I’ve only been riding consistently for transportation since April, although I was a recreational family cyclist before then. What strikes me is how long it feels like I’ve been doing this already (ages!) and how relatively quickly I’ve improved. One of the benefits of commuting by bike is that you have the chance to perfect your route and take it over and over, observing your incremental improvements. I may not look different, but I’m definitely stronger and I’ve got more stamina in the saddle.
Smart phone apps like Strava make it easy to gauge your progress, but it’s also just something I sensed in myself. One day I was grinding up a familiar battle axe of a hill when I realized I hadn’t stopped to rest for two blocks. Fist pump! It’s the little things.
When I started out doing this four-ish months ago, I remember my sense of complete amazement that I did preschool drop-off one morning (7 miles!). I huffed and puffed on my Frankenbike and thought I would die coming up Meridian. And I clearly remember the day I did both drop-off AND pick-up. I felt like Tom Cruise in that rock-and-roll musical-movie thingie, but without all the weird connotations. I was, in short, totally amazing.
Now I average about 14-21 miles a day, just getting around town. It feels good–not too much, not too little. Then I’m browsing the Seattle Family Biking Facebook group and I see a more experienced family rider describe a short ride as “anything under 40 miles.” Ha, ha, ha!
So I still have pleeeeenty of room for progress, but plenty of room to acknowledge what’s behind me, too. So if you’re just starting out, believe that in a short time your bike will feel like a part of you and you’ll be able to see so much progress. Truly!
Also, this is how I picture myself while I’m riding a bike, and I’m always surprised when I catch our reflection in a store window: