It is common for some to treat the end of a year as a time to reflect and ponder their actions for the past year and consider what they may wish to change in the coming years. It was June 2010 that I started riding a bicycle again as an adult. My reasons for doing so were fairly common, a design to loose weight and get some measure of physical fitness. I was so, unfit, at the beginning that I was barely able to exceed 200 miles of total riding by the end of August that year. By September, I had hit my stride and topped a little over a thousand miles.
The following year, 2011, saw me achieve a little over 2,900 miles and a successful completion of my first metric century. But that first full year contained the seed of am issue that achieved fruition in 2012. Since I had been riding almost entirely to achieve physical goals I found than an ennui settled over me and I barely road 2,000 miles in 2012. Indeed that ennui continued until early April of this year.
Then something changed, I realized that I actually enjoyed riding, but wasn’t as interested in that sleek carbon fiber road bike that was my first reward for dropping 100 pounds. I started shopping for a traditional steel framed bike that would have normal shoe compatible pedals, fenders, and generator lights. In short, I realized that I simply enjoyed riding and the bike should simply be a convenient tool that didn’t require special considerations to just go for a ride.
When, this epiphany arrived for me in April, I was already 200 miles behind where I was at that point in 2011. At that point I had never had more than two months in any year where I exceeded 300 miles. Starting in April, I exceeded 300 miles a month for the next seven months. And even better, it wasn’t a lack of interest, but rather weather and holiday plans that kept me from riding that much in November and December. And as of yesterday’s ride I had 3,000.55 miles in for 2013!
What is even better, is the average ride was only 12 miles. In 2013, I managed to go for 240 rides, many simple utilitarian ones like grocery shopping or doctors appointments. Since I still own a car, I was riding because I enjoyed it. It is my fervent belief that riding for the sheer joy of it, is the only reason adults should ride bikes. It is certainly something that children, particularly those with their first bikes, still know.
So my wish for the coming year is that more adults recapture the joy that a simple bike ride can engender…