Year of the Bike

Every year for me since 2015 is the “year of the bike” by default, but 2017 was exceptional.

Following a conversation at my local bike shop, a handful of shop regulars started a friendly competition to see who could ride their bike at least 1 mile (logged on Strava for proof) per consecutive day of 2017, with a  “last wo/man standing” approach.

It was said that as a commuter, I would surely win. But with the time I have off with a school district job, and my inclination on some weekends to stay at home and slowly drown in cat hair, it was a challenge nonetheless.

Strava did let me down unfortunately, with a total of 362 days logged for the year between times that I saved my ride the next morning and an overnight, 2-day logged ride while on the Natchez Trace with spotty reception.

But scout’s honor, I did ride the minimum mile each day, for a total of 5k logged miles at years end.

It was a sad day when I broke the streak on January 2 of 2018. I half considered keeping it going, but a) I do feel bad clogging up people’s Strava feeds with often underwhelming 1.1 mile or repetitive commute logs on many days, b) it does add pressure and an extra complication when planning a trip, and c) I would rather set a total 7k mile goal for 2018 instead. Oh, and d) I currently have bronchitis and haven’t left the house for 3 days.

The best result of this experiment was creating a photo diary of sorts for the year. I think I took more pictures than usual, in part to add some interest to my boring commutes and short rides. Between the title, pictures added and comments among friends, I have a capsule of sorts for 2017 to remember the literal and figurative ups and downs of 2017. In a year where the need for self care was pretty much unprecedented, riding daily was also a thoroughly needed catharsis and mental break from the general chaos that often seemed to reign supreme.

Some highlights of the year?

Marches and rallies, because 2017:

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Group rides that might otherwise blend together:

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Getting a beautiful new road bike:

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Crossing items off the bike-it list: Georgia Guidestones, Silver Comet Trail

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The Natchez Trace in April

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Good times with friends and family:

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Road trip ‘side rides’ with borrowed wheels along the way:

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Buying and renovating a house.. with some interesting trips to Lowe’s

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Sharing ongoing progress with house projects:

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Not to mention countless other memories.. it’s hard to fit a year into a post.

There were some challenging days (Marked by neighborhood loops during Irma, which took out our power for 3 days)

And icy snow days that I had off of work but managed a slow roll down the street or around a salted parking lot)

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But I can’t recall once regretting the yearlong commitment.

 

Not to mention I finally got my gummy bear prize, hand delivered:

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I would highly recommend a month or year long experiment like this; I may even try it again myself down the road. In the meantime, I’ll keep rolling through 2018, open to new adventures✌️

 

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Year of the Bike

Trippin’

Right after my joyful discovery of Limebike in Charlotte, I had the chance to try out a similar dockless bikeshare while passing through DC over thanksgiving:

Ofo was recommended by a friend, and they had a similar setup with $1 rides, 3 speeds and an easily operable app. I did really like the quickest of quick release seatposts the Ofo bikes offered. It’s the only adjustment you really need to make on these bikes, and that much easier when you can adjust it by lifting a simple lever.

I hadn’t flown through Reagan International before, but since we had a few hours to kill waiting for family to fly, I figured I could sneak in my daily ride with a mile around the National Mall. A quick trip on the Subway was all it took to escape the airport waiting area. There was even time to visit the Smithsonian Natural History Museum to boot!

Pro tip: If you can swing it on a Tuesday, the special butterfly exhibit is also free and you can take selfies with ginormous caterpillars.

One of the best parts of riding every day of 2017 was getting to ride in different locations. Although it was quick, a ride around the Mall was a fun, memorable and totally free way to spend day #325 of the year.

And guess what? If your city has Ofo and isn’t covered in a bomb cyclone, you can ride for free all of January!

Happy Travels!

Trippin’

Stranger things

Today marks day #360 of my ‘ride every day if 2017’ challenge (and yes, I see the flashing red light at the end of the tunnel!).

Some days I take a quick turn around the neighborhood to get the minimum required 1.0 mile in, but today on a whim I decided to venture out with the trailer to do some errands and post-Christmas shopping. The faintest hint of sunset was showing in the sky when I exited my last stop and heard a friendly “I hope you stay warm out there!” as I bungeed my bags onto my already rather full load.

I have to admit, at first I thought that this kind person had assumed that I was experiencing homelessness, and I found myself self consciously explaining that I live nearby and enjoy bike commuting.

As it turns out, the friendly voice belonged to Sandra, who used to bike commute regularly when she lived in Las Vegas and Massachusetts. I could tell it thrilled her to see someone bike commuting in a place like South Carolina, and we enjoyed swapping stories about our experiences and shared frustrations with the car-centric culture we live in.

I love the sense that every ride has the potential to build community and new connections. You just can’t say the same for driving!

Stranger things

All I want for Christmas is you. And you. And you..

Under the guise of “a gift guide for the cyclist in your life”, here’s a list of stuff I would freaking love to get for Christmas IRL.

 

A recent visit to anthropologie might have started this whole post. It took all of my willpower to leave the store without this, and I don’t even have a Christmas tree to put it on.

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Tree in Transport ornament, Anthropologie, $16

My handmade doormat is quickly succumbing to the ravages of the real world now that I have a house. This would ease my pain:

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Bike Doormat, Uncommon Goods, $32

I asked for this and after getting rather soggy the other night in a non waterproof jacket, I’m extra excited to receive it:

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Women’s Odyssey Jacket, Showers Pass, $189

I *might* be addicted to panniers. This one takes the cake.

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Bergen Pannier in Mosaic, Po Campo, $115

 

Every bike commuter needs a small arsenal of these bad boys on hand to beat the winter weather:

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Buff Original Headwear in Nordic, Amazon, $17

Big fan of this local Greenville artist who makes adorable laser cut jewelry:

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Laser Cut Bicycle Ring, Etsy, $7

Only tools don’t carry tools.

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Acadia bicycle multi-tool, Etsy, $35

It’s a well established fact that you ride faster when wearing a jersey that looks this pretty.

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Women’s Stained Glass ES Jersey, Velocio, $169

I said that I didn’t need one of these, and then my plain wooden stand broke this morning. All by itself, I swear, I have no idea what happened.. Guess I need a gorgeous copper replacement.

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custom engraved Copper and Wood bike stand, Velo Valets in Greenville SC, $140

and for some reusable gift wrap:

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Bicycles Tote Bag, World Market, $4

All I want for Christmas is you. And you. And you..