Andy Taylor

Andy Taylor

Ride Bikes E’rry Day

Inspirited by so many people at work commuting by bike, on the last day of April 2013, I bestrode my new pushie and pedalled to work for the first time. It promised to be quicker, less expensive1 and more fun than public transport or driving. I was, however, a fat fuck with only one brief foray into exercise in the last ten years; riding 9.5km twice a day made me sore and tired. I don’t think I expected it to turn into a thing.

It got easier, though. I did three 20km rides in the first month and started looking for longer routes to work.

I told myself I’d catch public transport if it was raining, but—as winter set in—I realised I just needed to harden the fuck up; rain is only water.2 If I rode to and from work every weekday, I could ride 3,000km by the end of the year. It seemed achievable.

Heatmap of 2013. 3,648km, 169.8 hours. (~6mb animated SVG, won't work in many browsers.)

At the end of August, I plotted a 35km route to work. It left me exhausted, but—as the months pass—it’s only getting easier. Earlier this month I did that same ride four times in one week (twice in one day).

In November I exceeded 50km twice. This month I did my longest ride yet: 86.5km around the western and inner suburbs of Melbourne. It wasn’t as challenging as I expected; 100km is the next logical milestone.

One day of 2013 remains and it appears as though I’ll brake my 3,000km goal by roughly 650km. Next year, if I ride the shortest route to and from work every weekday, I’d clock up over 5,000km. I did, however, ride over 600km in both November and December. So I should probably aim for at least 7,500km.

That sounds like a lot, but it’s just continuing to do a thing that makes me feel great, that I’ve also been enjoying, at the rate I’m already doing it. Getting around on a bike is rad because it’s just part of your day. Instead of standing on an over-crowded tram or sitting in traffic, you’re hammering it down a bike path as fast as you can. :bicyclist:

  1. The inexpensiveness of riding is debatable. Buying a Myki Pass each month adds up to $1,548 per year. I’ve definitely spent more than that on the bike, replacement parts (I’ve replaced pretty much every component except the frame) and gear. Presumably subsequent years could be cheaper if you only buy what you need for maintenance.

  2. Once you accept that you’re going to get wet, rain is fine. Wind on the other hand, sucks.

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