Sometimes you need to finally hit a milestone of some type to realize just how much or how little you have been able to do things. One of those milestones hit today on the way home, and I did the math to see how long it had been since the last one…
What milestone am I talking about? On the way home today, the odometer on the bike reached a triple zero number. Yep, since Christmas of 2007, these legs now have 18000 miles under them!
Just to give some perspective here, that is 3 round trips across the United States! Now I know some people who restart the odometer each year and don’t worry about the overall tally. Others restart it at the beginning of epic trips, or when they get a new bike.
Me? I like to know just how far these, now 50-year-old legs, have pushed me since I have started! Therefore whether it’s a new bike, a new odometer or just changing the battery, I make sure to keep the running tally going! Yep, I would totally agree this is a bit vain of me, but there are worse things.
When I got home from the ride, I checked to see when the last milestone hit. I was pretty much shocked to see I had hit 17,000 way pack on September 2 of last year.
That was 5 months ago. Hell, do you know all the stuff that happened since then?
Michelle and I BOTH had our 50th birthdays. Michelle completed he first half marathon. I completed a major project at work, and taught for a month in Spokane. Michelle and I did the Jingle Bell 5K (I ran my first mile in years during it!) Christmas, New Years, Valentines day and Ground Hog’s day ALL occurred before I finished riding that last 1000 miles.
As an avid bike commuter, this is almost embarrassing! But, I will attest, to two things during this time. First, right after the one day STP, 204 miles, in late July I was a bit burnt out. I just didn’t go out of my way to complete any extra rides on the weekend. Michelle tried to get me out there, but I always found something else that needed doing. This went well into September.
Then, most of October – December I was in other offices. Either without a bike, or with a vert short commute. Even when I could ride, I wasn’t getting the miles I needed. Shoot, one month, I barely had 130 miles total. No wonder it took so long.
However, as regular readers can attest, since the first of year, things are back to normal, and I am riding as much as I ever have. Damn it feels good. In fact, after the 67 miles Sunday, I knew that I was only 10 miles away from 17 K. Yep I was going to hit it Monday.
Monday afternoon hit, I jumped on the bike, headed down the road on a gorgeous day. I was cruising down the road, and looked down, only to see I was traveling zero mph and had traveled .3 miles total (I was 4 miles from work). DAMN!
I have a Cat Eye wireless odometer/speedometer. I had recently replaced the battery for the display, but it still had the original battery (after 500o miles) in the transmitter. After fiddling as much as I could, I realized I would just have to ride home without tracking it,
Editors note: OK I know I could reset the odometer and add the 17 miles I missed, but children and cats run away when I have to do that. I always get frustrated and mess it up! Better to just suck it up and ride today!
I ran out Monday night, got a new battery and installed it. Yep, no worries it was reading fine each time I spun the front wheel! Then this morning when I wheeled it to the bike rack, yep 3 mph! We are golden!
So tonight, I jump on, pull out from work, look down and….I was traveling zero mph!!! I will not tell you the words that came out of my mouth! Nothing I could do made it work. So, mad and frustrated, I pushed off to head home, planning to head for a bike store when I got there.
But, ladies and gents, this is where the ex-science teacher comes in. As I rode along, I noticed every now and then, the miles would tick up .01 every few minutes. This meant it was getting some signal. AND, it worked this morning and as I pushed it out the front door after work. What could be stopping the signal, or changed in the 5 minutes that it took to get the bike from the bike rack to the front door.
Then it hit me! (Gotta love science) I was trying to think of anything different at all about this week when I looked down and saw my brand new 2 watt head lamp I got for Valentine’s day! I had installed it Sunday! It is on the same side of the handle bars as the transmitter for the Cat Eye.
So, as a science teacher, I experimented. I turned off the light. Suddenly I was traveling 15 mph! I turned it back on, zero! Yep, the new light and its position is blocking or disrupting the signal! OH HELL YEAH!
Since it was daylight, and I was almost to the bike path, I simply left the light off. I was racking up the miles as usual, and soon, hit the milestone listed above! I was a much happier man. It just seemed like the cycling gods were throwing everything they could to keep me from getting to 18K, and I finally, after 5 months did it!
I am pretty sure if I switch the positions Cat Eye and light, the problem will be solved. If not, I have a few other ideas. I will let you know what happens!
Is a big deal in the grand scheme of things? No. But to an ex-science teacher and math geek, 18,000 miles seems pretty darn good right now. It will NOT take 5 months to hit 19K!
Like the wind folks!