If you’ve not heard of it before, 30 Days of Biking is a personal challenge with a charitable edge. People pledge to ride their bike every day in April, and for every two that do, 1USD is donated to World Bicycle Relief. This year we had six riders attempting the challenge – here’s their final two days of rides.
The penultimate day. The Friday before the May Bank Holiday. Plan your BBQs, your epic rides, and… your sledging trip?
Following a mtb ride with my friends, I announced that my #30daysofbiking challenge was now complete. I even celebrated with a biscuit. Moments later, my friends broke the news that there is still one day to go. I am overtired.
I woke up to snow, not just a bit, a white out, a white out for May bank holiday weekend. What the actual? By the time I got out for a sneaky hour at lunchtime it had melted in the valley but was still holding out on up on the tops. It was a fun, filthy, snowy ride and after all, that’s what is all about isn’t it, fun and filth?
Nothing much to report – snow overnight scrapped plans to ride to work – just as well as the snot monster was looming its head after work colleagues’ apparent disregard for others. Still, a few easy kilometres on the ‘cross bike around the city taking photos that evening. Not too bad as there were people wandering around more interested in not getting wet than what they were walking past.
Having ridden a plus bike to work most of the week, on The Day of Unseasonal Snow logistical foul ups meant I found myself with ye olde pub bike being the only means of riding to work. Caliper brakes – and only the front one kind of works, but in any case braking hard would risk rupturing the very worn rims; play in the bottom bracket; and a front derailleur you have to kick into the small ring. On the plus side, it does have CX tyres fitted. The snow got heavier and heavier as I rode in, my feet got colder and colder, and I was glad to arrive at work in one piece.
Blossom or clouds? You decide. I was lucky this morning and managed to find one of the sunny spells for my faux commute. Then it got wintry again *sighs*.
Rode to work and then rode home. Quick safety check of bike ahead of this weekend’s Dyfi Enduro and then packed all my winter kit.
The final day! Crack open the champagne! Bring on the vol-au-vents! Or maybe just a mug of tea and a good pie. Pie vol-au-vents. Mmmmm.
We finished!!! Go Team 30 Days!! Woop woop! Etc.
Although my road bike has done a fair amount of the work on this challenge I finished the project off on my lovely mountain bike. It was a great ride, discovering new trails to join up existing favourites.
30 Days of Biking is a lot of fun – and it’s a great way to get fitter. I was used to riding three times a week but I really noticed how much less time I took to warm up once I started to ride each day. As far as my heart rate and breathing were concerned, hills got easier, sooner into the ride. My head loved it too – there was never a day when I didn’t want to ride (though I think Surrey had all the good weather, which helped). My legs however, are sorely in need of a rest day. Good job I have a large stash of Montezuma’s giant chocolate buttons which I am now eating to aid their recovery.
That’s it, done. I’ve actually ridden 44 consecutive days so far and the bike, be it fu’gly ‘cross or pink commuter, is definitely now a habit. A flat 90 minutes rounded off my 30 days of biking and I’m quite pleased with the summary stats. During April I’ve done 52 rides, the shortest just a mile, the longest a gruelling 121 miles off-road. I’ve spent 37 hours in the saddle, climbed over 33,700 feet and during those 30 days I’ve not driven the car once. I’m now going to push on to 50 days. Why? ’cause riding bikes, flat barred or curly, fat tyred or skinny, is bloody ace! Thanks for reading and say hello if you see me on the trails.
Woke up to snottiest of 2016 – headache, the whole thing. So I worked on bikes, drank tea, worked on more bikes and when I figured I’d faffed enough grabbed the single speed and went out for two hours. Sun, lambs, wind, new trails, can’t really complain as it felt great to be out and riding a mountain bike rather than worrying about training again. I even used my teeth to open a bottle – major progress since the beating.
Away camping for the weekend, I took ye olde pub bike for a pootle round the lanes. Then I spied the deep dark woods, and wondered what was in there. A kestrel eating a pigeon for one. And a lot of fun. I’ve never ridden around the woods (no trails, all off piste), and it took me back to my childhood (I grew up surrounded by forest). I spent a good half hour crunching over sticks and dried pine needles, until I emerged in a clearing of birch and headed back to the road. Four meters from the road, a stick got trapped in my rear mech, forcing it into the wheel, where it remained firmly wedged. Not the most auspicious end to 30 Days of Biking, and, I fear, the end of the road for ye olde pub bike.
I was worried that this final day would literally [metaphorically – Ed] turn out to be a damp squib. A cold, and petsitter problems, had put the kibosh on the original plan to spend the weekend doing the Welsh Ride Thing (sleeping halfway up a freezing mountainside in Snowdonia – with a cold – did not seem wise) and the weather was now alternating hail, rain and sun. So instead of an anticlimactic pootle around the block, we went for it and headed up the hills. The sun blessed our bravery and a water bottle of G&T was a perfect way to toast a fun (and tiring) 30 days.
A quick play on the Machynlleth pump track in the bright sunshine before heading into the Dyfi Forest hills in time for the sleet and hail.
Well, it’s done. We can lay down our bikes – although Giles is still going, the mentalist, and you can see what he gets up to over here in the Old Dude Diaries.
Have we learnt anything? Probably that riding every day is a habit, but requires a bit of logistical forethought on occasion. Is the world a better place? Maybe. All those trips to the shops for biscuits, sausages, beer – are surely better carried out by bike than in a car. Riding every day is definitely a challenge, and not always convenient. Riding whenever it is possible to ride from A to B can make you feel worthy. But it’s the rides that you wouldn’t otherwise have done – the quick spin out before breakfast or after tea – where the real golden moments seem to happen. The ‘just so’ sky. The long still moment eye to eye with some wildlife before it turns away into the bushes. The discovery of a new trail. Just around that bend, over the next hill – you never know what awaits. Cycling as transport makes us feel worthy, but cycling to explore is what feeds the soul. What are you waiting for?