Sunday, January 1, 2012

Cycling 12,000km in 365 days

Fascinated with numbers, as I am, this year I set myself the challenge of cycling 1,000km each month to achieve 12,000km by the end of the year. I felt sure that was within reach as the average distance per day was only 32.88km. My commute alone was 34km each day. I would only have to do 60.16km each weekend to top that up. This was gong to be easy. I got the bike out and got started.

Two months in and things hadn't quite gone to plan. I had fallen a bit behind. But I knuckled down and made up the difference in March. I was back on track. Then everything changed! In May, I got made redundant. My first thought was, "How am I going to reach 12,000km now?"

June and July were a bit hectic! Arranging to move back home, as no work was to be found in Dublin, meant that not much cycling got done. I had holiday booked in September too. August needed to be massive. It wasn't! It was big, but nowhere near big enough to help me make up the deficit.

By the start of October I had cycled just 6,158.56km. I was way behind where I needed to be. I began trying to justify reducing the total to 10,000km and kidding myself that I would be happy with that. Once I set myself a target, I hate to miss it. 10,000km would be good but I really wanted the 12,000km. I needed to be tough on myself. I had to convince myself I was going to succeed.

With a quarter of the year to go, I still had almost half the distance to do. Winter would be here soon so I put my head down and kept on pedaling, day after day. Then finally, some good news, it was Spring again!?! Had I been cycling so much that I'd missed winter, Xmas and New Year and just cycled on into 2012? Had I achieved my goal? I must have, I thought to myself, but apparently not.

The unusually mild weather, in the latter part of the year (thanks to my new friend, global warming ;), enabled me to get close and closer to the finish line. I was convinced I was going to make it now and began recalculating the average distance each day as the deadline got closer. I could even take a few days off it seemed. So I did. And boy did I need them! I was cycling every day, for at least 3 or 4 hours at a time and I wasn't getting paid for this!

Eventually though, the end was in sight. I treated myself to a rest on Xmas day and did absolutely nothing. Bliss! Six days left, 500km to go. I was going to make it! I completed the final 100km on December 31st. I had done it! I managed to cycle 12,000km in a year. 

I celebrated with a can of Cider I had been saving and a bottle of Becks I found at the back of the fridge. Scant reward for such a monumental personal achievement, but I was too tired for anything else. No attending the fireworks on the River Thames for me this year, but I could watch it on television this time, in the warm! No parties to attend either and home alone. So, I turned to Twitter and shared my achievement with my new cycling friends, many of whom, I discovered, were also staying home this New Year's Eve. How far had they cycled I wondered?


  1. Awesome achievement! I love that you didn't let the unexpected obstacles stop you! You are one determined guy!

    1. Thank you. Had it not been a cycling challenge I was undertaking, I may well have thrown in the towel, but doing something you love can have an amazing driving influence on your mind!