Several of the people whose writing and social media work I admire—such as Chris Brogan, Christopher Penn, Justin Levy, and C.C. Chapman, who pointed me to all the others I list—wrote New Year’s posts on the theme of choosing three words as your guiding stars for the year.
They meant for life in general or for your professional efforts. I thought I’d extend the idea into biking after I looked back at my riding in 2011 (which I was able to do because I logged it).
Consistency—I’ve set goals based on my 2011 riding. The number of days I intend to ride, 250, is a stretch goal—it would mean increasing my riding days by over a month’s worth of riding. This will require me to be consistent in my riding habits. I mostly am, but by setting a specific target, similar to what happened when I successfully completed 30 Days of Biking in September, I expect to be more conscious of the days I don’t ride, and to examine the reasons why.
Variety—The flip side of consistency is variety. As I looked back at 2011 I realized I did no really long rides with my sweetheart—something we did a lot more of in previous years. Those days where we set off to ride to Valleyford for coffee and back, which gives us over 30 miles (no biggie for him but a high-mileage day for me), go explore northward, or take a whole Saturday to ride to Coeur d’Alene and back are wonderful time together.
They require me to build up my tolerance for higher mileage, which gets me back to consistency (and possibly even–gulp–training). They’re quite different from the commuting mileage since we ride steadily for long periods of time. Heck, I even wear padded shorts for these rides!
Besides taking more rides of a different type than my daily rounds—home, campus, downtown, grocery store, home—I want to mix up my commuting and errand routes a bit and explore more side streets. I consider that one of the bonuses of biking, since it’s so easy to choose to peel off one block sooner or later than you usually do and you get to see—really see—what that new street holds.
Bikespeditions offer a great excuse for some exploring, of course, as does coffeeneuring. Belles and Baskets rides give me some variety too, and thinking like a bicyclist rather than like a driver puts me on different routes.
Mindfulness—This one is on the list as a need and as a want. I need to focus on this because I’ve been noticing that I occasionally do one of those “non-looks” to check for oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and other people on bikes. I’m setting myself up for a preventable collision if I get sloppy and stop paying real attention to the conditions around me. This is probably a side effect of experience, and not a good one.
I want to focus on this because this is one of the joys and bonuses of cycling. Away from all technology, not reachable by phone (unlike you in the car. Hey! Put down that phone and drive!), unable to tweet or post a status update, I can live fully in the moment. But that doesn’t happen if I’m not aware of that moment as it happens.
To be consistent will require mindfulness so I don’t let good riding days slip away accidentally. Riding new routes will eliminate the complacency that has set in and wake up my mind so I pay more attention–also known as mindfulness. Hey, this just might work.
- Biking as Downtime and other Musings on Overproductivity
- It’s All in the Attitude
- Frittering Away my Mental Energies, Thanks—How About You? (a post on my other blog, Bike to Work Barb)
- An Easy New Year’s Resolution: Write It Down
- Starting the New Year off Right: On My Bike!
- If you were to choose three words to represent your focus or goals for your riding in 2012, what would they be and why?