Since my little boy can’t stand up yet, never mind ride a bike, this is a dad-only outdoor challenge for now. Biking 1500 miles in 12 months? I must be insane.
ViewRanger’s 2017 Outdoor Challenges kick off on January 1st, inviting users of the app to track all of their outdoor adventures over the course of the year. You simply select the distance you want to cover during the next 12 months, choose from either the walking, running or cycling challenge (or all three if you’re a lunatic), then get outdoors and start eating up the miles.
The app does the rest for you by recording every mile you cover, ranking you on the overall leaderboard and providing a running total of your miles so you can track your progress. It’s a really nice idea and a great motivation to start exercising outdoors after the Christmas break, and more importantly to keep getting out there all year.
I’ve chosen the cycling challenge because I already do loads of walking and absolutely despise running, and the goal I’ve set myself is 1500 miles. The four distance options are 750 miles, 1500 miles, 3000 miles and a frankly horrifying 6000 miles. I signed up for the 750-mile challenge last year and at the time of writing have just over 10 miles to go, and just over a week to do it, and the fact I didn’t get started until July means I fancy my chances of completing 1500 by the time 2018 comes round.
I love cycling, and due to the fact I live in the barren flatlands of Cambridgeshire I can cover lots of miles quite quickly. I also cycle to work a couple of times a week, which is a 26-mile daily round trip, so I’ve got no excuse not to complete this.
I love getting up every morning, shooting past queues of traffic, and riding through the countryside towards the city just as the world is waking up. Yesterday I watched flocks of lapwings tumbling over fields at sunrise, a stealthy fox skulking across the path ahead illuminated by the pale glow of my bike light, and a gang of squabbling rooks noisily leaving their roost and getting ready to attack the day ahead.
But I don’t just want this to be a commuting challenge. I’m hoping to ride more at weekends and in the evenings this year, both close to home and further afield. Cycling is such a cool way to get outside and see more of the countryside, and I’m hoping to ride the South Downs Way at some point this summer (if I can get a few days off dad duty).
And hopefully, if he’s up for it, I’ll also add one of those daft child seats or trailers to the back of my bike before 2017 is out, so my little exploring buddy can come out with me!
Sign up for your outdoor challenge today: ViewRanger’s 2017 Outdoor Challenges