As the year draws to a close, please permit me to add my personal recap to the growing list of similar posts by authors of cycling blogs. Because I am absolutely certain you will be enthralled with this topic, I will be providing my recap in not one but three parts. Part 1 will focus on the actual act of riding my bike. Parts 2 and 3 will concern themselves with things I do related to my bike, namely taking pictures and writing this blog. So grab your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy this trip down memory lane!
The Numbers. When I think about the past year, I think about numbers. The numbers include 2,032 miles traveled, 148 hours in the saddle, and 95,900 calories burned. There was not one, but two new bikes and plenty of replacement parts for the first, including nine inner tubes, three spokes, two new wheels, and two new tires. In addition to replacement parts there was plenty of other biking equipment to be purchased, including a headlight, a tail light, two seat bags, three water bottles, two water bottle holders, two floor pumps, two hand pumps, two CO2 cartridge units, ergonomic hand grips, a bike stand, two bike computers, and a bike rack for my car. Then there was the clothing: a pair of summer gloves, a pair of full-finger gloves, cycling shorts, cycling pants, jerseys, a Camelbak, sunglasses, socks, cycling shoes, cold weather covers for the shoes, a skull cap, and a helmet.
I haven’t figured out the cost of all that. I’d prefer not to know. I certainly did not fully appreciate how “gear intensive” this hobby could be when I wandered into my local bike shop last March.
Lessons Learned. A lot has changed in the 15 years since I last dabbled in cycling. Hybrids have been invented, along with brifters and clipless pedals. Somewhere along the line, brake levers along the top bar became a faux-pas. There were plenty of things I needed to relearn, like proper cycling mechanics and how to ride with automobiles. And there were plenty of things I needed to learn for the first time (these are too many to count). Much of my learning was through trial and error. Some of it came through research and a bit of it came from personal conversations with bike store people and friends who are cyclists. A great deal came from reading other blogs and from the comments offered on this blog. Thank you all very much for that!
Favorite Rides. Oh yeah, somewhere in all of this I actually rode my bikes and thoroughly enjoyed it to boot. The speed, the travel, seeing new things, enjoying the views, meeting interesting people, and pushing myself to new limits were all extremely rewarding. I got on my bike 87 times this year – about once every three days for the period I owned them. Unless it was one of the nine times I flatted or three times I broke a spoke (one spoke broke on a ride where I flatted, so that’s a slight double count) I enjoyed every ride I went on. However as I think back on 2010, these rides were my favorites:
1. Canberra. I went on a bike ride in a beautiful foreign city on the other side of the world. How cool is that? Extremely cool.
2. DC Tour. It was only 5.5 miles but so what? It was a beautiful day with my family in a beautiful capital city just down the road from my house. It’s hard to beat that, in my humble opinion.
3. Culpeper County Ride. It was my first organized ride and my longest ride to date. The volunteers were great and I met some really interesting people along the way. I can only hope my organized rides next year are this good!
4. Manassas Battlefield. My first significantly long ride (I broke the 40 and 50 mile barriers in one shot) and the longest ride on Old Ironsides to date. It was very hot and I was not very fit. Physically, this is still my most demanding ride.
5. Fredericksburg Battlefield. It’s a very nice park and it was the first ride where my wife dropped me off, leaving me to find my way home. What I’ll remember most, though, is the long slog up the extremely busy Route 1. Never again!
Things I Think I Think:
- I think 2010 was a great learning year. I’m ready to “go to the next level” in 2011.
- I think I’m looking forward to buying fewer things and riding my bike more.
- I think I’ll never grow to love cold weather cycling!
- I think 4,000 miles is doable.
- I think several centuries are doable.
- I think another 25 pounds lost is very doable.
That about sums up my 2010 cycling experience. Thanks for stopping by and sharing it with me. Tomorrow, I’ll regale you with my favorite photos of the year!