Fifteen down, fifteen to go.
Figuratively speaking, I'm halfway home when it comes to time spent riding during 30 Days of Biking. Geographically speaking, I'm nowhere near halfway home.
I have just completed day three of an eleven day business trip that will take me through Western Wisconsin, the Twin Cities, Duluth, the North Woods, and back home again. The challenge of squeezing in a ride becomes ever more daunting as this trip wears on.
Thus far in April, I have yet to be forced to ride in the rain. I've tackled days with temperatures in the forties and winds gusting past 30 mph, but somehow, I've managed to stay dry throughout. This precipitation-free streak can't last forever.
As I write this post on the morning of the 16th, it is raining in La Crosse and snowing in the Twin Cities! When I reach my hotel in late afternoon, it will be yet another day of mid-40s with a cold wind out of the north. During the first 15 days of April, I've ridden one day in the low 40s, two in the upper 40s, eleven in the low to mid 50s, and only one when the temperature topped 70 (yesterday). Only three of those days had wind speeds below 10mph while eight exceeded 20mph.
April probably isn't the best month to extend a bike riding challenge. But I guess it wouldn't be much of a challenge if it were in July...
Riding 30 consecutive days is a challenge in many ways. Unpredictable, inconsistent weather is certainly at the top of the list. Temperatures in the early morning and late afternoon - the most convenient times to squeeze a ride into a busy schedule - are at their most extreme. Being able to opt for a lunchtime loop is helpful in getting around this.
From strictly an exercise point of view, it is important to schedule rest days in order to give muscles time to recover, repair, and rebuild. Thankfully, the challenge is simply to "ride your bike every day" regardless of mileage. My poor butt has needed a few simple six-milers in order to be ready for longer days in the saddle. It was a double bonus to schedule easy rides on the days with the lowest temps and strongest winds.
Then there is the challenge of finding routes that you won't become bored with.
In fifteen days, I've been fortunate to ride quite a few different places - the Fox River Trail (twice), Deer Grove Forest Preserve (3X), the Green Bay Trail, Cuba Marsh Forest Preserve (twice), Paul Douglas Trail (3x), Poplar Creek Trail, the 400 State Trail, the La Crosse River Trail, and the Great River Trail. I even logged nine miles riding to Great Clips for a haircut.
I am looking forward to riding the vast network of bike trails throughout the Twin Cities and the scenic trails in and around Duluth. Finding enough time to truly appreciate my surroundings will be the hardest part. I can live with that part of the challenge.
If you missed the opportunity to take advantage of 30 Days of Biking, there's nothing to worry about. The League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Challenge begins May 1st during National Bike Month. Daylight hours will be longer and the weather will be more predictable (and hopefully, consistently warmer).
Keep riding and be safe!
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