As you may have noticed, I have not posted to this blog in quite some time. In fact, this is a rebirth of the blog on a new platform. The blog had gone dormant after the hosting provider I was using stopped supporting the language in which the blog engine I developed was written. I just never got around to re-writing or migrating it. As time passed, I was still biking. but I wasn't writing about it.
In 2012, everything changed with the birth of my beautiful daughter. At first I was just adjusting to the big change in my life that parenthood brings. Once I started getting into the swing of things I became the pick-up and drop-off person for her weekday trips to day care. While I did have a bike trailer, I was concerned about a portion of my commute that is on a six-lane highway. Traffic of that magnitude isn't something that bothers me, however, the idea of biking on that stretch of road with my daughter in tow kept me from getting back on the saddle, until this Spring. Sitting on my posterior one day on the Metro, longing to be out in the sunshine with the wind blasting in my ears, I remembered something: I had a bike rack. In fact I've had one for years. I almost smacked my forehead with my palm with the simplicity of the realization. I could take my daughter to school in the morning on four wheels, park, and then continue my journey on two. So I decided to do just that.
Friday, May 16, 2014 was Bike to Work Day, an event I always loved attending, so I set that as my goal. Since it had been two years since I biked with any regularity, I wondered if I still had it in me. So on April 19 I did a test ride from my house to the office and back. I definitely had lost some speed, but I was more than able to do it. The following week I did my first commute in two years and kept at it. I even biked in on Bike to Work Day in torrential rains that caused flash floods severe enough to submerge my pedals in water in a few parts of the commute. There were only a few people who actually made the trip that day, and the BTWD staff were in a DC Circulator bus adjacent to Freedom Plaza staying dry. The hardcore commuter in me was back and I felt some pride in getting one of those t-shirts this year. From there I really started commuting in earnest. I got my commute time down by over a half hour from the first day and started racking up the miles.
The next milestone was somewhat unexpected. I had a co-worker introduce me to Strava, an web/phone application that allows you to track your miles and compete with yourself (and others, if that's your thing). At first I was skeptical about its utility (I already used Google MyTracks to keep track of mileage). However, after using it for a few days I really enjoyed the avalanche of data it provided. I started beating my own times for segments as my fitness level kept rising, and I started enrolling in distance challenges on the site.
In July, I noticed early on that I was blowing away my previous monthly mileage totals, and I set a goal of 400 miles for myself. I blew that away faster than I thought I could. The goal was keeping my nose to the grindstone and my backside in the saddle. Soon I passed 500 miles, and I saw myself rising in the rankings of the worldwide distance challenge. Since it was international in nature, it was measured in kilometers, and I noticed that I was fast approaching 1,000 km. To get there I had to add some extra distance to some commutes, but the idea of having biked 1,000,000 meters in a month was a good motivator. In the end I traveled 1,012 kilometers, or 629 miles (635 in reality, as the app ended up not logging some miles I biked). Not too shabby for my third full month of biking after 2 years off.
It will be hard to top this one in regular commuting. Life tends to throw appointments, vacations, illnesses, and other unplanned events into the mix. Getting so many sustained days of commuting in a calendar month is tough. The subsequent months have been lower, but not by a large margin. No matter how many miles I log, it has been great being back on two wheels.