On my Saturday ride this weekend, I passed 100,000 miles ridden (since I started tracking in 2008). It only took 12 years.
I started biking in 2006, riding about seven miles one way to the train station. By 2008, my company moved a little closer to our house, so I was able to start commuting 13 miles one way directly there. I had just bought my custom titanium Seven, which I rode mostly just for commuting Monday through Friday, with weekends off. Right around 2008 I met a conductor on the train who was a cyclist and encouraged me to consider doing the Cape Cod MS Challenge, which led to me eventually training for and riding the STP. But long rides were the exception rather than the rule back then.
Between 2008 and 2020, I’ve owned five bikes and sold one. One I turned into a long cargo bike; three were increasingly light carbon fiber road bikes; one was a commuter bike that I’ve loved and cared for that entire time; one was a freebie I got after a crash.
At first I rode alone in Massachusetts, but after moving back to Washington in 2010, I joined group rides that helped build both speed and endurance. I rode for a bike racing team for a couple seasons in 2012 and 2013, but most of all found I enjoyed the long rides — although that’s varied a lot over the years. In 2010, I commuted both ways to Pioneer Square, 40 miles roundtrip. When Benji was littler, I took him on errands and to preschool on the back of a bike, 10 to 20 miles at a time. While I worked for the financial advisory firm from home, I squeezed in what rides I could, having no excuse to commute. In 2011 and 2016, I rode RAMROD and in 2016 I was the second woman to finish. In 2018 I flew to California for Levi’s Gran Fondo, where I was the 11th woman to finish the 117 mile route, and in 2019 I was the second woman in my age group at the Whistler Gran Fondo Forte.
When I started at my current job, I resumed commuting, but only one way — 20 miles, but kept longer weekend rides. As my arterial problem progressed through 2017, 2018, and 2019, I cut commuting more, and tried to maintain the long weekend rides, although I slowed down substantially even on those rides.
Although my arterial surgery doesn’t seem to have been 100% successful (I’m still experiencing some symptoms and haven’t regained full use of the left leg), and although the pandemic has cut out the need to commute, for most of 2020 I’ve established a solid four-rides-a-week routine that seems to be working for now.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 100,000 miles, it’s that biking doesn’t always mean the same thing to me — but it’s always something to be thankful for. Sometimes it’s purely functional, getting from Point A to Point B. Sometimes it’s purely recreational, enjoying a beautiful summer’s day with friends. Sometimes it’s an escape from the home where you spend the other 23 hours a day. Sometimes it’s a bonding time with a child. Biking fills many different niches depending on what’s going on in life, and I’ve learned to appreciate it through all these different seasons.
To celebrate 100,000 miles, I ordered a chocolate raspberry torte from Hoffman’s Bakery. I’m waiting until afternoon to eat it, because I feel like I have to draw the line somewhere and chocolate torte at 8 am crosses that line… but afternoon is coming soon!
Here’s to another 12 years and, hopefully, 100,000 miles.