November 30, 2014

The Face of Things to Come

Those who know cycling understand the feelings of a great ride don't come from the bike, the road, or the effort, but from the spirit the bike extracts from its rider.  It's difficult to describe what it feels like to the uninitiated though I've attempted to over the years, clearly paying little mind to just how long it takes.  A man of few words, I am not. 

Starting back in 2002, commuterDude focused on commuting by bicycle, then began to migrate toward long distance cycling, all while highlighting many of my personal highs and lows along the way.  I have overcome obstacles, cracked under my own pressure, emerged victorious - and then repeated.  Even though these pages have often served as confidant and sounding board, in truth the blog wasn't ever intended to be about me.  As they say, it is what it is; and so herein lay the chronicles of an everyman who found himself while floating along atop a bicycle.  Interspersed, however, hide the ride reports about which I'm most proud: rare moments when the ride took focus and the story developed effortlessly.  The goal now involves a reinvention of sorts to attempt the same sort of flavor you've come to expect from those posts, but in a much smaller space and with more consistency.

The stories, therefore, become shorter, more focused, more visual. The long rides will continue, as will the commutes; but the tales will be told
by mileposts, not by inches.  The short rides may only warrant one post, while longer rides will naturally generate more.  The difference involves the long rides unfolding in posts appearing over several days, rather than taking that same amount of time to produce one giant post.  The time to exercise the latter just doesn't exist these days, yet I'd much rather celebrate what I can offer than lament what I cannot.
For what this page has represented in the past, and to more accurately describe what it will show in the future, commuterDude now marches on toward a distant milepost... Milepost 1445.
Why "milepost"?  Mileposts in general can inspire one to push forward, to reach farther; and, during the tough times, that challenge us to see if we can pedal just one more.  With each mile, we get closer to our goal.  We count them down, and we tally them up.  They are the markers of our collective journeys, the subject of our complaints, and the badges of our pride.  We live and die by the miles we ride, and I can't think of anything more perfect or elemental with which to tag these stories.

Fourteen forty-five?  That's my RUSA number.  As we Randonneurs U.S.A. members recognize the sign-up of our 10,000th member this year, I become increasingly proud of my low number, all while beaming with pride that our niche sport continues to grow.  In addition, "1445" represents the approximate distance of one of my big, big goals: the London-Edinburgh-London grand randonee.  It's held periodically, much like P-B-P, next time coming in 2017.  As a parent, my personal goals will always take a backseat to my children's, but at this writing LEL seems both plausible and achievable.  The numbering is only coincidental.

Finally, thank you.

I am immensely grateful for the readership I've grown over the years.  It's really humbling to know that I've played a part in bringing new randonneurs to the roads here and abroad.  I know this format change will disappoint some while interesting others, yet it remains necessary in order to keep this going.  Deciding didn't come easy.  I hope you'll choose to hang around, cause I'm not ready to hang it up quite yet.  I hope that an increased presence on social media will help drive readers this direction and possibly open new channels to cyclists looking to explore the edges of their capabilities.  Overall, we - not just me - need to get more cyclists on the road.
Whatever will change, some things never will.  It's still all about good times, good friends, and mind over mileage.  While the posts may be shorter, the vibe will remain.  Most importantly, though I've struggled with a long layoff this year, it's about riding.  It's a difficult time of year to get moving, and I remain trapped inside my own head to a certain degree when it comes to the cold weather.  It's time for me to remember what's possible, and just get out there again.  You're invited.  Let's go!
Stay tuned...


Monkeywrangler said...

7287...that's my# but I have never managed a complete event. Bad first experience put me off it. However, I am reconsidering that stance for 2015, since I am getting a new bike soon, and comfort will no longer be an issue nor will bike weight.

I think I will have to be one of those riders who never rides with a group, since everyone else seems far faster than I. I normally ride alone anyway, I just have to decide if I have the motivation to ride a brevet alone. Your site has been helpful in rekindling my RUSA interest.
Thank you for that.


kG said...

Glad the hear it - best of luck; and don't be afraid to test yourself solo first - I did that far more often than I rode with a group, believe me. Always off the back, or hovering mid-pack, it's only recently that I've fallen in with some folks that are roughly the same pace -- but, even then, we still drift apart on the road and then regroup at controls. Finding a group with exactly the same rhythm is really tough -- which, whenever I think about "whats the big deal with the Fleche?"... well, that's it: staying together!
Keep it up, and over time you'll be surprised how many people actually DO ride your pace. Still, alone out there on the open road with my thoughts... those are great, memorable moments, too. I can't complain.