Sunday, July 20, 2008

Good Miles

This past week, I rode bicycle 157 miles - my highest 1-week mileage total thus far this year. Probably all of the active bicycle racers in Louisville and more than a few recreational cyclists, along with some bike couriers and long-distance commuters, rode at least that far during the week. My 157-mile week stood out for one reason: the longest single ride during the week was only 12 miles.

Each day, I ride 5 miles to work - perhaps a few miles longer if I take a detour. Then, I will ride to appointments, ride home, maybe take a tandem ride with my wife (including that 12-mile ride last Sunday) or ride with a group of students. My rides totaled between 10 and 36 miles each day last week. Sometimes, I was poking around the neighborhood at a leisurely pace, and sometimes sprinting to keep up with traffic signals downtown. I rode 25 miles on the day that I donated a unit of blood.

None of this makes me remarkable. Instead, it points out part of what makes bicycling remarkable. Those short rides add up to the same health benefits and mood lift that come from a long ride. We can fit short rides into a busy schedule and still keep ourselves in good shape without needing to set aside large blocks of training time. We can enjoy riding nearly anyplace, and have great fun on a 20-minute ride a few minutes from home. Short rides for work and errands and visits give us the opportunity to replace the costs and problems of car use with the benefits and pleasures of bicycling.

Never let anyone convince you that you need a special place or special excuse to enjoy a bike ride!

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