A quick note on how TCI Friday works: This is meant to be a forum for our readers to share their thoughts and experiences on their own cycling lives. What I have to say is just one perspective. Please consider weighing in on the topic and participating in the conversation. Thanks.
There was a time, a long time actually, when I had a base cycling fitness based on daily commuting. For a decade or so, I rode into and out of Boston every day, about 9 miles at the time, so regularly that there was no weekend ride I couldn’t take on. It was weekdays full of the hurl and burl of urban cyclo-combat and weekends full of idyllic cruises around the western suburbs.
I don’t know how a series of 15-20 mile days translates into being able to ride a hard 60 mile route, or more, but back then I had that fitness in my locker. Even if my legs felt dead on a Friday from the unintentional intervals of sprinting from stoplight to stoplight, I could still rock up on a Saturday morning and acquit myself without too much trouble.
Maybe it’s just that I was younger.
When I took a job in the bike industry, my commute shortened to just 5 miles, so I had the irony of being closer to cycling in my daily work, but riding less as a result. I made up for that mostly by taking longer routes, often involving detours through the woods. I’d say I had less fitness, but still a good base, and the hours I spent in between basking in the glow of bikes and riding, stoked my ambitions and led me to a lot of great experiences riding all over the country.
Fast forward to March 2020 and the dawn of the work-at-home age. As much as I love the comfort, convenience, and quiet of working from my couch, I do miss those base miles. Now a 40 mile ride is an epic. I’m not proud to type that, but it’s true. My cycling fitness reservoir is as empty as it’s ever been.
And I wonder if many of you find yourselves in the same situation, or whether you never depended on commuting for base miles in the first place.
This week’s TCI Friday, asks where do your base miles live? Did you/do you depend on a bike commute, or a series of trainer sessions, or weekday group rides? And how has the pandemic affected your bike fitness, if at all?