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Habitual Riding

by on February 23, 2012

This Ride: 19.2 miles
Month: 121.3 miles
2012: 210.0 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 14044.7 miles

It was a good ride this morning.  It was nearly 50° F, almost 25° warmer than two mornings ago.  A couple of the guys were in shorts.  As we started out, Chip rounded a curve and broke a spoke, locking up his wheel.  We stopped to offer assistance, then the ride got fast.  Jim K and I resolved to ride together.  We stayed on the trail to the end, then continued back on the regular route.  I was interested in a “fitness test”.  The little hill on B&A Blvd that I use for the test is one I was able to increase my speed from about 16 mph to over 21 mph last summer/fall.  Today, I was once again in the 16-17 mph range.  I didn’t want to stress the foot much, but my heart rate was pegged pretty high at 16 mph.  It just gives me a benchmark for increasing my fitness.  Jim repeated a couple of times that I was riding strong.  It felt good to be out.  My average speed for the hour and a quarter was about 16 mph.

Yesterday, I read an article about how to make something a habit, and realized that I had been doing everything right in making my riding habitual.  There is a cue-response-reward loop described in the article.  My cues for riding have been laying out clothes the night before.  The response was piggybacked onto my morning routines, so that I get up, and get dressed right away in combination with other normal morning functions.  The reward is simple but layered.  There is a social reward for getting to the bridge on time, and logging the ride by way of this blog and the riding log I keep in a spreadsheet helps to reinforce the accomplishment.

The habit is so persistent that last night I still set out the clothes even though as I went to bed I thought I might sleep in.  I’ve had two very very long days at work back to back.  (Yesterday was 15 hours non-stop.)  When the alarm rang this morning, the cue was there and my brain anticipated the rewards, and I got up, and was out the door without giving it a second thought.  It helped that it was so warm, I must admit.

Here is a link to the article.  It has enough varied information in it to make it very interesting. (In fact, there is so much varied information you will likely think the article is about something completely different than I describe.  Keep reading.



From → Cycling

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