I’ll try not to make this too incomprehensible but since that’s the way these thoughts are presenting themselves in my brain right now, I can’t promise it won’t.

I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation lately because of ‘you know what’ and a couple of other events recently have made me consider it from other angles, adding to the missmash of electrical signals backfiring in my head. Here goes.

Finding motivation

I am self motivated in general. I don’t know why this is, but I rarely feel like there’s no reason to get up in the morning. It helps to be a dreamer and to try and turn a few of those dreams into something more concrete. Leaving Canada was one of these ‘dreams’, as was coming to France 15 years later. Most of the great rides and bike trips I’ve done in France was because I either had an original idea (unlikely) or latched onto someone else’s and made a run for it. Even my bike tour company was the result of me motivating myself to think of ways I could stay in France, continue riding and make a little money to boot. I’ve never had much trouble doing this for most of my life.

Until now of course. There’s something weird going on at the moment and it has to do with the uncertainty of the future. Dreams are all about looking forward and working on them ‘now’. Temporarily at least, this is becoming more complicated because the ‘future’ part has been taken away from us. I can’t plan a bike trip with much motivation for this summer when I’m not sure that I’ll even be allowed to do it. It’s for that reason (and the fact 44|5 Cycling Tours doesn’t have any clients till at least August) that I’ve turned to apartment renovations – definitely not a ‘dream’ of mine but I can gather a little bit of motivation even if I don’t like doing this kind of work and I’m not very good at it either.


My wife has little trouble with these Groundhog Days and makes her little lists of things she needs to get done and usually accomplishes them. Mini steps like this are not for me and even when I make a list I often can’t understand what I meant by the words I wrote. I could do it, but I don’t operate like that so I don’t.

Victor Frankl, Auschwitz survivor and psychiatrist, wrote a book I’m really glad I’ve read several times: Man’s Search for Meaning. Essentially, he comes to several conclusions about ‘meaning’, one of them being that even in the most horrific of circumstances and with virtually no hope of making it through, people can find it. There is always ‘freedom of choice’ even in the most dire of situations and applying meaning to even the most trivial aspects of life is one of those choices.

It all sounds very Buddhist and maybe is the reason my Japanese wife has so little trouble with it! Anyway, there are a few takeaways for me at least when thinking about this book. One is that what we’re living through is peanuts compared to war. Another is that I wonder if other people have naturally shortened their vision a little during this time and have started to look at stuff closer to them. I’ve been cooking and baking more and have been blogging like crazy. I’m also reading more and the apartment is spotless! It all helps, according to Frankl.

Back to Motivation

This was the last thought I had on motivation and it doesn’t really flow very well in this article, but what the heck.

A friend of mine is a great motivator. For as long as I’ve known him he has been the guy who is always pumping you up to do this or do that. His ideas are impossible to contain within himself and he’s not the type of guy to keep them to himself anyway.

So he doesn’t and you know how the story ends. If you go to see a motivational speaker you might feel like you do when you left the cinema after seeing Rocky (or Rocky II, III, IV, etc. depending on your age). You feel like you can change the world, or at least yourself, but this motivation from outside dissipates as fast as it took to watch the movie. There are exceptions, obviously, and I joined a dojo after seeing Karate Kid back in 1984. That actually did change my life.

Which brings us full circle and back to how we are getting our motivation these days. I imagine that most of you still have work and that keeps you going, but I am pretty sure that many will be going through what I am to varying degrees. I’m sort of curious to know how the ‘non dreamers’ (you practical types) are doing. I suspect you’re dealing with it better than those of us who have their head in the clouds.

Okay, that hurt my brain more than it should have. I’m going to vacuum the floor.

19 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. We’ve worked from home for 15 years so we have a routine which we’ve amended to fit the circumstances. zoom rides with team-mates and a local ex-pro on the terrace along with sessions on the home trainer, working out and a spot of yoga have kept us sane. Plus fully exploring the wonderful private grounds of our Domaine. Instead of eating out at the weekend, we’ve had apero on the terrace followed by one of my gourmet meals. The flat has remained spotless despite having my husband home underfoot the entire time. The garden has started to flourish after some much needed TLC, we’ve not resorted to watching more tv or DIY, though you’re obviously more practical than my husband. Are we looking forward to deconfinement on Monday? You bet but aside from being able to cycle outside, it’s not going to make a great deal of difference until we can resume travelling nearby and eating out. Gerry, you have a bad case of cabin fever which’ll be resolved once you can get back out on your bike.

    • We’ve agreed that the de-confinement will just be a continuation of the confinement for us, too. I’ll go to LeRoy Merlin, buy a pizza finally from my favorite place, and ride. Otherwise it’s a holding pattern indoors till further notice. I wish everyone was going to do like us, but I know it won’t be like that. Have you heard how the maires are dealing with the beaches down your way? That’s got to be a tough one.

      Cabin fever? Hell, I’d love to be in a cabin right now! But really, not too bad, even if my blog posts suggest otherwise. I’ll still be happy to ride on Tuesday (tmr looks crap), as I’m sure you will.

  2. Motivation is and has always been an issue for me. I’m a world class procrastinator! I’m now starting my 9th week of lockdown. It’s much less of a confinement than you have in France but I’m finding that as the weeks go by I’m doing less active work/exercise, eating badly and doing more sedentary activities like reading and TV. I’m quite possibly back to work on the 18th of May which I’m nervous about (I work in a furniture retailer) but is probably going to be a good thing for me mentally.

    • I’m finding I’m doing less (or maybe ‘different’) stuff, too, but I’m actually eating better during this time, probably because I’m making more time for cooking. I’ll be it’ll be good for you to get back to work and some ‘normalcy’, no matter how not normal it may be!

  3. Yeah, Gerry… the government paid me a lot of money to stay home – it took FOREVER and a day to come in, but I didn’t lose anything staying home. It was one of the happiest times of my life. I loved it. Wish we could do it again next year!

  4. I for one don’t do well in this isolation thing. Being a social butterfly as i am is slowly killing me. I’m angry about these measures and my reasons are for another day over a glass of wine or Beer mon ami. At least i still have my job and getting my salary.

    About the motivation thing. The timing of this is a good thing as its still indoor riding season here with the odd good weather day thrown in to keep you sane to some degree. I’m happy that i did get that smart trainer before Christmas as it has made working out much more enjoyable, worth every penny.

    This period has been a time for reflection as both Ginette and i are thinking about our retirement, where do we go and how will we sustain ourselves with the kind of lifestyle we would like to live. These are questions that are sort of forced on you when you have all this time .

    As for doing all the house chores? After two weeks everything that was pressing was finished and all motivation for that was done and dusted. Back to Normal!

    Here in Ontario, things are opening up fairly quickly with Provincial parks opening up tomorrow, kids going back to school (Elementary) in Quebec on Monday. Some coffee shops are taking customers indoors. I’ll be happy when we are done calling our orders in for curbside pickup, so impersonal. I’ll be really happy when i can see all my friends soon, hug and hold them all tight and tell them how they were all missed.

    I have not canceled our trip which is set for the end of August and i am hopeful that we will be allowed to travel and actually see some of the Tour in person and of course to see you Guys once again.

    We are trying to stay as positive as possible and thinking that by the end of May we should be back to some kind of normalcy.

    Cheers Brother!

    • Yeah, I guess that’s the game the government is playing with the population in a way. Throw you a bone for few weeks to see how things go then give you a couple more if you’re ‘good’. After tomorrow’s ‘soft open’ the next date will be June 2 or before, when we find out if restaurants, etc. can open. It’s understandable, but difficult to manage both practically (for 44|5) and mentally for many, I think.

      Glad to hear that your trip is still on. We still have tours planned for that month, too, and we’re 50/50 on them running.

      As for ‘lifestyle’, it’s not very expensive in the south of France, especially if you don’t need to pay taxes! You can live here on pretty much any budget, but you might need to sacrifice one thing for another. We’re getting fed up with our neighbors next door and we are good friends with the landlady. We can put in a good word for you, friend!

  5. Hi, closedown was not as bad in germany as in france. 2 to 3 Weeks great cycling. Until those amateur A. Senna found out the streets are empty. They still.practice between traffic lights. Approx. 300m. Work motivation kept high, as about 10% of consultants have been kicked out of their projects. We have been fighting hard to stay in business. All team. All together. In the beginning al little silly actions, but later a little better. Getting all your done online gives new challenges one has to tackle. And so on. I have been working more, less traveling. Really done. No holidays since july. Even Christmas only 27th. Hope i can use my free days this year..

    • I heard someone else talking about the drag racers on the streets, but haven’t seen them here. My street is about 400 meters long so maybe that’s why.

      Sounds like you have some serious motivation at work! Have you had layoffs in your company?

      As for holidays, I think we need to get used to not travelling, at least very far. Once I’m allowed, though, I’m planning a hiking trip with Shoko that I haven’t been able to do since starting 44|5 in 2014. Silver linings…

      Take care and keep those great Hamburg photos coming!

      • Yeah, Lufthansa is one of our three big customers. So about 10% (30) of all consultants without project within 3-4 weeks. This alone sends you nearly into the red zone. Beeing creative and marathoni on the sales side ist the challenge…

  6. Thanks for the great blog and for the mention of Victor Frankl. Will order that book today. Beautiful Day here in Carolina du Nord. Very fortunate to be able to ride here. No group rides. My motivation to stay fit is to someday return to Le Sud and ride with you and John. Still have to complete the “Rider” route thru the Cevennes.

    • Hey Sam! I think you know that I have a few other friends in NC and the riding does look enticing. Someday.

      The Rider route is a doozie, especially if it’s done in one day!

  7. Frankl is a great source for inspiration. If Jews in the Holocaust can find purpose, it should be a far simpler thing for the likes of us. I, too, have felt the frustration of my future being put on indefinite hold. I wouldn’t call myself a dreamer, but us pragmatists do like planning and that is impossible for the next several months. So what do us dreamers/planners do? Refocus our horizons and take pleasure in the smaller things that each day brings us. I, for one, will use the picture that appears to the left of this post to solve the mystery of “Kwaremont” and the mysterious 6.6% grade that is somehow associated with it. Wish me luck!

    • Steve, the only real way to solve that ‘Kwaremont’ mystery is to reflect over a pint of it. I checked Virginia and DC and I think you might have to come back to Europe to get that done!

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