December 31, 2009

That’s how many miles I’ve ridden on my bike this year. A little while ago I made my final ride of 2009, an 11-mile trip to the Natchez Trace and back again. Nearly all my rides this year have been along that route because the roads are mostly free from traffic. I run into a little bit on Chesterville Road, but when I turn left onto McPherson Road, I have the road mostly to myself. Then I cross Highway 6 (a road I would not ride on because of heavy traffic and almost no shoulders) at Bissell Baptist Church and make my way along Bissell Road to the Natchez Trace. Usually I just ride there and back–about 11 miles. If I have some extra time, I’ll ride along the Trace for another 10 miles or so. The Trace is one of America’s most beautiful roads–it’s a national parkway–but because it was built in the 30s and 40s, before biking became popular, you don’t have much room on the shoulders so the cars come whizzing right by on the two-lane road just a couple of feet to your left. The speed limit is 50 miles per hour (because it’s a parkway), but many people cruise along at higher speeds. 

I’ve been saying for years that someday I’m going to ride the whole trace from Nashville to Natchez (400+ miles), but I doubt that will actually happen. In the spring and summer, you can see serious bikers who are riding the whole thing from one end to the other.

For several years my mileage had been declining. In 2008 I rode 1071 miles so this year’s total of 1559 is a considerable improvement. 

Since I started riding 12 or 13 years ago, my grand total stands at 25,468 miles. I realize that doesn’t matter to anyone else, but I try to record it here at least once a year because occasionally someone asks me about it. My friend Harry Blum always asked me about my bike riding. Even though he was 87 years old, Harry kept in great shape by riding his bike around his Bensenville, IL home and also by swimming. I last saw Harry at the KBM Friendship Banquet in October. He was so glad to see us, and he asked about the ministry, about our boys, and of course, how my bike riding was going. Harry died two weeks ago after surgery. To the end he was upbeat, positive, and always smiling. 

I look forward to seeing my friend again. Until then, I’m going to keep on riding. 

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?