Possible titles for this post included (the humorless should skip the intro):
- Biking Is Good for Getting In Shape to Escape the Zombie Hordes
- Coronavirus; Things Will Get Worse Before They Get Worse (Lily Tomlin)
- Can My Bicycle Get Coronavirus?
- Rome Is Burning — Like Literally, People Have Fevers
- COVID-19 – The Movie: Will Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Finally Portray the President?
- We’re All Gonna Die, So May As Well Ride Your Bike
- Anyone Know How “The Walking Dead” Ends?
- Coronavirus, Some Coronavirus, and Also More Coronavirus
I’ve decided to go in another direction, though, and write about something related, still health-related and less apocalyptic.
The shortest month of the year, albeit one with a Leap Day, was not as prolific as January, but by all accounts, still successful for your favorite aging, tired, undertall bicyclist blogger. There are two major reasons for that: I continued riding my bike every single day, with an eye on making at least 100 miles per week, and also the addition of swimming. So let’s have a look under the er, bottom bracket, shall we?
After a couple of days off the bicycle, I began riding daily on October 11, 2019. Every day since then, I’ve mounted my trusty steel steed Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer to go places. Some days just a few miles were traversed; most days it’s closer to 20 miles, and a few even more. There have been no true rest days, as I am still walking and doing yoga daily, and now I’ve added an occasional lap swimming into the mix. It’s all rather exhausting, even if a particular ride isn’t taxing. The cumulative effect seems to be taking its toll. What’s A Dude with no car and #BikeGoals to do? Take the bus? Pshaw!
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.
Oops, I did it again! I beat last year by 490 miles! (See 2018’s recap at 5,143 Miles in 2018: 4,554 Biking + 589 Walking. Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Good for A Dude!) Almost all of that difference, 452 miles, was by bike. It came down to the wire, too, since I didn’t make it until the last day of the year. Seeing how my beginning goal was 4,000 miles by bike, adding another 1,000 — most of it (712) in December alone — was a ton of hard work every day. Let’s take a look at the numbers. You may find them instructive, interesting, or maybe even inspirational. Or another word starting with the letter I. And remember, there’s no I in team, but there is meat. Mmm… meat.
Biking 25 miles in one day can be challenging or easy depending on your abilities and how you feel. Then there’s the weather like wind, rain, cold or heat to contend with. Traffic can be very scary even if you’re used to riding in it. Also important are the quintessential questions that come up riding a bike like: what to wear, what to eat, where to go? I must have figured all that out because I managed to make it another seven days in a row for the 10th week. This past week I totaled 175 miles, which is huge – 25 miles a day if you’re counting. Or a mile for every hour of the week (168) plus seven. So what follows are some thoughts on my pretty stupendous week (or stupid, depending how you look at it; maybe it’s a little of both.)
After another 20-mile day today getting disc brake pads for Sophie the Fairdale, and then putting them on at Yellow Bike Project, I thought I’d write about that. But it seemed somewhat familiar, so guess what? It turns out I already did a post about brakes for Sookie the Fuji. So I’ll write about the month that just passed instead, which means eleven months down, one to go. I didn’t take a day off as I certainly have earned, because, goals. (Though a couple of days I only biked a mile or two, I’ve been riding daily since my birthday October 11.)
I also continued my habits of doing yoga and walking as well as of course writing this blog or editing and revising my book daily. As for all the biking, it was to make up time from this summer (presents are still accepted). Anyway, 581 miles is very good for me, especially with an injury that really slowed me down. So I had a good month on the bicycle despite of that. Herewith are the numbers for your reading pleasure.
Not that beast. I mean beast mode. I’m not a believer in magical numbers (unless my lottery tickets finally pay off). It was my second longest month ever, after the 731 I did in April 2017 including 202 Miles in 2 Days for the MS 150. Given my lack of a day job at the moment, I made it my bidness (as some people actually pronounce “business” in Texas) to bike my butt off (it’s still there, though). And bidness is goooood! That’s because I averaged 150 miles per week. Well, I guess it’s volunteering if I’m not getting paid.
It’s surprising that I accomplished this since it takes me longer than it used to. I could blame Sophie, the 28-pound steel bike with nine gears I’m riding, or the prematurely colder, windy and wet weather, but I’m just not moving very fast these days. Some people I know rode Das Hugel, an unsanctioned sufferfest that’s over a century and 10,000 feet elevation (I wrote about it last year.) A Dude doth not Das Hugel. However, compared to everyone who’s home sitting on the couch, I’m friggin’ Speed Racer. So perhaps my efforts are inspirational to somebody out there reading this. You don’t have to believe me, let’s look at the Strava stats.
After saying in my last post I wasn’t always fond of posting statistics, I’m now going to do just that. Because, miles, baby! Turns out that I’m averaging 154 miles per week. Sunday was terrific weather here in Central Texas, so I took advantage of it and went for over half a century. If you’re just joining us late, I ride a bicycle. With my, um, age and weight “situation,” I’m bushed, even with the “extra” hour from the end of Daylight Savings Time. And yet I’m pretty proud of my work ethic cranking out the kilometers making up for some missing miles this summer while working and gasp! driving. Pride goeth before the fall, but let’s hope that’s not the case.
Sophie is my Fairdale Weekender Archer, so this blog post is not about the 1982 movie in which Meryl Streep won the Oscar for best actor. Also unlike the movie, based on the book by William Styron, my bit of suffering is nothing like the dilemma of the character in the film. Yet I went on this bike ride despite not being fully prepared and got to thinking, “Why am I choosing this suffering when I could easily avoid it?” The short answer is “Because, goals.” The longer answer is a bit more complex.