Oct 18, 2010

How I Did

Back in March I posted a few goals for this season's cycling. It's now late enough in the season to assess how I did relative to those goals...

I didn't set a mileage goal for myself in 2010; my commute is relatively short and my time and energy for extracurricular activities like longer recreational rides was, um... lower than I would have liked this year. I knew it was going to be a difficult year back in March, so I demurred on setting a mileage goal and instead tried to focus on slowing down and having more fun during my rides. Left to my own recognizance, I tend to ride in the biggest gear I can spin, and generally time trial to and from work. I wanted a more relaxed cycling life style (slow down, stop at a lake, grab a beer on the way home, etc.).

That turned out to be a rousing success. I was able to slow down and enjoy the ride, meeting friends after work for beers, stopping at Lake Calhoun, taking the long way home, etc. I also broke out of my rut(s) as well, experimenting with some new riding styles. I bought a tired old 3-speed, overhauled it and had fun poking around the Cities on it with Molly, and even led a series of 3-speed rides that drew an eclectic collection of Bike Lovers and Gentlemen Cyclists. I also acquired a single-speeded aluminum mountain bike that has sort of become my default commuter. No gears, no SPD pedals, plenty of lights and fenders and cushy Big Apple tires. On that bike, I am all-weather capable and there's no speed pressure at all. It's fun to ride, too. The single is maybe a little bit slower, but my speed is more constant, my pedaling technique is now better and I can power up hills better this year because of that bike.

Looking back at the old post, I see that I did set a performance based sort of mileage goal - it was "as much as I can reasonably do" or something like that. I did well on that end as well. I stopped using a cyclometer about mid-way through the summer. My battery died and I never bothered to get a computer for the mountain bike, so I really don't have any idea how many miles I have ridden, but I can say that I commuted by bike pretty much every day that I could this season (excluding travel days and suit-and-tie days). That feels like a big accomplishment.

The real accomplishment is that none of this seems like a big deal. One of the real underlying goals here is to transform myself to the point where riding a bike is the default option rather than something I could do. I made a lot of strides there; the bike is now the easiest and fastest way to work, and hopping on a running to the corner store, or buzzing around the lakes after dinner is easy - no changing clothes, no special shoes, no fucking around, just get on and ride. That's very liberating.

The goal I fell down on was to do more group rides. I led probably half a dozen, and I got myself out for the ABCE ride, but I did not get in a single Hiawatha ride this year, which I feel kind of bad about. There's still time, however.

I anticipate more time and less stress with the new year, so I am  planning to set my sights on some longer rides, including at least a century, and if that goes well, maybe some randonneurs or something. We'll have to see about that. In the meantime, keep commuting, ride through the winter and get ready for next year.

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