Yesterday I took my last bike ride for 2011 and ended the year having cycled 6,836 miles. Twelve months ago I set of goal of 5,000 miles for the year and I passed the target by such a wide margin that I am now qualified to run the Congressional Budget Office.
When I set my cycling goal for 2011 I had no idea that the worst blizzard in over 30 years would hit Chicago in February, followed by the one of the wettest springs in recorded history. I also didn’t plan on being knocked off of my bike for twelve days in June due to food poisoning. This past July was one of the five hottest months in Chicago history, but I was still able to cycle over 850 miles that month anyway.
When the temperature is hovering around zero or the wind is gusting at over 30 MPH it is very easy to tell yourself, “I’ll skip riding today and make it up later.” However, big goals are only reached by passing a lot of smaller goals along the way.
I am 52 years old and work full-time (about 50 hours a week). However, I have somewhat flexible hours so when I ride 50 or 60 miles in the morning it means I will be at the office rather late that night. All three of our sons are grown, so Cub Scout meetings and high school football games do not interfere with my cycling.
While there are many reasons to cycle I suppose most of us do it to improve our “quality of life.” That is, we want to live longer and healthier lives. Obesity is a national crisis in America and our health care system is overburdened as a result of people overeating and failing to exercise. I ought to know—I used to be one of those people who was committing suicide one meal at a time.
Since I am in a contemplative mood I want to add one more thing. Some cyclists pretty much ignore their families just to rack up the miles. If you are one of those people let me kindly inform you that you are an idiot. Your children are only young once so spend as much time with them as you can. It doesn’t take any extra time to eat healthy food, nor does it take all that many miles on a bike to keep your circulatory system in great shape. When your children are big enough you can have them join you for a ride. If you still need more miles, wait till they are asleep and ride at night (but don’t neglect your spouse either).