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He Did It !
Ken Bonner reaches 50,000 km (30,000 mile) goal

Before leaving town for Christmas I just had to know if Ken managed to fight his way through the December storms to reach his incredible distance goal. Note that the UMCA Year Rounder season runs from winter solstice to winter solstice, so their year has just ended. In the past Ken hasn't minded when I've forwarded his messages on to everyone else. (I hope he doesn't mind this time also.) So here is what he had to say earlier today [Eric F]:

Eric: Well... it's Dec 22. Did you make it?

Ken: Hi, Eric!!

Unofficially .... yes!

I am not sure that the UMCA's figures jibe with mine, but with my last ride on Dec. 20th, my figures show I have completed the UMCA's Year Rounder with 50,437 km (31,341 miles). C'est tout! Fini! Got slammed with high winds again on the last ride, but luckily the predicted rain did not make an appearance. A week ago last Wednesday was the worst --- the wind included rain and a couple of times I could not make any progress into the wind ... even in my lowest gear ... so I got off and walked before I was twisted sideways and knocked off the bike!

Went for a run for the 1st time in 2 1/2 months and am going through withdrawal from the early morning risings to cycle for hours and hours in the rain, wind and darkness. So, to help with the withdrawal process, whenever the wind and rain started again, I dashed outside at night in my shorts and stood there 'soaking' up the elements ... that did not work all that well (the neighbours called the police to investigate :-) ), so I tried running in the same elements ... better, but just not the same thing --- perhaps setting up my wind-trainer in the rain and wind would work? .... or maybe, .... I just need to get back out there and ride somewhere in the wild weather and wild traffic!!! :-)

Some stats:

* Slightly over 2000 hours of 'butt in the saddle' at an overall average of 24.6 kph (the slowest was 17.5 kph for the century in the big storm last week)

* Three worn out drive-trains (just replacing the last one, which lasted about 3000 km during the recent mucky conditions)

* One small bucket of sand/mud residue after washing my bike after each ride since the beginning of November

* Three sets of wheels (fortunately, one rim blew apart in the basement and not in the 'wilds' of the Saanich Peninsula)

* 10 rear tires (the longest lasted 9,500 km during a 'no rain' period of riding)

* About 10 rear BLT Ultra Wazoo lights (they seem to have a faulty and non-waterproof switch, unfortunate, since they are probably the most visible rear light in day-light or night-time I have ever seen)

* Three rear fenders ripped off by the storms last Jan-Feb.

* Flat tyres -- I lost count in the last couple of months ... often two flat tyres per ride ... good tires though Continental 4 seasons ... one tire developed just a slow leak ... I stopped to repair it in 5 degrees C, wind blowing, rain horizontal and large freight trucks whizzing by ... two pieces of sharp rock (flints as the Brits call them), one sharp broken piece of glass and one paper staple were projecting through the inside casing when I pulled out the tube. In the Jan-Feb storms I had a 4 cm. nail puncture the rear tire (in pouring rain of course). In the process of repairing the flat, I discovered that the tyre seemed to be jammed on the rim. Upon closer examination, I discovered that the nail had pierced the tire, the tube and the rim, before bending and clamped the rim, the tube and tyre tightly together. And ... my cell phone battery was dead. Fortunately I found a piece of metal in the ditch and managed to pry the mess apart with frozen fingers and a rapidly cooling body. I rode home by the shortest route I could find.

* Near misses! Three different time, I just about rode into the back of parked motor vehicles (pulled over to talk on cell phones) while riding into the wind and rain. One minute one looks up and coast is clear, and the next, in one case, the rear-end of flat-bed truck was virtually in my face! In one of the storms in November, I did not look up in time and crashed into a traffic island with a directional warning sign on it .... fortunately no ferry traffic at the time and the sign was on a flexible post (also discovered another use for the clip-on aero bars, they can act as bumper when you hit things!! :-)

* Motor Vehicles to watch out for (the same ones you have to watch out for as a motor vehicle driver):
- Full Size SUVs
- Full Size Pick-ups
- Full Size Clunkers
- Commercial 'cube' trucks
- Mini-vans and the above-noted driven by parents and grandparents picking up children after school

* Best vehicles to be around --- long haul freight trucks

* Most dangerous roads -- Mount Douglas Park Drive; Royal Oak Avenue (Saanich) -- good bike lanes on both sides of the road ... except they were never cleaned after the end of October and quickly filled with debris, forcing cyclists onto the main travel lane. About 50% of the drivers passed slowly and cautiously ... the rest passed at their usual speed (well in excess of the speed limit) and left no room for error -- day or night!!)

* Observations:
- why is it mainly women drivers who enter the Pat Bay Hwy distracted by talking on their cell phones
- why can an ordinary 'almost old-age pensioner' like me ride in the cold rain and dark mornings and nights every day, and all those 'worker-bees' drive hundreds of single occupancy vehicles to and from work no more than 5-10 miles per day?
- potential randonneurs are out there -- I came across a fair number of cycle commuters who commuted from Victoria to the Victoria Airport area every day ... I did my randonneur proselytizing thing with them of course! :-)

Cheers .... Ken

Eric: Congratulations ! Magnifique !


December 22, 2006