Well, it’s kind of over, and it’s sort of begun again. This feels rather odd and self-indulgent, but I’m going to do it anyway, because I’m feeling a tad pleased with myself. Today, as you’ll no doubt be aware, is April 1st. Today, the 30daysofbiking project starts again, where cyclists who wish to ride more, or just integrate cycling into their lives, can join a worldwide community to ride everyday for the thirty days of April. A fine thing.
(If you’re in one of the daft countries that block the above video due to copyright on ‘Good Morning Starshine’, try this version instead, featuring Tim Rose’s lovely ‘Morning Dew’ instead).
The 30daysofbiking team tend to regard me as a bit of an oddity. I find that quite amusing.
Last year, just before the event started, in a chilly March, cycling dutchperson Renee Van Baar bullied me publicly on twitter into taking part. So agreed, naturally, as one does with strong Dutch women still carrying their allotment fork. So duly, on April 1st, I started Brownhills Bobs 30 Days Of Biking. I opened a Tumblr blog (a mistake, really, as I’ve grown to loathe Tumblr itself, but I’m stuck with it now) to act as a journal. It took me a while to get into the swing of it, but everyday I posted photos or videos from that day’s riding. They weren’t all happy. Some were ugly. A few were angry. Some were examples of idiocy on the road. Some were things that amused or puzzled me. I began, oddly, to get into it.
The other odd thing was that despite the limited nature of Tumblr, people were engaging with it. I didn’t (and still don’t) have any stats, but the journal is usually one of the most clicked links on my blog. People seemed to like the videos, and wanted to talk about the pictures. They were interested in the things I was. In effect, they were riding with me.
At the end of April, I was so happy with the project that I rather self-indulgently asked readers if I should continue. The answer seemed to be quite a resounding ‘yes’, so the journal rather inaccurately became ‘Brownhills Bob’s 365 Days of Biking‘ – inaccurate because it was a leap year and would actually be 366 days. I carried on. The journal settled into a regular pattern. I explored places I knew well, just to share them. I started looking at my environment differently. I ranted about the trials and tribulations of commuting, the wind, weather and using trains. Sometimes I felt sad or down. Others, I demonstrated the kind of Fast-Show type enthusiasm that must surely really annoy people. The response to my video of nearly coming to grief at the hands of a really poor bit of driving moved me an awful lot.
Readers came with me as the summer waxed and waned. In autumn, I recorded the colour, the prevailing air of time’s passage and the fruits and seeds I found. With winter came dark nights and a fascination with mundane night scenes. Then disaster struck.
Cycling everyday was not a big challenge for me, in that I practically do it anyway, the recording was more of the issue. I can honestly say that only twice did I go out when I wouldn’t have done ordinarily. Once, I was groggy and the second occasion, I had stuff to carry, but just loaded the bike and got on with it. But, at New Year, I was very ill, and missed two days. I got back at it as soon as I could possibly do it, but the sense of failure was huge. I’m still heartbroken about it, and will continue at least until I’ve done 365 days continuously. In the true cycling tradition, I got on my bike and rode off again. It’s what I do. 364 days of biking isn’t too shabby, I don’t think.
For those keeping score, it’s been 9,442 miles give or take. 6 tyres over three bicycles. It’s an average of just under 26 miles a day. In that time I’ve had a minimum of close shaves on the road. Cycling is safe, and that’s the proof.
Since then, I’ve chronicled the passing of winter and the birth of a new spring. I’m still enjoying this immensely. Sometimes it’s hard to find pictures, sometimes I want to post hundreds. I keep finding little oddities I’ve missed, small mysteries which readers help solve. I’m still out there, every day, wind, rain or shine, with camera and a flapjack in my pocket.
I will keep doing this, like my main blog, as long as there is interest. I’m not an evangelist, I don’t thing we should all ride bikes on every occasion, just that if you enjoy it, it may well be far better than you ever imagined. Try it, you might like it.
So if you will, saddle up and we shall continue. I love riding down the road with you.