Thursday, December 26, 2013

367 consecutive days on a bike, and counting...

My bike barn in the gloaming of a late Fall sunset.
This oft neglected blog has once again fallen by the wayside in the face of all of the things that tend to demand attention toward the end of the year. However, I would be remiss not to report that I've crossed over the symbolic milestone of having ridden a bike every consecutive day for more than a year, of this past Tuesday. Counting today, the number stands at 367. It all began with the TSBC Challenge last year.

I have long had bikes as a pivotal element of my life, but had never kept track of a streak of consecutive days ridden. I don't track miles ridden, as that isn't really feasible for me, but none of my rides in the past year could be considered particularly noteworthy. Most were fairly antithetical to being epic, with rides on the majority of days capturing some combination of transportation, research purposes as part of my job, social activities, dog exercise, or family fun. Regardless of purpose, I feel better after every ride than I did before.

During the past year, my bike experiences have included:
  • riding nearly every bike I own (causing me to evaluate those that weren't ridden)
  • riding some bikes that I do not own, most of which were borrowed from bike sharing programs
  • selling or donating several bikes and buying a few, for a net total of fewer bikes at my house than this time last year (seemingly counterintuitive, this is progress toward a goal)
  • seeing my younger daughter take her first ride on a balance bike
  • watching my older daughter blossom into a mountain biker
  • encouraging others around me to enjoy riding bikes, too
My ride on the 365th consecutive day was poorly documented photographically, and included just Scout and myself. However, on the 366th consecutive day, counting myself there were nine human and one canine companions dispersed over eight bikes with five different tire sizes. I like riding alone, but it is also fun to be part of an impromptu bike parade, mostly outfitted with bikes from my household. 

My niece on her new-to-her big kid 24" mountain bike that I was commissioned to refurbish. She's a natural dirt biker.

A handful of cousins stacked up at the starting line for our ride. Note many are still in pajamas, well into mid-afternoon.

My brother Chris rode the Dummy with his five year-old daughter, freeing me up to get some pics. 
On our ride, the popular request was to hit the local dirt tracks. Many circuits by many kids ensured plentiful fun. We are fortunate to have some great dirt trails a short ride from our house. Such is a benefit of life in the suburbs.

20-inch wheels.

26-inch wheels.

24-inch wheels.

16-inch wheels. My six year-old nephew was undaunted with being matched up to a pink girl's bike with basket and fenders. Nobody in our group took more challenging lines down the trail or relished going fast more than he did. 

29-inch wheels; speckled medium-sized paws.

I'll likely continue to count the days that I'm on a bike until, inevitably, I miss one. However, I have several internal and external motivators in place to make it unlikely that I'll miss a day for some time to come. An unanticipated bonus has been that I've remained remarkably healthy this past year, only getting a single cold in October. I don't know if I can attribute the drive to ride every day to keeping healthy, but it probably didn't hurt. 

I plan to enjoy the sun as much as possible, especially during these winter months. Here's to a fun and bike filled 2014 to everyone out there. 

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