Making my life more difficult, one kilometre at a time

So far this summer I have been able to ride roughly 1100km on my bike. True, the odometer reading displays 955km but I rode 150km or thereabouts before installing it. At this rate, I should be able to meet my goal of 3000km before the weather turns cold. Of course, I won’t be able to do that on riding to work along, and still intend on attempting some longer (eg. 100km) rides on the trails within the city.

Riding to work has become easier, faster and, dare I say it, unchallenging. Since I began taking the bike to work, I have managed to reduce my travel time by more than 25%. Most people would probably congratulate themselves on the achievement and proclaim it to be smooth riding from here on in, but not me. Instead, I fully intend on putting the challenge back into my almost daily ride. I can accomplish this by either carrying more weight, thereby increasing the resistance, or travelling a longer distance in order to get into work.

Voluntarily carrying more baggage whenever I ride to and from work sounds like an ideal way to sprain something, so I’m leaning towards increasing my riding distance by 1/3 to 20km. Rather than turning south on the Don Valley Trail when I reach Pottery Road, I will instead go north towards Sunnybrook Park and then turn around and head south.

While intentionally making my ride longer may sound a little crazy, it is little challenges such as this which have probably kept me sane all these years. After all, rather than opting to coast straight down Yonge to work, thereby shortening my current ride by over 40%, I instead chose to go out of my way and head down the Don Valley Trail. And if that wasn’t enough, I started to mentally keep track of the times it took me to reach various checkpoints so that I could aim to beat those times the next day. To top it off, I carry a pack containing a change of clothes, some toiletries and food for the day on my back, thereby slowing me down significantly. (You wouldn’t think so, but that pack probably decreases my average riding speed by some 20%. While carrying it, I can forget about making zippy turns and coasting down hills of any kind.) Of course, my little challenges pale in comparison to Vic‘s plans to ride 40km into work with a laptop on his back.

If you had approached me back in April and said that in three months I would be addicted to cycling and making my life more difficult, I would not have believed you … well, about the cycling part anyway.

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