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.