Near the end of December, Melissa Wenzel wrote this post and on January 1, I decided to commit myself to the goal of biking every day of the month.
Day One, as usual, was the toughest part. I was carrying a lot of personal sadness stemming from our ever unseasonal weather, from increasingly dire climate reports, and having no idea what will come of this planet Earth. But I set out that first day to my local coffee shop, and I am so glad I did.
Despite using my bicycle as a tool for commuting and transportation 95% of the time, the effects and benefits of recreational cycling quickly became very clear:
- I started seeing nuance in my neighborhood and surrounding community when I was out on recreational rides that I would never notice when my time in the saddle is just for commuting.
- I was able to witness from afar the diversity of other people using the Greenway and Mississippi River Road by the tire tracks they left behind: Studded, Fatbike, Knobby, Skinny, Trailers, etc.
- I was able to remember how good it feels to be out of breath after exercising.
- Experiencing my community in a recreational manner led to me wanting to spend more time outside, and even push myself beyond my comfort zone:
As the month of January came to an end, I felt myself just getting started. We are now 50 days in to 2019, and I have been in the saddle for every single one of them.
Obviously some days are better than others, but I am so glad I have set and continued this challenge. Even the days where my commute is the only riding I do, any uncomfortable experiences with motorists seem less substantial since I know I will have a day off where I can stay on the many excellent off-street trails we have in Minneapolis. Biking helps pass my time and improve my mood every day. Baby Steps are key.
Lastly, the internationally lauded #30DaysOfBiking is now taking registrations for April’s annual 30DoB. Sign up here and join the party.
I love that a bunch of us wrote winter biking stories all around the same time. Folks: that wasn’t planned! We independently chose to bike in January and write about it. Biking in the winter is NOT easy, but we all know that the tough things in life take hard work but are nearly always worth it.
Thank you for writing this! I took a bit of a break with all of the snow and ice and biked for the first time to work in a couple of weeks yesterday. I LOVED it! And I missed it.
It is winter. It is timely content.
Yr Editorial Council
PS: even if it was a conspiracy, it’s the nicest form of conspiracy we’ve encountered lately.
(-: “Nicest form of conspiracy” is not something I’d ever see related to my efforts, but I sure am tickled by it nonetheless! I mean, a few of us WERE trying to motivate others to bike in January but we didn’t actually EXPECT anyone to do it.
Joe from near Toronto Canada had no idea about the original April #30daysofbiking. We “met” on Twitter through mutual friends and he thought he’d try the January challenge for the first time. He found out about the April one at the end of the month and was crestfallen that he has to do ANOTHER 30-day challenge, because January was very snowy for his part of the continent. I felt awful because I assumed every cyclist knew about the original one. I reminded him that the April one is often so much easier than the January one and if you can get through winter biking, then spring will be a breeze, no pun intended.
I also took Melissa’s lead and pledged to bike 31 days in January. (A pledge to myself for my 70th birthday on January 1). I had Cycles for Change do a tune-up/maintenance check on my winter bike last fall and had been biking off and on in the first part of the winter. First half of January was a piece of cake– almost didn’t even need the studded tires on my bike. The last half of the month was more of a challenge. But the basic rule of keeping hands, feet and face warm took me through those very cold days. I’m signing up for April #30DaysOfBiking.