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Bike ride No. 100

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Greg Peck
October 25, 2013

I rode to work today on my bicycle. Don't think I'm due for a mental exam. Sure, it was nippy, but I donned a windbreaker, gloves and even earmuffs.

I dug the earmuffs out of the closet on Tuesday when I bicycled to work, back home for lunch, and back again in the afternoon. You might recall that Tuesday morning brought this area's first hard frost.

Why am I still bicycling this time of year? Because I've grown to enjoy doing so, for one thing. Readers of my blog might recall that I bicycled to work for the first time this year in late April. I set a goal of doing so 50 times—far more than any previous year. This morning was ride No. 100.

It's only a mile one way, and I quickly piled up the pedaling trips. I kept track on a calendar at my basement work desk. You might think 50 trips would be easy when, if I'm regularly pedaling home for lunch, I could conceivably ride 10 times in a single week.

I checked, and the most I ever did in one week was eight, back in late September when I didn't work that Friday because I was attending the Wisconsin Writers Association conference. I didn't bicycle when rain was in the forecast, so I often made the ride only in the morning or afternoon and took the car the other time. I skipped riding if it was so hot and steamy that I'd be too sweaty when I reached work, though those times were few during this pleasant summer. I skipped days in the peak allergy season, though my spring and fall sniffles weren't bad this year. Still, I had five full weeks off from work since my first ride to the office.

I couldn't take the bike if I had some lengthy errand to run or a need for the car at work. However, I started to feel that “runner's high” and enjoyed the fresh air and miniature workouts two or four times a day. I started plotting ways to make the bike rides work rather than finding excuses to avoid them.

So in total, as of this writing, I've saved 200 miles on my car and 200 ignition starts and stops. I wonder how much gas that translates into saving. Actually, I saved even more than 200 because sometimes I'd pedal—rather than drive—over to a gas station to pick up the newsroom's copy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on my ride to work.

No doubt, many of you have seen me riding up and down Court Street and Ruger Avenue. I passed lots of dog walkers but few fellow pedalers.

You might remember my blog in early May about a close encounter I had with a driver who thought he/she had as much right to the crosswalk on Court Street at Atwood Avenue as this fool on a bike. I never again pedaled across that intersection without stopping to let some approaching motorist clear it first. Often, those drivers—even those coming up Court and making a left-hand turn—stopped and waved me on. I appreciate that courtesy. It's something we bicyclists don't see often enough from motorists as we share the roads.

I'll soon hang up the bike for the season on those hooks in our garage. But you can bet that, next spring, I'll be back at it for frequent rides to the corner of Milwaukee Street and Parker Drive.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.



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