2021 in review: Cycling

I started riding in 2020 May but it was 2021 that I got really into it. In 2020 I used to ride about 35 miles / 50km a week, which probably sounds like a lot already for normal people :-), but in 2021 it started going up. I bought a road bike in April, had an injury in June, came back riding on July. I switched to clipless pedals that lock your shoes into the pedals, a key milestone that in my mind separates enthusiasts from normal people 🙂 By summer I was riding around 150 miles / 240km a week. Places that used to be a solid car distance now feels like a bicycle distance. I rode to San Francisco and Santa Cruz.

I also started going up and down hills. I started liking the serene atmosphere, views, and winding roads. I built up more confidence in myself in that process. As the summer passes and the weather became more comfortable, I summited most of the major peaks in the bay area. Those are generally 1000+m/3500+ft. The higheest is Mt.Hamilton, a 1300m/4300ft mountain with an observatory at the top. I’ve done that one twice. I got better at downhills. I’m at a speed comparable to cars now.

All in all, in 2021, I spent 385 hours going 5400 miles / 8700km. That’s a little shy of the round trip from San Francisco to New York. In doing so, I climbed the equivalent of 7 times the altitude of Everest.

Cycling gave me a new confidence. Back then, my least favorite school subject was PE. I was never really good at anything that moves my body, perhaps except for sking. For somebody like that to start from zero at the age I am and getting this far, well that meant a lot to me. It makes me feel like there’s nothing I cannot get better at.

What really makes me wonder nowadays is what keeps me going. Whenever I find somebody who habitually exercise, I try to discuss this. There’s some joy in it, for sure, but it’s also plenty miserable and painful. It’s a combination of habit, my desire to go out, the joy of seeing improvements in numbers, and probably more.

In 2022, I’m looking forward to adding more social aspects to it. A few rides I’ve done with my friend was quite fun. I’m planning to join a local cycling club.

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