Get Out: Biking for 30 straight days a good, tough challenge

Julie Norman celebrates her 30th consecutive day of riding in April during the 30 Days of Biking Challenge with a bike ride at Lunch Loop.

In April, myself and other bikers all across the country took part in a 30 Days of Biking Challenge.

The rules were simple: Ride your bike every day for 30 days. There were no guidelines for distance or type of riding. Just get ... on ... your ... bike.

Those of us at decided to log our rides using Strava and upload them directly to a leader board page on our website, so we could really see who in our group biked for a full 30 days and also how many miles each person logged.

There were some who rode more than 500 miles in that time. Some rode less than 70. Me? I came in with a respectable 155 miles.

So, what was it like biking for 30 days straight? Here are some of the highs and lows.

The highs

I rode some new trails (both dirt and paved), like Zippity-Do-Dah at 18 Road and the scary pedestrian path on Grand Avenue that goes over the railroad tracks. Yikes!

My bike-handling skills improved. Even though I didn’t mountain bike every day, just being on a bike seemed to help. I found myself popping up ledges I’d never ridden before and riding technical sections at a faster speed.

I made new friends. I got to bike with some other writers one weekend, and I have been on several lunchtime bike rides with new friends from around town.

I’ve been mountain biking on my lunch break. This has by far been the greatest part of this challenge. It’s great that The Daily Sentinel is so close to the Lunch Loop trails and that finally I can use them for their intended purpose. Short, 45-minute mountain-bike rides are great for not only improving fitness, but also ones focus at work.

I lost three pounds. No one can complain about that, even if I had to bike 30 days in a row to do it.

I actually completed the challenge. On day 30 myself, a co-worker and a few others met at Lunch Loop for a great lunchtime ride. We hammed it up on High Noon as I posed for pictures documenting my 30th day.

The lows

April is not a great month for biking in Colorado. If it wasn’t raining or cold, it was windy.

One day, my only ride was one lap around the park while rain dripped off of my raincoat and soaked me from the waist down.

Another day found me attempting to turn east or west as much as possible on my ride (north) to home in order to avoid a 30 mph headwind. For probably a mile and a half I would ride a block west to block the wind, and then a block or two north, straight into it.

Sometimes it becomes a chore. As much as I love biking, on some days I just didn’t feel like riding. I am one to take goals like this quite seriously, however, so I just kept plugging along. Usually, once I was actually on the bike and moving, I was really glad to be biking.

Using time each day for biking meant that I didn’t have as much time for other fitness activities, like yoga. Time on my lunch break that I might normally have spent practicing yoga was time to squeeze in a bike ride instead.

The final analysis? This was an awesome challenge, and I was glad to do it. Most of my bike rides were fun and relaxing, and being able to say that I completed the challenge was pretty sweet, too.

So, here’s a challenge for all of you: June is Bike to Work month in Colorado. It’s the perfect time to try your own challenge. Try biking every day in the month of June, or just biking to work every workday.

Not only will you save gas, but you might even lose a few pounds or increase your overall fitness level.

If nothing else, make a promise to yourself to try to bike to work on Wednesday, June 25, Colorado’s Bike to Work Day. There’s plenty of time between now and then to map out the perfect route for your commute.

If you live anywhere near Riverfront Trail, see if you can put it to use for your work commute. Streets like Third, Fifth, 10th and 15th all have bike lanes, and other residential streets through town like Colorado, Ouray and Belford usually aren’t very busy.

Right now is a beautiful time to get out and enjoy biking of all kinds all around the valley. Start training now, and by June you’ll be ready to tackle biking to work every day.

Me? I think I’ll tackle a 21-days-of-commuter-biking challenge and try to bike to work every day in June. Maybe I’ll see you out there.

Daily Sentinel online advertising coordinator Julie Norman can’t do enough biking and hiking on her days off. Email her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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