I’ve had an up-and-down relationship with 30 Days of Biking. This biking community-building event, now in its fourth year, asks one simple thing: ride your bike every day.
Sometimes my up-and-down with this event refers to a day that involves a lot of hills. Sometimes it refers to a life situation that unavoidably affects my riding. Just as whoever taught you to ride said that if you fall off a bike you need to get right back on, I’m giving it another try this April.
I ride to work every day and have found that, strangely enough, weekends represent the challenge. You have all the time in the world on the weekend, right? (From this carefree statement you will deduce that I am not a soccer mom, volleyball mom, or any other kind of kids-in-sports mom. I was a choir/drama mom but First Daughter is married and Second Daughter is far away at college studying musical theater.)
On my weekends, if I’m not out running errands for a trip to the grocery store, fabric store, or somewhere else, which would put me on my bike, I’m doing household chores (aka, reading in a horizontal position on the couch) or trying in vain to decrease the size of the email pile at work with remote log-in (again, couch time).
It can be hard to get up and out the door. That’s precisely why making a commitment is one important way you form new habits. So I’ll take another run at 30 Days of Biking in April.
I’m trying to warm up by riding every day the last couple of weeks of March, and so far so good on that. For some people it might help to think of it as a race or an exercise in mindfulness, a break from technology, or even a form of yoga.
You could use your involvement in this activity as an excuse to get a friend out on his/her bike for a short weekend ride–perfect way to inspire someone else to ride, and we’re more apt to engage in a behavior if someone we like or admire does it too.
Or you might layer on a specialty challenge like doing an errandonnee or coffeeneuring–fun ways to set specific destination goals that can be especially good for overcoming weekend couch-induced inertia.
Note that this isn’t about the mileage, since I haven’t been tracking that as much in recent months–it’s about the simple act of getting on the bike. Every day.
Herewith, my track record so far and some of the blog posts that detail my history.
April 2011, when I first discovered 30 Days of Biking–took a run at it and didn’t succeed due to travel:
- No Foolin’–A Different Kind of Ride for My First Day of 30 Days of Biking
- I Should Train for this: Day Two of 30 Days of Biking
- Back in the Saddle: Why April 11 = “Day Three” of 30 Days of Biking
September 2011, when I was foolish enough to add a personal blogging challenge and thus committed to biking and blogging every single day–madness!–just a few of the posts:
- 30 Days of Bike Commuting: You Can Do It!
- 30 Days of Biking: Week One Report
- 30 Days of Biking: Week Two Report
- 30 Days of Biking: Week Three
- 30 Days of Biking: Final Report
- 30 Days of Biking September 2011: The Biking Blogging Series
April 2012–tried again and made the right decision for me, which was not to ride on a couple of days:
- Another 30 Days of Biking–Can We Do It? Heck Yeah!
- 30 Days of Biking: Starting off with very Different Days
- 30 Days of Biking: Hills and Miles and Darkness, Oh My!
- 30 Days of Biking: Why Week 1 Doesn’t Have 7 Days of Riding in It, and Why That’s OK
You’ll note no effort in September 2012. That was exactly one month after I’d moved to Seattle and started my job at the Bicycle Alliance of Washington (where we’re also encouraging people to participate in 30 Days of Biking Washington).
Last fall I was (am) still drinking from the firehose that the new job’s intensity creates; went to California for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place conference and National Women’s Bicycling Summit–although I rode a bike while I was there, I didn’t do so every day; and while I biked to work every day that I was in town I didn’t ride every day of the month.
This all brings us to April 2013. Can I do it? Can you do it? We shall see. Step one: Make the commitment by signing the pledge.
— 30 Days of Biking (@30daysofbiking) March 22, 2013
I’ll throw in a small incentive: Sign the pledge, ride every day, come back and comment here to tell me how it’s going, and when you finish successfully send an email to bikestylespokane-at-gmail.com. From among all of you who do so I’ll draw a name randomly, get in touch for your mailing address, and send you a present (TBD–we’re not talking huge).
- An Easy New Year’s Resolution: Write It Down!
- Gamification Keeps Me Going (aka I’m the Self-Tracking Type): An Andrea Post
- Who’s Keeping Track? Not Me.
- 5 Behavior and Culture Hacks to Get People to Ride Bikes and Walk
- A Training Ride–to the Fabric Store
- Not Even Fully Loaded: Another Grocery Run
- Errandonee: Winter Errands by Bike!
- Coffeeneuring: Fueled by Caffeine
- Have you pledged to do 30 Days of Biking before? With what results?
- What specific challenges or barriers do you face? Can you plan now and make some trial rides to figure out how to overcome those before April 1?
- Have you looked at the pledge sign-up to see if other people in your city are doing it? Maybe you can organize a March 30 warm-up ride or an April Fools’ kickoff.