Sunday, December 27, 2015

Riding my bike in 2015

While I don't define myself as a cyclist - I do a lot more than just ride my bike - I do take great pleasure in riding my bikes.  And this year I rode my bike a lot, over 4,000 miles.  Over 2,000 of those miles were riding between home and work, although some of those miles were detours for the fun of it on days that I had some extra time for riding.  I also road almost 1,900 miles on my road bike and all of those miles were for fun.  I rode some dirt road rides, including one at night, and rode the D2R2 again, this time extending my off route ride the organizer suggested to me last year.  In short, it was a great year for riding my bike, with 4,157 miles and I still have a few more days left to ride this year.

Bike commuting

My commuter (a 2009 custom build on a Surly Cross Check frame) remains in service and still is a great bike.  Besides regular maintenance, it saw no changes this year.  I did add a 2014 Swobo Novak, bought on sale in early 2015,  I use this for commuting on days that I need to park in places that I wouldn't park my Surly and it has come in handy.  I've also used it as my "dad" bike when riding in the neighborhood with the boys and have put on a trail-a-bike for towing one of the boys.  It has worked out well.  It's now set up as my winter commuter with 700x35mm Schwalbe Winter Marathon studded tires.  I hope to ride at least part of the way to work once the weather turns, which it seems to be doing right now (lows near 20F this evening and with today's rain, I expect that means some ice on the roads in the early morning).  Overall, I rode to work on 145 days, riding about 2,085 miles.  That is clearly a big part of my riding.  I started riding in mid March after I took two months off from cycling while I let a tendon in a finger heal (after I cut it in a kitchen accident after last New Year's weekend).  I rode about 4 of every 5 days during the months that I was actually fit to ride a bike.

Road rides

I had dreams of more far flung rides this year but it didn't happen.  I did get a lot of riding in on my road bike, a 2007 Independent Fabrication Club Racer built in Somerville, MA, which remains an amazing bike for me eight and a half years after buying it.  I averaged just under 40 miles per ride on my road bike with 22 rides of at least 40 miles.  My longest ride of the year was 75 miles.  I did a decent amount of exploring in the area that I primarily ride:

Despite the appearance of variety, I was pretty time limited again this year - most of my weekend rides were early morning rides with me getting home by 9 AM.  It would have been nice to go further afield but that's hard to do without impacting my family more than I want to.  My favorite ride was a multi modal ride up to Ogunquit to join my family for a weekend on the Maine coast.  It included a trip on the Red Line and the Commuter Rail, and about 50 miles of riding.  It was also one of my coffeeneuring trips.


I actually finished the challenge this year, which was great fun.  I was again the North East Regional Office of Coffeeneuring, producing the maps for the challenge.  It's great working with Mary on that project.

Oh, those goals from last year

These goals:

Well, I was a more enthusiastic bike commuter this year, starting about the same time as last year but riding about 30 more days this year.  I did say that I started riding late because of an injury but you might remember the snow storms of 2015.  I might have rode more than I did if I didn't hurt myself but there would have been several weeks that I would have punted on.

My second goal, of getting longer rides didn't exactly happen.  I did get a number of 50+ mile rides but never all that far from home (except that ride to Truro from our vacation cottage in Chatham).

I didn't get the Dill Pickle bag I thought of getting, instead opting for Acorn bags, a small front bag and the medium saddle bag, which fit my frame better that the Dill Pickle bag.  These worked out well, with as much carrying capacity as I needed.  The only drawback with the saddle bag was that the buckle would tap the fender on bumps when it wasn't full.  I recently (yesterday) put a new saddle on my IF, a Selle Anatomica, and now there is plenty of room with the integrated saddle loops, which I didn't have on my old saddle (I installed the VO loops, which really needed a longer bolt and locking nut) on my old saddle.  Ironically, I now have plenty of room for the Dill Pickle bag with the new saddle.  My IF has great carrying capacity for a road bike now and I'm comfortable leaving my house dressed for the early morning temperatures and expecting to remove layers as the day warms.  Overall, I am pretty happy with the bags I now have.  Now I just need to find time for longer rides.

I did ride the 2015 Diverged ride and the D2R2, both of which were great fun.  My only regret on the Diverged ride was that I was ready for a much longer ride.  That said, I really enjoyed riding with Brad Smith, the ride leader on the shorter ride.  I enjoyed the D2R2 but had minor equipment issues that made the ride slightly stressful.  I did extend the ride fully from Sandy's 2014 instructions and it was great fun to do solo, for the most part.  I missed the Honey 100.  I can no longer remember what family event precluded me from going although I do see that I managed a 50 mile early morning ride that day.

While I didn't get to any of the NER events, I did enjoy my longer rides.  I planned on the Dunes Dynamo, a 124 mile overnight ride to Provincetown in early August.  I was unsure of my ability to ride it and when a friend dropped out, I did as well.  I'll try to get in better shape for the 2016 version, which goes to Portland, Maine.

Goals for this year?

I don't have specific goals beyond riding to work as much as is feasible and getting on my road bike as much as I can, given family obligations.  I do intend to ride a lot on my new studded tires, both for commuting and for fun.  And I hope to do longer rides, both from my house and maybe, if I'm lucky, in western Massachusetts and further afield.  We plan to spend a couple of weeks on the Cape this summer so hopefully I can do a couple of longer rides on the Cape this coming summer.

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