Today I rode my bike to work and given the 5 day weather forecast and late date, it is probably the last time I ride my bike to work or anywhere for that matter so let's look back at 6 months of bike riding.....
First I will have over 1100 miles on my bike from mid-April (plus 50 miles on a tandem) which is about 200 miles a month. While a big increase from years past, there is room for improvement. One thing I want to do next year is to have more later evening rides, even short 10-15 mile rides, during the week. I have purchased a light in anticipation of later rides. If October hadn't been so crappy I probably could have broken the 1200 mile mark but I still refuse to ride in the cold and rain and don't have anything to cover my legs. (I do however have a biking jacket, a long sleeve shirt, and ear warmers).
As documented in this blog, I really increased my longer rides. Prior to this year, the furthest I ever rode was probably about 40 miles. Beside my 97 mile trip to Siren Wisconsin, I had a ride of 71 miles, a couple of about 60 miles, and a 50 mile ride in addition to the numerous 35-45 mile rides that I have done in the past. I definitely increased my routes and went out to Lake Minnetonka a couple of times and out to Stillwater. Next year I will have to go south more often.
I try to set a goal for myself each biking season with last year making it up the hill at Fort Snelling and this year the ride out to Siren. Next year I want to ride the Willard Munger Trail from Hinkley to Duluth with an overnight stay at Jay Cooke State Park and then onward to Two Harbors. Mileage may be similar to Siren but the camping will add a complication. I also hope to have more rides in the 70-80 mile range. It would be nice if I could approach 1500 miles but that may be tough as I have lots of other things going on and an old house to take care of. I had fun at the Urban Assault Ride and definitely plan to do that next year as well. I think I may check out other bike races as well. It might be kind of fun to see where I stack up.
Finally my bike. I ride a Marin hybrid which is good for the bike trails around the metro area. It's 5 years old now but is still holding up. While not a touring bike, it serves me quite well. Unfortunately I don't have the coin to buy a new $1000 or more bike so I'm going to stick with the bike I have for a while. I do think I am going to invest in new wheels however. I have had trouble with broken spokes which I think speaks to a general cheapness of the existing wheels. Also hopefully with new, higher quality wheels I will be able to add a mile or two per hour to my average speed. Even that slight improvement would be a big help. Also a tandem may be in our future so more bike rides with the wife may be a bigger part of the summer.
Finally besides the health benefits, the main reason I ride is because it is a blast chugging along at around 20 miles per hour under your own power, music screaming in your ears. Sure the scenery is sometimes gorgeous and there is nothing like riding by or over snarled car traffic but the thrill of going fast is what keeps me motivated to keep going. This year was a success, hopefully next year will be even better.