Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Year That Wouldn't End . . . Is (Finally) Ending

It's a rare thing when my school/work year extends past the end of May - but here it is, June 17, and we're still in school - albeit for another day. Between the extra weeks added to the end, along with pandemic quarantines, COVID protocols, mask mandates, shutdowns, "virtual" lessons online, altered schedules, video conferencing, and Zoom, my colleagues and I have dubbed 2020-21 "The Year That Wouldn't End."

Yet the end is finally near. Or should I say, the end is nigh?

An omen? This guy was eyeing me rather suspiciously on my ride to work Wednesday morning. The locals call them buzzards, but really, they're more properly called turkey vultures. Still . . .

In the previous post, I pointed out that I had reached my bike-to-work goal for the year with just a few days to spare, so this post is an update with some final numbers and new pictures.

So, I will officially finish the year with 103 bike commuting days, for a bike-to-work average of 65.6% (gotta get that .6 in there!). That's 2,935 miles of commuting for the year. My 9-year total is 843 days with a long-term average of 55% which means I'm meeting/exceeding my goals more often than not. I've only fallen short of a 50% average 3 times since I started biking to work regularly. I guess you could say that's not half bad (groan).

Unfortunately I must drive on the final day as I still have bikes hanging on the classroom walls that need to go home for the summer:

I still have some packing to do . . . 

And now, let's end this with a couple more pics:

Keeping a tally of the days on the classroom whiteboard

Taking time to smell the flowers  - or at least photograph them - on an early June morning.

Self portrait, with bicycle. June 17, 2021

Well, that's it for 2020-21. Make the most of the summer . . . 


  1. The classroom and teacher I wish I had way back when. Kudos to you Mr. Brooks! Enjoy your summer.

  2. I like how you feature bikes and cycling in your classroom. I don't know if it rubs off on the students or not, but I think it's important for them to see your passions and thoughts about things. I say this as a teacher (auto shop) myself.

  3. This really seems to be the year that won't end. It began 15 or 16 months ago, depending on where you are!

  4. Drew and Richard - thanks - the bikes and other "memorabilia" (whether bike related or not) is always a good source of conversation. Kids sometimes ask "Why do you have all these bikes in here?" and I answer "Because they're cheaper than cars, and easier to hang on the walls."

    Justine - yes it does seem to go on and on. I do expect we'll get back to "normal" by fall.

  5. Congrats on so successfully living the bike life, and simultaneously producing such an enjoyable read. "Ye must be cleansed" - reminds me to stop neglecting my gunk-covered chain.

  6. I too am a biking school teacher who rides to work . I've been doing it for30 years and usually more days a week than I drive. Alas, I did not get to finish this school year, because three weeks before school was out , I got hit by a car. The guy turned left right into me as I was crossing an intersection. He broke my left kneecap, my right thighbone, and my right ankle, and now I'm looking at a year of rehab and I don't know when I'll pedal a bike again. The point of this message is no matter how comfortable you get riding to work, never let your guard down . After 30 years of riding to work , I thought I was going to make it to retirement without a major accident, and boy was I wrong.I don't think there is anything I could have done because the guy unexpectedly turned into me as he was accelerating and never saw me, just always be on the look out in case you seeing him first can help avoid serious injury.

  7. As usual, I'm late to this party. I retired from 34 years of teaching last June, but it was almost the end of July before I had the labs and my office cleaned out to the point where I felt okay handing them off to the next person. I used to log my bike commuting data on a website, but after it went belly-up, I just shifted to putting them into a spreadsheet. I haven't taken the time to go back and compare the different sets of data, but I was riding more often than not, and my commute was a very hilly 18+ miles in each direction, so my numbers were probably similar to yours. The commuting was always the major component of my total bike mileage, so it has been a struggle to keep my conditioning up. It helps that I now get in a wider variety of activities, like hiking and XC Skiing. I live on a mountain, so both require little 'exercise overhead'.

    I have experienced a bit of the sense that soldiers have when they leave their comrades still fighting the battle. The enemy in this case was Covid, and my comrades were the students, teachers, administrators, and other staff. I haven't had that sense of heel-kicking euphoria that many do after leaving their careers, but I don't miss the stress another year of teaching would bring. My struggle was compounded by living with someone who is immune suppressed. I do miss seeing the glow of the sun appearing over a snow-covered field in crisp, quiet, 10 degree air, or switching off my lights when there are no cars around and the moon is full. Sure, the only part of that scene that isn't still present is me, but without the need to be someplace at a specific time, it's just not happening.