A Year in Bike Riding

post date: December 31, 2013

Making a late-afternoon shadow on my final bike ride of the year.
This year I rode 1431 miles on my bike. That’s not my best year or anything close to it, but it’s pretty good considering we moved from Tupelo to Dallas and I spent a lot of time traveling around the country.

There were a few years when we lived in Oak Park that I rode over 3000 miles. Back then I didn’t travel very much, and I rode the same 11-mile route each day. I would ride right through the winter except when the roads were icy. I remember once riding in 9 degrees. I’m not sure I could do that now.

When this year started we were living in Tupelo, and I rode back and forth from the Natchez Trace along a series of back roads. I rarely saw another rider and not that many cars so it was always peaceful. In Dallas we live one mile from White Rock Lake where there is a beautiful paved trail around the lake. Naturally it attracts bikers, walkers and joggers in great numbers. Today I saw a guy riding a unicycle on the trail.

Biking in a city poses more challenges in terms of navigating the traffic, crossing busy Garland Road, and trying to stay alert to everyone else on the trail. The other challenge comes in the summer when the Dallas temps hover around 100 for weeks on end. If you’re going to live in Texas, there is no real solution to this problem except to ride at 6 AM. For some reason riding in the afternoon suits me better.

A week ago I got a note from a pastor in London who asked if my bike was a motorcycle. He sent pictures of his two motorcycles, which made me suitably envious. Then he asked if I perhaps rode a «push bike,” which I guess is a British term for a bicycle.

The answer is yes.

When I was a boy, I rode my bike all around the small town in Alabama where I grew up. After I got my drivers license, I stopped riding until 1996 when on a whim I started riding again. Over the years I have gone through 5 or 6 bikes. I rode Treks for a while. My last two bikes have been made by Specialized. They are basically hybrids with some road bike features.

Since 1996 I have ridden 31,638 miles.

That number means I’ve ridden around the world with a few thousand miles to spare. Mostly it means that I am hooked on bike riding the way others are hooked on jogging. Good for the body and good for the soul.

I took this picture late this afternoon as the sun was low on the west side of White Rock Lake. That was my final ride of the year.

Tomorrow I’ll start all over again.

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Ray Pritchard
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