Increase your annual mileage

Cut your food shopping bills…….become a mile-eater! Or, perhaps more accurately, cut your fuel bills by driving less. Now, this is a dream that many have, but the reality is frequently out of reach. The fact is, we have all developed lifestyles that fundamentally depend on access to a car. But can we do anything to reverse that trend?

Over the last few years, my annual cycling mileage has increased significantly. Now most of that is down to an indisputable truth: I enjoy a privileged state of retirement, which means I don’t have a job and, therefore, have more time to pursue things like ‘annual mileages’. What (you may say) has that got to do with the average Joe, who invariably has a job or business, and may even have the responsibility of a family to boot? Good question……

Commuting to workWhen I did have a job, because I lived only 1 mile from my place of work, my commuting rides only added about 400 miles to my annual total. Now, I’m not complaining about proximity here, I’m just stating a fact of life. If my commute, on the other hand, had been 10 miles each way, this might have been 4000 miles. But then (and here I surmise) I may have been less tempted to add leisure miles at the weekend, which is where the bulk of my mileage came from during my own working years.

Now, I know a lot of roadies out there are always looking for ways to increase their annual mileages, sometimes just for the heck of it, sometimes as the base training for the racing season, or sometimes to challenge clubmates or even pit themselves against cycling heroes via the plethora of ‘Strava Annual Distance’ award schemes that exist.

But how do you increase your annual mileage? Is it simply a question of spending more hours on the bike (hours which are frequently in short supply)? Or are there a few tricks of the trade? Things that might be viewed as clever cycling ‘prestidigitation’ that can creep into

Image courtesy Endless Cycles

Image courtesy Endless Cycles

the routine almost by ‘sleight of hand’, and not starve the already time-poor?

I am no sports scientist, nor even an expert in the world of cycling. I class myself as a ‘keen enthusiast’ who has simply learned a thing or two during more than 36 years of spinning cranks ‘in anger’. And why not share some of my findings with the information-hungry masses……well, at least a tiny percentage of the few that stumble into these pages.

What I have to share will be a mixture of personal practice and, sometimes, amusing reflections on the antics of fellow-roadies that may stir some to make comment, for better or worse. Roadies are a diverse bunch of characters. We have our little foibles, our routines and our strongly held opinions. There are frequently no right answers to prevailing cycling issues, but we love to engage in debate (even argument) about which is the best bike, the best way to record rides, ideal tyre pressures, how many spares of anything you should carry…..in fact, the list is endless.

If you’ve read thus far, you may just be interested enough to stay tuned over the next several posts, none of which will require any level of reading stamina……….(did I hear you mutter “thank goodness for that…this post has already outlasted its welcome”!).

Amen, I say to that.

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 October 27, 2014, in Increase your annual mileage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Most people see the bicycle as a child’s toy, a rich man’s fancy, or a poor guys last choice. not a lot of people see it as a sensible way to commute.

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  2. Sadly, Chyrel, you may be right. But I think there is a revolution taking place, if the lycra-crowded cafés are anything to go by.

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  3. Crowding the cafes with lycra is a good start, Frank, though more people doing that one mile commute on the bike is what really makes the difference.

    The ‘Ride to Work’ days Australian cycling advocacy groups are initiating probably do more to promote healthy exercise than the 100+km lycra events.

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  4. Curiously, Richard, as the club scene expands, the more ‘weekend warriors’ there are. These are people who invariably ride expensive ‘high-end’ bikes, ride them only at the weekend, obsessively clean them if they get a splash of rain…..but back to the car for the mid-week commute. For them, the bike is not a mode of transport, more a gym machine for working out, but with the benefit of being out in the fresh air.

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  5. I’m more than delighted that God provided me a new job just under two miles from home – so I don’t have to buy a car and can continue cycling to work. Only now I come home with a trailer and son in tow too. You said something about keeping fit…

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  6. Two miles, Will? That’s double what I used to do………but towing your little boy as well qualifies it for triple or even quadruple the distance!

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  7. I live about 7 miles from work, and by bike trails, it turns into a 10 mile commute each way. I have two bright HID lights, blinkers, so it allows me to ride in darkness. This gives me an excuse to bike daily, and yes, add to my endurance.

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  8. ….it is always good to hear from someone who commutes to work regularly. Long may you continue…….!

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  9. Frank, I am officially jealous of your retirement time. I still have 20+ years of vocational penance.

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  10. …..but don’t wish those years away, Chris. They may be the best years of your career…..

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