What’s It Like to Bike 90 Days in a Row for a Total of 1,985 Miles?

My recent year-end recap, 5,633 Miles in 2019: 5,006 Biking, 627 Walking — My Longest Year Yet!, did not completely capture the immense efforts I put out to reach that biking goal. I don’t say that to brag; it’s just the fact. I began back on October 11th and up to January 8th, I rode for three months, biking every single day. I pedaled on average 22 miles per day. I can assure that is a lot of work, but if I can do it, it’s doable for many people. (For confirmation, check out my Training Log on Strava.) For more numbers and what they mean, do keep on keepin’ on. That’s what I did, and you can, too.

There is no try. Do or do not.

Yoda, Star Wars

The main thing to know about what it’s like to bike 90 days in a row without a real rest day is that it’s tiring. I don’t mean just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. Exhausting, actually! To quote fictional movie super spy Austin Powers taking photographs, “I’m spent!” I didn’t set off to achieve this goal but at some point it occurred to me to ask, How long can I keep this streak going? And I was going for a bigger goal. When it seemed possible, I found ways to get on the bike for those 90 days.

Here in list form are what I find to be some interesting data points:

  • Of the 90 days, 8 were under 10 miles
  • 14 days were over 30 miles
  • 2 rides were over 50 miles
  • Most days were broken up into smaller rides, but many weren’t
  • It took 202 hours (8 whole days) or 2 hours 15 minutes biking daily
  • Elevation gain was 48,113 feet, or just over 9 miles going uphill
  • I kept up yoga, walking and writing 30′ or more each of those days

(The days where it appears I did no walk [XT +], I walked after midnight.)

Being car-free means I have to bike or bus, get rides or borrow a car. It’s interesting to note that when I did happen to be loaned a car to go out of town over the holidays, there were days I just didn’t allow myself to drive it even though I wanted to. I think that’s the difference between a casual bicyclist and exerciser and someone like me with goals. If you have a car, you’ll use it because it’s way, Way, WAY easier and convenient. But if you have goals, you have to be able to just say no to being lazy. It’s not simply will power or dedication, it’s something more than that. It’s being able to override your negative thoughts that say “I can’t” or “I don’t wanna.”

This discipline and dedication includes finding ways to keep going on days when you’re tired or not feeling well, it’s bad weather, you have a flat tire or are just very busy. Some of those I addressed in my 5,633 post. I’m not saying it’s always wise or that I’m a better person for accomplishing my goal; plenty of people arrived at my number faster and many doubled it or more. Those people are at different levels,and that’s fine. I just choose to push myself and see what happens. A possible downside is that not letting my muscles truly rest and recuperate could be holding me back from performing better. I’ve written about the importance of rest days here and here. It’s probably time I take my own advice and rest, and I’ve dialed back from 150+ mile weeks.

I’d like to think that some mental toughness has come out of this suffering. And I don’t use that word lightly. There were saddle sores, flat tires in the cold, wind that felt like it blew right through me and might knock me over, close calls with the always perilous traffic, cedar-fever induced sinus infection, assorted aches and pains, tight muscles that a massage therapist couldn’t fully alleviate, and a lot more. There was also time away from family and friends, who were understanding. The point is there are obstacles and trade-offs.

You miss every shot you don’t take.

-hockey legend Wayne Gretsky

If I can bike almost 2,000 miles in 90 days — that’s 2/3 of the way across the United States, by the way — what else can I do? A job I dislike? Eat more vegetables and less sugar? Track my calories? Join a gym? Work my ass off learning how to become a freelance writer and then actually doing it and making money? Keep a gratitude journal? Floss? Meditate five minutes before or after yoga? (The last three I am doing.) We shall see. What about you?

The sky’s the limit, within the boundaries of practical considerations. Do your best and in the end, that’s all you can do. But you might surprise yourself and move the needle on what your best is. I sure did. And that line was very, very heavy, but somehow I managed. That’s worth a toot of my own horn, because no one else is tooting it. So I say go for it, and if an older, slow, fathlete like A Dude Abikes has helped inspire you, that’s great. But it’s up to you if you want to go for a goal like mine. Of course you’ll choose your own goals that work for you. I’m pulling for you!

What challenging activity have you done every day for 90 days that seemed impossible to do? Or that you want to try? Tell me about it in the comments.

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18 thoughts on “What’s It Like to Bike 90 Days in a Row for a Total of 1,985 Miles?

  1. I was a fitness fanatic in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s while playing college and pro soccer. I took very few days off from vigorous physical activity for 30 years. After all that, I’m now content riding my bike bike for a couple of hours at 10 MPH. Or spending an hour in the fitness center. No goals, just fun.
    Off season was a mix of fitness and debauchery. We would meet at the park and play basketball for hours. After dark, we hung around the courts smoking pot before crossing the street to our local bar. Dem waz da daze.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was in a bar in Atlanta watching the US team lose to Trinidad and get knocked out of the world cup. After the game I was talking to people about my playing and coaching days, and a crowd began to gather and someone started recording me. The highlight was that my first coach when I was 11 years old, played in the first world cup in Uruguay. 1930. His name was Arnie Oliver and as I was talking, one of the kids said that I was quoting Wikipedia.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I once tried to run everyday for a month. It was brutal. Didn’t succeed either.

    That experience taught me to alternate hard and easy days and to take a day off every week or two. Except when I’m on a bike tour. Then I let the availability of shelter be my guide.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Weird how I like something but it doesn’t save. Yeah, the daily grind is just that, very wearying (if that’s not a word, it is now). Guess we’re both human. That said, I’ve still not taken a full rest day including walking for two years. Yoga counts as restful though the way I do it. Do your best and forget the rest, I say! YMMV. I don’t anticipate having the funds or fitness to your as you have. Maybe if reincarnated and there’s sufficient oxygen on this planet and sometimes tells me I can keep biking after getting a car.


  3. It’s been many moons since I did it, but I ran every day for one summer. June through early September. Not the smartest thing, mayhaps, but I was young-ish enough to have gotten away with it then.

    Good going on biking two thirds of the way(!!!!!) across the country. Steer clear of D.C., puhleeze.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s cool about your summer of running. I once bet a high school buddy we’d run 100 miles over a summer. I was at my grandparents’ place in southern Nevada, so it was hot and dry. And a few days before the end of the summer I realized I had only run 25 miles. So I measured out my grandmother’s truck-Jeep how far 6 1/2 miles was. Then I went out with a canteen and ran it and ran back, which was half a marathon. I slept for like 12 hours and got up and did it again. I was hallucinating the tar cracks in the road were snakes, and had to walk alot, but I made it back alive. So I’ve done a marathon but it took me full 24 hours.

      Also, I lived in the Swamp for a year, and it was nice in some ways. I wish I’d gone out to more museums and things oh, but I was working in a guest house where I live so I didn’t get up as much as I didn’t know anybody. Plus I was living on Capitol Hill so I went to a lot of anti-war protests.

      But yeah, daily anything is a slog sometimes, but not without it’s rewards. Are you healthy to be running regularly now? I’m still not at that point where I think I could or should or even want to run, but I do enjoy my walks. You’ve gotta walk before you can run, after all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A marathon is a marathon, no matter the time. You were a determined chap from an early age.

        Anti-War protests could technically count as an ‘exercise’. Just saying.

        I was under the weather this week so I only ran once. This time of year, with the nasty weather, I listen to my body more. There was no use in pushing another day on me when I can start fresh tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Don’t know why WP doesn’t save my like. I’m determined about some things, and a huge slacker in other areas. Yes, protesting can have its calorie burn. Hope you’re feeling better. I foolishly keep going when sick. Live, learn, forget, repeat.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Humphrey was VP when I said “Sup?” to the world.

        It’s been a lifelong thing with me. I was much heavier than I am now when I was in my mid twenties. Then I lost fifty pounds. After which I have always yo-yo’d. Never got close to that high water mark again, but it doesn’t mean I’ve been in super shape. I could do with losing ten pounds now. And here’s the key. Keeping it off!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. He was my first VP as well. Weight is fortunately not the only thing that detemines if you’re fit. The less the better to some extent. The struggle is real. Do your best and forget the rest.

        Liked by 1 person

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