Yesterday I heeded the advice of Nancy and Old Grumbleface (and the COMMAND from The Feeshko) not to go cycling in the hazardous atmosphere, thereby quietly bringing an end to my last riding streak. It was only two days short of being able to claim I rode every day for a half-year.

That gives me an opportunity to start a whole new and improved streak. I say it’s “improved” because if I intend to hit the 1/2-year mark it’s going to involve riding in less than optimal conditions through the winter months. The last streak was a breeze with only a couple days of snow, only one day of rain, and only the normal amount of Minnesota heat and humidity.

I got special permission from The Feeshko to begin my new streak today despite the fact that the air is still well into the “HAZARDOUS” range. My guess is that she’s giving me a break for five possible reasons:

  • 1) The Air Quality Index is 18% lower than yesterday’s ridiculous 493.
  • 2) She sympathized with my boredom at sitting around doing nothing all day.
  • 3) She is tired of my whining and complaining.
  • 4) She understands that it is WORSE for me to not ride at all than it is for me to ride in hazardous conditions.
  • 5) I agreed to take certain precautions.

Ah yes, the precautions. I pledged to ride no more than an hour. I agreed not to over-exert myself. I agreed to double-mask.

I have that big smile on my face because I’m GLAD I was double-masking.

Sure, it wouldn’t have been so bad to wait a couple of days to start the new and improved streak — after all, we are heading back to MY Town tomorrow — but somehow I feel compelled to document this strange and scary experience.

I rode much of the same route through the Palouse-like high country as I wrote about a few days ago but, my golly-gosh, it sure looked different.

Again, my phone cannot capture the salmon-y hue of the sun, but even so it should be much brighter than THIS. Without the smoke, it would have been a clear day with temperatures near 90-degrees (F). We’ll be lucky to hit 70-degrees with this haze obscuring the sun.

A nice quiet road. Smoke down below.

I wonder how well these wild turkeys can process the AQI. Same with the magpies and the quail I saw today.

The entrance to a nice bike trail that runs along the east side of Spokane.

I might have been out for slightly more than an hour, but I didn’t get scolded. In a couple of hours we’ll start packing for the long drive home. Tomorrow evening I hope to continue my new and improved streak somewhere in the area of Butte/Bozeman/Livingston, Montana.


I just noticed something in the title photo. I think I got photo-bombed by another UFO. At first I thought it was a speck of dust on my computer screen, but when it wouldn’t wipe off I enlarged the picture and discovered an alien space ship just to the right of the tree. The Martians seem to have copied the ingenious aerodynamic form of an earthling insect.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

10 response to "THE NEW AND IMPROVED STREAK: Day One"

  1. By: BobinVT Posted: September 14, 2020

    It’s always sad when a streak ends, but I’m sure you made the right decision. The good news is, whenever a streak ends it gives you a definite target, a definite goal for the new streak. I’m on a very modest (by your standards) 24 day streak right now. My hope is to at least get through September. Beyond that, I’m sure ice and snow will end it at some point.
    Safe travels to you and the Feeshko on your way back home.

  2. By: Laura Posted: September 14, 2020

    Your double mask is a great idea. I’ve never kept up with rides that closely or attempted to ride daily for even a week. Maybe some day. Thanks for sharing a bit of Spokane with us and have a safe trip home.

  3. By: The Navigator Posted: September 15, 2020

    Sad you could not continue the streak, but glad you are launching into another. Those skies certainly look ominous. On my 2014 tour in western MT when there were quite a few active fires, I did “ride one day, rest one day”. It helped, but by the end of that 10 days with my asthma, my lungs were in pretty rough shape. Cycling is awesome but not worth ruining your health for… glad you were sensible!

  4. By: Lednar De Nalloh Posted: September 15, 2020

    Surely a ride around the block would have kept the streak going. Have a great return trip. I’m not so surprised how much impact the fires are having, lots of high dry grass in the photos.

    • By: gregblood Posted: September 15, 2020

      I gave serious thought to that ride-around-the-block idea, but my conscience wouldn’t let me do it. A couple of my rides during the streak were less than five miles, but a trip around the block just doesn’t fit my definition of a bike ride.

  5. By: Scooter Posted: September 15, 2020

    Glad you took a day off, even at the expense of your streak. Personally, I think you should claim force majeure and count this And the new streak as continuous. Just plan on including an asterisk in the record book.

  6. By: Bill Stone Posted: September 15, 2020

    Air so bad, that ride should count for two days!

    PS: Another UFO. Might be the makings of a new Challenge. I think I got a formation of three of them in my last photo yesterday.

    • By: gregblood Posted: September 15, 2020

      I had to go back and look for your UFOs. Yup, there they were. Good find.

  7. By: Suzanne Posted: September 15, 2020

    So frustrating when things beyond your control end a streak!
    I like the header picture a lot – smoke is bad but it does give a photo a nice soft and moody look.

  8. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: September 15, 2020

    We will give you a “Bye” on your riding streak, discretion being the greater part of valor or something like that.
    The AQI in Spokane is unbelievable!
    About the only thing I can compare it too is when the tire place here burned — thousands upon thousands of tires and thick black smoke inundated the western part of town — skirting the edge of the smoke zone was suffocating.
    Safe trip home!

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