No More Training Wheels.  Now What?

No More Training Wheels. Now What?

You like riding your bicycle. Maybe you’re a novice, maybe you’ve been riding for years. But life puts a lot of demands on your bicycle time. Work. Marriage. Minecraft. Kids. Translating T.S. Eliot into English.

For the liberal arts majors, that last one is a joke. Kinda.

Given life’s narrowing margins, you’ve finally made peace with the fact that you’ll never win the Tour. That your bunny hop will always look like a snake trying to pull down a window shade. That a 360 endo is to be avoided simply because of the inclusion of the word “end.”

You know the end is not the beginning of any happy story.

Nonetheless, a good challenge injects a bit of excitement into riding a bike. What’s a good challenge? Simple: doing something you haven’t done before (or haven’t done for a long time).

Your challenge doesn’t have to be physically demanding or take up a great amount of time. It does not need to be a New Year’s Resolution. Indeed, it’s much better if it is NOT a resolution.

Here are a few challenges to consider this year (including just a few that might make you sweat). Pick one or two, or make up a couple of your own:

  • Record your rides (a paper ride log or a blog)
  • Ride to the grocery store
  • Ride for coffee
  • Ride to breakfast
  • Ride with someone else
  • Ride to breakfast with someone else
  • Ride a half hour
  • Ride 100 miles
  • Ride off road (borrow one of our demo mountain bikes)
  • Ride somewhere new
  • Ride to work
  • Learn to fix a flat tire
  • Ride every day in one month
  • Climb Forest Park Drive in Peoria or Kerfoot Street in East Peoria  

Let’s take a closer look at two of these challenges: 1) riding for coffee and 2) riding every day in one month.

If you like mixing bicycles and coffee, and you like rules, read about the Coffeeneuring Challenge. This event is held in the late fall and the rules are pretty simple.

  • over the course of 6’ish weeks,
  • ride your bike 7 different places,
  • at least 2 miles round-trip each time,
  • drink 7 cups of coffee (or similar), and
  • take 7 pictures as proof of your coffeeneuring.

If you like even simpler rules, and you don’t want to wait for the fall to arrive, take a look at 30 Days of Biking. All you do is ride every day in April and share your rides online. It doesn’t matter how far or how fast you go. Down to the corner counts just as much as climbing Mount Washington.

April may be the cruelest month for the poet, “breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain,” but if you work on riding a bit each day, it can be a fulfilling month for you.

What’s your challenge going to be?




Sam Joslin is and always will be wiser with words than any other poor schmuck here at the Whacker.  His jokes are often dry, a little dated, or far to clever to be adequately appreciated, but he certain means well.  Don't get me started about Sam's fondness for mid eighty's steel bicycles, and if you enter our friendly little store in a hurry, you're better off not mentioning the topic.  Look for Sam's ramblings and reviews on our Instagram or on his popular blog 16 inches west of peoria