The Chainlink

So I fear admitting this, but I am in a biker's slump. While last year I couldn't wait to jump on my bikes and go for quick or long rides, these last few weeks I've found myself rationalizing the metra and cabs over biking. 


I tried getting new gear for my bike, but it didn't break the slump.

I cleaned my bike (which only resulted in grease stains everywhere.)

I miss my chainlink events, but the thought of dealing with potholes and drivers prove a massive hurdle.

Any tips on how to break this slump & restart my love for cycling in the city? 

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A 29 is just a 700c with a fat tire, my british bike runs a 29er rim.

H3N3 said:

I was in a bike shop briefly a few minutes ago and someone tried to sell me a 29-er.

By the logic that "small tires" don't cut it on city streets-- are 29" better than 26"?

notoriousDUG said:

I don't get it either; I mean I understand the idea behind small tires and going fast but if you are riding for transportation on city streets they simply do not cut it.

Peenworm Grubologist said:
It's funny to me when I see people snob out about mountain bikes for city riding. Yes they're less efficient, but have these people seen Chicago streets? Particularly in the spring? Huge knobbies and suspension forks don't seem so silly anymore.
Or the 28 x 1 1/2 F.13 for the Canidiadianses who just have to be differn't from everyone else

notoriousDUG said:
A 29 is just a 700c with a fat tire, my british bike runs a 29er rim.

Why do you go to Critical Mass if you do not enjoy riding your bike? 

H3N3 said:

I haven't really enjoyed cycling for years.

It's just the easiest and fastest way to get most places I want to go.

I don't know enough about your situation to understand why it's not the easiest and fastest way to get most places you want to go, or what makes it so unpleasant for you that a bus or cab is more attractive.


In my opinion it's not all that relevant whether you're riding a bike or not-- the important thing is that you're able to make car-freedom work for you somehow.

Politics probably...


I'm just the opposite. I love bicycles for the sheer love of the motion and the riding itself.  It's a freedom akin to unpowered flight.


I'd still ride bikes if it were the un-greenest, dirtiest, evil, vile, enviornment-ruining activity ever and every time I  threw a leg over the saddle 43 polar bears magically & spontaneously melted into ooze and fell through a steaming, gaping hole that just opened up through the ice cap.


It's about the riding and what's in it for me.  I guess others have different reasons to be bike "activists."  I also enjoy wrenching on bikes too. It's like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which is every bit as applicable to bicycles as it is to motorcycles. 



chixieonfixie said:

Why do you go to Critical Mass if you do not enjoy riding your bike? 

I completely understand going through a slump.  I love to ride.....I just don't enjoy riding in cold weather.  Come spring, my season starts.  However, for some reason my first few rides take some work to get me going.  The few months off means I tend to be a bit sore after my first few rides.  What I try to do is plan a social ride with friends early on.  We motivate each other with conversations about the coming warm months and the other rides we plan to take.  I enjoy riding alone, but prefer riding with others.  We've created a Facebook group where we call ourselves The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  I also love the warm weather Critical Masses, and especially the Perimeter Ride in late summer.  Just get on, and things fall into place.

That's the beauty of life.  No matter how shitty your own life is there is always someone out there who has a shittier one.


Eric Vann said:


Some years ago I learned a valuable lesson. I coached a chess team where the students were eager to play against better opponents but always had a complaint or two about their lives as teenagers. So went went over to the local VA Hospital and played chess against the patients.


Two things happened the usual competitive juices were even more riled against these players. And the kids got a chance to see how someone looks when having a really bad day. It was something of a reality check for all of us.


When I get the Bikers Slump these days I always think about babies born to mothers on crack cocaine not knowing at that tender age just how wonderful life should be and instead fighting withdrawal from a drug they never knowingly took.


So I climb aboard my bike and make each pedal turn a prayer for them. I don't need to buy anything new for my bikes or do much else other than enjoy life on their behalf. I kinda see it as my mission to "carry on" in their stead.

For me, Liz's suggestion is the most effective - 

Commit to a ride with a buddy!  

When I set up a ride with a friend, neither of us wants to back out even if we're not motivated. Once we're dressed and bikes are ready, it's no problem to just do a RT ride to the aquarium or Promontory Point.  It also helps that we're evenly matched and quietly competitive to keep our pace up.  Never regretted this plan.  My other motivator is food - I will ride with a meal goal (specialty sandwich, sausage or entree available only one place in Chicago).

Liz said:

I was hitting a major bike slump at the end of feb. 


start also one day I ran into kevin on the way home and
having a riding buddy helped a lot.
I did basically no recreational riding over the winter.  It just isn't fun to go for long rides in the cold and wind.  The glimpses of Spring have me excited again, to the point where I've cleaned up my nicer bike and it is just waiting.

You all crack me up, renew my faith in the beauty of cycling (and life) and encourage me to bike! Upon my return from chicago I pulled out my cruiser I hadn't ridden in awhile and - get this - actually enjoyed it:). It's amazing what some sun can do for ones spirit and ability to see potholes.

And, Julie - I'd love to go for a ride sometime!

Let's do it!

Try riding off-road and explore a part of Chicago that you hadn't experienced before outside of the paved pathways and congested streets.

DesPlaines River Trail

CalSag Trail

I&M Canal

Waterfall Glen

Palos Forest Preserve


Illinois Prairie Path


Lot's of off-road options to reinvigorate the 'fun' in cycling and still be healthful and enjoyable without the added stress of the city doldrums.  Sure some of this stuff you may have to drive to or take a train to depending on your location - but they are all reachable via bike if you wanted to.


Join the off-road gang. :)

Oh, no!  let's not bring up the off-road/off-pavement semantics thing!  


-oops, I just did! ;)



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