More fun. That’s what happened.
For years I’ve been setting mileage goals and tracking every mile ridden. It started back in 2002 when I sold my truck and decided to get around without a car. At first I walked and rode the bus a lot. I quickly started to add in bicycling into the mix. I had bicycled a lot when I was younger. As my renewed love for cycling took over I started riding more until that’s how I got everywhere not matter what the weather was like. I started tracking my miles out of curiosity. When I rode 3,200 miles in 2003, I set a goal to ride 4,000 in 2004. And so on. Until 2015 I never dropped below 4,000 miles and rode as much as 8,800 miles in 2007. It was a way to motivate myself. It helped with my training for some endurance events I had entered as well.
Some of the down side of riding so many miles was how my relationships took a back seat. Nothing tragic. Susan and I are both independent people that like to have time to ourselves. So I rode my bikes a lot and she did her things. Mainly gardening and her fiber arts.
As I age I’ve noticed a big change in my ability to recover from bicycling, hiking, etc. Physical pursuits, let’s say. In 2014 and 2015 I started to notice my five day a week bicycle commute was physically draining me. My weekend rides were getting shorter and on many weekends I was only biking one of the two days. In 2015 I gave myself permission to not ride when I didn’t feel 100%. It was also the first time in many years I didn’t set a mileage goal for the year. It felt liberating not to be tied to a goal. My rides changed. I felt better on the rides. I took shorter rides, but enjoyed them so much more. I rode 20 miles because that’s what I had the energy for rather then pushing myself to take a little bit longer way to keep my weekly average up.
I took a bigger step in 2016 by making the decision not to keep a cumulative total of miles ridden. It was very difficult to let go of that. The result of this decision? I’ve had one of my most enjoyable years in recent memory on the bike. I also realized how tired I was everyday in past years. I never had fresh legs. I was never at 100%…..or even 80%. My passion for riding hasn’t changed. But the enjoyment I get out of the riding has greatly increased.
The other positive is I’ve been spending more time with friends and with Susan. In the past 9 days Susan and I have been taking advantage of record warmth to do the one thing we do the most together, hiking. We’ve hiked in 6 State Parks in the last 9 days. That would have been many missed miles if I were still keeping track. I’d be pushing myself to make up those missed miles over the rest of the month. And they wouldn’t have been particularly fun miles. I’ve also been taking advantage of the fantastic mountain biking trails being built near my house. A new style of riding for me. Since I’m really slow on a mountain bike, it would hurt my mileage totals if I were keeping track. I may never have explored this type of riding at all if I were concerned about my miles.
Here some pictures from my riding and non-riding pursuits since the last time I posted to this blog: