5/04/2017

30 Things I Learned During 30 Days of Biking-Part 1


In previous years I have passed up on making the pledge for 30 Days of Biking because I didn't think I could commit with my busy schedule.  This year was different and even though my schedule was still hectic, I decided to make the pledge anyway and commit to ride my bike every day in April.  I would learn a lot of things about myself, my bike and where I rode over those thirty days.  I would like to share these revelations and maybe they will inspire others to make the pledge next year.

I always felt great after a ride, even if I didn't feel like going out for one.  There were many mornings that I had no desire to get on my bike and would rather sleep a little longer, but I made the pledge so I had to ride.  I never had a day where I regretted hopping on my bike and logging some miles.


Every ride is a good ride no matter how long or short it is.  Depending on the day of the week in regards to my work schedule, I found that I had enough time to get in at least 4 or more miles and still fulfill my obligations.  A short ride is still a good ride and on many of these days where my time was limited I wished I had more of it to get in extra miles.

There is a lot more bike infrastructure near my home than I realized.  On the days I had limited time to get in a ride I would bike from home and explore my neighborhood and beyond.  I didn't know there were so many bike trails with great scenery within a 5 mile radius of where I live.


The weather dictated where I could ride.  I love mountain biking but on rainy days I had to stick to the pavement or gravel instead of hitting the local singletrack.  This just gave me many options to choose from on where to ride.


I rode places I hadn't been before.  I tried to keep each ride a fresh one by not repeating a ride from earlier in the month which helped me get creative and go to the areas I had always wanted to bike but never seemed to get around to it.


I learned my favorite biking discipline by trying them all during 30 Days of Biking.  I rode singletrack, paved trails, gravel and roads depending on the weather and my mood.  I found mountain biking is still my favorite with gravel as a close second.


Don't put away the winter cycling gear just because it's Spring.  The weather in April can be all over the board from warm and sunny to cold and windy with either rain or snow.  During the 30 days I used clothing and gear to cover all four seasons.


It's ok for my bike to get a little dirty for a few days, I'll get around to cleaning it soon or the next time it rains while I ride, it will get a quick rinse off.


Fenders work pretty good in the pouring rain, especially on a fatbike.  I'm going to get wet, but at least I won't get a continuous spray thrown at me from my tires.


Discovering new places to ride and revisit is thrilling.  In search of some singletrack I hadn't ridden before I decided to give Sechler Park in Northfield a try.  It was awesome, CROCT really did a nice job and there is even a skills park to practice my technique.  I'll definitely be heading back here frequently.


When you ride everyday you run into your bike friends more often.  I found this to be especially true at the local singletrack, however I did end up rolling with some friends for a bit on one of the local gravel routes I do.


Check tire pressure before every ride, especially with a fatbike.  With the variety of surfaces that I rode during those thirty days, I had to adjust my pressure to accommodate.  Singletrack required less pressure than pavement or gravel.


Riding with front and rear lights gets you seen by motorists during the daytime, especially on cloudy days.  Sometimes motorists don't expect to see cyclists on the road during inclement weather and lights will get me seen more often than without them.


I really got to see the change of seasons.  Slowly over the month of April I watched as everything began to turn from a drab gray to a bright green as the buds on the trees began to pop and vegetation started to sprout up.


Wool socks aren't just for Winter.  A ride can start out cold in the morning and warm up quickly, but at least with wool socks my feet stayed warm and they wicked moisture when things heated up.  Even if my feet got a little wet on one of the rainy day rides my wool socks continued to insulate.

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