Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
TOMBSTONE, Arizona, 2/9/2022 – Dirty Desperados UTI & KI Deliver the Deadly Shots
Well, pardners of the iron horse, I regret to have to inform you – especially you faithful followers who have kicked up your spurs and hooted and hollered for me to never leggo the reins – that the bronc has bucked me off and my cycling streak has met its demise.
Even had the doctors plopped me on an exercise bike in the hospital physical therapy room, I would have fallen to the floor. Such was my state of incapacitation from the urinary tract and kidney infections that took me down. I was basically out of commission, lying in bed for three days and as I type this I’m still taking the meds and weak as a kitten.
My Streaking History and Stats
My epic streak started December 30, 1993 and was stopped cold February 9, 2022. That’s a total of 10,269 days of consecutive rides. Or if you prefer, 28 years, 1 month and 11 days. Or 337 months, 11 days.
I actually had two streaks. The first one was just prior to this latest one – only 6 days separated the two. Streak one ran 1,087 days or 8 days shy of 3 years, so pretty good, but nothing compared to the latest. A crash resulting in a broken hip killed my first streak.
What the Heck is a Streak?
In case you don’t know, for cyclists, a riding, biking or cycling streak is riding as many days as possible in a row. I’m not sure if streaking started with running or cycling, but I believe it’s a more prevalent practice among runners. And as far as I have been able to determine, running is the only sport that has an actual record-keeping organization for streakers. https://www.runeveryday.com/.
Recently, the late Joe Shami who is known as The Legend of Mt. Diablo, set a different type of streak. Instead of riding every day, for 615 straight weeks (11 years and 43 weeks), Joe rode up the famous and tough Northern California climb once every week. I believe he was 87 years young when he wrapped up his streak – amazing. There’s a wonderful tribute to Joe here: https://blog.trekbikes.com/en/2021/04/22/you-are-my-hero/.
On my streak athletes webpage, I tell the story of streak runners and bikers who have inspired me. Please note that I have not yet updated it to reflect that my streak has ended. https://jimlangley.net/spin/streak.htm.
What Were the Requirements for a Ride to Count Toward My Streak?
Every streaker gets to determine what counts as a ride or run. My streak began with a simple pledge to myself only to see how many days I could ride in a row. I set the criteria that for a ride to count it had to be a “real” ride of at least “about an hour.” When I started I was recovering from a broken hip and couldn’t ride outside yet. So, riding on a trainer was allowed.
That was the entire rulebook. I did not track any stats. I felt it would be difficult enough if the streak kept going to keep it going, without having to do any record-keeping. The idea wasn’t to gain fame or beat anyone else’s stats but to see what I could do. I knew about runners who had streaked for decades. I hoped to match them.
Are You Now the World Record Cycling Streaker?
I highly doubt it. I haven’t been able to find very many other cycling streakers. And I don’t know of any organization that tracks it either. It’s not in the Guinness records.
Cyclists have been doing amazing things since the two wheeler first appeared back in the 1860s. So I have to believe someone at some time has topped my achievement. If you have or have heard of other streakers now or in the past, I’d love to hear about them and will happily add them to my streakers webpage.
How Many Miles Did You Rack Up?
Like I said, I didn’t feel keeping records would help me keep streaking, so I don’t have actual figures, I can only estimate. In order to do that, I look at all the ways I’ve ridden over the years.
I started this streak at 40 years old. Now I’m 68. During the streak I’ve ridden just about every way possible except on a velodrome (well I did take a lesson at T-town in Trexlertown, PA once but didn’t count it toward the streak https://thevelodrome.com/). I ended my triathlon career in 1985 so that missed the cut.
But, commuting, road riding, road racing, criterium racing, time trialing, mountain biking, cross country MTB racing, cycling camp, tandem, century and double century and even antique bike riding were all part of it.
From about 2005 to 2018 I raced for the Spokesman Bicycles masters team and trained seriously under Coach Mark Edwards. Under his program I won the California NorCal Districts 65+ State Time Trial Championships and my share of hill climbs, time trials and road races.
A couple of years ago I was introduced to the amazing virtual world of Zwift indoor cycling and am currently on level 45 out of 50, have covered 16,496.4 kilometers and climbed 169,840 meters. So, I have logged many miles on my trainer, too.
Approximately 256,725 Miles
Back to my cumulative mileage, if you pressed me on it, I’d punch into the calculator 10,269 days x 25 (as in 25 miles a day). That results in 256,725 miles. There were lots of days I rode easily for an hour and seven minutes. (The seven minutes were a bumper in case the clock was wrong or I made a mistake.)
But there were years of much longer rides every chance I got and cycling events with long days every day. Plus, the years training for racing during which I was on a schedule including longer workouts. So, I think 25 miles is close. Still it’s just an estimate.
Will I Start Another Streak?
I don’t plan to begin another streak because while I think it’s a lifestyle with some major benefits, it’s a passion that comes at a cost (keep reading). I was super psyched at every milepost: 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. At the quarter century mark, though, I was starting to feel a bit beat-up and almost decided to call it quits.
But, I knew that another biggie for streakers is the 10,000 days mark. So I forged ahead and got another 3 years under my tires. Since then, though, the motivation to keep going has waned a little. That done-that, been-there feeling grew. The little aches and pains became more serious.
And the costs that I mentioned weighed on me more and more. A streak is basically a selfish habit. It’s you doing your thing on your own. As I’m sure you can imagine, this isn’t always compatible with the family’s plans (I’m married and have two daughters).
Only So Much Time to Get Your Daily Ride In
To keep a streak going, every day your top priority has to be getting your ride in. Say you rise and shine at 5 a.m. each day. That means you have 19 hours to get your ride in.
As the minutes whizz by on a Saturday, Sunday or busy workday, it can be 3:30 or 4 p.m. before a window of opportunity opens. At that point, if you hesitate to suit up, climb on and get pedaling, you might be playing Russian roulette with it getting dark or your partner’s dinner plans.
If you use up the entire day and evening with activities, there’s always the late night slot just before the new day rolls around. But, for me that was the most difficult time to ride because I had to complete about an hour and I hated the pressure of having to get it done with no margin for error. Had I suffered a broken spoke or worse that delayed the ride, it would have meant the end of my streak.
For me, the plan that worked the best was riding in the wee hours well before work. Ditto on the weekends but I would sleep in a little since I didn’t have to work. On workdays I was lucky most of my streak years to have flexible jobs that allowed riding during lunch breaks if I wasn’t able to get my ride in that morning.
On business trips or family travel involving flying, I always took along my wonderful Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro. It packs in a suitcase and flies free as regular luggage usually. If I expected snow, I would pack a trainer, too, or arrange to borrow one. Whatever it took to get my ride in I’d do it.
The Benefits of Streaking
While it takes commitment, discipline and preparation for every possibility to maintain a cycling streak, which can wear on you eventually, I would still say the benefits are worth it. And, you don’t have to streak for years to get them.
For me, these included:
- Always feeling comfortable on the bike – never needing to get used to the saddle again, etc.
- The ability to quickly raise my fitness as needed to do any fun ride, event or race and be competitive if I wanted
- Strong motivation – every ride motivates you to keep riding as your streak total grows
- See the world on two wheels – due to my daily ride requirement I have ridden in all kinds of places I probably would not have otherwise and I have wonderful memories of these adventures
- Keeps you healthy – As soon as I started streaking I noticed I almost never got sick and if I did feel a little off I would bounce back after riding (the sickness that ended my streak is the first time I’ve been that seriously ill since a battle with pneumonia in college)
- Keeps you young – during the streak I’ve been told many times from friends, competitors and family that they’re surprised how young I look (and I feel younger than my age). So I think there’s something to this.
- Streaking is something to be proud of – friends and family may think you’re a little crazy, but it’s highly satisfying to keep riding every day for a while and it’s not something very many cyclists do for very long. I know it’s inspiring to other riders, too, because they’ve told me so.
- Streaking will likely lead to other positive lifestyle changes – for me, it required having a plan for my rides, my bikes, my work, my nutrition, rest and everything else. I think having to organize your life and have a set schedule and healthy habits like this is a wonderful thing especially for achieving goals. It did not make me less productive, either, it made me more productive.
The Streak TV Show
One of the highlights of my streak was it becoming part of a sports TV show. At that time I had completed 17 years. They also included a runner (#2 all time on the streak runners roll) and an amazing surfer. I think you’ll enjoy the show:
Thanks again for the support and get in touch if you’re a wannabe streaker!
In wrapping up, I truly appreciate the attaboys! and go Jims! over the years. I couldn’t have achieved this without your support.
And, if you want to give streaking a go I would be delighted to answer any and all questions to help you achieve your goals. There are plenty of tricks to stay motivated and ensure you get your rides in even if your busy life may make it seem impossible.
10,269 Daily Rides in a Row
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. He has been a pro mechanic and cycling writer for more than 40 years. He’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Check out his “cycling aficionado” website at http://www.jimlangley.net, his Q&A blog and updates at Twitter. Jim’s cycling streak ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.