So near the start of this year I bought a new car. “What’s that to do with cycling?”, you might wonder.
My old car had long established that it was costing more to maintain each year than I would, on average, spend on a new car. Even tho’ I typically only drive about 6000 miles in a year, I value the convenience of having my own car too much to do without one at this point. I quickly put 700 miles on the new beast from the initial drive to get used to it and then the drive to visit my parents (and show it off to them).
Yet in July I noticed something. I noticed that, just before another visit to my folks, my mileage on my bicycle for the year was within 200 miles of the mileage on my car. And thus a goal was born. The goal being to have, at some point in the year, more miles on my bike than my car.
It wasn’t a goal I obsessed about. I started out just curious if I could do it. But it did motivate me to use my bike more often. Whether for simple errands, to take part in a couple more cycling meetups, or just to get out more – each time I was on the fence about such a decision, the goal pushed me toward cycling vs. not.
In mid-October I realized the goal might actually be achievable. But I would have to do it before Thanksgiving, when the inevitable driving for the holidays would more than offset the dwindling mileage I’d be able to add to my bike in the colder weather and shorter days. So I pushed a little harder, paying more attention to the weather for nice days to ride, and running errands to places farther away just for the extra mileage.
Yesterday, I succeeded!
The margin of success is small, 22 miles out of over 2500. Tomorrow, while having Turkey day dinner with the in-laws, I’ll still be able to say I have more miles on my bike for the year than I have on my new car – by about 2 miles. So it won’t be true by the time I get home, and the forecast looks to make it unlikely I’ll flip the advantage back to my bike before my visit to my folks shortly after.
But still, I made it!
I feel a bit more fit than I did in the summer, and my legs are noticeably a bit more muscular. It’s impossible to know how much of that would have happened without this effort. But one thing’s certain – it feels great to have achieved the goal.