Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Deux mille bornes!

If you're as cool as I am (wink wink), you are no doubt aware of the card game Mille Bornes. Perhaps like me, you even played it with your friends during lunch period in school growing up before graduating to Pass the Pigs in high school. That's right. I'm just that cool.

The object of Mille Bornes is to pass mille bornes (French for 'one thousand milestones') while dodging problems (like running out of gas and having accidents) in order to travel 1,000 miles, or in the case of modern day France, 1,000 kilometers. (Maybe some day we'll evolve sufficiently in this country to adopt the metric system as well, but for now we're stuck with the arcane mile, but I digress.) 

Now, to the point of my post... Today, on my way home from work, I passed my 2,000th bicycle commuting borne for this year! Well, not literally. Only the trail has marked mileage, and it's on poles, not nifty little tombstone-like stone markers. But I have now traveled more than 2,000 bike commuting miles so far this year.

Since I've been at this bike commuting thing for better part of three years now, these kinds of milestones have become something of an annual occurence for me. I've hit the 2,000 mile mark before, but that doesn't make it any less sweet.

When you cover this kind of mileage in roughly 7.5 mile increments twice a day as I do, it's easy to forget that all those little trips add up to thousands of miles a year. Pausing to reflect and realizing I've commuted over 2,000 miles by bike at the end of August gives me more of a sense of accomplishment than I get from arriving home after work knowing I've ridden 15 miles round trip that day. 

You can also use these year-to-date totals to amaze and impress your friends! How far is 2,000 miles, for instance? Well, a quick measure in Google shows that it's roughly the distance from Alexandria, VA to Boise, ID. Not bad. Certainly has more gravity than one day's 15 miles of commuting does. It's also roughly the distance between Alexandria and Las Vegas, but since I'd much rather visit Boise in my lifetime than Las Vegas, I'll use Boise as an example. Besides, it's also fun to think that this means I have ridden far enough to get to the farms where the potatoes are grown to make those Five Guys fries I love so much!
More practically, keeping track of this kind of mileage figure is good in terms of bike maintenance. It's always good to have at least a rough idea how many miles you've racked up on a set of tires or a chain and cassette. Keep records long enough and you have a sense of how many miles you've put on longer lasting items like a wheel or chainrings on the crankset, much in the same way that if you're very serious about car maintenance you'd keep track of how many miles you have on your tires, your brake pads, and belts. Of course, bikes are generally a lot easier and cheaper to maintain. ;-)

Now it's time to turn my attention to the next big milestone, 3,000 miles (and beyond). By year's end I should have covered over 3,200 miles commuting by bicycle to and from work and class. 

Now if only they'd build a bridge straight across the Atlantic, that'd be far enough to go from the DC area to the southwest tip of Ireland! Erin Go Bragh!\


1 comment:

  1. In those 2,000 miles you've saved about 80 gallons of gas and 1,253 pounds of carbon dioxide riding your bike versus driving a car. Great job! I'm so proud of you. -Meghan