Monday, December 30, 2013

It was a very good year

My cycling year is done.  Except for a December commute, I've been mostly running and just starting to use a trainer in the basement.  But it was a very good year.  I had no specific goals but hoped to come close to the 2200 miles I rode last year.  I ended up riding over 2800 miles, which is the second highest mileage I have recorded.  There was that year that I rode 2000 miles to Cape Breton and back and commuted by bicycle (an 16 mile round trip) for several months before the tour but that was long before I was aware of convenient bicycle computers and can't be sure of how far I rode.

It was a great year of cycling.  It was fueled in part by training for the Ride Studio Cafe's Highpoint Ride, an out and back (from 4 starting places) to the highest point in Massachusetts, Mount Greylock.  The ride turned out to be a blast.

My road bike:

But the year started out well after I went out and bought a better lighting system for my bike: a Busch and Muller IQ CYO 60 lux headlight and Spanniga Pixeo taillight, all powered by a Shimano 3N80 dynamo hub on a wheel built up by Harris Cyclery.  It gave me the chance to do a number of night rides and leave for morning rides well before sunrise, something that grew difficult last year with a battery powered light.  All of those early and late rides gave me a nice base to start to do longer rides.  I think the optimal ride is 50-60 miles and I managed 15 rides of at least 50 miles this year.  I think the average mileage for a ride on my IF was 45 miles.

The lights also came in handy for commutes.  With all of the bicycle/motor vehicle crashes, I wanted every chance to be seen.  I had my lights on for most commutes, even at 8:30 on a sunny mid summer day.  And I felt safer.  In fact, I am now setting up my IF for generator lights.  For now I will use the one wheel but it makes sense to not move lights between bikes.

A friend's wheel after contact with a concrete barrier, after being cut off with a right hook:

Some of my more memorable rides this year were off road.  These include Ride Studio Cafe's Diverged Ride, of which I did about half, along with some commuting to and from the ride.  It was my first organized ride off road and it was fun but I don't have the best bike for it, although a new set of tires would go a long way if I wanted to do more riding like that.  I had the chance to test ride Lovely Bike's Rawland and wrote about the experience.  I also did the mini-D2R2, the Green River Ride, with several friends.  The  ride was a lot of fun but it is nothing like the hillier D2R2 routes.  I did the 2009 version of the 100K and this ride was far easier.  I finally explored Thorton Gap by bicycle.  The gap and Tripoli Road have been on my radar for years.  And, finally, I did a 30 miler out to Concord and back that included 12 miles of trails of various surfaces.  It was great fun and served as my coffeeneuring training.

Experiencing how dirty a bike can get:

I did try to complete MG's coffeeneuring challenged but failed to get out of the house enough.  Nevertheless, it was great fun trying and by virtue of the maps I made, MG made me the New England Regional Office for the challenge.  Working with MG to make the maps was almost as much fun as the riding.

I have no specific goals for next year.  I'd like to ride as much as this year but that is highly dependent on scheduling that I don't always control.  The D2R2 was fun and at least a couple of my companions are interested in doing the Green River Ride again so I may do it again.  Ride Studio Cafe may do a similar ride to the Highpoint Ride.  I'd like to do it if possible.  They planned and executed a great ride this year.  Other than that, I'd like to commute more, even if just getting to the train by bike during the winter.  I'm also interested in doing more 50-80 mile rides in western Massachusetts.  I have done a lot of riding out there and have no shortage of ideas for routes.  Hopefully I will find time to ride a few of them.

Lights on for safety:


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