August: the bottom line

As a cyclist, I try not to be fixated by mileages. I do keep a note of every ride length, but I try to avoid counting up on a regular basis. Best to remain free and simply enjoy the wind and adrenaline rush.

However, when I got to the last day of August, I knew instinctively that the monthly total had been big. Riding most days, including a continuous 9 day spell during the CTC Birthday Rides in Shropshire, I had the feeling that it might have been my biggest recorded month ever. Now, before I get into statistics, the issue of records being broken almost monthly this year needs a few comments. I am, of course, talking about the weather.

Everybody has been assessing the miserable wet summer we have just had. They tell us it was the wettest June on record and that the summer has been the wettest in 100 years. I have no grounds whatever on which to base a refutation of these claims, because the meteorologists have all the scientific facts and I do not. All I can say is this: over this prolonged wet period (April to August) I have been out most days on the bike, cycled several thousands of miles, and I have probably been rained on no more than a dozen times and, only once, torrentially so. My rainproof has spent infinitely more time inside its stuff bag than out of it, and my arms and legs have the tide marks to prove that the sun has shone for long periods over the last few months. On the strength of my unscientific observations, I blow a raspberry at all the negative naysayers out there who try to make us feel miserable about our lot. One thing is for sure, our reservoirs are full once again!

Now back to the statistics. The other day I was riding with someone who regularly covers more than 12,000 miles per year, topping out at a massive 17,000 miles one year. So he will not be impressed by anything I can do. My August mileage this year (and I always count in kilometres) topped out at 2,254kms which, if you get out your calculator, is exactly 1,400 miles. I got out on the bike on 25 days, meaning my average ride was over 90kms/56 miles. I only ever expect to do more than this when I am on a long continuous trek, like my rides to Rome and Santiago de Compostela. Nor do I expect to replicate this any time soon. It is not my intention ever to become a victim of statistics. I prefer to be in thrall of the sheer delights of riding a bike, through the countryside and over mountains, and re-filling the ‘tank’ with coffee and cakes in the company of like-minded pleasure-seekers.

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on September 2, 2012, in Cycling UK and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Frank, amazing considering the weather. I thought I might drown in Ireland so jumped on train to ferry @ Rosslare and the cycling has been so good here. Presently @ Chartres. 90km today with 23 kilos in panniers. (Lightweight touring!)


  2. I don’t blame you for not wanting to keep track of it. With all those miles, it’ll take far too much time to keep up with. Well done.


  3. Great to hear about your progress, Joe. Hope we are about to enter a proverbial Indian summer as the autumn draws on.


  4. Thanks Aaron. Without a doubt, avoiding fixation on overall mileage is the best rule…….but there are times…………;0)


  5. Hi Frank, I enjoy your reports and comments, the miles we covered together on bank holiday Monday I revisited on Tuesday this week! I was riding back from Evans Cycles in Milton Keynes where I bought a pair of very shiny carbon soled shoes, and they really are just what I needed, 1st new shoes in 3 years, A chap at work lives in Great Linford and he gave me and my bike a lift to the entrance of Xscape Milton Keynes, after work, Evans Cycles is just inside on the right. My ride home was 51 miles exactly, nearly all lanes a very enjoyable ride. See you up the road Frank!

    Cheers Gary.


  6. Great to hear from you, Gary. I was telling you about some long-distance groups I meet up with over Leicestershire way. Well, today I ended up doing over 100 miles just to meet up, and have lunch, with one such group. But it was a great ride through rolling countryside, doing battle with the wind on the way out, but enjoying a tailwind on the way back.


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