My 2008 bicycling year has come to a premature end at 915 miles. Breaking a thousand miles would have tied a personal best from over a decade ago. That goal looked possible in early November, iffy by December and "Not Gonna Happen" as of today. Olympia has had two near-record snow storms since Wednesday along with well below freezing temperatures. Looking at all the snow and ice, I know that I will not break 1,000 and even getting out for another ride may be unlikely if the weather keeps up this way, which is more or less predicted for the next 10 days.
Nine-fifteen isn't a bad year--that's almost two-thirds of the total miles on my bike odometer since I installed it about 10 years ago. That tells me that I've ridden more regularly this year than in a long time, which is evidence that Olympia is a good place to bicycle. Cycling has been my primary form of active recreation this year. I walk regularly as well but getting out on my bike ramps up the adrenalin and circulation. I love the feel of the air moving past my head as I zip through neighborhoods, cruise along bike trails and scream down steep grades. Hell, I even like climbing some of those steep grades; it's a verification of strength and endurance that is comforting at age 61.
Cycling has been a great way to learn my way around town. During the year I explored a variety of routes in all directions from my place. Before I started working full-time, I had the luxury of weekday rides with trails much to myself. Now that I ride weekends, I have more company but other than needing to get a bell or horn to warn others of my approach (no one ever seems to hear my shouted announcements and I don't like shouting, anyway), the ride is still pretty much a solo event where others don't really intrude.
My routes take me to all areas of Greater Olympia which also include the cities of Tumwater and Lacey and parts of Thurston County. I see everything from small town neighborhoods, commercial areas, major roads, bike trails, farms even forests. I've climbed the most of the hills either side of the Deschutes River and Budd Inlet. My cyclist view of Olympia is far more intimate than from a car and much wider than on foot.
If I were hardcore, this snow and ice would not deter me. Friday morning I saw a cyclist at an icy intersection. The first snow storm had ended during the night after 36 hours and it was still dark. The rider looked well garbed for the occasion and had a very good headlamp. A commuter, I assume, since neither the day, time nor weather were particularly suited for pleasure riding. I ride for pleasure, which is why I think my bike will remain parked for the remainder of 2008.
2009 may not be a thousand mile year either but even a leisurely and likely estimate comes out to 750 miles. I can ride with that.