How To Regain Motivation For Mountain Biking

Every mountain biker has experienced it at least once: lack of motivation. No matter how much you enjoyed this sport in the past, you just can’t get on that bike. Perhaps you’re even considering selling your bike. But fear not; based on my own experience I know that you can regain that motivation for mountain biking!

Through this article I would like to help you retrieve the love for this sport. I’ll share my personal story and give you some tips that have helped me a lot. Let’s start with the first step: find out why you’re lacking motivation.

Find Out Why You’re Lacking Motivation

From my own experience, I’ve found out that it’s important to pinpoint the reason why you’re not getting on your bike as often as you did. In many cases, there’s more to it than just ‘lacking energy’. By finding the cause, you can work on a solution that’ll help you long term.

Before we get to how you do this, I’ll share my personal story with you. You’ll probably find it recognizable.

How I Regained Motivation For Mountain Biking

I’m now 30 years old and I’ve been mountain biking since I was 12. The first time on my friends mountain bike was absolutely awesome and it wasn’t long until I got my first bike. I kept that enthusiasm for almost 15 years, but it slowly faded away. I found myself procrastinating and was unsure whether I should stick to this sport.

However, I felt it would be a shame to throw in the towel since I did spent almost half my life practicing this sport. I wanted to find out what triggered the decrease in enthusiasm.

In my case, the main reason why I was procrastinating, was the lack of adrenaline. Mountain biking didn’t excite me anymore as it used to. I was only riding my mountain bike because I felt like I had to, but I wasn’t thoroughly enjoying it. My fitness and skill-level no longer really improved.

The thing that made me want to get out on my bike again, was working on my bike and upgrading it. Watching onboard mountain bike videos of other people riding the most challenging trails, also regained my enthusiasm. It made me want to up my game and become a better mountain biker. Even today if I’m not really feeling it, these tips still help me massively!

As my fitness improved, I treated myself to a new and better mountain bike. Later on, I even switched to an electric mountain bike for the adrenaline boost. More on this subject later on.

Why Most People Are Lacking Motivation For Mountain Biking

In my case, it was mainly the excitement I was missing during mountain biking. I felt like I needed this to push my limits. By taking a new direction and setting some goals, I got motivated again for riding more often.

Other reasons why most people are lacking motivation for mountain biking are:

  • I just don’t have the energy
  • It doesn’t excite me (anymore)
  • It’s too cold outside (or too hot)
  • I can’t invest that much time into a sport
  • Cleaning my bike afterwards is too much of a hassle
  • I feel like my fitness doesn’t improve

Before we are going to look at ways to regain motivation for mountain biking, it’s important that you’re willing to make some changes in your life. If you’re not open to this, it won’t work. But the fact that you’ve ended up on my page, tells me that you are open to making some sacrifices. Now, let’s look at some tips.

How To Regain Motivation For Mountain Biking

As mentioned in the previous section, I’ve learned that there are a few tricks that make me stop procrastinating and get on my bike. There are actually a few more ways to achieve this, which I’ll share in the next paragraphs.

Watch Mountain Biking Videos

This tip works great for when you don’t have the energy to get off the couch. Watch for example some onboard videos of mountain bikers riding some extreme trails. Seeing other people ride their bike, is a great motivator for you to do the same.

Try Another Discipline

Within the world of mountain biking, there are quite a few disciplines. The best known ones are: trail, cross-country (XC), enduro and downhill (DH). Also, over the last few years, gravel biking has become increasingly popular. Gravel bikes bridge the gap between a mountain bike and a road bike.

Of course there’s always the chance that the reason that you’re lacking motivation for mountain biking, is because you’re no longer into it. My point is that there might be a another discipline within mountain biking that appeals to you. I’m sure that not all variants are suitable for your area, but it’s definitely worth considering.

Modify Your Mountain Bike

This tip is great fun and has helped me a lot: modifying your mountain bike. If you’re bit technically minded, there are quite a few things that can easily be modified. Relatively simple and cheap mods are:

  • Add some color to your bike by changing the fork or rim stickers
  • Get some new grips
  • Protect your frame with some paint protection film (PPF)
  • Change up the theme of your bike by wrapping parts with vinyl wrap
  • Change your handlebars and stem
  • Go for colored shift and brake lines
Customizing your mountain bike and really making it your own is a strong motivator for more rides

Modifying your mountain bike will give you a sense of achievement and it’ll motivate you to get on your bike and show the world your latest mods. But remember, safety first! Don’t tamper with hydraulic brakes if you don’t have the knowledge.

Switch To An Electric Mountain Bike

This might sound a bit extreme, but hear me out. If you are an adrenaline seeker and you want your rides to be exciting, than an eMTB is definitely something to consider. After almost 15 years of riding on a normal mountain bike, I’ve added an eMTB to the fleet. Not because I need my mountain bike to do all the heavy work, but because it brings more speed into my rides which excites me.

Electric mountain bikes can be a great motivator to ride faster and further, but sure are quite expensive. More about this subject in my article Why Are Electric Mountain Bikes So Expensive? and What’s The Most Expensive EMTB?

Set Yourself Some Goals

It doesn’t matter whether your goal with mountain biking is to burn fat or to increase muscle strength, it’s a good thing to define some goals. Some examples are:

  • I want to be able to participate in a contest next year
  • I want to improve my times on a certain trail
  • I want to complete all mountain bike trails in my area
  • I want to learn how to do a manual
  • I want to lose 10 kg or 20 pounds over the course of a year

It’s even better if you write your goal(s) down so you don’t forget. Try not to set the bar too high and take small steps by determining some intermediate goals. It’s also a good idea to keep track of your progress in an app for example.

Learn To Do Some Tricks

Get out of your comfort zone and learn to do some tricks like a wheelie or a bunny hop. You may think that doing tricks is just for showing off, but there’s more to it. Being able to perform tricks is all about bike control which will help you on trails with clearing obstacles. It will make you a more confident and better rider!

Join A Mountain Bike Group

Working out with others is the most powerful motivator in the world. If you can’t motivate yourself to go riding, then I’d advise you to find a buddy or join a group. The peer motivation will definitely keep you going and make the workout feel like less of a burden.

Another great aspect of riding with other people, is that you have to agree on a date. This will provide structure to your schedule and make it harder to procrastinate! But it’s important that your cycling buddies have approximately the same level of fitness so you can ride at the same pace.

Invest In Some Good Clothing

The weather or the temperature is often used as an excuse to skip cycling. Which is understandable, but to maintain your fitness level, you have to ride regularly. One of the benefits of riding in cold and wet conditions, is that you will build up resistance.

Especially during the winter months many trails are completely abandoned. Look at this as a chance to practice your bike control without getting interrupted by other riders. Suitable clothes will definitely prevent you from getting cold. When spring comes, you are one step ahead of the others!

Manage Your Time Wisely

Mountain biking is great fun, but takes time. In general, it will keep you occupied for 2-3 hours. And this doesn’t even include the time it takes to clean your bike and gear afterwards. This can be a reason for people to postpone a ride when they think they don’t have the time.

Because of this, it’s important to manage your time wisely. If you’re short on time but you still want a good workout, pick a shorter route and up the intensity. Or if you are very short on spare time, you can maybe combine mountain biking with commuting.

When it comes to the cleaning part, it’s important to not cut corners here. If you do, you’ll definitely feel your bike behaving differently the next time you ride it. The cleaning process is all part of maintaining your bike. Keeping the rotating parts clean is beneficial for the lifespan of your bike. Especially after riding in wet conditions, it will take a lot of time.

To make your life easier and save some time, I advise you to invest in some tools like a bike stand and cleaning brushes. It’ll make the cleaning process less time consuming and you’ll get a better result. Definitely don’t resort to the pressure washer! It will seriously reduce the lifespan of your bike.

Just Go

This final and last tip might be the most difficult one to execute for some people, but still definitely worth mentioning: just go. How often did you get off your mountain bike after a ride and felt regret? Well, that might have happened that one time when you ended up soaking wet. But even then you felt good about yourself afterwards.

Don’t forget that through working out, your body releases dopamine and serotonin and rewards you with feeling happy and less stressed. So do yourself a favor, go for that reward and just go!