Friday, April 01, 2011

#30DaysofBiking: The Power of Gimmick & Repetition


I'm going to ride a bike every day in April. This isn't a big deal, it shouldn't be a big deal. I'm the guy who rides thousands of miles, right? Paris-Brest-Paris? Been there, done that. Great Divide Mountain Bike Route? Yeah, that too. 36 miles per day in bike commuting? Well, not any more...

You see, I walk to work these days. It's so close that walking is the best way to get there. I walk home for lunch. And often, on my days off, Christine and I walk everywhere we need to go. And sometimes, like this year, the weather in the Puget Sound area is exactly like an Oatmeal Comic.

As much as I love biking, and I do love biking and I still ride quite a bit, I'd fallen out of the habit. I'd ride, but I haven't been riding every day.

I miss my bike commute and I miss the repetition. The getting out there in all kinds of weather. I didn't need a kick in the pants, but I did need a nudge. A tiny, trivial nudge. A gimmick.

On Twitter, where a million droplets of nothing become something, I found that gimmick. It's called #30DaysofBiking. You can sign up here. It's easy, you just pledge to ride some (around the block counts) every day in the month of April. It's a gimmick.

But here's the thing. Gimmicks work. I found this out back when I was the Commuting guy for the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and in various conversations over the years with hard core bike geeks. A surprising number of passionate bikers got their start because of some gimmick like Bike to Work Day or some bike commute challenge. I refer to these things as gimmicks not to disparage them but because they don't seem essential to riding. But again, gimmicks like these work.

I think #30DaysofBiking works because it uses Jerry Seinfeld's Productivity Secret. Do something, every day. It'll become a habit.

So, I'm getting back in the habit. I've already been out riding today. Not far, but I was out and about. I rode to the bank. I saw a rabbit scoot off into the darkness. I saw the new spring lambs grazing in the shadow of the freeway. The rain this morning was light and my jacket is good. My lights work great. So do my legs and lungs. The bran muffin at the coffee shop tastes too good to possibly be good for me.

But the riding, I think that's good. I'll be out there, every day. What the heck, I'm going to post here, every day this month. At least a few words and at least one picture. #30DaysofBiking.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA
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