Tracking the miles, finding the loop

The Bantam at Mount Tabor, 4 September 2022. Olympus XA2/Fujicolor 200

At the start of the year I decided to track the miles I rode. This was done primarily to have some sort of metric of the riding I do. If I want to “ride more”, I need to know how much I already ride. And I knew I hadn’t been riding that much over the past few years. When I lived in the Woodlawn neighborhood and worked full-time on SE Hawthorne (2013-2018), I would have a twelve mile daily commute. This adds up to roughly 240 miles a month, and that didn’t count rides on my day off, or rides to other places on my work days. Then I quit the hostel and moved in with Emee. Before two years of pandemic, there was one year of work from home. Besides checking my P.O. Box, I hardly needed to ride anywhere. My riding plummeted.

It’s now September, and I’ve got eight months logged so far. I hit almost 250 miles in August. Pretty good, as that’s on the mark with my old base level of riding, but it still could be better. I rode nineteen of the thirty-one days of the month. Nineteen days, two thirds of a month, is the best I can muster up this year. Some days I just don’t ride, either due to lack of interest, heat (there’s been quite a few 90F/32C days or hotter), or other travel.

Now autumn is on the way, and I want to keep up the riding. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the house and ride when I don’t have a specific goal in mind. I’ve thought about creating some basic loops of about ten miles (16 km) in length, loops that I don’t have to think about too much. While I still haven’t done it yet, I do hope to.

But there’s another destination that’s a “no brainer” and that’s Mount Tabor. It’s the extinct volcanic cinder cone practically in my back yard. It’s fairly easy and close to get to (about 2 1/4 miles to the summit and 5 miles round-trip), offers a challenge (hill climb) and a big reward/payoff (view, descent.) Yet I don’t do it as often as I should. I managed to get up there on Sunday September 4 for the first time in a bit. I should just do this regularly, at least weekly if not more. It’s just hard sometimes to motivate me to get out of the house, especially as the day gets short and my “to-do” list grows large. But I know that I need the balance of cycling, and keeping out of a funk will actually help me get things off that list.

Mount Tabor, 4 September 2022

There’s another close-by hill that I ride up infrequently, and that’s Rocky Butte. A roundtrip to the top and back is more in the eight mile range, and the climb up is the steepest of the close-by buttes. 1 But the payoff is also great: the best view in this part of town, and a fun bomb down, which includes a tunnel! I got up there on Labor Day, Monday September 5th and it was a great time. I looked back through my flickr to figure out the last time I had been up here, and it was in February of 2021! Wow! 2 A lot longer ago than I thought. This is the problem with things in your backyard: because you can “always go”, there’s not a burning desire to do so, and it moves down the list of destinations. I need to remedy this.

I just hope to keep motivated with riding. As the days grow shorter and the wet weather returns, it’s a lot harder to get out there. Not impossible, but harder. But if I want to stay fit and keep depression at bay, it’s something I need to do.

Rocky Butte, 5 Sept 2022
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1 True, you can find steeper ascents of Mount Tabor and Powell Butte than what I normally do. But there’s only two ways up to Rocky Butte, both steep.

2 I did get up to Rocky Butte in June of 2021. But it was by car, after I dropped off Emee for a sunrise flight.

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3 thoughts on “Tracking the miles, finding the loop

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  1. The pic for this post makes me want to ride. I hope you are able to continue these “just because” rides. I find myself in a similar state. I can’t think of any ride I’ve ever regretted, though!

  2. I once tracked all my miles for a month and the most useful info I found out is just how “slow” an average speed is in the city. At any given moment I’m faster than my average but there is just so much stopping and going in an urban environment that one simply can’t beat the system. That helpfully put things in perspective for me.
    I worry about the word “should” and its effect on everyday cycling. “I should” do this or that introduces an element of guilt even where it inspires motivation. But I’m glad to hear from you and Wilson about your experiences tracking.

    1. Yeah, city riding is inherently slow. I don’t think I can do more than 10 mph unless I push myself, or it’s paths with decent straightaways. No one “should” do mile tracking if they don’t want to, or if they don’t find a use for it. But I think basic mile tracking is less harmful than Strava, where you “compete” with others.

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