Miles to Go (Before I Sleep)

“Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.”
-Rilke

I was raised to be a goal setter and it’s something I can’t shake no matter how hard I try.   Don’t get me wrong…goals can be useful.  They can also be constricting.  There’s always a risk that we will become too enamored with the target and forget why we’re shooting at it to begin with.

Bike Fivers have no finish line. As long as there's road ahead, there are places to ride.

Bike Fivers have no finish line. As long as there’s road ahead, there are places to ride.

I passed through a significant mileage goal today.   How many miles isn’t important other than to say it seemed like a lot more when I set out to do it than it does now that I’ve done it.  On the plus side, it has caused me to realize that I can cycle a lot further than I previously believed was possible.  I can go anywhere by bicycle now.  That’s a game changer.

But I now see the utter incongruity of a Bike Fiver like me setting a distance goal.  Cycling isn’t about distance to me.  It’s about getting where I’m going while having fun along the way.  It’s about the journey, not the inn.  It’s as much fun going around the block as it is around the world, and so my new goals won’t have anything to do with miles, or speed for that matter.

For 2016, my goal is going to be to Bike 5 somewhere every single day.  If it works the way I think it will, I will end the year wondering why I still have a car.  Some days I’ll ride to work.   Other days still I’ll ride to the movies or out to dinner or up into the mountains or around the block.    Some days I’ll wear a helmet.  Other days I won’t.  Some days I’ll see how far I can go no-handed.   I think it would be kind of fun to leave work and head right into the mountains in a suit and tie with what’s left of my long hair flowing in the breeze.  Vehicular mountain biking

Since I’m now in the land of goal setting and since it’s not about how far or how fast, I’ve decided to make it about dónde, or where.  Here are some places I’m definitely going to ride as soon as I get the chance.  This is only a partial list.

Texas State Highway 207 between Claude and Silverton is a remote, starkly beautiful 100 mile round trip that includes plenty of climbs.

Texas State Highway 207 between Claude and Silverton is a remote, starkly beautiful 100 mile round trip that includes plenty of climbs (including a crossing of Palo Duro Canyon) and very few motor vehicles.

Palo Duro Canyon from TX 207

Palo Duro Canyon from TX 207…it is so quiet here that you cannot help but be awed.

Cycling from Minneapolis to its twin city, St. Paul, would be high on my list of must rides.

St. Paul sits on the mighty Mississippi right next door to Minneapolis, the only US city recognized by Copenhagenize.EU for doing the right things the right way when it comes to active transportation.  There is no better urban place in the US in which to cycle.

While back in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I'd head up to the achingly beautiful north shore of Lake Superior and (at the very least) ride the 19 miles from Duluth to Two Harbors along old MN 61.

I’d also head up to the achingly beautiful north shore of Lake Superior and (at the very least) revisit the 19 miles from Duluth to Two Harbors along old MN 61.

The trailhead to Mount Ogden is two blocks from my front door. I understand that you can ride to the top.

The trailhead to Mount Ogden is two blocks from my front door. I’ve heard that you can ride to the top and then down the other side into Snowbasin Ski Area.  It would be kinda cool to be able to tell visitors, yeah, I’ve done that.

There are lots of places I want to ride.  I don’t have a bucket list per se because there’s no bucket big enough.  If I haven’t ridden it yet, I want to ride it now.  Everywhere…En el todo del mundo…  It doesn’t matter how far.  It doesn’t matter how fast or slow. It doesn’t even matter if I miss a day every now and then.  I probably will.   So what?  The only thing that really matters is smiles per mile.  That’s what Bike 5 is all about…that and getting wherever it is you’re going.

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