Not Evangelism

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Cycling Year: 2010

Well the numbers are in, and I have commuted 1015 miles on my bike this year.

The month-on-month breakdown is as follows:

January72 miles (3 times)
February72 miles (3 times)
March134 miles (6 times)
April121 miles (5.5 times)
May132 miles (6 times)
June0 miles
July66 miles (3 times)
August88 miles (4 times)
September154 miles (7 times)
October110 miles (5 times)
November66 miles (3 times)
December0 miles
Total1015 miles

Note: My commute is around 11 miles long, but at the start of the year I was doing a 12 mile route that included a half mile stretch on a busy dual carriageway. People told me I was crazy to do it, although I had no problems. That said, I am much happier with the shorter, quieter route on an almost-traffic-free bridleway.


April was a good month; I'm surprised I managed to cycle commute as much as I did, not least because I was on Jury service for nearly 2 weeks, and not cycling into the office during that time.

June was less good. My son had just been born, and I had two weeks of paternity leave where I wasn't commuting at all. In the second half of the month, and into July, I decided that it was more important to be able to get home quickly to support my wife than it was to cycle commute. I kind of feel that's closer to an excuse than a reason, but I'm satisfied with my choice.

I'm surprised that September turned out to be the month with the biggest number of miles. I suspect I had done some arithmetic and realised that unless I got on with it, I wasn't going to make my target of the big 1000.

In December, a combination of annual leave and heavy snowfall meant that I didn't cycle at all; the office was closed for three days because of the snow. I missed it.

Final thoughts

On balance, I'm well pleased; my target was to complete 1000 miles on the bike. As one friend pointed out, that's the length of the End-to-End of the British Isles, from Land's End to John O'Groats. It's a nice, round number, a satisfying number.

On the other hand, it's a long way from an epic achievement.

In all, I've cycle commuted 47.5 times (the half comes from driving in and cycling home, or vice versa, a pleasant compromise between all-out bike commuting and all-out driving). On average, that's only about once a week, allowing for annual leave and time away from the office. In other words around 20-25% of my annual commuting mileage was on my bike. That's not bad, but it's still a minority; my goal is to cycle commute the majority of the time.

Oh, I could waste time justifying why I didn't cycle more, or I could celebrate the fact that, on average, one day a week, I didn't use my car. One day a week, I was out in the world, under the sky, feeling the wind in my face. One day a week I bookended my working day with exercise; my blood pumping, my legs moving. Travelling at a more gentle pace, I had the time to enjoy sunrises and sunsets. I chased those fleeting moments when everything came together and I was In The Zone, cycling the beautiful cadence.

That's more than I could have said the year before. That's enough, for 2010 at least.

In 2011, my goal is to double the number of times I cycle commute. I'm expecting it to be at least twice the fun.

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