Does it surprise you that I’m still riding my bicycle around 17 miles a day, which totals 500 for the month? It surprises me a little, even though I’m the one who decided to “make it so.” That’s because it’s a lot of effing work. Like most everyone, I’m having to deal with how our long international nightmare is impacting life. And a big part of my life is bicycling. I also had to move residences mostly by myself, have been having knee pain, had a fall and although minor the road rash just finally healed, and I am not exactly sleeping better these days. Somehow I just can’t give up the biking habit — at least not yet. So another 500 miles in the bag, for over 2,000 for the year. Not bad.
So yeah, I am still biking every day, for better or worse. Here are some recent rides:
As you can see from this recent rides image, I’ve been riding every day, but not for long distances. Usually I do a sort of down, over and back path, making a skinny box on the Strava app map. I find myself riding later in the day and often trying to avoid others. There’s still a safer at home order, although the governor of the fine State of Texas has overruled health authorities and started allowing businesses to reopen. In a few weeks we’ll see if he’s smarter than the average bear. Doctors with actual knowledge of real sciencey stuff strong suggest things will be worse.
I finally went to two grocery stores the other day. I sanitized the cart handles before and my hands after. Also, I tried to avoid other people, though many of them didn’t care and just walked right by. Most were wearing a mask like I was, though. I don’t know if it was real or imagined but I didn’t feel great the next day, though I attributed that to poor sleep from caffeine and chocolate. Even green tea and dark cacao products can mess you up. In the end I lived to ride another day.
What’s the big deal about 500 miles per month? It’s a good number for me. For Richard in Michigan, not much. A fellow blogger and bicyclist, he’s got double my total mileage on Strava, and is up 1,500 miles over me this year. His best year was 800 miles a month — and that includes the long, crappy cold winters. But as I often like to quote the Buddha, “Comparison is the death of joy.”
He and others are impressed that I’ve been riding every day since October 2019. I admire that he does longer rides and has a faster average miles per hour speed. There’s a really strong rider here in Austin who does really long and fast rides. But he’s so tall and powerful, that he sucks at hills. I do too, I guess, but when I’ve been practicing and had a lighter bike, I got better. And so you should not compare yourself to me. You do you. Measure yourself against yourself. I try to beat yesterday, when I feel like it. Often I don’t.
Last night’s ride, after the rains had passed, reflected my tiredeness:
I suppose if there were one message I keep coming back to is that I can do more than I think, and so can you. But it takes effort, work, and sometimes that involves some degree of suffering. As with all sports, it’s either put up or shut up. I know someone who claims to love cycling, and walking, and makes these grand pronouncements about losing weight. But they consistently find excuses to do nothing. It’s delusional, really. I try to be supportive and encouraging, and have even done hand-holding — “Come with me and we’ll bike or walk!”, I say. A few times that person did. But it’s co-dependent. I’ve sent texts and inspirational images like below. Sometimes it’s reverse psychology: “Do you even walk/bike?”. Nothing seems to work. But it’s not my body, health or life. It’s theirs. Not my problem, responsibility or concern, really.
Motivation, ultimately, has to come from within. When my back was against the wall about having to find a new place to move, I put the word out repeatedly and found somewhere to live. It’s not perfect, and in fact has a number of problems, but it’s something. While there were external factors, in the end I had to make some decisions and choices. Bicycling is all about choices, as I wrote in my last post.
Whatever you choose to do — whether it’s an activity, a creative, business or spiritual pursuit, a volunteer or activist project, or something for fun — enjoy it. Life is short. Try hard, but why so serious? Sure, life is shite right now for many, and completely horrible for others. There but for fortune go you or I. Any of us could be sick right now and not even know it until we show symptoms. So get out there (or stay in) and do your thing. The world is counting on you.
What motivates you when you don’t feel like doing something you need or want to do?
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