I’ve been tracking my riding stats for a few years now. In 2010, I commuted by bike 202 times, but in 2011 I only made it 193 days (my first full year of commuting – 2009 – I rode 180 times). It got me wondering if 200 days per year is my ceiling, so I decided to dig deeper into the data.
In 2011 I had 254 non-holiday weekdays. That means I didn’t ride 61 days where I theoretically could have.
What makes me miss these rides? After all, I not only LIKE to ride, but thanks to having a short commute in an urban environment, biking to work is the single fastest way for me to get there and back. I don’t ever skip commutes based on convenience or because I’m running late.
Fortunately, being the data geek that I am, I started last year to track not only the number of days I rode, but also the reasons I didn’t ride. Here’s where the “missing” 61 days went:
28 days: Business travel and events.
18 days: Vacation. Damn, thought I hit a full four weeks. Maybe this year.
10 days: Health (most due to the wife and I both having LASIK surgery in 2011)
4 days: Social events. Sometimes the overnight Zipcar rental is a better option than riding.
1 day: Weather.
Yes, only one day missed for weather. I’ve gotten much better about not letting weather slow me down. As the saying goes, there’s no bad weather, just bad gear. And after a few years of daily riding, I’ve accumulated more than adequate gear. But I draw the line at ice or heavy snow. The best gear in the world won’t protect you from the inability of Seattle’s drivers to operate their gear in the stuff. 2011 only threw one such weekday at us, but years past haven’t been so kind.
So the absolute ceiling? As business travel and vacation time aren’t going away for me, it’s probably 210 commutes. While I’ve commuted every day to kick off the year, I’ve got lots of travel planned already. And I’m looking outside at about 4 inches of snow, which may remain (and bring friends) through the middle of the week.
My 2010 record of 202 commutes may be safe for another year.