My wife said, “Hey, let’s go out for a bike ride. I don’t want to go long – I have to get back and do some cleaning.”
“Fine,” I said. “I’m not up for a long ride today, anyway.”
We set off on one of her favorite neighborhood routes. It’s got some easy hills, and I can get in a quick workout, then wait for her at the tops and bottoms. On a mid-December 54-degree day (12ºC), we had a good ride. And when we got home, I was able to confirm what I had expected:
I had 4,002 miles for the year.
Three years ago, when I was just getting into riding, a new riding friend told me he had ridden 2,200 miles the year before. Based on the riding I was doing at the time, I projected I’d end the year with 1200-1500 miles. The mileage he was talking about seemed out of reach.
But that year, I wound up with over 2,500 miles. Last year, I topped 3,000. Now this.
It wasn’t hard.
I have never set out expecting to ride a certain number of miles in a year. Based on my experience, I could project what I might end with, but each time I’ve done that, I’ve been off. The miles accumulate at a faster rate than I can imagine.
I’m a record-keeping type of person, and I have records of my rides going back to my first year on the bike: 2007. That year, I averaged just over 17 miles per ride. The next year, it jumped to 21, then 21.5. This year, I’m averaging 23.6 miles per ride.
My usual weekly riding goes something like this: I’ll get in a quick 15-18 miles on a weekday. During the summer, it might be more, but most often, not. On Saturday, I have a 26-mile route in my neighborhood, and on Sunday, I’ll either do a club ride or another longer ride in the area, anything from 30-60 miles.
Keep doing that week after week, and take advantage of nice weather during those temperate months, and the miles pile up in no time. You don’t need to constantly strive for 100-plus mile weeks to hit 4,000.
I have a feeling that in the coming year, I’ll be concentrating a lot more on improving my cycling skills than building my mileage. But it’s nice to know that I’ve hit a number that most non-cyclers – and even some who do bike – have trouble imagining.