing the Ride London and have now done Box Hill 4 times, Newlands Corner and Leith Hill individually to find out what they were like…(as you very sensibly suggested). Ok.. but Leith Hill is the hardest! If I can do it as a 14 1/2 stone 57 year old……

    As regards your challenge why not have a default email saying ‘done it’ each day… when you have!

    Bests….Duncan

    • Lloyd says:

      I agree Leith hill is the hardest of the three when I did ride London last year don’t see what the fuss is with box hill?

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Duncan. The best thing is, the RideLondon course holds no fears or surprises for you (other than perhaps how tedious the section from Surrey back to Kingston is with 70+ miles in your legs). Now all you have to do is enjoy the day!

      Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how I’m getting on!

  • mrsheepuk says:

    I’m watching you. In the most scary way imaginable! *glares* Get on that bike!

    I find the state change the most difficult – if I’ve been cycling to work every day, switching away from that to use the tube is horrible. On the other hand, if I’ve got used to my creature comforts while taking the tube, it’s really hard to get back on the bike. I very much appreciate your comment about your cycling things spreading around the house and that small things like that make it seem like hard work. Once you’ve got it back together once though, you know it will be easy to carry on. So do it!

    I’m still watching you. *makes Hannibal Lector noise*

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Mark (… he says, using your real name, and thus outdoing your Hannibal Lector noise with a spot of real life cyber stalking).

      You’re right though, this is a change of state thing (albeit in a using a hammer to crack a nut sense, as others have pointed out).

  • Yves says:

    Please refer to “The Time-Starved Cyclist: How To Train When You’ve Got No Time”. You should read it.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Touché Yves. Although I’m pretty sure I didn’t use lack of time as an excuse. That said, once I’ve got myself back in the swing of things with some gentle rides, I’ll be consulting that post in order to throw in a few intense sessions a week (perhaps on the turbo).

  • Mike says:

    Hi Monty

    speaking as an ‘expert’ (see below*) cyclist who struggles to remember how to find his bike in the garage, I fully sympathise.

    Remember the important thing though – as soon as you start that first ride in June, it will no longer be three months since you got on the bike. Once you’re over that hurdle, you’ve cracked it.

    I look forward to watching how you get on – although I’d prefer it if we only got the inspirational bits, as I put my motivation down somewhere and am having trouble finding it.

    * Definition of ‘expert’: ex is a has-been, spurt is a drip under pressure.

    Happy cycling

    Mike

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      … I think you want to see both sides of the coin, no?

      You’re right about breaking the seal with the first ride, but I reckon there will be times when I’m ‘forced’ to ride in less-than-appealing weather where I’m glad I set myself this challenge.

      Thanks for the comment

  • Paul Collins says:

    After my heart attack and the three stages of rehab I couldn’t cycle 3 miles without stopping. Now five years later I regularly cycle 60km or more.

    And you think you have it hard ?
    Just make sure that you push yourself a little take the longer hill or the shorter gear improvements in fitness will spur you on and make the other areas of your life easier.
    But best of all enjoy it!

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Paul. Good advice. Glad to hear your recovery from the heart attack has been so marked.

  • Martin says:

    Wrong plan…IMHO. I’m not sure why you stopped but declaring that you will ride every day suggests huge guilt for being away so long rather than anything approaching a plan for getting back in the saddle. Give yourself a break, figuratively and metaphorically or a slavish determination to ride every day will most likely result in boredom or injury or simply fatigue which will, you’ve guessed it, potentially lead to you avoiding riding again, maybe for longer this time.
    Instead, set a target of say three rides a week. Do them when you want to, when the weather’s good, when you feel like a challenge, when there are some friends about to ride with, anything that makes it interesting and fun, because if it’s not fun then, well it’s not fun anymore. Whether it’s training for a marathon, a 100 metres Olympic Final (or simply eating chocolate!) it’s always about quality over quantity. Three rides a week and you’ll be looking forward to a ride, you’ll be able to have days off the bike without beating yourself up about it and you never know, you’ll be looking forward to the next ride rather than simply coming in after another 20 minute ride and just ticking the box as if you’re clocking out after another boring day at a boring job, you know its about more than that…

    Good luck with the target whatever you set, other advice is available and we accept no liability….etc. etc

    Martin

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Martin. You certainly make some good points. I’ll certainly be taking things slowly and doing regular ‘recovery’ rides to make sure that I don’t overtrain (chance would be a fine thing).

      There are of course other ways to develop a good cycling habit, but part of this habit-forming exercise isn’t about the riding per se. It’s about getting in the habit of putting bike clothes on without thinking, having a bike ready and in good working order, all those little barriers that get in the way.

      It’s also a focused experiment to see whether those other things I do really are important.

      I promise not to sue you…

  • Stevie says:

    Shut up and get on your bloody bike.
    Love from Stevie.
    p.s. I understand the whole getting into a habit of riding thing. Last year I’d wake up and try and gauge if I felt like cycling into work & of course when you’re sleepy and it’s cold outside the answer over the half the time would be ‘no’. Since January I made a conscious decision to not think about it and just get my cycling gear on before I have a chance to talk myself out of it. I think I’ve got the tube to work a grand total of 5 times this year now and that’s only because I had something after work preventing me from cycling. Good luck!

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks for the tough love Stevie. Agreed on the commuting thing – I was multiple times more likely to bike commute if I’d packed my bag the night before and had my cycling gear ready next to the bed.

  • I’ve got you on Strava… I will be in Venice on the 6th-8th of June, but the hotel will have Wi-Fi. Globalisation means that we are never off the hook.

    Enjoy getting back in the saddle!

    I am new to your blog and am enjoying it very much so far.

    Also, I watched 20 minutes of the Pantani film last night; cut 5 minutes off my commute today, felt incredibly inspired!

    Cheers,
    Paul

  • Andrew Montgomery says:

    Thanks Paul. Welcome! Glad you’re enjoying it. I like your Evolutionary Walk Pavilion (I’m a fan of boxes and OSB…) on your tumblr.

    Pantani, … sudden marked improvement in performance, … hmm…

    • Cheers Andrew, OSB is the business!

      Ha, no EPO here, first day commuting with new bib shorts and a short sleeved base layer…. However, there is one line in the movie that stuck out:

      ‘Marco, why do you always start the climb at the back?’
      ‘So I can see my friends suffer…’

      Have a good time on Sunday,
      Paul

  • Rob says:

    Hi,

    I spent more than 25 years between rides. So I am not going to get all judgmental. What’s the point. May I ask a question, although we are ‘watching’ what is your motivation, Is it health or your children or something else, apart from strava do you have a ultimate goal ? Ride a sportive or head to France for a race ?

    Sorry, hand on heart it really isn’t my business to ask you this but having set up a forum could it not be you just needed a break from the bike ?

    Good luck

    Rob

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Rob – thanks for the comment/questions. I have no single motivation. I like cycling but seemed to have fallen out of the habit of doing it. I wanted to get back into it. I cycle for pleasure (with/without the children & wife), fitness and the challenge. I guess I have one eye on future challenges, so I want to have a solid base of fitness on which to build in the future. And part of the motivation is to give me something to write about on the blog!

  • Roger Courtney says:

    Well done for setting a target; as others have said of course some of your days should have very light sessions.
    I came across your blog because I have a Ride London place this year and even though many people say it will be fine the closer it gets the higher Leith Hill &Bix Hill seem. (I live just outside Cambridge so any hill is a novelty).
    Anyway to try and slay the mental dragon of the hills I plan on riding them before the event. Helpfully you have put down a 30 mile loop starting & finishing at a cake shop! http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3383629
    So on Sunday 8th I shall ride 2 or 3 loops depending on how it goes. Perhaps too much if you have only been riding again for a week but if you want to come along for one loop I’ll eagerly grasp the opportunity to go at a sensible pace.
    Rog

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Rog. Re: the route, there is always method (cake) in my madness. Good luck on 8th June – you’ll love it!

  • steve says:

    blimey… I thought you were a hard core cyclist. some one to look up to, instead your just like the rest of us mere mortals.
    my domane hanging in the garage for 2 weeks doesn’t bother me at all now
    good luck.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Ha! You assumed this ‘I’m a mediocre cyclist thing’ was all false modesty? I’m afraid not. I’m am mediocre, and until this past weekend, I wasn’t really a cyclist (active)…. thanks for the comment.

  • Jen says:

    If it helps, I’ll join the “watchers”.

    But like some of your other followers have mentioned I would suggest that you stop beating yourself up about not cycling. Instead think about the positives.

    Over recent months you have encouraged other people to get out and get on their bikes and ride. I know this because I am 1 of the people that you have encouraged. I am doing Ride London but when I was looking for advice, yours was one of the few sites to offer help to what I would call “normal everyday cyclists”

    So tomorrow I will be cycling from Newlands to the top of Leith Hill and back up to Newlands Corner just so I know how that pesky Leith hill will feel on Aug 10th.

    I will gather my kit together tonight so all I have to do is grab it and go first thing. Thanks for all the notes about the hills it really helped when I was just getting started

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Jen, thanks for your kind words. I maybe over-egged the post for effect – my 30 day challenge isn’t a self-imposed penance 🙂 I just thought it might be an interesting way to get back into the swing, with a handy bit of external motivation in the form of blog readers.

      Nonetheless I’m really pleased and touched that you’ve found my site helpful and encouraging. I’ve definitely tried to tailor it towards people that have a genuine interest but not a hardcore obsession (with cycling!!).

      How did your Newlands Corner/Leith Hill ride go?

  • Kristian says:

    I completely agree with what Martin says here. Don’t sabotage your own effort with doing too much too soon, or there will be a ‘too much too soon’ themed article coming out 🙂
    Get back by enjoying cycling, don’t ride every single day. Do some general shopping on a bike and don’t choose the closest Tesco express 🙂 That will also tell you not buy what you don’t need because of the limited capacity to carry stuff.
    For weekends choose a nice slow easy paced ‘scenic’ ride along a river or a quiet route, or a good climb with a stunning view from the top and work easy for it, reward yourself with what I call an ‘energy drink’ (good beer, good wine, cider, you get the idea).

    When I decided to get back on the bike last year after an entire year off, I just let my monthly travel card expire and from February it was on, no matter what. And I was only commuting to work and back some 25-30mins, 9Kms. When the weather was foul I left 5mins earlier than usual (or took the tube).
    Next step was to get to ride for hours and hours, and I did that by ‘sightseeing’ rides. Sounds weird but its incredible fun to ride alongside masses in central London by HMS Belfast or London Eye or Greenwich 🙂
    If you want a ‘challenge’ try this one: http://www.tommygodwin.com/the-challenge/

    P.S. Big respect for Mr Collins (the big plan is not to get any health issues at all. Other than the existing ones of course), lets not make something that’s in fact pretty simple and relatively easy sound complicated and too difficult.

    Won’t be watching. If you slip, you slip. Really a (missed) ride won’t make or break the big picture. If there’s one there in the first place.
    Good luck.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Kristian – I agree with all of that. If my knee flares up or I fall ill, then I won’t push through for the sake of the challenge. I certainly plan for some of the daily targets to be taken up by glorified rides to the shops. This is about integrating the bike back into my life and forcing myself to just ask the question, “Can I fit a bike ride somewhere into this day?” Often the answer is, “Yes” without sacrificing anything important. Cheers!

  • John says:

    Well, I for one can’t resist an opportunity to stalk.

    And maybe it’ll make me feel inspired to do something about not having done my 3-day-a-week, 12.5-mile commute for… *looks at Strava*… four weeks. (I’ve always had valid excuses – had to go to Cardiff for the day; had an after-work event to attend*; woke up too late to make it in to the office at a non-sackable time….)

    As for this Lycra-clad-backside-on-seat thing, personally if I’m doing a 20 minute ride, I’m not going to spend ten minutes squeezing said backside into Lycra. Bugger that.

    — John (a real one, not a masquerading Monty)

    *Cycling through the busy bits of London at night when drunk is one thing. Cycling along the Grand Union Canal in the dark when drunk could be a damp experience.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks John. Pleased be inspired.

      The 20 minute thing is a psychological trick – if I tell myself I only NEED to do 20 minutes, once I’m on the bike it’s more likely to turn into something longer. A bit like telling yourself only to get into your gym kit, rather than telling yourself to go to the gym. The former is much easier, and 99 times out of 100 you’ll go on to do the actual workout.

  • M Mullen says:

    Not only will i be watching… i think i am going to have to join in!!! i just might have to to do most of it from a trainer since having a job interferes with cycling… i have to swim and run too- if only it could be daylight 24/7!! GOOD LUCK!! !

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Do it! To be honest, 30 days straight on a turbo is probably akin to waterboarding (as the recipient). Maybe I’ll do an Advent Calendar of Turbo (new idea, not fully thought through).

      PS. Why do you need to swim and run?? Surely you’re not a… no, you can’t be…

  • saddlesore says:

    Happiness is getting your leg over every day.
    And peddling away.

  • Conrad AKA the Sadoldsamurai says:

    Hi, I’ll (hopefully) be following (you) on Strava..
    It’s horses/bikes for courses..
    Some of us (with poor self discipline) need to go every day..
    perhaps you could set up a Strava club..
    and then those of us who want to follow the cycle for 20 mins every day plan…can join in..
    Keep on cycling..
    Best wishes

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Conrad. I’ve thought about setting up a Strava cycling club for Sportive Cyclist readers. I’ll see how this challenge goes and then have another think about it.

  • Les Sutherland says:

    Rule number 5!
    I do know where you are at. I’m trying to train for my first sportive in July but sticking to the training program can be difficult.
    See what you’ve done? Now I’m making excuses too, Duh!
    If you do yours I’ll do mine, OK?

  • Mark says:

    I’ve just missed 16 days of cycling due to holiday, rain,rain and more rain.
    I must admit, in my defence, that while on holiday I was kayaking and bought a new mountain bike but those miles don’t count, do they?
    Today’s motivation was a sunny afternoon by the sea, 4 extra pounds on my waist and Strava mates actually riding when its wet. I don’t mind riding in the rain, I just don’t like getting my bike dirty.

    I popped in 39.3 miles (yes the 0.3 is significant) and climbed 2595 ft (no 5 ft isn’t significant).

    My advice…. look what others are doing on Strava, are people beating your totals, have you dropped down the leagues? The longer you procrastinate the lower you’ll fall. Also schedule a nice coffee stop with large slices of cake (check calories burned > cake calories) and lovely ( enter Male or Female of your choice) staff. Check your achievements and pledge to beat the total next time.

    I’m doing Ride London in memory of my son and have 140 sponsors who will be demanding refunds if I can’t drag my sorry ass round the course… there’s another idea – enter a sponsored sportive.

    Good luck.

    Mark
    Sponsor me at: http://www.justgiving.com/markdixoncycling (sorry I couldn’t resist)

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Mark. No problem about the just giving link. I’m not sure I’m competitive enough (in any sense) to be motivated by my Strava position! Good luck with the training.

  • Mark olver says:

    Get ya arse in gear lol

  • Not to worry…everyone falls off the wagon (or the saddle in this case) at one time or another…the secret is to wake each day saying…”I don’t have to ride everyday…just today”.

  • Byron Henry says:

    Go for it! And don’t be afraid to utilize a fair bit of coasting on some of those early, recovery-type rides…

  • mark says:

    If I remember, you only recently restarted cycling & it didn’t take too long to get back into it. You already have recent memories of doing a long ride, so you know what to expect. Get back on the saddle, & I guarantee you that within a fortnight of 20 min/day, you’ll be feeling strong enough to go onto a 1/2 century.

  • Lesley says:

    Why not start today? I know it’s still May, but you could sneak up on yourself and surprise yourself, then have cake to celebrate? Well done though, seriously 🙂

  • Duncan says:

    Hi Monty…your blog inspired me to my first 50 miler this morning….good luck with your challenge
    Bests Duncan

  • Duncan says:

    Hi Monty Good luck with your challenge….To inspire you (?) I did my first 50 miler this morning!
    Bests Duncan

  • Paul Smith says:

    Good luck…especially with Ride London looming large on the horizon!

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Paul. Unfortunately I didn’t get a RideLondon place this year. Maybe next year. I am starting to think about a reasonably challenging (i.e. for me, so not very) sportive later this year.

  • Dave Cahill says:

    Good luck, I feel you (lack of) pain. Sign up for something substantial, with friends, to (a) have fun and (b) create pressure to actually ride. Sorry, I can’t help you if you have no friends, but I will follow you on Strava! xxxDCxxx

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Thanks Dave. Signing up for RideLondon certainly helped me last year. Now, where did I put those friends….

  • w00hoo says:

    I managed to join Strava and then fall ill with campylobacter for a fortnight the following day, so I’ve gone from commuting 4 days a week over a reasonable distance to nothing for what feels like ages. I’ll be watching you start while I work out if I’ve got the strength back to throw myself back on to the bike in the middle of urban traffic (still don’t feel like eating at the moment).

    Agreed with the every day thing being a push, when I was beating myself up I’d go for exercising five days out of seven (no science there or anything) but on a rolling basis (so if I missed two I knew I needed to do the next 5). Every day sounds like a good way to decide you’ve failed.

    I presume you’ve set the turbo trainer up so you can do something else while you’re on it (watch to make sure the children don’t choke while eating, catch up on TV, whatever). I reckon the cycling to collect child, or walking bike there and cycling back, with a mandatory extra loop to get the time in would be the best use of time. I know with my commute I just do it because it’s what I do. Sometimes when I’m slogging through rain and lorry spray as the temperature drops around me that’s the mantra I use to remind me why I’m there. It’s just what I do.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Yes, I’ve been making good use of the turbo, mainly after the kids have gone to bed. At the moment I listen to podcasts. If I’m turbo-ing in July, it’ll be the TdF highlights on ITV4.

  • Mark S says:

    How are you going to find time to ride when answering all these posts !
    This sounds like a good excuse just to by loads of new gear…We are watching you…

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Ha! Yes, it’s taken me over a week to respond to all of them. Pleased you’re watching me…. (sort of)

  • Stephen says:

    If you manage this it will help me to keep focused on my challenge of going from an occasional cyclist to riding the RideLondon100 this August.
    Just a thought though, perhaps you need some adrenaline to activate your reward centres – try a couple of busy commutes, they always get the adrenaline flowing.

    • Andrew Montgomery says:

      Hi Stephen, I would…. if I had a job to commute to. And if I had a job round here, it wouldn’t be a busy commute. That said, I’ve had my fill of London cyclo-commuting for the time being.

      Good luck with that training. Stay focused!

  • […] the post, I ‘confessed’ to not having ridden my bike for 81 days (i.e. the best part of three months). […]

  • Mark says:

    Looks like your Strava account is playing up – there seems to be a shortage of rides. Have you made a Sportivecyclist group/club then you can see at a glance how you’re comparing with others. I’m always happy if my results are middle of the pack.

    I pay an extra £4 a month then I can filter the rides so that eventually I will find a result that makes me look ok.

    Did I see a mention that you’re not working at the moment…. you have no excuses! Refer to Rule#5

    http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

  • John Kenyon May 29, 2014, 9:12 am

    Hurrah! Now I don’t feel as bad for having been out of the saddle for 10 days – my Ride London training going brilliantly… Longest ride thus far is 61 miles – felt ok at the end, but had someone then placed Box Hill & Leith Hill in front of me, I may have shed more than a few tears… Next big ride shall be Shrewsbury to Borth on the Welsh Coast – 75ish miles and a relaxing train ride back home 🙂
    I shall be watching (virtually, not from behind bushes with a long lens)…

    • Andrew Montgomery May 29, 2014, 11:21 am

      Excellent. Thanks John. Pleased to hear your training is going well. Will look out for photographic equipment in any event…

  • Kevin Armstrong May 29, 2014, 9:22 am

    Love it. Respect to you John; a self-analyser is a better person for having that skill…Answer is horribly simple, commit to some venture with others, such as a charity Sportive, ambition to ride to somewhere or similar; the fear of collapsing in a gasping heap in front of others will then automatically make your rear connect with saddle, even if only to fetch essential stuff (run out of loo roll?), in the days running up to the venture.

    We are all fundamentally programmed to conserve energy, so you need to invent a motive; works for me. With a Microlight also beckoning on calm sunny days, I oft need a strong personal push to sweat that hilly ride instead of drifting down to the hangar.

    Luckily the Boss likes cycling too, sounds like you haven’t got the offspring to that stage of self babysitting yet?

    Cheers

    Phyllis Stein

    • Andrew Montgomery May 29, 2014, 11:22 am

      Thanks Phyllis/Kevin – glad you approve of my methods – regards, Monty/Andrew/’John’

  • Big Bloke on a Bike May 29, 2014, 9:59 am

    I’ll be watching with interest to see how you do. I think 30 days solid riding is a pretty tricky challenge – you do need rest days especially if you’ve been out of the saddle for a while (although I do concede that you can do easy / recovery rides).
    I’ll be watching on Strava and Twitter.

    • Andrew Montgomery May 29, 2014, 11:18 am

      Hi Giles – you’re right. Certainly for the first two weeks I’ll be making sure I don’t push things too much.

  • Tara Smith-Wilson May 29, 2014, 10:18 am

    I’m going for my first ride in nearly two weeks this morning….and not entirely sure I’m looking forward top it. LOL So I feel your pain. You got this though.

    • Andrew Montgomery May 29, 2014, 11:19 am

      Thanks Tara. That’s it isn’t it. Two weeks and you don’t fancy it suddenly becomes three months and you have to publicly embarrass yourself on the interwebs…

  • Jamie May 29, 2014, 11:09 am

    I’m watching

    On Strava

    • Andrew Montgomery May 29, 2014, 11:19 am

      …and I’m scared. Thanks for the support Jamie!

  • Andrew Grant May 29, 2014, 12:10 pm

    We’ve all found ourselves in this situation from time to time, and there are plenty of fairly hefty reasons and excuses…..work, family, duty calls, errands um…….and the longer the lay off gets the harder it is to crank it ok up again. Indeed irs easy to over justify the absence by how dutiful you were being, and the vicious circle goes round another fateful twist.

    However my solution is to assume what’s gone has gone and draw a line under the past, and leave the guilt there. It only needs one outing, rather than a commitment to 30 to start the paradigm shift. Like dieting, so you had a week stuffing chocolate. Forget it and move on for tomorrow. Once back on the road literally, you’ll quickly remember what the obsession was all about even after flailing up some steep hills. The endorphins will return to kick you in to wanting more. After all even those brave enough to do The Fred, and ended up doing the walk of shame, have signed up again for another year!

    courage Mon brave

    Andrew

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:25 am

      Thanks Andrew. You could well be right about needing only one ride, but I also want to experiment with the idea that if I’m ‘forced’ to go for a ride each day, how will I fit it in, what will I cut out of my so-called busy lifestyle. Time will tell…

  • ijbedds May 29, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Good luck with the plan there Andrew, the first step is always the hardest, I shall be following you on strava forthwith!!

    I’ve just found out I’m off to the South of France at the beginning of July to ride La Marmotte (or at least the route), I’m going to blog about the training on my unread blog in an attempt to motivate me to get out and push myself so it’s not completely terrible when I get there

    Have you thought about maybe doing a picture a ride? posting a picture on Fbook (which I don’t use) or Instagram (which I do) may also lead to being a good record of the highs and lows. I always know when I’ve not ridden for a while, the legs on my lycra shorts are loose and the waistband is tight.. best of british however, I’m sure you’ll enjoy awakening the cyclist within!

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:26 am

      Thanks Ian. The photo idea is a good one. Let’s see how my archaic iphone 3GS handles that. Good luck with the Marmotte (route)!

  • Lloyd May 29, 2014, 9:29 pm

    I ride to work almost every day no matter what the weather and I don’t just ride I record my times on Garmin and race myself improving each day and throw in the occasion long ride aswell, I’ve just started triathlons so have reasons to train. I’m doing London again this year and the most I rode prior to 100 miles was 60 don’t think you need to ride 100 miles to know what it is like just 3-4 hours in saddle is enough to give you an idea

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:27 am

      Thanks Lloyd. That’s the spirit I’m hoping to uncover in myself!

  • John May 30, 2014, 8:10 am

    Go for it. I keep telling myself to get serious so from Sunday I will be going for it as well

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:31 am

      That’s the spirit John. See you out there. Let us know how you’re getting on in comments to future posts – assuming I survive… 😉

  • Duncan May 30, 2014, 8:24 am

    Andrew ..brilliant!! I am the idiot with one leg doing the Ride London and have now done Box Hill 4 times, Newlands Corner and Leith Hill individually to find out what they were like…(as you very sensibly suggested). Ok.. but Leith Hill is the hardest! If I can do it as a 14 1/2 stone 57 year old……

    As regards your challenge why not have a default email saying ‘done it’ each day… when you have!

    Bests….Duncan

    • Lloyd May 30, 2014, 8:30 am

      I agree Leith hill is the hardest of the three when I did ride London last year don’t see what the fuss is with box hill?

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:34 am

      Thanks Duncan. The best thing is, the RideLondon course holds no fears or surprises for you (other than perhaps how tedious the section from Surrey back to Kingston is with 70+ miles in your legs). Now all you have to do is enjoy the day!

      Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how I’m getting on!

  • mrsheepuk May 30, 2014, 8:28 am

    I’m watching you. In the most scary way imaginable! *glares* Get on that bike!

    I find the state change the most difficult – if I’ve been cycling to work every day, switching away from that to use the tube is horrible. On the other hand, if I’ve got used to my creature comforts while taking the tube, it’s really hard to get back on the bike. I very much appreciate your comment about your cycling things spreading around the house and that small things like that make it seem like hard work. Once you’ve got it back together once though, you know it will be easy to carry on. So do it!

    I’m still watching you. *makes Hannibal Lector noise*

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:37 am

      Thanks Mark (… he says, using your real name, and thus outdoing your Hannibal Lector noise with a spot of real life cyber stalking).

      You’re right though, this is a change of state thing (albeit in a using a hammer to crack a nut sense, as others have pointed out).

  • Yves May 30, 2014, 8:30 am

    Please refer to “The Time-Starved Cyclist: How To Train When You’ve Got No Time”. You should read it.

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:39 am

      Touché Yves. Although I’m pretty sure I didn’t use lack of time as an excuse. That said, once I’ve got myself back in the swing of things with some gentle rides, I’ll be consulting that post in order to throw in a few intense sessions a week (perhaps on the turbo).

  • Mike May 30, 2014, 8:35 am

    Hi Monty

    speaking as an ‘expert’ (see below*) cyclist who struggles to remember how to find his bike in the garage, I fully sympathise.

    Remember the important thing though – as soon as you start that first ride in June, it will no longer be three months since you got on the bike. Once you’re over that hurdle, you’ve cracked it.

    I look forward to watching how you get on – although I’d prefer it if we only got the inspirational bits, as I put my motivation down somewhere and am having trouble finding it.

    * Definition of ‘expert’: ex is a has-been, spurt is a drip under pressure.

    Happy cycling

    Mike

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:44 am

      … I think you want to see both sides of the coin, no?

      You’re right about breaking the seal with the first ride, but I reckon there will be times when I’m ‘forced’ to ride in less-than-appealing weather where I’m glad I set myself this challenge.

      Thanks for the comment

  • Paul Collins May 30, 2014, 8:36 am

    After my heart attack and the three stages of rehab I couldn’t cycle 3 miles without stopping. Now five years later I regularly cycle 60km or more.

    And you think you have it hard ?
    Just make sure that you push yourself a little take the longer hill or the shorter gear improvements in fitness will spur you on and make the other areas of your life easier.
    But best of all enjoy it!

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:44 am

      Thanks Paul. Good advice. Glad to hear your recovery from the heart attack has been so marked.

  • Martin May 30, 2014, 8:49 am

    Wrong plan…IMHO. I’m not sure why you stopped but declaring that you will ride every day suggests huge guilt for being away so long rather than anything approaching a plan for getting back in the saddle. Give yourself a break, figuratively and metaphorically or a slavish determination to ride every day will most likely result in boredom or injury or simply fatigue which will, you’ve guessed it, potentially lead to you avoiding riding again, maybe for longer this time.
    Instead, set a target of say three rides a week. Do them when you want to, when the weather’s good, when you feel like a challenge, when there are some friends about to ride with, anything that makes it interesting and fun, because if it’s not fun then, well it’s not fun anymore. Whether it’s training for a marathon, a 100 metres Olympic Final (or simply eating chocolate!) it’s always about quality over quantity. Three rides a week and you’ll be looking forward to a ride, you’ll be able to have days off the bike without beating yourself up about it and you never know, you’ll be looking forward to the next ride rather than simply coming in after another 20 minute ride and just ticking the box as if you’re clocking out after another boring day at a boring job, you know its about more than that…

    Good luck with the target whatever you set, other advice is available and we accept no liability….etc. etc

    Martin

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:49 am

      Thanks Martin. You certainly make some good points. I’ll certainly be taking things slowly and doing regular ‘recovery’ rides to make sure that I don’t overtrain (chance would be a fine thing).

      There are of course other ways to develop a good cycling habit, but part of this habit-forming exercise isn’t about the riding per se. It’s about getting in the habit of putting bike clothes on without thinking, having a bike ready and in good working order, all those little barriers that get in the way.

      It’s also a focused experiment to see whether those other things I do really are important.

      I promise not to sue you…

  • Stevie May 30, 2014, 9:25 am

    Shut up and get on your bloody bike.
    Love from Stevie.
    p.s. I understand the whole getting into a habit of riding thing. Last year I’d wake up and try and gauge if I felt like cycling into work & of course when you’re sleepy and it’s cold outside the answer over the half the time would be ‘no’. Since January I made a conscious decision to not think about it and just get my cycling gear on before I have a chance to talk myself out of it. I think I’ve got the tube to work a grand total of 5 times this year now and that’s only because I had something after work preventing me from cycling. Good luck!

    • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:51 am

      Thanks for the tough love Stevie. Agreed on the commuting thing – I was multiple times more likely to bike commute if I’d packed my bag the night before and had my cycling gear ready next to the bed.

  • Paul O' Brien May 30, 2014, 9:38 am

    I’ve got you on Strava… I will be in Venice on the 6th-8th of June, but the hotel will have Wi-Fi. Globalisation means that we are never off the hook.

    Enjoy getting back in the saddle!

    I am new to your blog and am enjoying it very much so far.

    Also, I watched 20 minutes of the Pantani film last night; cut 5 minutes off my commute today, felt incredibly inspired!

    Cheers,
    Paul

  • Andrew Montgomery May 30, 2014, 9:55 am

    Thanks Paul. Welcome! Glad you’re enjoying it. I like your Evolutionary Walk Pavilion (I’m a fan of boxes and OSB…) on your tumblr.

    Pantani, … sudden marked improvement in performance, … hmm…

    • Paul O' Brien May 30, 2014, 10:14 am

      Cheers Andrew, OSB is the business!

      Ha, no EPO here, first day commuting with new bib shorts and a short sleeved base layer…. However, there is one line in the movie that stuck out:

      ‘Marco, why do you always start the climb at the back?’
      ‘So I can see my friends suffer…’

      Have a good time on Sunday,
      Paul

  • Rob May 30, 2014, 10:04 am

    Hi,

    I spent more than 25 years between rides. So I am not going to get all judgmental. What’s the point. May I ask a question, although we are ‘watching’ what is your motivation, Is it health or your children or something else, apart from strava do you have a ultimate goal ? Ride a sportive or head to France for a race ?

    Sorry, hand on heart it really isn’t my business to ask you this but having set up a forum could it not be you just needed a break from the bike ?

    Good luck

    Rob

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:38 pm

      Hi Rob – thanks for the comment/questions. I have no single motivation. I like cycling but seemed to have fallen out of the habit of doing it. I wanted to get back into it. I cycle for pleasure (with/without the children & wife), fitness and the challenge. I guess I have one eye on future challenges, so I want to have a solid base of fitness on which to build in the future. And part of the motivation is to give me something to write about on the blog!

  • Roger Courtney May 30, 2014, 10:33 am

    Well done for setting a target; as others have said of course some of your days should have very light sessions.
    I came across your blog because I have a Ride London place this year and even though many people say it will be fine the closer it gets the higher Leith Hill &Bix Hill seem. (I live just outside Cambridge so any hill is a novelty).
    Anyway to try and slay the mental dragon of the hills I plan on riding them before the event. Helpfully you have put down a 30 mile loop starting & finishing at a cake shop! http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3383629
    So on Sunday 8th I shall ride 2 or 3 loops depending on how it goes. Perhaps too much if you have only been riding again for a week but if you want to come along for one loop I’ll eagerly grasp the opportunity to go at a sensible pace.
    Rog

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:39 pm

      Thanks Rog. Re: the route, there is always method (cake) in my madness. Good luck on 8th June – you’ll love it!

  • steve May 30, 2014, 10:58 am

    blimey… I thought you were a hard core cyclist. some one to look up to, instead your just like the rest of us mere mortals.
    my domane hanging in the garage for 2 weeks doesn’t bother me at all now
    good luck.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:40 pm

      Ha! You assumed this ‘I’m a mediocre cyclist thing’ was all false modesty? I’m afraid not. I’m am mediocre, and until this past weekend, I wasn’t really a cyclist (active)…. thanks for the comment.

  • Jen May 30, 2014, 11:04 am

    If it helps, I’ll join the “watchers”.

    But like some of your other followers have mentioned I would suggest that you stop beating yourself up about not cycling. Instead think about the positives.

    Over recent months you have encouraged other people to get out and get on their bikes and ride. I know this because I am 1 of the people that you have encouraged. I am doing Ride London but when I was looking for advice, yours was one of the few sites to offer help to what I would call “normal everyday cyclists”

    So tomorrow I will be cycling from Newlands to the top of Leith Hill and back up to Newlands Corner just so I know how that pesky Leith hill will feel on Aug 10th.

    I will gather my kit together tonight so all I have to do is grab it and go first thing. Thanks for all the notes about the hills it really helped when I was just getting started

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:44 pm

      Hi Jen, thanks for your kind words. I maybe over-egged the post for effect – my 30 day challenge isn’t a self-imposed penance 🙂 I just thought it might be an interesting way to get back into the swing, with a handy bit of external motivation in the form of blog readers.

      Nonetheless I’m really pleased and touched that you’ve found my site helpful and encouraging. I’ve definitely tried to tailor it towards people that have a genuine interest but not a hardcore obsession (with cycling!!).

      How did your Newlands Corner/Leith Hill ride go?

  • Kristian May 30, 2014, 11:33 am

    I completely agree with what Martin says here. Don’t sabotage your own effort with doing too much too soon, or there will be a ‘too much too soon’ themed article coming out 🙂
    Get back by enjoying cycling, don’t ride every single day. Do some general shopping on a bike and don’t choose the closest Tesco express 🙂 That will also tell you not buy what you don’t need because of the limited capacity to carry stuff.
    For weekends choose a nice slow easy paced ‘scenic’ ride along a river or a quiet route, or a good climb with a stunning view from the top and work easy for it, reward yourself with what I call an ‘energy drink’ (good beer, good wine, cider, you get the idea).

    When I decided to get back on the bike last year after an entire year off, I just let my monthly travel card expire and from February it was on, no matter what. And I was only commuting to work and back some 25-30mins, 9Kms. When the weather was foul I left 5mins earlier than usual (or took the tube).
    Next step was to get to ride for hours and hours, and I did that by ‘sightseeing’ rides. Sounds weird but its incredible fun to ride alongside masses in central London by HMS Belfast or London Eye or Greenwich 🙂
    If you want a ‘challenge’ try this one: http://www.tommygodwin.com/the-challenge/

    P.S. Big respect for Mr Collins (the big plan is not to get any health issues at all. Other than the existing ones of course), lets not make something that’s in fact pretty simple and relatively easy sound complicated and too difficult.

    Won’t be watching. If you slip, you slip. Really a (missed) ride won’t make or break the big picture. If there’s one there in the first place.
    Good luck.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:49 pm

      Hi Kristian – I agree with all of that. If my knee flares up or I fall ill, then I won’t push through for the sake of the challenge. I certainly plan for some of the daily targets to be taken up by glorified rides to the shops. This is about integrating the bike back into my life and forcing myself to just ask the question, “Can I fit a bike ride somewhere into this day?” Often the answer is, “Yes” without sacrificing anything important. Cheers!

  • John May 30, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Well, I for one can’t resist an opportunity to stalk.

    And maybe it’ll make me feel inspired to do something about not having done my 3-day-a-week, 12.5-mile commute for… *looks at Strava*… four weeks. (I’ve always had valid excuses – had to go to Cardiff for the day; had an after-work event to attend*; woke up too late to make it in to the office at a non-sackable time….)

    As for this Lycra-clad-backside-on-seat thing, personally if I’m doing a 20 minute ride, I’m not going to spend ten minutes squeezing said backside into Lycra. Bugger that.

    — John (a real one, not a masquerading Monty)

    *Cycling through the busy bits of London at night when drunk is one thing. Cycling along the Grand Union Canal in the dark when drunk could be a damp experience.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:51 pm

      Thanks John. Pleased be inspired.

      The 20 minute thing is a psychological trick – if I tell myself I only NEED to do 20 minutes, once I’m on the bike it’s more likely to turn into something longer. A bit like telling yourself only to get into your gym kit, rather than telling yourself to go to the gym. The former is much easier, and 99 times out of 100 you’ll go on to do the actual workout.

  • M Mullen May 30, 2014, 1:51 pm

    Not only will i be watching… i think i am going to have to join in!!! i just might have to to do most of it from a trainer since having a job interferes with cycling… i have to swim and run too- if only it could be daylight 24/7!! GOOD LUCK!! !

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:55 pm

      Do it! To be honest, 30 days straight on a turbo is probably akin to waterboarding (as the recipient). Maybe I’ll do an Advent Calendar of Turbo (new idea, not fully thought through).

      PS. Why do you need to swim and run?? Surely you’re not a… no, you can’t be…

  • saddlesore May 30, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Happiness is getting your leg over every day.
    And peddling away.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:57 pm

      Indeed. Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Conrad AKA the Sadoldsamurai May 30, 2014, 7:03 pm

    Hi, I’ll (hopefully) be following (you) on Strava..
    It’s horses/bikes for courses..
    Some of us (with poor self discipline) need to go every day..
    perhaps you could set up a Strava club..
    and then those of us who want to follow the cycle for 20 mins every day plan…can join in..
    Keep on cycling..
    Best wishes

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 6:59 pm

      Thanks Conrad. I’ve thought about setting up a Strava cycling club for Sportive Cyclist readers. I’ll see how this challenge goes and then have another think about it.

  • Les Sutherland May 30, 2014, 7:33 pm

    Rule number 5!
    I do know where you are at. I’m trying to train for my first sportive in July but sticking to the training program can be difficult.
    See what you’ve done? Now I’m making excuses too, Duh!
    If you do yours I’ll do mine, OK?

    • Andrew Montgomery June 2, 2014, 7:02 pm

      Deal. No excuses. Rule 5 to you too 🙂

  • Mark May 30, 2014, 7:40 pm

    I’ve just missed 16 days of cycling due to holiday, rain,rain and more rain.
    I must admit, in my defence, that while on holiday I was kayaking and bought a new mountain bike but those miles don’t count, do they?
    Today’s motivation was a sunny afternoon by the sea, 4 extra pounds on my waist and Strava mates actually riding when its wet. I don’t mind riding in the rain, I just don’t like getting my bike dirty.

    I popped in 39.3 miles (yes the 0.3 is significant) and climbed 2595 ft (no 5 ft isn’t significant).

    My advice…. look what others are doing on Strava, are people beating your totals, have you dropped down the leagues? The longer you procrastinate the lower you’ll fall. Also schedule a nice coffee stop with large slices of cake (check calories burned > cake calories) and lovely ( enter Male or Female of your choice) staff. Check your achievements and pledge to beat the total next time.

    I’m doing Ride London in memory of my son and have 140 sponsors who will be demanding refunds if I can’t drag my sorry ass round the course… there’s another idea – enter a sponsored sportive.

    Good luck.

    Mark
    Sponsor me at: http://www.justgiving.com/markdixoncycling (sorry I couldn’t resist)

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:18 pm

      Hi Mark. No problem about the just giving link. I’m not sure I’m competitive enough (in any sense) to be motivated by my Strava position! Good luck with the training.

  • Mark olver May 30, 2014, 8:16 pm

    Get ya arse in gear lol

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:36 pm

      Thanks Mark. Exactly what I need!

  • Doug Standifer May 30, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Not to worry…everyone falls off the wagon (or the saddle in this case) at one time or another…the secret is to wake each day saying…”I don’t have to ride everyday…just today”.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:37 pm

      Thanks Doug. That seems to be working so far 🙂

  • Byron Henry May 30, 2014, 11:36 pm

    Go for it! And don’t be afraid to utilize a fair bit of coasting on some of those early, recovery-type rides…

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:38 pm

      Exactly – don’t worry, I’ve not been afraid of coasting! Thanks Byron

  • mark May 31, 2014, 6:48 am

    If I remember, you only recently restarted cycling & it didn’t take too long to get back into it. You already have recent memories of doing a long ride, so you know what to expect. Get back on the saddle, & I guarantee you that within a fortnight of 20 min/day, you’ll be feeling strong enough to go onto a 1/2 century.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:39 pm

      That’s quite a guarantee Mark! Feeling quite positive so far (8 days in)…

  • Lesley May 31, 2014, 7:46 am

    Why not start today? I know it’s still May, but you could sneak up on yourself and surprise yourself, then have cake to celebrate? Well done though, seriously 🙂

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:39 pm

      Hi Lesley …as you know, I did!

  • Duncan May 31, 2014, 11:57 am

    Hi Monty…your blog inspired me to my first 50 miler this morning….good luck with your challenge
    Bests Duncan

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:40 pm

      Thanks Duncan. That’s good news.

  • Duncan May 31, 2014, 3:55 pm

    Hi Monty Good luck with your challenge….To inspire you (?) I did my first 50 miler this morning!
    Bests Duncan

  • Paul Smith June 1, 2014, 6:51 am

    Good luck…especially with Ride London looming large on the horizon!

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:42 pm

      Thanks Paul. Unfortunately I didn’t get a RideLondon place this year. Maybe next year. I am starting to think about a reasonably challenging (i.e. for me, so not very) sportive later this year.

  • Dave Cahill June 2, 2014, 5:06 am

    Good luck, I feel you (lack of) pain. Sign up for something substantial, with friends, to (a) have fun and (b) create pressure to actually ride. Sorry, I can’t help you if you have no friends, but I will follow you on Strava! xxxDCxxx

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 8:44 pm

      Thanks Dave. Signing up for RideLondon certainly helped me last year. Now, where did I put those friends….

  • w00hoo June 2, 2014, 10:10 am

    I managed to join Strava and then fall ill with campylobacter for a fortnight the following day, so I’ve gone from commuting 4 days a week over a reasonable distance to nothing for what feels like ages. I’ll be watching you start while I work out if I’ve got the strength back to throw myself back on to the bike in the middle of urban traffic (still don’t feel like eating at the moment).

    Agreed with the every day thing being a push, when I was beating myself up I’d go for exercising five days out of seven (no science there or anything) but on a rolling basis (so if I missed two I knew I needed to do the next 5). Every day sounds like a good way to decide you’ve failed.

    I presume you’ve set the turbo trainer up so you can do something else while you’re on it (watch to make sure the children don’t choke while eating, catch up on TV, whatever). I reckon the cycling to collect child, or walking bike there and cycling back, with a mandatory extra loop to get the time in would be the best use of time. I know with my commute I just do it because it’s what I do. Sometimes when I’m slogging through rain and lorry spray as the temperature drops around me that’s the mantra I use to remind me why I’m there. It’s just what I do.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 9:12 pm

      Yes, I’ve been making good use of the turbo, mainly after the kids have gone to bed. At the moment I listen to podcasts. If I’m turbo-ing in July, it’ll be the TdF highlights on ITV4.

  • Mark S June 2, 2014, 6:30 pm

    How are you going to find time to ride when answering all these posts !
    This sounds like a good excuse just to by loads of new gear…We are watching you…

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 9:13 pm

      Ha! Yes, it’s taken me over a week to respond to all of them. Pleased you’re watching me…. (sort of)

  • Stephen June 3, 2014, 10:48 am

    If you manage this it will help me to keep focused on my challenge of going from an occasional cyclist to riding the RideLondon100 this August.
    Just a thought though, perhaps you need some adrenaline to activate your reward centres – try a couple of busy commutes, they always get the adrenaline flowing.

    • Andrew Montgomery June 9, 2014, 9:15 pm

      Hi Stephen, I would…. if I had a job to commute to. And if I had a job round here, it wouldn’t be a busy commute. That said, I’ve had my fill of London cyclo-commuting for the time being.

      Good luck with that training. Stay focused!

  • Mark June 10, 2014, 2:44 pm

    Looks like your Strava account is playing up – there seems to be a shortage of rides. Have you made a Sportivecyclist group/club then you can see at a glance how you’re comparing with others. I’m always happy if my results are middle of the pack.

    I pay an extra £4 a month then I can filter the rides so that eventually I will find a result that makes me look ok.

    Did I see a mention that you’re not working at the moment…. you have no excuses! Refer to Rule#5

    http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/

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