40,000 Miles for The Mule

I read the other day that some fitness experts say it is a bad idea to keep track or your workouts. What balderdash.

I like numbers. By keeping track of my workouts I learned a lot. I learned that after 400 miles, running shoes (at least the ones I wore back in the day) that looked like they were in good shape lost the cushioning in their midsoles. If you rotated your shoes, they’d last a lot longer. And if you felt sore and listless, there was a good chance you hadn’t taken a day off recently. Finally, I found out that for me running 60 miles a week gave me the same or better running performance as running 70 miles per week.

You can get carried away. I became obsessed with running 3,000 miles in a year. Let me tell you the last month was a bitch. But I made it in the last week of December.

When I switched to bicycling, I had to figure out what was worth keeping track of. I counted the number of commutes each year, which bike I rode, how far I rode, and any other incidental information. I was a much more intense rider in the early years. Now I really don’t care much about the stats. But every so often a big one hits and it’s cause for celebration.

The odometer on The Mule hit 40,000 miles on my ride home from work25167767542_42cc5f4bd2_m. I have had this bike since 1991 so I’ve been averaging 1,600 miles per year on it. In the beginning, I rode a Trek 1200 for a few years. I sold that and rode The Mule exclusively until the early 2000s when I bought Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent. I then started using The Mule as my back up bike. I bought Little Nellie and The Mule was ridden even less. And my Cross Check was added to the stable last summer. Somewhere along the line, I came full circle and The Mule became my go-to commuter once again. All together, not counting the Trek, I have about 96,000 miles on bikes since 1991. That’s 3,840 miles per year over 25 years.

The Mule has taken me to work hundreds of times and carried me on two bike tours. It’s slow, it’s weighs a ton, but it won’t die (knock wood). All that remains of the original bike are the frame and fork, the seat post, the cranks, and the rear rack.

So it gave me a sense of satisfaction to write 40,000 in my training diary today. I was 2 miles from work on the Mount Vernon Trail when 39,999 gave way. I had a strong tail wind.

The Mule goes to my local bike shop for some TLC. The pedals feel crunchy, oil refuses to stay on the chain, the handlebar is bent and plastic bits have broken off the brake levers (both from a crash last winter). It’ll cost some $$$ but maybe I’ll get another 40,000 miles out of this bike.

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5 thoughts on “40,000 Miles for The Mule

  1. Love the fact you keep your bikes and return to the old ones. So many folk upgrade and upgrade and upgrade nowadays. I’ve been riding my bike for seven years now. We should not attach sentiment to inanimate objects but heck, we’re human not machines. Yes, I love my bike!

  2. Way to go!!! Sounds like you’ve got a great bike there–heavy or not.
    As for keeping track of your workouts is a great thing. I find it motivating to do one more push up or one more sit-up, or go a few kilometres further. Without stats, how would I know if I did that or not.

  3. Like you, I was a bit OCD with all my stats. I still do a spreadsheet to keep track, but I’ve toned down how much I keep track of. Now it’s just date, miles, machine and a brief note. I think, now that I’ve read this post, that I must have put on more miles than I thought!

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