Looking at my cycling journals, I can see that I was a mileage hog from the very start. When I picked up my new set of wheels at the bike shop, I hadn’t ridden the one mile home before I discovered that I Iiked how it felt to ride. In fact, I liked it so much that I bypassed home and rode the extra mile to make a circuit around the nearby park! I was tired and my legs were feeling rather stiff before I got home, and when I got off the trike my legs felt rubbery; but that didn't deter me from riding almost every day thereafter, gradually increasing my distance.
At first I rode almost entirely in the park, and it wasn't long before I noticed the posted speed limit of 10 mph for cyclists. I had no idea how fast I was, so after several weeks, I timed myself on one circuit of the park. Pushing myself to pedal as fast as I could, with as little coasting as possible, it took twelve minutes. Theoretically, then, I could make five circuits in one hour. One circuit, I found out, was 1.8 miles, and 1.8 x 5 = 9 mph!
At that point I wasn’t yet deliberately trying to increase my speed, but I knew that with continued riding I would get stronger and be able to go faster. I said, well, I don't want to be caught speeding! Who has money to waste on speeding tickets?
When I mentioned that at the bike shop, meaning it as a joke, the staff said that cyclists actually had been stopped for going too fast in the park. I got a speedometer, a basic Cateye; made the best guesstimate I could of my mileage up to that time, based on readings I was getting from the Cateye; and then began to track mileage and time.
That got a bit frustrating when I rode in the rain, or when there was heavy fog. My first Cateye was not a wireless, and wet conditions made it short out. All I could do was to dry it when I got back home, and calculate my mileage as best I could, based on previous records.
Riding in the rain? Yep. My first rainy ride came when I'd had the trike about a week. I got out the poncho; I wasn't going to try to hold a umbrella over my head when I needed both hands for riding. The first few times I poncho'd up and rode despite the rain, there was something exhilarating about it; thumbing my nose at Mother Nature, if you will. But after that it got old. Riding in a poncho or rain cape is even less agreeable now that I'm on two wheels. At least on the trike I had no worries about the wind-flapped poncho pulling me off balance.
And of course I wasn't comfortable riding when there was any lightning, even if it wasn't close. But once when it wasn’t daylight yet, and there was a thunderhead at just the right distance for me not to hear thunder, wow, did I get a spectacular light show! Other times I was treated to the sight of the full moon setting. I came to love such things. It makes dragging myself out of bed early worthwhile.
A drawback to the trike was that it came without rear fenders, meaning that anything in the basket -- which was between the rear wheels -- got dirty water splattered all over it on wet days. I had rear fenders added after a ride or two in wet conditions. Unfortunately the only ones available were metal. I could really feel the extra weight, and it took at least a month for me to get used to it. But I kept riding, and then...
I heard about century rides soon after I got my tricycle, and the very idea was staggering. Push the pedals for one hundred miles in ONE DAY? How could anybody manage that? I was sure that I couldn’t, especially not on that heavy tricycle. After all, it weighed about half of what I do.
Fast-forward to mid-2011. One lazy afternoon I was browsing my mileage log, and saw that 90+ miles per week over the previous several months wasn't unusual. The thought seeped into my brain: Can I do 100 miles per week? Up popped a little imp that said, LET'S TRY!! And a long-distance cyclist was born.
Most weeks, I made it to my 100-mile goal. I got more and more interested in long-distance cycling, and began to read everything I could find about it. I did longer and longer Sunday rides, using them to experiment with various food, electrolyte drinks, and so on. The going got very hard when I had a headwind coming back home, which was only too often. Needless to say, a wide and heavy tricycle means a lot of wind resistance!
By the end of 2011 I had done a half- and a metric century. They weren't organized rides; I just went out and rode. I had come to enjoy seeing how many miles I could get in. I had had toe harnesses added to my pedals after the first two weeks of riding, which helped me to pedal more efficiently and made longer rides easier. By this time a 100-mile day no longer seemed impossible, even on an adult trike, and I decided to go for it.
All texts on this site are copyright of C. Levert, New Orleans, LA, 2016, unless otherwise indicated.
03/08/16 Note: this web site is a work in progress. I'll be editing, tweaking, etc. for some time.
The content of this web site consists of my personal experience, opinions, and so on. I am not a medical professional, nor a dietician, nor a sports expert. If you need advice regarding health, nutrition, coaching and so on, please consult the appropriate professional. For help choosing bikes, helmets, and so on, head for your LBS (Local Bike Shop)!
As of 07/30/17: “We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.