Come fall, most of us suffer a bit of a motivational crisis. We have put a lot of energy into meeting our yearly goals, which, unless you are a Belgian Classics rider, usually come in the summer. Whether it was your first century, big European cycling tour or to break 20 minutes in the club time trial, when the leaves start falling off the trees, there doesn't seem to be much reason to pull on all those extra clothes and head out.
One way to generate some motivation and jump start your training for next year's goals is to do some exploring on your bike. We all have our favorite rides which follow well-traveled and well-known routes, but as you are turning left on that road for the umpteenth time, haven't you ever wondered what happened if you turned right?
This brings up another way to get excited about the bike again. Maybe it is time to skip that group ride you do every Saturday morning and grab a couple of your best riding buddies and go on an exploratory ride. For some reason, while you slow down come fall, that pesky group ride never seems to suffer the same fate. Rather than hang on for dear life, hating the bike, resist the urge to do what everybody else is doing and strike out on your own.
These days, with Google Maps, you can get a pretty good idea of where a road goes, be forewarned that Google Maps does not distinguish between paved and dirt roads. If you are really concerned, you can look at the satellite photo to determine the road surface.
It is all about shaking up your routine; getting yourself out of a rut and becoming excited once again about the bike. Go exploring. You never know, you might just find another killer ride to add to your quiver.