Almost exactly one year after I started, I’ve finally completed my transcontinental virtual bike tour from San Jose, California to New York City, New York. 4723km ~= 2936miles. Quite a bit of distance! My blog posts along the way can be seen here.
Interestingly, it wasn’t this goal that pulled me forward. It’s the small milestones I set for myself along the way that did it. Covering every little street in blocks. Hitting 10km+ while maintaining 20km/h speed. Venturing beyond major roads. Distance records — first 40km+ to Harpreet’s house, first 50km+ to Amphitheater, first 80km+ through Dumbarton bridge, first 100km+ to Morgan Hill, first 120km+ along I-280, first 140km+ to Gilroy. There always have been some new ways to push the envelope, a little bit at a time. Setting a small goal, hitting it, getting gratification out of it, and repeating this over and over. And next thing you know you are in New York City.
The bike also gave me freedom. I suppose it’s my way of fighting back the pandemic. I don’t let it lock me up in my home, and going out soothes my itch to travel. It reminds me of my childhood in Tokyo, when a bike gave me independence and freedom away from home.
Another silly thing I love is the sound. The low humming sound of the front wheel as it rotates. The assuring sound of rubber gripping the road firmly, especially when the road is smooth and flat. Audible signals that tell my muscle is at work.
And growing muscle became a motivation of its own. I’ve been tall, skinny, never been an athletic guy. But with the app that keeps track of activities, I can see my physical ability growing week by week. Not by much, but still noticeably. The chart below tracks my progress. In the beginning I was averaging about 10km a day, but nowadays it’s going 20km a day + a weekend trip. The speed also went up, though that is primarily a function of a new road bike and going long distances outside the city, where I get stopped less often by intersections and traffic lights.
I have never been this invested in any physical activities, and until I got going with biking I honestly didn’t understand the psyche of people doing gym regularly, but now I get it. Every “investment” you put in, you do get a return.
It’s wonderful to feel that even at my age I could still change this profoundly. Both psychologically and physically. Maybe I can change other things about myself, too!
I think I’ll keep doing this, which means my virtual bike trip needs a new destination. Where to go next? For the time being, I’ll head south via I-95 along the eastern seaboard.