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Bicycling in 2011 – A Personal Reflection

Happy New Year everyone! Hopefully you’ll have many happy rides in 2012.

Yesterday (Dec. 31/11) was my 52nd birthday.

Growing older evokes different thoughts and emotions in different people. But most don’t feel older, they just one day realize they are. I think the adage is “inside every older person there’s a younger person saying ‘what the hell happened?!’”

For someone born on the last day of the year, the sixth of six children – always the youngest in class; in family; among my friends – “suddenly” being older is an adjustment.

Many hide or deny their ages, but there are undeniable truths about aging and being older. For the first time in your life, there are more years behind you than ahead. There are more people younger than you than older. Your body is not as responsive.But I ride a bike. And it helps me deny the years. And I love it.

Poster on Pharmacy Ave.

And in my 52nd year, I rode more than ever before.

I know the following stats are unremarkable and they are presented as much to say “if I can do it, anyone can” as for any other reason, but I have regularly commuted by bike for at least 12 years and these are all personal bests, all set in 2011.  From them I take great pleasure as they are tangible evidence that, with each passing year, bicycling becomes more enjoyable for me, makes more sense and plays a bigger role in my life.

(Each stat is recorded during my regular commutes to work, which is about 20 km round trip, or longer rides)

  • Earliest commute of the year: Feb. 16
  • Latest commute of the year: Dec. 22
  • Coldest temp.: -2c (Mar 15)
  • Hottest temp: 36c (Jul 21)
  • Most consecutive business days commuting: 26
  • Highest average speed for a one-way commute (10 kms): 29.5 km/h (Sep. 14)
  • Highest average speed for round trip commute: 27.2 km/h (Aug 19)
  • Highest average speed for all commutes to date: 24.1278 km/hr (on Sep. 26)
  • Longest distance in a one-day ride: 170 kms (Sep 17)
  • Most kms ridden in a year: 2,840.6 kms

Notable Rides:

June 21: First of two rides to protest the removal of the Birchmount/Pharmacy bike lanes
July 12: Ride from Don Mills & DVP to City Hall for the vote on the future of the Jarvis bike lanes
July 20: Ride from Don Mills & DVP to participate in the ride to protest the removal of the Jarvis bike lanes
Sep. 17: Toronto to Niagara Falls

Thanks for letting me share this with you.

No one knows what’s in store for 2012 – hopefully I’ll find layers enough for a January commute – but regardless of what’s ahead, I’m looking forward to cycling there. Again, have happy rides in 2012.



Posted: January 1st, 2012
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Filed under: Bike Commuting
Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “Bicycling in 2011 – A Personal Reflection”

  1. 1 nodders said at 3:20 pm on January 9th, 2012:

    Thoroughly enjoyed your article! I turn 55 at the end of this month and have been seriously cycle commuting for 2 years. I do notice some “older” cyclist commuters out there and a number in our age group (please note that “older” does not apply to us) who, no doubt, gain the same benefit. I like the stats! I have you beat on some (will hit 4,000 kms this week from a 0 start in April. But your average speeds knock mine out of the ball park! I average (on a 28 kms round trip) 21-23 kms/hour depending on winds etc. What kills my averages though – I may come off the Martin Goodman trail with a 29 km average but a lot of it in my trek through the city up to Bay and College…and then the walking the bike down the hall to my office! I consequently start the trek home at an average of 19 – 20. Coldest commute – last Wednesday -7 (great ride!), earliest start to the season – last Wednesday (January 4, 2012). Go figure riding this early but will drag this out for as long as I can!

  2. 2 rudy said at 11:07 am on February 14th, 2012:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/pedal-power-comes-with-a-duty-for-all/

    story of a 70-year-old cyclist in new york city

  3. 3 Stephen Da Cambra said at 9:51 pm on February 22nd, 2012:

    Nodders – Many thanks for the comments. 4K is amazing and I bet our averages are comparable if you eliminate your hallway walk, etc. Can you not remove the odo once you’re off the bike?

    Rudy – Thanks for the link. You can feel that guy’s energy in his writing. The sort of energy you get from riding.


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