Today was a day that I could have biked, but I didn’t. I could use the sleet and tiny hail that fell on Austin streets today and the cold weather for excuses. But the precipitation didn’t stick to the roads, and it’s not like I’m in Fargo, North Dakota or somewhere actually very cold. With enough layers it can be done. There was my headache, probably due to a lack of sleep. For the latter, I can blame the excellent film Sicario: Day of the Soldado which I stayed up to watch on DVD. Or there was being busy: two friends were over to help start packing for my move, and they gave me a ride to the second half of a how to start your own business class. I walked almost two miles and then just wasn’t feeling like going back out. So I didn’t. It was nice to, um, just chill out.
44 Day Biking Streak Broken
If you noticed my training log in Strava, which I shared in my last post, Biking to Mexico (Maybe), a Chat with Driver Who Nearly Hit Me, and Free Goodies from Sun & Ski, you’ll notice 44 days in a row of bicycling. That’s 653.9 miles, or almost 15 miles per day average. Considering that we’ve had cold (for Texas), wind, rain and now sleet, and I’ve had my usual fatigue, aches and pains and two weeks of cedar fever and related illness, that’s not bad at all. If I were to continue at this rate, I’d pedal my bike another 1,000 miles over last year. On top of that, I continued my daily half hour of walking and a daily half hour of yoga. Thise ride sums up my feelings:
It was just a matter of time before I had to take a rest day. And even so, I’m not really rested nearly enough. Maybe I’ll take another tomorrow, since the weather will still be cold and possibly wet. If it freezes that creates a real hazard of falling. Fellow riders in Iowa, Wisconsin and Colorado are still at it, but we Texans are more suited for the hot days of summer. Unfortunately, last summer I lost a Garmin sensor that would allow me to bike indoors and count my miles. Many friends on Strava have an indoor trainer and use a video game like interface called Zwift for fun and to stay in shape. That’s something I might explore someday but it can’t replace real bike riding.
There’s always someone more hard core than you, so here’s a story about a guy in Cincinnati named Fraser Cunningham who, as. of the story deadline in 2015, had biked to work every day for over 20 months: He leaves at 5:30 am and goes about 16.5 miles each way. It gets so cold sometimes his eyes freeze open. Props to that dude, but it’s not a goal I would have. Sometimes taking the bus, train, carpool, car or working remotely make alot of sense. But I like his grit, and he has alot more miles for it. Here are two quotes from the article in the Cincinnati Enquirer:
“I’m going to characterize myself as a bit of a stubborn person.”
In his mid-40s, those pesky thoughts about aging were getting louder. Choosing to bike to work seemed to be about choosing how to grow old. He’s been at it now for 10 years.
But at this point, it’s not a choice at all. “It’s a lifestyle.”
Missing a day because it’s raining, or snowing, or windy, would be a slippery slope, he says. It has to be every day.”
I Took the Bus and It Wasn’t Horrible
Readers know I’m not a big fan of Austin transit for its inefficiency and lack of coverage. But today I concluded my walk and got on a bus. While waiting, I chatted with two workers at the bus stop. One offered change when I was a little short, but it turned out there was extra in the coin return so I didn’t need it. It’s $1.25 for one way and $2.50 for a 24-hour pass; I have a work assignment tomorrow so I got the latter. Had my bike been with me, there was room on the rack for it. And I may well use it tomorrow. It was almost on time and got me close to home pretty quickly. So I’m grateful for that even though I think they can do a helluva lot better. (And oh yeah, they should not kill cyclists like Tony Diaz! We’re still awaiting word on the cause of the crash, which is reported to be operator error.)
Ultimately, we all have to pick and choose our battles and live to ride another day. And walk. And do yoga. And blog — which is what I plan to do next on Monday. Or maybe I’ll just stay in with a nice cup of cocoa, tea or other hot beverage and enjoy a book, TV show, nap, cooking or what have you.
Wherever you are, stay warm, (OK, maybe not where it’s scorching hot like it has been in Australia). But if you venture out, also stay frosty out there. I know I will. I can’t complain about a few days of rain and low actual temperatures of 33 degrees too much, because it’s set to be 70 degrees by next Friday.
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