Six Thousand Six Hundred and Six Point One Six Miles

That’s where my virtual bike odometer and I will end up for the year when I complete my planned 46-mile roundtrip bike commute tomorrow afternoon.

A huge part of that achievement was the fact that of 257 work days in 2008, I biked 197 of them — an achievement in and of itself.

But 6,606.16. That’s an achievement, too.

Here’s the 15 from this morning, along a different route that involved downtown and a flat tire:

Typically my commute mileage comes in around 30, but I’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning and taking the loooooong way in via the westside through across Brentwood to Ocean Park to the Santa Monica Pier and then the beach path to Venice and then through Marina Del Rey to the Ballona Creek Bikeway.

Just because.

Show of hands: how many people add miles to their trips to work, just because. That’s the magic of the bicycle.

On the return trip I’ll be coming home with decidedly less deviation along 4th Street and with one last climb up the Occidental rise south of my house. The same one upon which I pedaled into the back of that double-parked minivan back in September.

Of course there’s more to tomorrow’s extended trip than just because.  If I stuck to the routine I’d be 10 miles shy of the 6600 mark, and it just won’t do for me to be within striking distance of something — especially something so relatively irrelevant — and let it go unattained.

So there you have it. I set out this year to bike 3,000 miles. I had that done by early June. As to what’s in store for next year, at this late date I haven’t decided anything and in fact  I may just go all laissez faire and let the good miles roll across ’09 without a finish line. We’ll see.

UPDATED (12.31): Make that 6608.17. I was cut loose from work at noon today so I cranked out a couple additional miles meeting my friend Manny at Langer’s in MacArthur Park and biking home from there.