By: Tom Fletcher, CFP®
Another year and another season riding the bike. This year's goal is north of 2000 miles, which should be attainable with some luck, if the body holds out, a little cooperation from Mother Nature, and other unforeseen obstacles that are unique (or not) to bike riders are kept at bay. Secretly, my goal isn't really so much the mileage, but more about the ability to eat like I'm going to the electric chair and not gain any weight.
In the depths and darkness of mid-February, I crafted an ambitious (for me) weekly mileage spreadsheet with the goal of exceeding last year's ~1500 mile season total by at least 500 miles. As I write this article, I've already logged 548 miles so far, which is 548 miles more than I had logged last year at this time - so I'm optimistic!
As what happens many times in life however, things often don't go according to plan. For example despite the warmer than normal January and February, the weather turned cold, windy and rainy for much of the spring. I'm like a fussy cat- I can't stand rain while I'm riding - even if it's a light drizzle. It's not so much that I don't like my head getting wet, it's more about the water that spins off my back tire and creates a soaking wet and dirty stripe that extends from my backside all the way to my neck. So instead of heading out into the rain, I tend to complain bitterly about the turn in the weather to anyone who will listen, and I settle for riding indoors on my bike rollers in the basement (which doesn't contribute to my mileage totals). On one March ride this year I ignored the dicey forecast at my own peril and hit the trifecta - a cold, stiff headwind, heavy rain, then Mother Nature finished me off with a barrage of hail. I will always appreciate a piping hot shower after a ride like that!
Thankfully, most rides tend to be uneventful. When my wife asks me how my ride was, she, like me, hopes for the one word answer- "fine". There are always exceptions of course and my already lengthy list keeps growing. One highlight from this year was when I passed a pedestrian walking a nervous Border Collie on a long leash. You can probably guess where this story is going. The dog actually bit me, though on my foot. It took only about a millisecond. Fortunately, I stayed upright, my biking footwear is pretty sturdy and no human body parts were damaged. That was my heart rate monitor's high for the day and maybe the year.
While I'm not so great color coordinating my biking outfits, with all the weather fluctuations in Boston, I have a pretty sizable investment in a large wardrobe of spandex. I've got a closet full of jerseys, tights, vests, jackets, gloves, mittens, booties, thermal socks, headbands removable sleeves and of course padded shorts. I figure the more money I throw into this sport, the less of an excuse I'd have to quit. At this juncture, I might need to see a cycle-ogist.