Why Know­ing Your Rid­ing Per­son­al­ity Mat­ters

Bicycling (South Africa) - - Front Page - BY SE­LENE YEA­GER


You go… some­times, but it’s not re­ally your gig. So you find ex­cuses to ditch it, but al­ways feel bad for fob­bing them off. Well, new re­search sug­gests you shouldn’t sweat it.

A re­cent sur­vey of more than 800 peo­ple from around the world found that you’re most likely to en­joy – and stick to – ex­er­cise that suits your in­di­vid­ual per­son­al­ity type. This re­search found that those with a pref­er­ence for ob­jec­tive logic were more likely to stick to a reg­i­mented ex­er­cise plan than those who pri­ori­tise feel­ings and per­sonal val­ues. And ex­tro­verts thrived in a gym en­vi­ron­ment, while the cre­ative types were best suited to out­door ac­tiv­ity.

Though the study looked at ex­er­cise broadly, the same con­cept could be ap­plied to cy­clists and the types of rid­ing that they do, says study au­thor John Hack­ston, a psy­chol­o­gist and head of thought lead­er­ship at the Bri­tish busi­ness psy­chol­ogy firm OPP.

“Rac­ing, cy­cling clubs and such are likely to ap­peal to ex­tro­verts,” he says, not­ing that in­tro­verts may most ap­pre­ci­ate solo rides, where they can have time with their own thoughts.

“Know­ing and act­ing in ac­cor­dance with your per­son­al­ity – rather than do­ing things in the way that oth­ers say is cor­rect – will be more en­gag­ing and take less en­ergy,” he says.

As to whether peo­ple in­tu­itively know their own per­son­al­ity type, Hack­ston says: “Not nec­es­sar­ily – our up­bring­ing, the peo­ple we know, the cul­ture we live in and so on all have a huge ef­fect on us.”

As a re­sult, we may act in ways that don’t nec­es­sar­ily fit with who we are, he adds.

How that trans­lates to cy­cling? Maybe peer pres­sure forces you to at­tend a few too many group rides when you’d rather head out solo, or you may feel a need to have the lat­est tech and gad­gets be­cause they’re ‘cool’, but data re­ally isn’t your thing.

The best way to know your per­son­al­ity type for sure is through an as­sess­ment such as the My­ers-Briggs Type In­di­ca­tor (MBTI) test. If you’ve never done such an as­sess­ment, the re­sults can be en­light­en­ing; and judg­ing from this study, may even im­prove your cy­cling ex­pe­ri­ence.

In the mean­time, we’ve come up with four com­pletely un­sci­en­tific cat­e­gories based on com­monly seen cy­cling per­son­al­ity traits that can help you iden­tify your unique cy­cling per­son­al­ity – and the types of rid­ing and train­ing you might find most fun and mo­ti­vat­ing.

1. The Data Geek

Your friends would de­scribe you as log­i­cal, an­a­lyt­i­cal, de­tail-ori­ented. You know your LT, →TP, MHR, and pretty much any­thing and ev­ery­thing you can test, mea­sure, and mon­i­tor. Your favourite après-ride ac­tiv­ity is down­load­ing and analysing ev­ery met­ric of the day’s ride data, and plug­ging it into your progress chart.

How to en­hance your cy­cling life: You’re in luck, as we’re liv­ing in the golden age for cy­cling data geeks. Smart train­ers, smart watches, ANT+ /Blue­tooth-pow­ered de­vices, sen­sors, and apps of ev­ery kind let you an­a­lyse ev­ery train­ing and ride met­ric known to man. It can be a pricey pas­sion, of course, as high tech is rarely inexpensive. But power me­ters, which de­liver the most mean­ing­ful train­ing data, are more af­ford­able than ever. Struc­tured rides with spe­cific work­outs are for you (think spend­ing Satur­day on a long ride with a solid 60-minute →TP in­ter­val block). Or plan a cy­cling va­ca­tion by sign­ing up for an ad­vanced train­ing camp.

2. The Ad­ven­ture Rider

You’re gen­er­ally cu­ri­ous, spon­ta­neous and rest­less. Is there a road you haven’t gone down? There won’t be for long. Ditto for sin­gle­track, dou­ble­track, and any other paved or un­paved sur­face wide enough for two-wheeled ex­plo­ration. If it’s out there, you want to check it out by bike. And if you’re kind of lost, it’s all good; you’ll fig­ure it out. But you’ll never un­der­stand those peo­ple who ride in­doors.

How to en­hance your cy­cling life: →irst, make sure you’re on the right bike – ad­ven­ture and gravel bikes are flar­ing right now, in or­der to keep peo­ple like you happy and com­fort­able on rides. Then, go bikepack­ing or do a grass­roots gravel grind (where the course isn’t marked and you need to find your own way). If you like some friendly com­pe­ti­tion, try (or cre­ate) a cy­cling ad­ven­ture race, where you can throw some ori­en­teer­ing into the mix.

3. The Goal Set­ter

You think of your­self as re­sults-driven, com­pet­i­tive, and maybe a lit­tle Type A. You like some­thing to shoot for. Whether it’s a dou­ble cen­tury with huge el­e­va­tion gains or rack­ing up 300km a week, hav­ing con­crete goals keeps you go­ing. As soon as you tick one goal off the list you’re onto the next, oth­er­wise you feel adrift.

How to en­hance your cy­cling life: There’s no short­age of events you can sign up for (check out the race di­ary on

bi­cy­ to get your com­pet­i­tive fix. But the big­gest treat you can give your­self is a coach who will help you set and reach even your big­gest goals with­out over­train­ing or burn­ing out. Make the next goal even sweeter by choos­ing a des­ti­na­tion event in a bucket-list lo­ca­tion.

…act­ing in ac­cor­dance with your per­son­al­ity will be more en­gag­ing and take less en­ergy.

4. The So­cial Seeker

In your crew, you’re the out­go­ing, good-na­tured, peo­ple-per­son one. The cy­cling com­mu­nity is what you’re all about. Rolling with the pack, chat­ting to other rid­ers, and vol­un­teer­ing to help fix a me­chan­i­cal are what make you tick and keep you tick­ing off the kays. If there’s a fun group ride form­ing, you’ll be there. If it’s just a cof­fee and pas­tries ride, even bet­ter.

How to en­hance your cy­cling life: The so­cial cy­cling scene has never been richer, with What­sApp groups pop­ping up all over the place. If you haven’t al­ready, check out Zwift, where you can ride vir­tu­ally with peo­ple from all over the world (in­clud­ing your friends who are also on the plat­form) with­out leav­ing your liv­ing room. Then, con­vince your ride pals to com­mit to a long week­end away in a place you’ve al­ways been dy­ing to ride. Of course you’ll rack up some mileage, but it’s the mem­o­ries that count.

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