Seasoned riders share their biking resolutions for 2021

Seasoned riders share their biking resolutions for 2021

Seasoned riders, novices, shop owners and club officers across the suburbs offer their 2021 goals, some specific and individual, others broad and general. All are worthy no matter what type of rider you are.

Individual goals

Common goals are distance challenges, e.g., 2021 Tour de France mileage - 2,102 - from Kevin Keehn of Palatine, who also suggests, "riding my age in miles on my birthday."

Centuries - single-day 100-milers - are respectable targets that several mention. Peter and Tracy Flucke, co-authors of "Coast to Coast on a Tandem," add special twists to century goals. Hers is to ride a century on a tandem, plus a second on her road bike. His is to finish a single-day double century.

Annual mileage goals submitted include 3,500, 5,000-plus (Sheri Rosenbaum, Buffalo Grove) and 5,800 miles. Bob Thomson, St. Charles, owns the latter, his eighth year exceeding the prior year's mileage.

Bill Kragh, Arlington Heights Bike Club, plans "to average 10 miles a day to keep the doctor away ... 3,650 miles for the seventh straight year."

My riding goal combines distance and elevation, i.e., steeper routes - 10% more climbing feet per mile, while adding 7% to 2020's mileage (5,200). A ride-logging app, recording distance and elevation, will keep me on track.

Adopting a tracking tool is a goal some newbies noted. An odometer or a phone app definitely keeps you honest. While it felt like 20 miles, knowing your ride was only 10 can be a jarring, yet motivating, reality check.

Other individual goals include riding for a set time. For Sue Montgomery, Bike Palatine Club secretary, 30 minutes daily from March through September, weather permitting, is her goal, plus "taking my bike to LOTS of places I haven't often or ever ridden!"

Allison Albrecht, Schaumburg director of communications and outreach, shares that one. Besides "increasing my mileage, I have a goal to bike in Busse Woods this summer. To be able to bike there, explore trails, and have enough energy to bike home!"

Patrick Knapp, village of Schaumburg transportation planner "wants to ensure we get out for a family bike ride at least once weekly during the summer. I also want to work on replacing short car trips with bike trips when possible."

Ride Illinois Executive Director Dave Simmons echoes that idea. "I will increase the number of trips I take by bike. Someday soon, I hope to be car free!"

Besides completing two centuries, Tom Southall of Arlington Heights plans to "use my bike instead of my car for as many errands as possible."

Bike parking at a breakfast stop on the 2019 RAGBRAI. Courtesy of Ralph Banasiak

Thinking big, Tom Lucas of Hoffman Estates is penciling in RAGBRAI, assuming the weeklong Iowa bike tour is a go this July. Armaline Mirretti, Elmhurst Bike Club advocacy co-chair, aspires "to begin the Rails to Trails Ride Across America with another club member ... and to do it in pieces. It will take us a few years to complete."

Berton Travis, originator of the "Start Seeing Bicycles" lawn signs, hopes to cycle the roughly 270-mile, four-day Tour de Force. This ride out of New York City, originating after 9/11, fundraises for families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty nationwide.

Broader goals

The Illinois I & M Canal State Trail, part of the Rails to Trails Ride Across America. Courtesy of Great American Rail Trail

Why not join a bike club? For novice riders expanding their experience, local bike clubs offer scheduled outings with veteran bikers offering useful tips along the route.

Rob Weiss, Joliet Bicycle Club, notes, "Our goal is always to be accident-free and make our smiles match our miles."

For its annual July ride, his goal is 750 participants.

Wayne Mikes, president of the Bike Palatine Club, hopes to host an after-school ride for students and families, and encourage a local school to introduce the Bike Safety Quiz.

Regarding advocacy, Sheri Rosenbaum, TrekHP Women's Advocate program (Highland Park), seeks to "bring more diversity to cycling" and to "grow my women's cycling group, encouraging them to get out of their comfort zones."

Ginger Wheeler, who is on the East Branch DuPage River Trail Leaders Committee, hopes to collect 10,000 petition signatures at to demonstrate public support for a new bike trail through DuPage County.

Dave Simmons of Ride Illinois wants to connect with Illinois cyclists of all types and "to change the perception of cycling from a sport enjoyed by Lycra-clad individuals and weekend warriors to everyday, practical transportation."

• Have a special riding goal? Email Ralph Banasiak at

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