19 February 2015

Memories Light the Corners of My Bike Path


Recently, Road Bike Rider magazine announced 88-year-old Richard Lawrence of Lexington, North Carolina, had reached a quarter of a million bicycle miles in 29 years.


Got me thinking about what I've done. I didn't keep track before my first Ride the Rockies, but I would imagine 100 miles a year would be a wise average guess because there were years when I had no bicycle, and there were years when my kids and I would pedal 50 miles on a single good-weather Saturday.

The four years my son and I put in for the Ride the Rockies lottery together but were not drawn, I would estimate we each pedaled in the neighborhood of 200 miles in a month of training while we awaited our RtR fate. We wouldn't stop riding when we got the bad news (check returned uncashed in the mail because nothing was online back then), but we wouldn't focus on long rides after finding out we didn't make it AGAIN. We concentrated on fun.

My kids considered fun being able to jump in the South Platte River every two or three miles, regardless of how far we rode. Those were the days!


Nevertheless, without worrying about those early cycling years, since my first Ride the Rockies in 2003, I estimate I've ridden 22,700 in 12 years (not including this year's miles so far). Almost entirely on two bikes! And most of those miles are on my now-11-year-old road bike!

Makes me giddy inside just thinking about it!

I remember the first time the kids and I did a 50-miler in a single weekend. We'd been on many bike rides together, including some adventures in Moab, but we'd never done serious mileage. I think my son was 13, and my daughter was 10. I'd had her only a couple of years, and she still had so many fears; both kids were adopted an an older age and so had not grown up cycling like me.

monkey see, monkey do

My daughter was afraid to ride across bridges at first because she thought her bike would fall through, and the water would eat her skin like the lava in the movie Dante's Peak. My son and I had the most difficult time convincing her this was the very same water she'd just jumped into and splashed around in a mile back! I think my son had to walk her bike across the first three bridges while I carried her, screaming, across, before she decided to try it on her own!

During that first long ride, we went to Chatfield Reservoir and back. 25 miles along the South Platte in each direction, with multiple swim stops along the way. We stopped at a McDonald's about three miles from home on the flip flop, and both kids each devoured two Big Macs, two large fries and two large drinks in one sitting. This was way before we had ever heard of water bottle cages and Camelbaks. I still have the photo of them zonked on the couch something like ten minutes after we got home!


Some of my co-workers thought I was fibbing when I reported the adventure the following Monday. They thought there was no way anyone could do 50 miles in a day, especially kids.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Now five Ride the Rockies tours later, I don't think my co-workers doubt anything I tell them anymore.

I did it!!!


  1. What great memories! Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Thank you, Brenda! I still laugh every time I look at or even think about that shot of my kids zonked!

  2. haha look pooped there, that is a ton of miles indeed. Damn though, that guy must live on his bike to get that many mile in in 29 years

    1. He definitely sets the bar high, Pat. It will be interesting to see what my total mileage is in 18 or 19 more years...

  3. That's a ton of miles! Maybe I will dig out my old logs on this snowy day.

    You're memories make me think we ought to stop and jump in the Platte during one of our rides this summer. It looks rather refreshing.

    1. You're so funny, Lizard! We could jump in the South Platte any time you like! We can pretend to be kids again!

      I hope you do total up your miles. That sounds like the makings of an awesome blog post!

  4. Great photos! Your kids really did zonk out after that one!

    I've kept logs of my riding for at least 20 years. I should drag them out and add up the miles someday. It would be fun!

    1. Thanks, KB! That photo of my kids kept me giggling all weekend. It's a fun memory, and I've kind of needed that. Things aren't always the way I'd hoped for those kids, so it's nice to have the joyful memories to dwell on once in a while.

      I hope you do compute your miles. I'd like to see what you've done!

  5. Wow, that's a great record for the older gentleman.

    I'm really impressed that your kids could do a 50-miler. Stopping every few miles to swim would definitely help! Love the zonked-out photo. :)

    Great idea for cyclists who wish to be cremated: have their ashes adopted by other cyclists so they can keep racking up the miles even after they die! (Now where in the world did that come from??? Sometimes I scare myself....)

    1. Oh, my goodness, Sue, you even scared me on that one...


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