12 hacks to make your ride better and more fun

From gear tweaks to route alterations: elevate your rides with these expert tips

People riding in the fall
(Image credit: Greg Kaplan)

Riding should never feel like an obligation or a chore, but sometimes motivation can wane.

Even if you’ve all the tools and motivation you need to ride, sometimes new perspectives and ideas will make riding even more fun.

These dozen tips — some of which are free — can help you ride with even more enthusiasm and enjoyment, with fewer concerns and have more fun.

Cycle Glide

(Image credit: Greg Kaplan)

Use anti-chafe

A good chamois cream or anti-chafe balm might be the best bang for your buck when it comes to comfort. If you’re comfortable, you’ll have more fun on your ride.

Splurge on quality bib shorts

While bargain bike bike shorts may be satisfactory, the comfort offered by premium cycling shorts, with a high-quality chamois, is unparalleled. Check out our favorite men’s cycling bib shorts and top picks for women’s cycling bib shorts to help you stay in the saddle longer.

A pump's pressure gauge

(Image credit: Greg Kaplan)

Experiment with optimal tire pressure

Start with a tire pressure calculator to get a rough recommendation and then try adding or subtracting two or three psi. You’ll need a precise and accurate pressure gauge, and you’ll want to try repeating routes for apples-to-apples comparison.

Inner tubes

(Image credit: Greg Kaplan)

Swap your butyl inner tubes to latex or TPU

If you’re not yet using tubeless tires, latex inner tubes are the next best thing. Latex tubes decrease rolling resistance, are less prone to pinch flats than standard inner tubes, and offer a much smoother ride with lower rolling resistance. TPU inner tubes offer a similar ride quality as latex, and are a great space-saving option for spare tubes.

Ride your favorite routes in reverse

Discover a new perspective on familiar roads — because new roads are fun, right?! For those who use a bike computer to navigate a saved route in reverse:

- Garmin users: Login to the Garmin Connect website on a laptop or desktop, and then go to the Training>Courses screen. Duplicate an existing course, and then select the Reverse Direction option at the top of the map screen.

- Wahoo users: In the mobile app, you need only select a route and then click the left/right arrow button at the top-right of the map page.

Strava screen capture

Did you know that you can ask Strava to create a route for you?

(Image credit: Strava screen capture)

Ask Strava to create a route for you

Taking some of the guesswork out of finding routes can lead to riding on new or unexplored (for you) routes that could become new favorites. Strava subscribers can use the route creation tool to create a route based on other riders’ data — most commonly ridden routes in a region — while also allowing users to specify elevation gain, route surface, distance, and more.

A screen capture of Google Street View

(Image credit: Google )

Use Google street view to preview newly-created routes

This is a great way to get some peace-of-mind about surfaces and safety. After using a route creation tool like Strava or Ride With GPS, use Google Street View to preview the route. Because being comfortable while riding is more fun than stressing kilometer after kilometer.

A clean cockpit - no computer, no bag

(Image credit: Greg Kaplan)

Ride naked for a liberating experience

Keep your cycling kit on but leave your electronics at home, or put them in a jersey pocket if you must take them with you. Not having to worry about ride metrics, KOMs/QOMs, FKTs or personal bests is liberating.

A glowing sunrise

(Image credit: Greg Kaplan)

Stop and take a photo

Yeah, we mentioned not bringing electronics along for the ride, too. But if you do pull your phone out of your jersey pocket on rare occasion, stop and snap a photo. When you later look at it you’ll remember so many aspects and small details of a particular ride, and you’ll be smiling for years to come. Also, you can prove your ride happened.

Wires versus a dongle

(Image credit: Greg Kaplan)

Use a cable and a wireless dongle to prevent signal drops when riding indoors

For those using a desktop or laptop when cycling indoors, you can ensure that your computer will maintain a high-quality signal with your smart trainer by using a wireless dongle plugged into an extension cable that’s plugged into your computer. Place the dongle, which plugs into a USB extension cord that plugs into your computer, close to your smart trainer and you’ll likely never experience signal drops. Frustration-free rides are always better.

riding reaching for energy bar during ride

(Image credit: Future)

Change your on-bike nutrition

Try new flavors of snacks and drinks, or how you’re getting your nutrition. While pre-packaged sports food is convenient, processed sports foods can be uninspiring, and if you’ve ever subsisted on sweet-tasting things for a long ride, you may be familiar with the burn-out. Cold pizza (carbs, fat, salt) bites.

Image shows Anna Abram competing at the British Gravel Championships at the King's Cup Gravel.

(Image credit: Stefan Abram)

Stop for a mid-ride coffee or post-ride beer

If you regularly churn through a ride without stopping, change your routine and enjoy a coffee midway through your outing, or enjoy a beer when you’re done with your ride. The pause in pedaling and/or the post-ride brews are two, fun things to look forward to while riding!

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