Gear Prudence: Biking is boring. There, I said it. It’s repetitive and dull, and if I go more than a few miles, I can’t help but think to myself, “This is so boring and I would literally rather be doing anything else.” I think about how my legs hurt, and I truly wonder how anyone can ever derive any enjoyment from this objectively boring activity. Maybe it’s fun when you get to go downhill, but that’s hardly ever, and the rest of it is so dull. I’m bored even thinking about it. So, defend bicycling. How have you bike people duped so many others into thinking this supposed leisure activity is even remotely entertaining? — Bicycling Often Really Evokes Dullness
Dear BORED: Don’t sugarcoat it. Why don’t you tell us how you really feel?
But GP agrees. Cycling is boring. It’s extremely boring to people with virtually no interior life and wits that couldn’t outrun a grandma on a Bikeshare. If you’re an unobservant dullard incapable of enjoying moments of profound solitude and virtually transcendent calm, it’s no surprise that bicycling fails to move you. Cycling is done at what GP would call a “thinking pace”—a speed at which you can watch and fully process the world around you without missing the tiny, special details you would if you were traveling faster. Clearly a thinking pace isn’t for everyone. It does, after all, presuppose thinking.
OK, GP is being uncharitable and would be remiss to deny that sometimes cycling can indeed linger on well past the point of enjoyment. As you feel the miles in your legs, and as the scenery goes from captivating to stale, it is certainly common, even among the most avid of riders, to wish the trip would be over already. Fatigue, both physical and mental, can give way to “bonk,” and amid bonking, it is tremendously difficult to want to continue. But pushing yourself to, through, and well beyond your limits isn’t exactly the same as being overcome by monotony at the outset.
Assuming you’d like to beat the tedium, turn to companionship. Riding with others and chatting (about topics light or weighty) is a great way to pass the time and avoid being alone with your thoughts (or lack thereof). You can also discover new routes and new challenges. Repetition of the same roads ad inifinitum leads to a familiarity that can sap enthusiasm. Variety is the spice of life, so find a new trail or a new hill. Explore. If you’re a Type A nutjob, there’s always competing against yourself or others for Strava merits. You might still be bored, but at least people on the internet will respect your speed and grit. Or just give up. If it doesn’t make you happy, don’t do it. Bicycling will be fine without you.—GP