I considered not writing this blog. A month after writing 14 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicycling, what could there be for me to possibly add? Well, not much, to be honest. I rode my bike a lot, it was challenging, but somehow I survived and made my goal. Yay me. End of story, right? Well, one would think so, except that those pesky bike miles are more than just numbers on your screen. The represent calories burned, hours spent, and effort expended. I biked farther in December than any other month of 2020, so that’s why it becomes hard to just skip commemorating the occasion. Because while plenty of people bike every day, many faster and further (and none of them get a medal for it either), for me, 15 months certainly ain’t nothing to sneeze at. And these days, we do our best not to sneeze around others, amirite? Because, ‘rona.
I extended my streak that began unbeknownst to me way back in October or 2019 another flip of the calendar pages. How, you might ask? Through perseverance, stubbornness, and a laser-focus on making my revised annual mileage goal. Also, naps. But I did it! And oh yeah, riding every single day is not easy. Even though individually a 20-mile ride may not be much to some, try doing it day in, day out for weeks at a time. Although I keep thinking I’ll have more to say about last year on the bike, you can read all about it in A Devil of a Year: 6,666.66 Miles Bicycled in 2020; 7,278 Total With Walking.
You can see from the My Stats image, compared to last month’s, that my mile average distance per week is down from 169 miles to 111. That’s in keeping with this year’s reduced riding regimen, and it will come down further as 2020 fades away in the rear view mirror. I’m fine with it, because I think I really overdid it last year and am paying for it now in tiredness. If I ride even half of that in 2021, I’ll still be at a six-year average of 5,000 miles per year. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, ok? (Assuming most people reading this, at least in the U.S., don’t smoke, just go with the cliché, alright?
I may never understand what it was, and still sort of is, about me and mileage goals. Time, elevation, speed, watts and other metrics are just as good a way to putting that blood, sweat, and tears into a form that regular people can relate to. By regular, I mean ones without crazy hard bike goals. I just know that I needed something to do for my mid-life crisis, and buying an expensive sports car wasn’t in the budget. But seriously, it became a game to motivate myself, to see what I could do in a day, week, month, or eventually, a year. Again, here are the totals for a review:
- 2016 = 5,306 miles
- 2017 = 4,716 miles
- 2018 = 4,554 miles
- 2019 = 5,005 miles
- 2020 = 6,666.66 miles
Note: 2015 – 3,000-3,500 (unofficial — pre-Strava)
From that list, you can see that 2020 was 1,360 more miles than my first and now second highest year. That’s like an extra 680 miles – twice! What is even more remarkable to me about that are two things: 1) not only did I age five years over that time from start to finish, 2) I did all of this year’s miles on Sophie. The Fairdale Weekender Archer outweighed Sookie the Fuji Silhouette by a good seven or eight pounds, and she has nine gears as opposed to 27. Sure, I did some of 2017-18’s miles on the former, but when the latter was forced into retirement, it was all Sophie all the time (save for a little Sonnie the GT Arette on a few occasions).
So yeah, when looked at that way, every month that I pile on more miles without stopping for a rest day, or a rest week, is significant. At least it has some meaning to me. What is a blog if not a web log of what we’re up to? In that regard, I’m recording for myself first, and for posterity’s sake later. Someone reading this might think, “Hey, if that under-tall, un-young dude can do all that, maybe I can do more than I thought I could (by bike or whatever).” If I’ve inspired anyone, that’s great, it’s an extra bonus. With enough time, determination, and effort, plenty of people can do what I have and more, lots more.
These days, what are miles, anyway? Like time, another number that has lost some of its meaning during the pandemic. I mean, a mile is still a mile. These days, less is more. I’m biking about 10 miles a day, and using the time I’ve clawed back for daily reading, some strength training with resistance bands, tracking all my calories in MyFitnessPal (and more time with food prep measuring), following Yoga With Adriene’s 30-day program BREATH, and even some music practice. Someday I may get in some longer rides, especially if the internet ever buys me a new, lighter bike with more gears, but for now, I’m cooling my jets. Because they were on fire last year.
Who knows what 2021 will bring? Well, we’re pretty sure the US is getting a new president and much/some of the world the vaccine. Along with those two things comes one of the most important thing of all to humans: HOPE. I’ll take that over bike miles any day. Or maybe both.
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