Mini daily solo bike game


This is a short write-up of a mini 'game' I play on my bike every day. Game might be pushing the word too far. I guess it's more like a challenge or diversion. I also didn't invent this but I unfortunately don't remember where I learned it, possibly in an old bike zine or on a blog or something.

It's a small idea, but it's a fun one.

Every time that I bike home, when I'm nearing home, I challenge myself to stop pedaling at some point and see how close I can nail drifting to my door. In other words, at some point near home I stop pedaling and then just let the momentum of the bike take me farther and I see if I can get all the rest of the way home without turning the pedals at all. The challenge is to see how far I can be from home, stop pedaling, and then drift the rest of the way to end exactly at my door so that the bike stops no sooner and wouldn't go any further. In other words, it would wobble to a stop right at the door with me on it.

I always remember the previous time where I stopped pedaling. I live in an urban area with traffic lights, pedestrians and stop signs around my house. So it can take me hundreds of times to perfect my technique because traffic lights, stop signs, the speed I'm pedaling, and if there is any traffic - all these influence the 'drift' home.

To be clear, I consider it a "lose" if I drift all the way home and my bike still has enough momentum to go past the door of my house. I am shooting to end literally right at my door. When I used to live in Los Angeles I lived at the bottom of a long valley on the west side. I had a 1hr15minute commute to school/work uphill and a 25 minute commute home downhill, so there I would stop pedaling maybe 8 blocks from home or so. Over the course of 2 years I got really good and finally had a win, though little things like traffic or wind that day could affect my outcome, so I would keep score of how many days I could get home with a 'win.'

Where I live now I tend to stop pedaling right around a traffic light about a block and a half from my house where afterwards I need to take a right turn, go around pedestrians, sail to the end of a block past cars that are sometimes double parked unloading, and then go the wrong way 40 feet on a busy one way street (not proud to admit this but it saves having to make like a car and go an extra 5 minutes in a circuitous roundabout route). Due to the large number of variables with lights and peds and doubleparked cars and wind and the traffic light I have not in the past 2 years at my apartment perfected the exact spot to stop pedaling. I've gotten really close and I think will nail it one day soon.

Anyway, this is a minor game or self-challenge and a silly enjoyable one that I thought I'd share. It adds a little fun to the end of my daily bike commute. And while I may look silly to my neighbors or the double parked cars during the last 80 feet at realllllllyyy slow almost-wobbly drift, it's a pretty fun activity.

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