Every day, come rain or shine, I’ve got on my bike and rode it somewhere.
You can find an easy to browse archive here.
These journeys were mainly commutes, of course, but there have been pleasure rides, hard slogs in the Peak District, on Cannock Chase and down country lanes. Some rides have been very long, some short circuits in the rain and wind. But everyday, I just got on a bike, in pretty normal clothes and rode. Why? Because I like riding a bike. A middle aged bloke, with middle aged spread, just going where I want or need, under my own steam, with a camera.
Of course, this project hasn’t just run for a year. It’s run for 21 months, but I failed over new year 2011-12, when I got food poisoning and couldn’t ride for two days. Committed to keep my word, I restarted the clock and rode all year.
I was quite glad, really. The first year had been dry, and easy to cycle in. The last nine months, I think I’ve proved that I’m no fair weather cyclist. This was quite important to me. I wanted to show that this whole thing was possible, and that it was possible if you weren’t Bradley Wiggins, just a normal man on the normal roads with all that entails.
Oddly, people seem to be interested, which I find puzzling. I found a hit counter for Tumblr – a blog platform I’ve come to actively hate the mechanics of – and installed it a couple of moths ago. The journal seems to get about 1,000 hits a week or so. I thought it was possibly doing a couple of hundred. People comment and ask questions. It’s a nice thing to do and write. I have enjoyed it.
Sometimes, finding a good image on a black day is bloody hard. The photography is crap, and shows the work of a geek who works their camera by fiddling with it continually until the right result pops out. There are peculiar obsessions and operational tics that many readers find irritating. My spelling, use of language and prose seem even worse there than they do here (usually because it’s written when tired).
Friends and readers have taken issue with a number of things, not least my obsession with the water level at Chasewater, and the repeated photos of Rugeley Power Station. It’s been remarked that I take a lot of photographs of railway stations. Thats true, very often, they’re my destination. Destination is one part, the other, the journey.
I’ve tried to convey my passion for stuff. I do that here, but on the 365days journal, it’s more immediate, shorter and often, more gutteral. I’ve tried to take folk along for the ride. To see what I see. Flowers, views and architecture. Busy streets, weeds growing from buildings, the beauty of the seasons changing. I’ve collected and spread seeds, fixed punctures and discussed bad road use. I’ve lamented potholes, lost architecture, flytipping and the headwind. I’ve cycled in tears, and laughter. It’s has been, is now, and will always be a hard, solitary road.
One of the things that’s been useful is that people can see from what I’ve created that I’m not flat, emotionless or rational. There are nonsensical passions, indiscriminate rants and a distinct love of the outdoors. It has been me, and just about everything I feel, love and do that I can share.
I’ve never been a bike zealot. I don’t think everyone should get on a bike. I do believe, however, that some folk might find riding one beneficial, or enjoyable. If this disjointed pile of irrelevance has done anything at all, I hope it’s encouraged at least one person to saddle up and go look at something they didn’t know was there before. I’ve found things through compiling it I didn’t know were there. Many times, I’ve come home and looked stuff up, or canvassed opinions.
The whole exercise has made me look at stuff in a different way. I’m really appreciative of that. The anguish I suffered when I was ill over wimping out really hurt me. This is something I’ve been thoroughly committed to.
The stats for the year are thus: 2 pairs of tyres, 5 pairs of brake pads and 9,348 miles. That’s about 25 and a half miles a day. A scary total of 13,653 photos have been taken. On the journal so far, there have been 1,458 posts.
So now, with the year complete, what do I do? I’m asking you folks, the readers. I’m feeling the thing is getting a bit weary; some stuff seem to be cropping up more than once (often down to poor memory), and I just wonder if I’ve worn the concept out. The problem is, I can never read my stuff the way others do. It’s impossible to perceive your own work.
Should I continue the story, or end it on a high here? I’m happy to continue, but I could also accept it’s time to stop. I have no idea what I should do.
Most of all, I’d like to thank everyone for riding tandem, and showing such remarkable interest in something so trivial. Thanks.