200,000 and counting…..
Why is it that milestones in life are encapsulated by numerically round figures? We make a fuss about a 50th wedding anniversary, but not a 49th. Centenarians get a letter from the Queen, but someone who is 99, or even 101, doesn’t. We are learning more about The Great War on the 100th anniversary of its inception than we have in all the intervening years.
Of course, none of this explains why I should have noticed the passing of a little watershed in my own cycling history. It’s all entirely artificial. There’s no Guinness Book of Records recognition. There’ll be no short-listing for the Sports Personality of the Year award. I could have marked the event by cracking open a bottle of bubbly…..but I didn’t. So what’s all the fuss?
Well, there isn’t any. It’s just a quirky bit of human psychology that attaches importance to these things….but somehow our attention is galvanised, and we are prompted to achieve goals and targets for their own intrinsic value, and the satisfaction we get from stretching towards them.
Yesterday, on an 86 mile (138 kms) ride, I happened to pass 200,000 miles (322,000 kms) in my lifetime total of distance cycled. But, is this a true reflection of my cycling history? No, of course not. I can’t guarantee my records are accurate. I can’t even guarantee that the devices used over the years for recording mileage were reliable. There’s also a full 20 years of my life (my childhood and early adulthood) when I kept no records, which are not included here.
But who cares? It’s a milestone……it has been passed…..I may have a quiet two seconds of smugness to revel in it…..but then tomorrow I will climb back on the bike and hope to power up those hills for a few more years. That’s the fundamental draw of turning pedals ‘in anger’….. If you haven’t experienced the joy of breezing through the countryside on two wheels, dig out the ‘old hack’ from the back of the shed, inflate the tyres and oil the chain………and just go. You’ll be amazed.