How to cycle every day in April in Ontario
The “30 days of biking” pledge is an international movement to ride every day in April, any distance, and then share your adventures online with the hashtag #30daysofbiking. It sounds easy enough!
I am down to the last few days and am confident I am going to make it. I have been out every day, with some very short rides, some e-bike rides, some cruises, and some longer rides and decent workouts. All in all, the experience has been positive: it has made me more active, encouraged me to be outside in all weather, and I am feeling strong and ready to tackle the rest of the season.
What was challenging?
It was a challenge to go every day, especially when the weather was bad. I knew before starting that I am a fair-weather rider, but my bad attitude to some of the less-than-perfect days made me aware of just how much I normally cherry-pick my ride times and days.
At first I felt like I was cheating when I did a short ride or used the e-bike, even though I had set those parameters for myself at the beginning. But I was quite tired after the first week and knew I would have to build in recovery time through easy days to get through the month. It was an excellent reminder that rest and active recovery are important.
The only real drawback to riding every day was fitting in some of my other activities, like trail runs (none), strength training (maybe 3 times all month), or hikes (none). Monday morning yoga happened every week, except once when the instructor had to cancel, so I think that perhaps having a schedule and fixed time helped. If I do the challenge next year, I will put a plan in place to ensure I can keep up some of my other valued activities.
What was great?
The best part of the month has been doing something a little bit different every time. I started out on a gravel bike when there was still a lot of snow, mud, and sand around. I got my beloved road bike, Violet, out as soon as I could. As soon as the off-road trails were rideable my mountain bike got to come out and play. Oh yes, and I am fortunate to have access to an e-bike – that allowed for commutes, and a couple of rides on very cold and windy days.
Ideas for new adventures every day
- Practice skills, such as bunny hops
- Do a workout, like hill repeats
- Have a social ride with a friend
- Drive to another region to try a new trail (and new coffee shop!)
- Take the bike when going out of town for work
- Attempt GPS art in a parking lot
- Test ride bikes after tune-ups
Having more than one bike has been an absolute luxury. In my defence, I live at the top of a windy hill on a busy road, and some days a road ride from home is unpleasant or even unsafe. Having the option to take a gravel or mountain bike to a trail or use the e-bike definitely made the challenge more manageable.
Watching spring unfold from a cyclist’s point of view has been delightful. Here in Oro-Medonte, in central Ontario, there was too much snow on the rail trail to ride it with my gravel bike on April 1, and by the middle of the month the mountain bike trails were dry and rideable. Now flowers are up and the trees are budding.
Knowing that some friends and a wider community have taken this pledge has been fun and motivating.
The 30 Days of Biking website says “If you miss a day, no worries. Just keep riding and don’t give up!” For all of us with a few days left, let’s finish strong. And for those who want to give it a try next year, I say yeah!