High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels

National Bike Challenge 2013


NBC_webbanner_600x200_finalI’m well into the fourth month of the National Bike Challenge with close to 700 miles behind me. While it’s not as many as others have under their belts or tuchuses as the case may be, it’s still a lot of miles! With over 33,000 riders nationwide I rank in the top third, and among the 900-plus in Washington I’m in the top half. As for Bellingham, there are 14 riders registered but only three of us are logging in miles regularly. Here I’m ranking a close last. However, it’s not about competing with others, at least not for me. I only mention where I rank because I have to live up to my rep as being a font of useless information. What’s important is that I’m getting on my bike most days of the week and a enjoying the hell out of each and every mile.

A friend asked me recently if I would have had as many miles if not for the Challenge. My answer was that in the beginning, probably not. But as I kept choosing my bike over my car to rack up both points (you get 20 points each day you ride a mile or more) and miles, it simply became a habit to hop on my bike. I don’t even think about it much anymore. Going to the gym? Take my bike. Going to the store? Bike. Same with my knitting group, bank, and hairdresser. So those almost daily 6-12 mile trips, most of them being commuter miles, have steadily increased. In that sense, the Challenge did what it was designed to do which is to get people on their bikes more.

With just over a month to go, I’m already feeling kind of sad that this year’s Challenge is winding down. It’s been inspiring and a lot of fun. I wish there was something similar for the winter months because it isn’t as easy to be motivated to ride when the weather is wet and cold. But as I write this, it’s raining and cool and I’m getting ready to ride down to the gym. I haven’t even considered taking the car.


Author: d2

I ride because it's fun. It's also healthy, good for the environment, and my gas budget but if it wasn’t fun, none of that would matter. It's what gets me on my bike almost every day, even when I'm tired, not feeling my best, or just not in the mood. No other form of "exercise" has equaled it. I used to love to run but I was injury-prone and couldn't do it every day. I certainly couldn't jog down to the store and come home with dinner. Walking is okay but definitely falls around midpoint on the fun scale. I enjoy it, especially when I'm walking with a friend, but am not exhilarated by it. So I ride.

2 thoughts on “National Bike Challenge 2013

  1. Having recently moved back to Seattle from San Diego, I’m also having some trepidation over riding into the rain season! But before we went south, I rode year-round, for exercise as well as commuting to work at the UW. I didn’t always ride a long distance, but a six-mile commute twice a day was nice. With good gear and fenders it is possible to be pretty comfortable in the sort of rain we usually get.

    I also liked to have a lot of lights and reflectors on my bike – not so much the headlights (I used a good NightRider headlight), but I felt a lot more comfortable with four flashers going in the back. I didn’t worry too much about the potential of being unseen with all those lights.

    Really, it just takes a bit of persistence to keep riding. Then it’s not too hard to get used to!

    • I just purchased some shoe covers and loves in preparation for winter riding. I’m kind of looking forward to it. Sounds like you’re all set too. Welcome back to the Pacific Northwest!

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