A year on wheels

Posted on: 02 Jan 2019

It would be fair to say I’ve been riding my bike a bit lately. Early last year I set myself the target of riding in excess of 5,000 miles - way over the 3,437 miles that I did in 2017.

The aim had been to beat each of the monthly targets that I set my set the previous year, and while that didn’t prove possible I did manage to achieve that for 10 of the 12 months for the year. Not sure if it was the Beast from the East that impacted on February’s mileage while some knee niggle in September meant I quickly start to fall behind schedule.

The bulk of riding consisted of regular weekend rides, plus the great summer we had meant that I was regularly clocking up those commuter miles 2-3 times a week. A 35-mile round commute soon started to add up, and those consistent miles meant that all was looking good for the 5,000 mile target until September’s tendonitis started to impact.

The reduced mileage in early Autumn meant I had at one point virtually given up on the target. I had to prematurely end the commutes in early September and by that time the darker nights had drawn in and I’m not one for commuting in the dark! It was only in October when a cycling buddy suggested doing a 200-mile coast to coast (from the Wirral to Skegness) that I agreed, thinking it was do or die now.

Late October wasn’t the best time of the year to be attempting a ride like this but thankfully the weather was kind and I pulled off my longest ride to date. That 202.5 mile ride meant I was now most definitely ‘back in the game' though I still had a fair bit of ground to make up. I figured if I could ride consistently up to mid December and then having time off work at Christmas would allow me to get some decent rides in.

I started getting up an hour earlier before my club rides to get an extra hour’s riding in and for many rides I continued after the group had broken off to get in more miles. I set up the turbo trainer indoors to get some more miles in during the week and then it came down to how much I could eek out over the festive period.

Thankfully I’m not a big drinker these days so getting up after the work Christmas do to complete a 75-miler didn’t prove too much of a problem. Now it was just a case of the weather being kind and avoiding the rotten illnesses that seemed to be flying around.

Over 450 miles had been knocked off during the majority of December so that it came to the last ride on 30 December when I needed 65 miles to finally go through the magic 5,000 barrier. A dry and very mild day provided perfect conditions to complete those final miles. I even allowed myself a few beers that evening knowing I would be having the cycle-free ride the next day.

So what do the stats say?

Goal for next year hasn’t yet been set but the hope is that Summer 2019 follows a repeat pattern of 2018 to enable me to go beyond the 5,000 again. I’m not holding my breath.


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