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Old 11-26-08, 08:46 AM   #1
NOS88
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Is having fun overrated/overstated?

Several recent threads (not that there haven't been similar ones in the past) have me thinking about this notion of fun and cycling. There is no question in my mind that flying along on two wheels can be a great thrill and lots of fun. Yet, my last five or six rides have been anything but fun, it was windy, wet, and cold. I felt miserable the entire time on each of these rides. I also went back through my cycling diary and discovered that of the 216 days of cycling I'd done as of 11/24/08, over 1/3 of them had notes indicating that the ride wasn't much fun. IMHO that's a pretty big percentage.

There are those days when the ride, start to finish, has been a joy, but these are in the minority. Don't misunderstand me, I'll still continue to cycle as long as possible. And, I know that I'll push myself on intervals into the red zone, take on climbs that will exhaust me, and ride outside regardless of the weather. For me the benefits of cycling are well worth the investment in pain, discomfort and time. But, fun? Me thinks not. Hence, I'm always a bit at a loss for words when upon returning from a ride my wife asks, "Did you have fun?"

So, simply typing out these comments has helped me remember there is a difference between something that is rewarding and something that is "fun". Where are you with your riding? Is it fun, rewarding, or something else?
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Old 11-26-08, 08:55 AM   #2
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So, simply typing out these comments has helped me remember there is a difference between something that is rewarding and something that is "fun". Where are you with your riding? Is it fun, rewarding, or something else?
I think that it's a question of objectives.

If your objective is "Getting into better shape." "Getting faster." "Beating other people." That's one thing. The reward is likely to be deferred to some later time.

If your objective is simply to play (like me), you're probably looking for a shorter term reward and consequently don't ride in unpleasant weather if you can help it.
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Old 11-26-08, 08:55 AM   #3
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Interesting question; I think I remember the tough ones much more than the fun ones. That said, I am really jonesing to get back on again (working during all daylight hours + short winter days = little riding time yet).
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Old 11-26-08, 09:17 AM   #4
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My rides are almost all commutes now. Besides overcoming the wind, rain, etc. I always have the satisfaction of getting there

It's also fun when coworkers are running out to close their windows when a storm comes through.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:24 AM   #5
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I think where we get into trouble is trying to impose our own definition of fun onto someone else. Just because setting goals, riding a lot of miles, and tracking mileage is fun to me doesn't mean it will be to someone else, and vice versa. You would think the type A folks who set the goals would be the more intense, and therefore more grumpy, but it looked to me to be just the opposite in that other thread. Start a thread about goals and those who don't have any trash you. I shook my head at that for several minutes.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:24 AM   #6
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I can't think of a ride that wasn't fun. Many are challenging, some a heluva lotta work, but they're always fun.

This, despite the fact that I use a cyclometer, I log my rides, and have goals.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:34 AM   #7
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I was a runner for many years until heel injuries put an end to that! Now biking is the thing. My wife can't believe how enthusiastically I get up in the cold and dark to meet my buddies at 5:45 for a pre-work ride. Never did that for running! The difference is that biking is fun! Even miserable biking has its moments.

So to me, no, the fun aspect is NOT over-rated.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:37 AM   #8
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I've done enough interval training during my running days. Its one of those things that if you don't keep it up, you begin to lose the benefits. Its practically the same for riding in general. If you don't use it, you lose it.

Computer gamers are the same. I figure they have fun but to keep sharp, they have to constantly be on top of their game. Recreational golfers must be on the verge of frustration. There's so many aspects to their game, their swing, and all that. Can't be that much fun.

When you were a kid, there was no goal setting but just play for the sake of playing. That's fun.
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Old 11-26-08, 09:49 AM   #9
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What's "Fun" is such a personal definition, that I'm not sure that anything anyone else could say would matter much . . .

Quite often, when reaching the summit of a particularly difficult climb (which may well have involved pain and suffering), I've been heard to exclaim, "That was fun!"

Once, on a very cold and rain-soaked double century, about an hour after dark my riding partner asked me, "Are we having fun yet?" Given the situation, I replied, "Yes, we're having fun, because we only have 35 miles to go. So the further we go, the fewer miles we have left, means we're having more and more fun the closer we get to the finish!"

Last night I was so not looking forward to my training ride. It was cool, getting cooler with rain predicted. However, and because of the rain forecast, I took out my Mercian touring bike (it has fenders!) pumped up the tires, packed my rain jacket in the pack, and took off.

I had so much fun riding that bike, with the downtube shifters, steel frame, fenders, rack, etc. since it was so different from usual bikes. Kind of "retro" I guess. Anyway, it turned out to be a really fun ride, with the road illuminated by my NiteRider Blow Torch, a lovely evening really.

Oh, and the rain hit about 15 min. after I had returned home!

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Old 11-26-08, 10:15 AM   #10
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... Where are you with your riding? Is it fun, rewarding, or something else?
Yes.

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Old 11-26-08, 10:23 AM   #11
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When rides become less fun (which is very, very rare) I take it as a sign that I'm getting a little burned out and go do something else for awhile. For me, fun is always a top priority.
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Old 11-26-08, 10:40 AM   #12
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+1000 to all the great responses! I was a recreation major in college and one of the few things I still remember from college is my teacher's definition of recreation.

Is it recreation?:
1- Is it done during free time and not taking away from any necessary life commitments?
2- Is it done voluntarily?
3- Is the activity morally acceptable by the standards of today's society?
4- Is the activity something you may look back on as fun?

For me riding is recreation as it passes each of the above questions. I ride for fun, pleasure and results. When I do intervals or ride in bad weather it hurts but I look at that as putting money in the bank to take out later when needed. I love making withdrawls. For me riding is recreation, wellness, escaping reality and not transportation.
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Old 11-26-08, 10:55 AM   #13
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Cycling for me is a mixture of riding, tinkering, and posing. If I'm not having fun in one area I can find fun in another. The fun factor averages out for me, so I'm never dissapointed.
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Old 11-26-08, 10:56 AM   #14
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It is all about managing expectation. Any time on the bike is better than time in the office/work.
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Old 11-26-08, 11:47 AM   #15
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So, simply typing out these comments has helped me remember there is a difference between something that is rewarding and something that is "fun". Where are you with your riding? Is it fun, rewarding, or something else?
All of the above. If it is always easy it isn't worth doing. I enjoy the challenges, but some may not be fun at the time. On hindsight it all is fun with the exception being when the one ride that ended in an ambulance ride and a longish recovery. And even that one had some redeeming qualities if only as a frame of reference.
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Old 11-26-08, 11:58 AM   #16
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Though I have commuted, riding a bike is fun for me, almost always. Sometimes I can wish that I didn't go so far, therefore have to suffer to get back, but I tend to forget those times.

So, yeah, it is fun. But it also helps if you are a masochist too I suppose...
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Old 11-26-08, 12:31 PM   #17
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I ride for fun. Although I set some goals, if they get in the way of the fun........then I don't make the goals. I work relatively hard in a high stress job. I don't need for my bikes to take over any remaining part of my life. When riding stops being fun, I take a break from riding. I always come back though.
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Old 11-26-08, 12:37 PM   #18
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Dr. Kenneth Cooper once said that he had believed there was no difference between exercise riding a bicycle and exercise in a gym on an exercycle. His epiphany came when he realized that while riders often rode "another loop" or "took the long way", those on exercycles invariably bailed as soon as the timer dinged.

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For me the benefits of cycling are well worth the investment in pain, discomfort and time. But, fun? Me thinks not.
There are also real hazards and dangers involved in riding; I suggest an exercycle.

Best,
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Old 11-26-08, 12:58 PM   #19
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I can't think of a ride that wasn't fun. Many are challenging, some a heluva lotta work, but they're always fun. This, despite the fact that I use a cyclometer, I log my rides, and have goals.
+1


I realized in thinking about this thread that there are only one or two rides this year that I was disappointed in -- and they were organized rides where either (a) the traffic was worse than I had thought it would be, a or (b) the course was poorly marked. I don't mind riding in traffic when I'm alone. And I don't mind getting lost on my own - I blame myself. But if I run into safety or navigation issues on an organized ride it is frustrating.

Last edited by BengeBoy; 11-26-08 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 11-26-08, 01:06 PM   #20
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The only cycling I do is commuting, and it is all fun. Wet and cold are simply symptoms of inadaquate clothing. Wind - well there's not much one can do about wind, except enjoy the accomplishment of having riden home into it. I recommend all trips home should be made in the direction of the prevailing tailwind.

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Old 11-26-08, 02:19 PM   #21
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I have been on very many rides that were painful, windy, hot, scary, bumpy, plagued with mechanical problems etc. I have been on very few rides that weren't fun. If I couldn't have fun while suffering, I would probably not have chosen bicycling as an obsession.
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Old 11-26-08, 02:28 PM   #22
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Suffering isn't fun?
I've taken rides that have just beaten the snot out of me, where it was all I could do to summon the drive to cover the last 4 or 5 miles, where the thought of one last hill to climb was daunting. The last 40 miler I did was like that. And when I get back home, I just have big ol' non-stop SE grin on my face and the feeling that I could still do more. If I'm smiling, I'm having fun.

Oh wait... there was that ride a couple of weekends ago in the cold wind and rain. The one where I called in the sag wagon. That wasn't a whole lot of fun.
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Old 11-26-08, 02:39 PM   #23
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I can't think of a ride that wasn't fun. Many are challenging, some a heluva lotta work, but they're always fun.

This, despite the fact that I use a cyclometer, I log my rides, and have goals.
I agree. Although I'm a 365 day commuter (and nights--I work 2nd shift), all those transportation rides have been fun. They've all made me more fit, and they've all saved me money. Win-win-win.

Some rides are challenging. One time I rode home at midnight in a blizzard, and 4 snow plows ran me off the road, as I threw my bike over a 4 foot snow pile at the curb. If you had seen me searching for my bike computer, I wouldn't have told you I was having fun. But as soon as I got home (minus $30 computer), I realized how much I enjoyed the thrill of that ride, and I continue to enjoy the sense of satisfaction. I've never enjoyed driving a car in a blizzard!

For me, record keeping adds to the fun. I like working with the figures, and I like logging a 60 mile day or a 5000 mile year. The bike computer is fun too.

The only time it isn't fun is when I ride sick or injured. But what is fun when you're hurting?
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Old 11-26-08, 02:46 PM   #24
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There is no question in my mind that flying along on two wheels can be a great thrill and lots of fun. Yet, my last five or six rides have been anything but fun, it was windy, wet, and cold. I felt miserable the entire time on each of these rides.
You might want to try different clothing. I'm never cold on the bike, and I don't get wet unless it's warm out. I wouldn't enjoy the ride either if I was cold.
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Old 11-26-08, 04:09 PM   #25
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I try to have both fun and achieve a sense of accomplishment. I think this "fun" concept is why so many racing cyclists talk of "suffering". But the fact is, I have raced, toured and done some long distance rides (up to 200 miles), and can only recall a couple of times where I was even close suffering. T me, discomfort is not equal to suffering. Infected teeth, thats suffering, if one ever even came close to the pain of a toothache, or crippling back problems while riding a bike I would guess that nobody would continue to ride.

I my weird little world, completeing a long tough ride, is fun and brings me back smiling for annother round.
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