Two Mile Tour

19 May

Not a three-hour tour, a two mile tour.

If you’re old enough you may remember Gilligan’s Island and the three-hour tour… three-hour tour.

Got the song in your head now? Me too. Sorry.

About the Two Mile Tour. I came across this cartoon by Bikeyface on Twitter last week. It hit home with me.

 

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Riding a bike doesn’t mean riding some long distance, well it doesn’t only mean that. Riding a bike can mean pedaling for a block, a mile, two miles or a century. It’s all riding.

So it is about the bike, but it isn’t about the distance. Cyclists, myself included, tend to get hung up on mileage and speed. That’s changing for me though.

With my attempt to ride every day – prompted by April’s #30DaysofBiking – I’m learning a bike ride doesn’t have to be at least 20 miles to be worth doing. I wasn’t aware I operated on that belief but I did.

With the #RideEveryDay policy some days my bike ride has been as short as a mile or even less on a few days when it was pouring. RideEveryDay isn’t about the miles as much as it’s about riding the bike every single day no matter what. I’ve missed a day, May 8th, because I was away from home and didn’t have a bike, but otherwise I have.

Bikeyface’s point is that just about anyone can ride two miles and then build on it if they want. They may never choose to ride further than a couple of miles and that’s okay.

They may never choose to wear lycra shorts or use clipless pedals and that’s okay too. Good in fact.

Honestly I’m relatively new to the camp of “biking” rather than “cycling”, where with the former anyone can do it, and the latter is populated by two-wheeled addicts (or enthusiasts if you prefer) like myself and probably you with our high tech gear on our high-end bikes.

If you pay great attention to wind speed and direction you’re likely in the cycling camp. Before smart phones and apps the weather channel was my most viewed cable channel.

I get that the cycling model I’ve always subscribed to has not appealed to the majority of people. It hasn’t brought bicycling to the masses by any stretch. Seems to me that most of the new people coming to cycling/bicyling just aren’t interested in seeing how fast and how far they can ride. They aren’t interested in what their resting heart rate is (46) or their average speed (15-16 if it’s flat). They are drawn to biking for transportation and fun.

Personally I don’t care what brings people to biking just so long as they’re here.

The love of bikes can include all of us: athlete types, people riding for transportation and the people who haven’t been on a bike in years but remember it fondly and want to try it again, just for the fun of it.

For those people, two mile tours, in street clothes, sans helmet if they choose, might just be the ticket to get them riding. Hope so.

 

 

Bike Day–Bike Month–Bike Time

15 May

bikesI’ve been around awhile. I’m in the 25th year of my biking life – part 2. Part 1 lasted from around the age of 5 to about age 22 and part 2 started in my mid-30’s and is still going strong. Suffice to say, I’ve spent a big part of my life biking.

I’ve ridden when it was common and all my friends did it – childhood –  and when hardly anyone else did – including none of my friends or anyone else I knew for that matter. I rode when it was rare to see an adult on a bike, and even rarer to see an adult female.  Probably the “where” I lived and biked (Oklahoma) also had a lot to do with my solitary experience as a bike rider.

Nevertheless here we are in 2015 and bikes are common. Heck, bikes are cool! And it’s not just the cool kids riding – young, old, female, male, rich and poor alike are riding in record numbers. Granted not as many females, but the numbers are growing, and most riders are still white, but that’s improving too.

I see many more people riding bikes now than any other year I can remember. I read and hear more about bicycling than at any other time I can recall. More cities and states are developing bicycle master plans, incorporating Complete Streets concepts into road plans and improvements, discussing and planning how to make their cities and communities more hospitable for people. In the past many of these conversations and efforts focused on finding more space for vehicles.

Look at bike share. Every major city in the U.S. and many not so major cities have bike share programs now. According to Grist, “the combined fleet of shared bikes in the United States grew to above 18,000 (in 2013), more than a doubling since the start of the year (2013)”.  Many colleges and universities also have bike share programs.

For some individuals the first time they get back on a bike as adults is renting a bike through bike share, and for some of them no doubt, it is just the beginning.

Things are looking up for bikes and those of us who love riding and for those of you who would like to ride but haven’t taken that step – foot on the pedal if you will – yet. A recent study that I can’t put my hands on at the moment found that 1/3rd of the respondents who did not presently bicycle stated they would like to but hadn’t because they didn’t feel safe.

Imagine if the number of people biking grew by 33%! Safety would improve, studies have repeatedly shown the more people bicycling the safer it is for all us. Infrastructure would improve, bicyclists would have a larger voice and demand and support programs and people who supported bicycling. Many of the health related problems facing us would improve – obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression, to name a few.

The numbers of Americans commuting by bike has certainly grown. According to League of American Bicyclists, “since 2005, states have seen, on average, a 46% increase in the share of people commuting by bike”.

 

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Today is Bike to Work Day, this month is National Bike Month and this year has more people on bikes than in previous years – and most importantly – it hasn’t peaked and things are still improving. No doubt there is still much to do. We are in the infancy stage of creating an equal status for bicyclists, and pedestrians too, on our streets and roads, in our communities, but we should also take time to celebrate the gains we have made.

We’ve come a long way baby!

Day 34

5 May

Thirty fourth consecutive day of riding. A short ride it was, just over 5 miles, through my neighborhood.

A pleasant ride on a beautiful morning.

Had I waited until the afternoon, or worse, tonight to ride, I’d still be trying to get dry and warm.

Love all the heavy rain now though!

#RideEveryDay

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Daily Biking Challenge

4 May

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Transitioning from April to May means moving from the 30 Days of Biking Challenge to the National Bike Challenge.

The National Bike Challenge runs from May 1st through September 30th every year and is designed to encourage people to bike by People for Bikes. The idea is to get more people on bikes and encourage them through contests and activities. You can participate in the challenge and log your miles on the website.

Anything that gets people riding bikes is a good thing and worth supporting. For me personally it’s good as it gives me another platform or structure to continue with my daily biking challenge.

Since I began last month, April 2nd, I have ridden every day, about 300 miles worth. Things are going to get trickier later this week as I will be out-of-town and have no bike to ride. The place I’m visiting has an exercise bike so if worse comes to worse I can ride that I suppose, or possibly rent or borrow a bike. Anything to get my hands on a bike for a daily ride – short of stealing. Just so you know, I have my limits.

RideEveryDay

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.loveofbikes.com.