It varies. Routes can be fun and there is a lot to see. Group rides are social and there is some bonding that occurs when you out on a long ride as everyone accomplishes something together. A particularly long ride or route could be a goal or challenge. And from a training perspective, it could be something on your plan you are aiming to complete to stay on your plan for whatever goal you have. And last, it is fun, relaxing, exciting.
I try to ride for 5-6 hours without stopping. When I’m prepping for a gravel or long mtb, I roll with a hydro pack and everything I need. Can usually string together 5 or so hours without needing to stop, will coast, but keep it on the gas when I can.
A long ride when you are not looking at data is good for the soul. Getting out early when no one else is on the road, you get to see the sunrise, and are home before lunch is the best way to spend a weekend morning.
I also feel kind of cheated when I am not out on the road and it is nice weather. If I did 90 minutes on a nice day I would guilty about wasting the weather. Probably a MN thing though.
This is how I explain it to my friends, but if I am completely honest with myself, there is also some amount of obsession.
But practically speaking, 750+500ml bottles sugar water and same amount of electrolytes allows to go 5h at IF 0.8 or 6h at IF 0.7 non-stop. With 1.5L hydration pack with electrolytes + 2x750 sugar water stretches around 8h at IF 0.65. Any longer ride requires water refilling stops.
Interestingly, there is never need for nature breaks during those long rides. I guess excessive fluids are simply sweat out?
Maybe you do. A friend of mine can do a warm century on maybe 1l and he does totally fine.
When I rode or did anything active growing up in northern England, I don’t recall drinking much. Then that one hot summer ride hits and you’re dying because that bottle of squash/cordial ran dry 2 hours ago and being 14 and in the middle of nowhere with nothing but small change, you slowly drag your arse home after finding a corner shop in a village with penny sweets or a random van on the moors with a coke. One pub took me in once and gave me a cuppa.
Its mostly doing a roadtrip on bike instead of being in a car or motorcycle. Enjoying the scenery, discovering new locations, taking time to stop at a local restaurant.
Its more about leisure riding, chilling-out and enjoying the moment than performance or going fast.
It’s just nice to go somewhere else, under your on steam. Like just getting on your bike to ride to another city, or the beach, or actoss a mountain pass. Its a simple as walking, but with a much larger range.
I viewed things similarly as the OP a couple of years ago. I didn’t enjoy rides post 1:30 - 2:00 hours. However, things have changed. I wanted to increase my fitness and be a bit more competitive on my group rides. Those rides were already pretty intense for me, so I needed to look for more endurance type rides to increase my fitness. In my case, I now include one or two 3:00 hour rides in the weekend to increase volume. It’s nice to just take things at a lower pace, listen to a bit of music and enjoy the ride a bit more as opposed to be full out at my limit during the group rides.