56 pounds lost since 8/30/2011
My bicycling year has come to an end, and I'm set to start another. For 25 years, starting in 1990, I've kept annual bicycling logs. I have recorded every ride during that quarter century: Distance, Time, Average Speed, Maximum Speed and a running Odometer, which I reset every year's end.
Ironically, however, my most "radical" biking years were before 1990, and especially before 1988, when I was single. I started riding bicycles in late 1971, and for most of the following 15 or so years the bike was my primary form of transportation. I wish now that I had maintained annual logs then, because my mileage totals must have been spectacular. There were a few "Centuries" (bicyclist lingo for 100 mile rides, approximating the effort of a Marathon), several other long trips with friends or alone, and of course commuting miles.
The last quarter century of bike logs help to kick in a lot of pleasant memories. Reading through them it is not a stretch to say that I can actually remember most of the rides, even the ones recorded over two decades ago. Every single trip out on the bike has had its own personality, its own "feel", or its own special memory. Like the time riding through Denver, coming home from work, when I had three flat tires and eventually had to call Bonnie to come pick me up. Or each one of the wonderful mountain pass climbs in the Rockies. Or the long, long desert rides near El Paso, my current home town.
In the past 25 years of keeping logs, I have ridden 34,912 verified miles on four separate bicycles. My fastest speed was 51 miles per hour, on a steep descent that goes down a mountain pass into the Copper Mountain Ski area in Colorado, early 90's. My longest ride was 62 miles over 3 mountain passes during a charity ride called the Courage Classic in 1993. That 62 miles was climbing mountain passes, so in my estimation it was "longer" than the centuries I rode in earlier years.
My favorite ride of all was a 25 mile tour of Lakewood, Colorado, using streets and bike paths, in the Spring of 2001. I was traveling through the Denver area on the way to visit my sister in Nevada. I called this particular bike ride "The Freedom Tour" and it ranked as my favorite ride because -- well, I felt so free. Free from chronic disease, immobility, prescription drugs, and all the other maladies that were beginning to attack my peers.
Freedom from those "maladies" is still with me at the age of 61, as this quarter century of riding comes to a close. I am in a unique position to continue riding as I continue to age, because of the extraordinary health benefits cycling has given me. I'm still out on the bike all the time, although riding mountain passes and doing centuries is probably beyond my abilities. But that old man you see riding on your neighborhood streets almost every day in Central/East El Paso? Probably me. I believe there's another quarter-century in my legs, and it is my goal to ride my bike with strength and dignity to my own 80th birthday party.
The short list of raw data from my Bike Log years, 1990 to 2014:
- Total Mileage: 34,911.92.
- 3,659 individual bike rides, with an average of a little over 9-1/2 miles per outing
- An average of nearly 3 rides per week over a 25 year period