I love this #30Daysofbiking idea! It's a great way to open up new riding possibilities. And remember that idea that it takes about a month to establish a new habit? Well, it seems to work. (See: What does a one-month free bus ticket do to habitual drivers?)
I've actually done this before. I rode every day in November 2008, and then kept going for nearly 180 consecutive days. I was pleasantly surprised by two things: how much fun I had finding new ways to go for a ride, and how easy it was to stack up the miles. I had one or two months where I logged more than 1000km on the bike.
So as a 'old hand' at #30DaysOfBiking, I'd like to discuss three questions that may arise about completing a run of consecutive days:
- What 'counts' as a bike ride?
- What to do when you need to squeeze in a ride before midnight?
- What to do when you don't know where to ride?
1. What 'counts' as a bike ride?
Clearly, sitting on your bike on the porch doesn't really count as riding. But what about riding 100 yards down the street to test ride a puncture repair? Is that enough? How about once around the block? Around the corner to store?
Really, it's up to you. You'll know what counts as a 'real' bike ride. As long as I'm fit and well, I'll count 5km as my minimum ride. You might measure your minimum in distance or time or heart rate or volume of sweat--whatever you like. But you might want to be flexible. During my last #30DaysOfBiking effort, I sprained my ankle, and on that day I was very pleased indeed that I was able to gently turn over one very slow mile, up and down the street. I logged that as a legitimate ride.
Why is it important to know your 'minimum' ride? Well, it becomes relevant when we turn to the next question...
2. What to do when you need to squeeze in a ride before midnight?
Life isn't all about biking. Sad, but true. Sometimes other stuff gets in the way of the bike and you find yourself just about ready to turn in for the night when you remember that you haven't been for today's ride. This is a turning point: you could say 'screw it', go to bed and break your run. Or your can jump on your bike and do your minimum ride.
When this happens, I do what I call the 'round the block criterium'. A criterium is a bike race held as several laps around a short course. So as the name suggests, I just go out and ride around the block (without racing) until I reach my minimum distance. I'm lucky to live in a quiet area where it's safe to do this at night...with lights on, of course! I've done this a number of times as the clock approached midnight--while I've been sick or injured, after going out for dinner, in the rain--and never regretted it.
It is astonishing how much pleasure you can get from simply trundling along the familiar streets around your home, so give the 'round the block criterium' a try sometime.
3. What to do when you don't know where to ride?
I usually have a purpose for my ride, either commuting to work or running some sort of errand. But what to do when you don't need to go to work and you have no errands to run? ("What do you mean we don't need any milk or bread?!?")
My fallback when I lack any ideas about where to go is a ride I call 'No Right Turns'. There is only one rule for this ride: get home without turning across the oncoming lane of traffic. So leave your home, turn left as you enter the road and keep turning right until you get home again. (Where I live we have the left-hand rule of the road—if it's right-hand traffic in your area, make it 'No Left Turns' and keep making right turns until you get home.) You get the idea.
This doesn't mean you always have to ride the same route, in fact the real attraction of this ride is finding new routes that are possible by sticking to the rule. You see, you don't have to turn at each intersection you come to, but if you do it has to be a near-side turn. I have ridden variations of this route between 5km and 12km, and all of them have taken me down interesting roads that I wouldn't have thought of riding on before. Again, this is a surprisingly enjoyable experience.
So there you go, three thoughts on riding "every. friggin. day." Hopefully there are one or two ideas there that you can use. If you give any of these a try, I'd be interested to know what you think.