Time flies, we still keep on getting older. Here I stand again, looking back on another year, this one now “the end of the decade”.* Such significance, such weight. As has been my custom, I like to look back on the past year, what was good, what was bad.
Here’s a brief blow-by-blow look at 2019:
- January. Emee and I started the New Year in Bend, Oregon. I also took a trip to the Bay Area at the end of the month, ostensibly “for work”. I held a Three-Speed Get-Together, and led a very wet Palm Tree Ride.
- February. We got a little bit of snow. I led the Slough Country Ramble, and then Emee and I high-tailed it out to the Oregon Coast for a weekend.
- March. Emee and I went down to Eugene. I led a Dead Freeways Ride. Steve and I took a three-speed cruise to Oregon City. Emee and I went up to the Skagit Valley to participate in the Dandy Daffodil Tweed Ride. I rode out to the Columbia Gorge to camp at Ainsworth State Park, my first bike overnight in quite some time. Oh yeah, I moved out of the Woodlawn house and in with Emee.
- April. This was the month of the Portland Tweed Ride, my Three Speed Tour to Oregon City, and the Three Speed Adventure April Challenge.
- May. I led an Epic Pizza Ride in Vancouver, Washington and also a Stark Street Mileposts ride. I headed down to Albany, Oregon during the first hot weekend of the year to participate in their Tweed Ride. And I headed out to Central Oregon right before Memorial Day to do a short bike tour that didn’t exactly turn out the way I had hoped
- June. Pedalpalooza month! Once again, I led too many rides. But Emee and I along with her kids snuck out of town and up to Vancouver BC for a few days of fun.
- July. Summer in full effect, sans the excessive heat and fires of the past couple. Emee and I take Amtrak up to Washington and have a lovely bike tour around the San Juan Islands. I also attend a camping wedding in the Gorge.
- August. I lead a Rough Stuff Ramble. Emee and I take a quick trip up to Seattle, then fly to Louisville for work stuff.
- September. I lead a “Pizza Walk” for Steptember. Emee and I, along with her friend Laura from Austin, head out to Bend so they can participate in a mountain bike clinic. This makes three visits to Bend in a year, a new record for me.
- October. Three Speed October in full effect! I lead a Three Speed Ride in Portland, then in the middle of the month I head up to Seattle to lead one there. I also participate in the Coffeeneuring and Inktober Challenges.
- November. Finished up the aforementioned challenges. Much of the month was spent getting all my art biz finished for the holidays. But Emee and I managed to get out of town to go to New Haven for Yale-related stuff.
- December. Bike Craft! The last performance of The Sprockettes. Not a lot of other highlights.
So what were the big takeaways and milestones of 2019 for me?
- Moving. After five years of living in the Woodlawn neighborhood with a not-so-great roommate situation, I moved in with Emee in North Tabor. In retrospect I realize how meh the whole Woodlawn sitch was, but it was inexpensive and I didn’t really know what else to do. Living with my girlfriend is definitely a better situation, and I enjoy living in this part of town. Still, I feel like I’m still “moving in” to the new place. I’m never fast with this type of stuff.
- Art. I’ve done more art this year than I had done in the past five or so. I plugged away at comics for New Old Stock, participated in the drawing-a-day challenge known as Inktober, and managed to get a few commissions. It’s still nowhere near the amount of stuff (and work!) I’d like to get. But my confidence in my own artistic abilities is being restored, and I’m looking forward to more experimentation.
- Work. This ties into art a bit. I quit my regular status at the hostel in November of 2018. I’ve done an occasional fill-in shift, but that is it. While I miss the steady paycheck, I am definitely much happier. I wasn’t happy at the hostel for the last five years or more, so like the Woodlawn house, it’s great that it is in the past. I am happy to have Emee be supportive of my decisions.
- Bicycling. Ooh boy. This year did not see a heck of a lot of biking beyond the utility sense. This is a weird paradox, since now that I “freelance” I (theoretically) have so much more time to go on bike tours or day rides. I feel the most out of shape that I’ve been in a long time. I need to turn this around.
- Bike camping and touring. See above. My bike touring/camping experience is at the lowest it has been since I started seriously touring in 2006. I did get in two small tours, yes, but I only bike camped beyond that two more times (three if you count the wedding I biked partially to.) Somehow I thought I’d be getting to a level like I did in 2012, when I was in a similar situation. But instead I’m worrying if I’m losing my bike touring mojo. In retrospect, I can see where 2012 and 2019 diverge: back then, I was in a deteriorating relationship (after being on the road with my partner for over four months in 2011, most of the 2012 trips didn’t involve her) so if anything all those bike tours was something to get my mind off of my current situation. This year I’m in a healthy relationship and spent a lot of time with Emee on non-bike touring trips. I just need to figure out a balance for 2020 and beyond: enough bike touring time to make me feel happy.
Overall, 2019 was a decent year. I’m safely a few years out of my mid-decade mopey phase, thank you. And I’m looking ahead to what 2020 will bring.
*I know that technically, a decade is supposed to begin on the “1” year, not “0” year. But common practice is to have it start on the 0, so when you say “The 2010’s”, it means every year that starts with 201x. Anyways, decades don’t really get their true identity until a couple years in, so what’s the big deal?