There’s no better way to get to know your neighborhood than on a bike. Faster than walking, but still out in the elements, riding lets you soak everything in at a brisk, but leisurely pace. The bicycle combines the best in accessibility with the best in mobility. As fans of the streets, we owe it to ourselves to ride.
The founders of 30 Days of Biking were experiencing a warm Minnesota March when they created the event. Luckily they didn’t come up with the idea on New Years Eve 2011 and hold 30 Days of Biking in January. Despite the snowy spring weather lately, April is normally a pleasant (albeit rainy) month here in Minnesota. But that is the point, you should be challenged, but not decimated. Simply stated the founders want you to:
Ride your bike every day in April, however far you want, no matter the weather
That’s all? Seriously, you can do it!
However far you want
On April 1st I just rode my bike around the block just to make sure it had survived the winter. This may seem like a disingenuous start to 30 Days of Biking, but it is one of the most important steps, especially if you plan on riding early the next morning. Check your tire pressure, shift your gears, adjust your seat height. This is especially important if you haven’t ridden your bike all winter. Would you expect your car to start on the first crank after leaving it sit for 5 months? Do yourself and your bike a favor and give it a once over.
Don’t ride 100 miles your first day – unless you’re into that sort of thing. If you do find your muscles aching, the best medicine is to get back on that horse. The Bike Snob says that once you’ve become accustomed to riding, you’ll be a superhero. Your muscles will learn to carry you enjoyably for miles and miles, but you have to work your way up. Like a superhero, you don’t have to brag about it – unless you want to #30daysofbiking
On April 2nd, I took my son to daycare. Kids can be great motivators. My son will eagerly climb out of bed if he knows that getting ready on-time means we can bike to school. Bike Shop Girl gives some great prep tips for 30DOB. If I were to list out every day’s rides it would look something more like:
- Liquor Store
- Grocery Store
All of these destinations are within 2 miles of my home. This isn’t the Tour de France, I’m just picking up kids, grabbing some beers, buying some donuts, and reading some magazines.
No matter the weather
This one is likely the stipulation that will challenge you. If you’re going to bike to work, think how much gas you would save in a month. It costs me $50 to fill the tank. Take that cash and go buy some fenders for your bike. Fenders and a raincoat will go a long way to keeping you dry in April – barring any sudden downpours.
— Justin Foell (@justinfoell) April 4, 2013
Even if you’re well prepared, the weather can wear on your psyche, convincing you not to ride before you set one foot out the door. My personal rules are: 1) try your best, but 2) don’t beat yourself up. I mean this in two ways: don’t ride a century on the first day, but also don’t get down on yourself if you miss a day. Renew your commitment and ride tomorrow. Did you chicken out on April 1st because it snowed? I did. Instead I just made sure my bike was ready for the next day. But I still rode.
Normally, ARTCRANK opens in April, which is a great reason to get on your bike, and see some art featuring bicycles. However, ARTCRANK has weaseled its way towards summer, falling on May 31st for 2014. I don’t know if it was ever a 30daysofbiking official event, or just a nice coincidence.
There are all sorts of great events associated with #30daysofbiking to keep your spirits high. Join the fun, and become your own superhero.
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