4137 Miles Later

October 28, 2015

Fifteen months after moving in with MTB and I’ve logged over 4000 miles and around 318 hours on my bike. Just getting back and forth from our home to my job. Whew. That’s almost like riding from here to Indy and back.

My work commute is about 20 miles round trip, and I telecommute one day a week, but do I ride year round. Thank you, gear! And by gear I mean fenders, rain jacket, booties, gloves, wool shirt, etc., all of which gets me through the larger chunk of my commuting days. Some weather does keep me out of the saddle, namely snow and ice. And while I fucking hate wind, and I will talk about it at length later, even on the windiest days last year, I rode, as long as the temperature or wind chill didn’t drop to, or below, the low 20’s. Once it gets that cold, my hands and my face can’t stand up to a 45 minute ride. It just feels miserable, even after I get off my bike, warming up my hands is so painful that sometimes I cry a little.

These day, I’m actively trying not to think about those kinds of conditions. I’m conserving my mental energy to adjust to the fall — to dark mornings, shorter evenings and cooler temperatures. And to the rain.


The rain.

It’s supposed to rain every day for the rest of this week and weekend.

When it comes to high temperatures, I have lots more tolerance. When it got into the upper 90’s or hotter out here this past summer, I was fine. I just drank lots of water and slowed down my pace. On a couple of occasions, like when everything was on fire and the wind covered Portland in smoke, I loaded my bike in my car, drove half way to work, parked and then biked in the rest way. And a couple of other days I rode to work in the morning, and then met MTB afterward and we loaded the bike up on her car for the drive home, which, interestingly, took us about as long as it would have taken me to bike the same distance. Portland car traffic is real. Stupid real.

Since moving, most of my bike mileage has come from my work commute, and, on the books, that makes sense because it’s a longish commute. But, also I’m doing less of the other kind of riding that I used to do, which was a combination of biking around to run errands and to go out, or to meet friends, or just to take a ride because riding is fun. I think I do less of this kind of biking, in large part, because I live further out now, and getting to places takes more effort and planning and logistics, and all of this, I will also talk about more, later. But even though I don’t bike to as many different kinds of activities as I used to, during fair weather I do ride more. And that means that for 3 months out of the year, I might be averaging more like 100 or 120 biking miles a week. And that means that I’ve probably biked somewhere upwards of 4500 miles since I moved in with MTB.

All this to say, I spend a lot of time in the cycling world. Most of it biking, for sure, but there’s also time spent maintaining my bikes, dealing with gear, staying up on the biking news, planning my routes, checking the weather forecast, which I do every night when I am riding the next day, and transitioning on and off my bike, which means anything from packing and unpacking my panniers to waxing and/or venting about my ride. It’s a big part of my life, and it kind of snuck up on me, as in, I never planned to be riding this much. But here I am and I want to talk about it.