Saturday, December 30, 2023

2023 Rewind

2023 was the year that, finally, felt normal again. But, a new normal, which, if I've learned anything from the pandemic, it's easier to adapt when things go sideways. I still went on vacation - two in fact - and a couple overnights, but they weren't without hiccups, that were replaced with equally fun plans.

2023 Highlights

With a warmer winter, January and February was all about cruising at night on studded tires, and equally riding the Dahon on dry paths, while dreaming of spring adventures.

I concentrated on major upgrades to the Dahon in March, and April/May were a flurry of getting the Rachel ready and riding the Erie Canal Trail!

My husband and I made an effort to ride different trails in both Vermont and Canada, because July's record flooding wiped out sections of the newly opened cross Vermont's Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, canceling that planned weeklong July cycling vacation. We hope repairs are made in time for a 2024 second attempt.

In August, I drove to the Northeast Kingdom to ride my favorite mountain bike trails. While there, our bike mechanic son let me know a prized Specialized Hard Rock was available. You bet I said "yes"!

September's vacation turned out to be a perfect assortment of riding in Canada with a friend, then turning towards New Hampshire and the Atlantic Coast. Again, we pivoted in one day, initially planning to ride several Pennsylvania rail trails, but the weather was atrocious south of Vermont. It's always worthwhile to have alternative ideas.

In the autumn, because it's my favorite time of year, I ride more often, completing the Coffeeneuring Challenge, enjoying foliage rides, and adventures with friends.

On the creative front, I sewed a monster tote bagrepurposed a purple bag, and started painting again.

As 2023 comes to a close, I'm proud that I followed through with 2023 intentions. I also proved that my 61 years old body is still capable of hauling camping gear on longer bike tours, and partly because of that Erie Canal adventure, I surpassed an annual mileage milestone, breaking the 4K barrier (~4150).

Friday, December 22, 2023


As we roll into the holiday season, I can't do what I do without the support of those around me. To my gracious, loving, helpful, and supportive husband, thank you for all you do to keep our lives in balance, for having coffee ready every morning to prop my eyelids open and get out the door to help support my mom in her home. I'm thankful for both sons, the eldest flying home for a weekend to celebrate his dad's birthday, the younger for his patience and bicycle knowhow, for upgrading my fleet, not laughing when I ask stupid questions, for slowing down when we ride together. For the beauty around our home, river view, two bike paths, wildlife, spotting deer on night rides, eagles and herons, turtles butting against our home that we gently guide on a different path, and the colorful diversion that I'm finding within myself, exploring painting again. The role that the bicycle plays in my happiness is another constant, a steadfast companion that keeps me on even ground - to you I'm eternally grateful.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Mileage Goals - How Far Can I Go?


A segment of a mileage tracking spreadsheet that I started in 2021, reflecting 2023 current stats.

With my annual mileage currently at 3875 - the highest it's been in 10+ years of tracking - I would like to know if I can top 4000. The number has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? With ten days to go in a fickle Vermont December, I should be happy with 3875. Indeed, I attribute the increased mileage to two cycling vacations. Can I average 11 miles per day from now until the end of December? 

Monday, December 11, 2023

Separation Anxiety or is it Just Winter?

The Trek Marlin 7, Specialized Hard Rock, and Bassi Rachel in dry dock until spring.

Late fall, my husband organizes our garage to accommodate both vehicles, which means deciding which bicycles must be stored in the basement. I primarily use the Peugeot commuter  (eventually shoed with studded tires) and the folder as backup throughout the winter. I like alternating between a heavy but sturdier bike and a lighter, small-wheel counterpart because of riding diversity, plus the latter is easier to clean in wet weather.

And so, every time I descend the stairs to our basement, I see my most colorful bikes and I'm wistfully longing for the day to ride them all again! It may be I'm not ready for winter, or each one is a reminder of adventures to come. I've only ridden the Hard Rock a handful of times but it's scheduled for a 2024 tour. The Rachel is a magical touring wonder and my hardtail reminds me of fun times in the woods. 2023 infused me with hope, the first time since 2020 that my husband and I rode bikes on two vacations in one year - it's no wonder I'm dreaming of the same for 2024!