Saturday
Oct312009

« Mileage Through October »

  • January 1: 209,855
  • February 7: 210,000
  • March 1: 210,120
  • April 1: 210,203
  • May 1: 210,309
  • June 1: 210,367
  • July 1: 210,532
  • August 1: 210,675
  • September 1: 210,873
  • October 1: 210,919
  • November 1: 211,038

In list form, here are the tallies I have recorded for the month starts this year. We're getting close to the end of the year now and I'm well within the 1,700 mile year I predicted a while ago. Right now I see the October mileage is only 119 miles—just short of 1,200 miles for the year—and I have no particular plans to do anything radically different. But, maybe a couple five day holiday breaks from work might lead me to splurge a bit since Kelli and I have been talking about some getaway options.

In the past couple of weeks I have taken two big rides for some social fun. Each was about 32 miles or so and involved biking around parts of my hometown where I have never biked before. I've been riding my fixed gear bike almost exclusively now, and am getting my other singlespeed converted into a fixed gear so I can have two gears! It is quite empowering to know that I can pedal most of this town in one gear, and not a granny gear at that. Going on these rides helps me try to keep pace with others even when it hurts. The first of the rides was probably with 15-20 people, some of which I knew from the bike shop circle. But, after one year of knowing about it and several months of missed opportunities to catch up with it, I finally did one of the Critical Mass rides.

I had heard about CM from a friend of ours who got stuck in traffic during last year's October ride (on Halloween no less!). She came down hard on the experience and talked about the fear she felt from being swarmed. Kelli got stuck in a Mass ride while in her car, so she didn't like the idea either. I had never seen such a thing so it was my goal to go on bike and spin around town with something like 1,200 riders or so. Yes, you read right—over a thousand bikes. It was quite something. Chaotic at times, like doing laps around the blocks in the center of the Gaslamp on an already-crowded party/holiday weekend, or like riding through the airport terminals to the surprise of many, or like crowing out the Prado area of Balboa Park, from fountain to Fifth Avenue full of bikes. There was police force out to help cork the oncoming traffic as we rode; before I knew they were looking after us bikers I thought they were gonna have some biker ass. Sort of like shooting fish in a barrel. They only got on the case to get some errant bikers into the proper flow of traffic. Some riders aren't content with having a full side of the road to travel on; they want more so they spill out into the opposite direction's flow. Pretty stupid. I favor a more conservative position, pretty close to where I ride anyway, just out of door's reach from parked cars.

Hah. One year of biking and I'm on my fixie and doing Critical Mass rides. What got into me? It has been one year now. My commuting effort got started just about the time of my birthday last year. I only planned to make my old bike work better, and to commute half the time. Now, I get into my truck and it feels foreign. It is the vehicle I drive least right now.

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