Apr 16, 2009

Bicycle Goals for 2009

My spouse asked me the other night what my goals were for bike riding this year. She's more into defining goals than I am, at least in the context of personal life. I can goal-set all day at work, but at home, my goal seems to be to not have goals.

That said, I put some thought to this and came up with the following list:
  • Commute regularly to work on my bike. I have commuted fairly regularly in the past, but now that I have turned in my parking pass that ups the ante and makes the bike less of a decision compared to my other option now, which is the bus. I thought about making the goal "commute every day on my bike" but I recognize that sometimes I have to wear a suit and tie, and I am kind of a fair weather rider, so I am not going to set the bar there. I have a sub-goal to push this and keep track of how many days I ride rather than ride the bus to keep me honest.
  • Make the bike part of my everyday life. We generally think nothing of jumping in the car and running to Target to pick up a few things. I want to get to the point where I think nothing of hopping on the bike and running to Target to pick up a few things. I have the gear to do that; what I need is the time and the motivation. If you think about this one, it's actually a pretty big goal - I would either need to get over feeling like I have to dress for the bike, or wear these clothes more of the time. We'll see how this transpires.
  • Ride a Century. I debated this one; I don't really feel like I have the time right now to become a long distance biker, but I would like to take on the challenge of a Century. There are a number of ways to do this (supported rides, group rides, solo) but I have not decided yet what I am going to do, or when I am going to do it. Realistically, I don't have enough miles in my legs right now to survive 100 miles, but maybe mid-summer will be the time...
  • Ride More Miles in Wisconsin. Might seem odd, but I grew up there. The roads are fantastic. I miss it. Maybe this means bringing a bike down to the parent's house, maybe this means some weekend trips to Northwestern Wisconsin. We'll see...
  • Sell my car. I began considering getting rid of the Mighty Tundra in March when I turned in my parking pass and found I rarely drove it after that. Although this sounds kind of radical, I think it's actually closer than one might think, since my spouse has a car and I can get to work on the bus if need be. No timeframe for this goal. I need to take this step-wise and see how goal number 2 comes along before I decide anything, but it's something to think about.
What's on the fence:
  • Buy a tandem. My spouse and I like to ride our bikes together, but we have some speed differences. I am beginning to think that a tandem might be the solution. I could honk along as fast and hard as I want and she could be right there next to me nonetheless. It's expensive, it's another bike in the garage, it might not get use much, but it's on my mind...
What's not on the list:
  • Regular or very active participation in TCBC or other group rides. I have mixed feelings about the whole roadie scene, so I am a little cool on TCBC, and I am not much of a joiner, so even the social rides, like Hiawatha are a little bit of a challenge. While I have had fun on some TCBC rides, I am not sure that they are for me. I can keep up just fine on the B rides but find the social dynamics to be a bit odd, and I get bored on the C rides except for when we stop for tacos. I like the more casual Hiawatha rides, but it's more for the social aspects than the biking or the workout. I can always add miles or ride harder on the commute, and that's the plan for upping miles and increasing endurance this yet. I plan to do a number Hiawatha rides, but I have yet to decide on TCBC this year.
  • Black Dog Time Trials. Yes, it's the Race of Truth, but I did a lot of time trials in my college years and I don't need to do anymore. My Race of Truth is now the ride home from work, and I am entirely fine with that. I don't need the hassle of roofing a bike, driving out to the 'burbs and gutting it out with a bunch of people I don't know. I'd rather ride a route I know and test my time in the privacy of my head.


  1. I think you'd be able to do a century pretty easily. It's only the last 20 miles that are really bad. ;)

    I didn't know if you were on facebook but there is a new non-profit for cycling education advocacy in Minnesota (bikemn.org). I think you would be a really good cycling instructor so you might want to think about getting trained so you can teaching cycling classes!

  2. You have these goals:
    - commute by bike
    - make the bike part of your life

    which are easily accomplished by your last goal:
    - sell my car

    Sell the car now. Get used to not having it around while the weather is agreeable and you have time to process living differently. It took a couple of weeks for me to get over it, but it wasn't difficult and it was a lot easier than you think.

    If you really need a car, buy one later or rent one if you need one or get in on the Zipcar or whatever it's called here. You won't use any of these options once you get used to living on one car and the financial benefits are truly useful.


  3. I'd be happy to ride a century with you sometime. Much easier to ride with others.

  4. I have a Schwinn tandem for sale. It's a project bike though, tried to true the wheels as much as possible, but they may need replacing.

    Definitely for sale way less than anything on craigslist because there's labor involved.

  5. Nicole - what is you tandem? Is it s Schwinn Twinn? I have not devoted much thought to a tandem yet, but if we "pull the trigger" (groan), I would want one that is up to a longer ride. Send me an email with you contact information and we can arrange a to see it and take it for a test ride.

    Jim - Thanks for the offer of going along on a Century. This would be the way I would want to do it. I need to get more base miles in before I try something like that, but we should plan this out a little more and make it happen.

    Yam - I hear what you are saying, but it's not like car is a seductive temptress singing its siren song from my curbside (I may say different in November, however). I am actually pretty happy with how the car-light/car-free thing is going so far. My point on making the bike part of a lifestyle is more mental. I suspect I'll be a one car household before too long and that you are correct.