Gear Prudence: I just spent five days riding 350 miles and I’ve lost all love of biking. I’m sure with some time off, I’ll regain my love of it, but for now, I can’t stand even looking at my bike, much less taking it for a ride. I want to take up a new hobby. What do you suggest? —Bicycle User Really Needs Escape, Different Options Using Time
Dear BURNEDOUT: Bike burnout is real, and after so many miles in such as short time, it’s unsurprising that you’ve reached your limit (at least for now). GP thinks you’re right to take some time off. Bicycling should be enjoyable, and if you’re looking at your bike with anything other than goo-goo eyes, taking some time away to rekindle your passion while you cultivate other interests isn’t just sensible but necessary.
Have you considered artisanal, small-batch winemaking? As a cyclist, you’re likely attitudinally predisposed towards francophilia. You’re probably used to spending hours outside in the hot sun, which will be important during planting, pruning, and harvesting seasons. Your powerful quads and lung capacity ensure that your grape-stomping prowess will be second to none. And your past experiences in sharing the road with local drivers guarantee that you’ll certainly have the appetite and desire to drink your product. It’s another niche subculture with lots of foreign terms and endless debates about picayune details on equipment and approaches. And it’s full of know-it-alls trying to objectively rank the subjective. You’ll feel right at home.
If your backyard’s terroir is subpar, try reading more. Read big books. Engage with important ideas. Strive to become a more interesting and knowledgeable person. When you finally get back on the bike, it’ll be worth it. On long solo rides, mentally chewing meaty thoughts will make the miles tick right on by. On group rides, you’ll be able to offer charming insights and regale your companions with keen observations on the human condition revealed through literature, or regurgitate recondite facts from a wide variety of disciplines. Everyone loves a gregarious autodidact.
On second thought, that sounds super pretentious. Just catch up on TV instead. That’s like reading, except you can also check Twitter while you’re half-paying attention. Binge watching is a lot like biking—you sit for hours at a time and no matter how much you do, you’ll never run out. Plus, saying “Jessica Jones, huh?” is way more winning than “And another thing about Dostoevsky…” and considerably less likely to result in your cycling compatriots riding away from you. Everyone loves TV. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.