I notice that some of my fellow bike bloggers have recorded some milestones recently: Surly Dave has ridden halfway round the earth (or the equivalent thereof) in the last few years, while wurple clocked-up 1000km in the month of November—my congratulations to them both.
My own November target was somewhat more modest: simply to ride every single day of the month. No excuses. Now that doesn't sound like a big deal, but if you don't have a daily habit you should try the experiment. It's well worth the effort.
When I announced my intention on 31 October, responses were varied. MLSP grunted a grudging approval when I suggested it, whereas SuperGran thought it was a good idea "even if you just go out around the block". I must say, I wasn't overly impressed with that possibility.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of the riding was my daily commute. The longest ride in the month was a [200km brevet at Wangaratta][/2008/11/11/12-impressions-from-a-good-ride/] while the shortest ride was the following day: a 5km spin to pick up a take-away curry. The stupidest ride was one I actually did twice: the "around the block criterium". Yep, despite my resistance to the idea, circumstances (i.e. illness in the family) conspired to the point that it was either 'round the block or nothing. I chose to ride—and loved it! (Gangnails suggested I get myself an indoor trainer for those situations but would that really count as "riding"…?)
The new target
About halfway through the month it became apparent that if I maintained an attainable average of about 30km per day, I'd crack 1000km for the month. I had a new target. But life tends to get in the way and despite my best efforts, in the final week of the month (like wurple) I realised that an extra effort would be required to reach my new goal. I added a detour along the Yarra Boulevard to the ride home on a few days.
It was fortunate that the month ended on a weekend, allowing me to ride the remaining 150km that I needed across those two days. On Saturday I took myself up to the hills, riding 40km from The Basin to Monbulk and back via Mt Dandenong. On Sunday it was a flat round trip to Mt Eliza, including my fastest 100km ever (I think). The family even met me for coffee at Black Rock, which topped it off perfectly.
The annual tally
In the process I also clocked 5000km for the year. (How's that? It took ten months to reach 4000km, but only one to add then next 1000. I reckon I must've been taking it easy until November.) I probably tipped the 5000km mark as I rode in some grotty bike lane down busy Langridge St on Friday, but I prefer to think that it happened early the following morning somewhere along the peacefully deserted Ridge Rd, with the fog still shrouding the treetops.
Hey, it's my 5000—I'll decide where it happened!
I have no idea if those distances are really milestones for me, as I only just started logging my mileage late last year. It seems likely though.
And I'm pretty sure I've never cycled on every single day of a month before. Having made the commitment, I was surprised how easy it was to get out and ride—even if it was 10pm and I hadn't yet taken my daily ride, off I'd go (and as an added bonus, Waverley Rd is pretty quiet at that time on a week night!) And it was always rewarding, but then I can't ever recall any time—no matter how much I've had to force myself to get started—that I've regretted taking a bike ride.
A "secret ingredient" in the daily ride program was using the folding bike a couple of days per week, easily accounting for more than 100km and eight of the days travelled. It was handy having this vehicle in the bike shed, it would have been much more difficult for me to go 30 straight days without it.
I finished the month feeling strong and fast. (Relatively. Let's not get carried away—I'm never going to win races or break records.) And a rare encounter with the bathroom scales suggested that I might have lost a kilo or two (without any noticeable reduction in girth).
And so far, I've kept up the daily riding routine. Will it be another 1000km month? Not likely. I don't count on making 1000km-per-month my new average, but when it happens I'll be pleased. That said, in future I'd like to average a bit more than the 400-odd km per month that I did until October.
Congratulations on your achievements! Think I'll give it a go, too. Thanks for motivating me-
Branson Durham NC USA
Heh, congrats on your achievement too :)
I'm more pleased by the fact that until the very last ride, only 1/4 of my distance was going to be done on my road bike. It's a bit more of a grind doing it on the commuter or MTB.... :P
Thanks for the positive feedback.
Well, I don't think I'm going completely fanatical about recording distance but I'll admit that I signed-up on bikejournal this year, and it's been a fun distraction. Basically I'm just curious to see how it adds up.
And that's where Grant hit the nail on the head about one of my discoveries in November: if you ride every day, the miles just pile up of their own accord. And it works, even if you're just doing short rides. (Unlike SurlyDave I'm happy to settle for a minimum of 5km, which I found to be long enough to sweep away the cobwebs and capture the feeling of having been for a ride.) For example, of the 43 rides I did in November, eight were of less than 10km accounting for about 55km all up—not to be sneezed at. I wonder if I'd have had time to make up that extra 55km in the last week?
I really think that you're on to something there, ride often and before you know it, things are taking care of themselves.
Well done on the 1000km month, which puts my best monthly effort in the shade! Riding every day is even more impressive in my opinion. Most years I try to see how long I can ride at least 10km, starting on 1 January. This year I only got to the 12th.
A while ago there was a bloke on aus.bicycle who did a 1000km week - something I can't even imagine.
At any rate, welcome to the world of the obsessive kilometre counters!
I've never thought of comparing total distance cycled in terms of distance travelled across the Earth. While it makes for great motivation, it does make trying to clock up any serious distance duanting. :)
Hey Treadly, that's a great effort! Good on you. I have no clue how much I ride a month since I subconsciously let all the speedometers on my bikes die a slow death through neglect (not the bike though). My road bike still has one but that bike doesn't get much road time. Actually, if I have any target it would be to give my bikes equal love and road time. Some serious favoritism going on at the moment.....