In 2021, after my first mini tour to a city 100 miles away, my mom got me a bike computer as a birthday gift. Since then, I've tracked almost every ride. I love to look over my last month's worth of rides to see how far and how fast I traveled. Until recently, I didn't have any biking goals—just curiosity about whatever stats emerged. But now that I have a few years of data, I want to see if I can set a goal and meet it.

Where I'm at today

It's the end of September now and I'm at about 600 miles year-to-date. I think the last three months of the year will be lower mileage relative to other months. Right now, an average high-mileage month for me is around 100 miles and a low month is around 30. I think I'll average 30 miles per month through the end of the year, which will get me to around 700 miles total for 2023.

With all that in mind, I've decided that I want to ride a cool 1,000 miles next year. A nice round number for a milestone (no pun intended). My average commute now is about 3 miles each way, so doing enough 6-mile days to hit 1,000 would mean that biking was a significant, year-round part of my life. I could justify some sweet gear, get better at working on my bike and fueling my body for regular riding, and know that I was doing something most days that makes me feel good.

Percentage-wise, going from 700 to 1,000 would be a more than 40% increase, which sounds not very reasonable. But another way to look at it is that half of my miles in July were from a single overnight trip, about 40 miles each way.

If I could add a mini tour or one more overnight per month next summer, I could close the gap between 700 and 1,000 without changing anything else about my biking life—no biking to the grocery store (ugh), no additional little rides just to get some mileage in. And I want to do more bikepacking anyway, so this all lines up.

Beyond mileage

A thousand miles would be a big deal for me, but there are many kinds of commuters and other riders—tourers, bike messengers, roadies—who cycle a couple hundred miles each month. For those people, biking only 1,000 miles in a year would mean that something was seriously wrong. And on the flip side, there are people who only commute a few months each year or ride around the neighborhood on weekends. For them, 1,000 miles would be a mega stretch that would require major lifestyle changes.

All to say, miles ridden isn't a meaningful metric for everyone. So I'm curious to know what biking goals, if any, do feel meaningful to others. For example, here are few other biking goals I've thought about that have nothing to do with mileage:

  • Do three short bikepacking trips with friends every year
  • Participate in a bike race
  • Learn enough to teach a bike repair class
  • Increase my average riding speed by a few miles per hour

What about you? Drop your thoughts in the comments or email me at [email protected]!