100 Miles of Nowhere: 3000 Laps to Nowhere Division

06.5.2012 | 5:00 pm

7320721594_fcafbf69b3_z.jpgA Note from Fatty: I am pretty sure that Bill has set a new high bar for the “nowhere” part of “100 Miles of Nowhere.” Which is to say, the course he set seems even more demanding and tedious than riding rollers on a trainer for 100 miles, because at least with rollers or a trainer, you can watch movies or a TV or something. Riding 3000 times around a circular driveway, however, means that you get all the tedium of a trainer, without any of the speed or variety of a bike.

Reprinted with permission.

The 3000 2,702 Laps to Nowhere, A Fool’s Errand

So last Saturday, as I had previously announced, I undertook to ride 100 miles on my bicycle. In my driveway. My circle driveway that constitutes a course of 1/30th of a mile per lap. I’d hereby like to confirm what all of you are thinking: I am an idiot.

But I’m also lucky enough to have the greatest bunch of friends, family, and colleagues an idiot like me could ever ask to have. And so, instead of having to go around telling everybody “Hey, I rode a 100 miles in my driveway last weekend!” – because I’m also, oddly, proud of that idiotic stunt – I can instead say “Hey, I raised over $800 for the American Diabetes Association in one day this weekend!” And THEN proceed to tell everybody how I’m an idiot.

I could also just show them the footage from the 3000 Laps to Nowhere LapCam®:

7332483556_3c0d1a981a_n.jpgYep. That was just three laps. In all, I completed 2,702 laps in the driveway on Saturday. Originally, of course, the plan was to do 3,000 laps. But as a storm rolled in late in the day and made a tight (and therefore, sloooooooow) course even more tricky, I finished the last 10 miles on the trainer in the house. 100 miles without leaving the yard.

And as you might guess, I learned a few things along the way that I feel compelled to share.

2,702 Laps In My Driveway

1. You can’t go very fast when you are always — and I mean always — turning. In fact, I could not average much more than 10mph. This fact set in early in the ride. Like, about four minutes in. Doing the math in my head, I quickly ascertained I was in for a long day. 10.5 hours in the saddle long.

Also, turning all the time means you have to pay attention (because not turning is a bad idea) and it means that your arms get a workout. Triceps, in particular. Who knew?

2. The GPS doesn’t process such a small loop very well. Here’s one attempt with my iPhone and Strava.


The red blotchy stain is my route. In retrospect, a red blotchy stain is not a terribly inaccurate representation.

3. A tight course has its advantages. For one, I had a cheering section consisting of my wife and daughter throughout the day. They’d come out on the porch, check to see if I was still riding around in circles like a crazy man, ring a cowbell, and then go back inside. It was nice.

I also had the occasional companion join me. Spencer is used to racing in a pack and holds his line well. But he’s a lousy drafting partner.


4. 100 miles in a small circle is harder than 100 miles worth of a “normal” century or even, say, 150 miles riding across Michigan. Somewhere just beyond mile 11 or so I began to wish Fatty had called this event “spend 6ish hours on your bike without getting very far” instead of the oh-so-specific 100 mile designation…I’m sure Twin Six could come up with a killer t-shirt for that.

Gratitude Trumps Attitude

By the end of the ride, I was downright grumpy. But at mile 80, I saw that folks following my “pledge break” tweets had donated a bunch of money to fight diabetes while I was out riding in circles all day. I got happy again, really fast. And I am left humbled by all the support and eager to ride in the actual Tour de Cure ride – another 100 mile event – this coming Saturday.

You can still contribute to my Tour de Cure Campaign for 2012 here if you missed the hilarity last weekend. Currently, we’ve raised $2,181! Amazing! I’m thinking that $3,000 would be a great total, but I’d settle for $2,702. Heh.

Finally, thanks to Elden for his brilliant idea and for allowing others like me to enter his event and then use the crazy outcome to make more good in the world. Allez Fatty!



  1. Comment by Liz | 06.5.2012 | 5:20 pm

    Why is the phrase, “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” coming to mind when I look at that map? On the upside, it looks like you have a really beautiful house and yard. Congratulations and good luck this weekend!

  2. Comment by Obstinate Roadie | 06.5.2012 | 5:35 pm

    Your tires are probably worn down to nothing on the left side . . .

  3. Comment by MattC | 06.5.2012 | 6:17 pm

    Bill…you are a madman! I’d think you should have switched direction every 100 laps or so…just to even out the spin of the earth and such (and give you SOMETHING to look forward to over and over again). Or put up a picture of Big Ben and say “look kids, Big Ben” on every lap (ala European Vacation). Way to go!

    Fatty, I always look forward to the 100MoN reports every year…us Fatties are a very unique bunch! Keep em’ coming!

  4. Comment by Nurse Betsy | 06.5.2012 | 7:54 pm

    Oh man, you are a madman! I love that the wife and daughter rang the cowbell for you. We all need more cowbell.

  5. Comment by Lauren | 06.5.2012 | 8:42 pm

    Love the fact it was on your own driveway but you still put your helmet on!!

  6. Comment by AustinSteve (aka Captain Steve) | 06.5.2012 | 8:48 pm

    Get a sponsorship from NASCAR…. All Left Turns!

  7. Comment by Cookster | 06.6.2012 | 5:07 am

    So Bill, did you do any clockwise laps to unwind.
    and a porta potty with a short stagger.

  8. Comment by Bill H-D | 06.6.2012 | 5:20 am

    Thanks for encouraging my absurdity all!

    I did switch directions every mile or two miles (30/60 laps) because I was watching out for IT band issues. I developed a problem like that from running on the same side of canted roads, which causes one leg to be ever so slightly longer, functionally speaking, than the other and all manner of biomechanical havoc ensues. I guessed that the same might happen here. Also I was trying to keep from going mad.

    @Liz yes, both, exactly. :)

  9. Comment by Cyclin' Missy | 06.6.2012 | 7:05 am

    Did you go the other direction at all? I would have had to switch it up every so often. I’d be afraid of developing huge muscles on just one side of my body. Hahahaha!

  10. Comment by Ginger-Schminger | 06.6.2012 | 7:20 am

    Thanks to MattC, I now need a new keyboard. Breakfast burrito does not mix well with the keys…all thanks to the European Vacation reference!

  11. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 06.6.2012 | 7:32 am

    Totally insane. I love it…..

  12. Comment by Tommysmo | 06.6.2012 | 7:40 am

    Classic! I was considering a Tour de Cul de Sac at the end of my road but figured the neighbors would have me arrested!

  13. Comment by zac_in_ak | 06.6.2012 | 7:43 am

    Way to go! on the 100 MoN & ADA! I missed out on MoN but managed to do the Tour de Cure. Thankfully my driveway is too small to do that???? what was your elevation gain on strava????

  14. Comment by Ferd Berfle | 06.6.2012 | 8:59 am

    I still haven’t decided which I like best about fatcyclist.com – Fatty’s writing or the wonderfully weird group of people who read the blog and support the causes. I can usually get my daily dose of inspiration from both.

  15. Comment by Bill H-D | 06.6.2012 | 9:29 am

    @Zac Elevation change per lap according to Strava is something like 30 ft. It took ten pedal strokes to maintain speed each lap. Little climb, little descent, little climb, little descent. Here’s the segment link: http://app.strava.com/athletes/556380/segments/leader (note I’m unchallenged as the KOM, heh).

    @MattC & @GingerSminger: I was hallucinating enough by the end not to need pictures: “Look kids, Parliament!”

  16. Comment by Dave T | 06.6.2012 | 9:36 am

    Wow that is truly miles of nowhere. Thanks for the write up and good luck this weekend.

  17. Comment by TK | 06.6.2012 | 9:52 am

    I love your yard and sense of humor. I wish you were my neighbor.

  18. Comment by Rose | 06.6.2012 | 10:01 am

    Because you are the best kind of idiot, I have just donated to your page. Love this story!

  19. Comment by Noodle | 06.6.2012 | 10:28 am

    Now this is the kind of supreme nuttery I can get behind. Excellent job, Bill!

  20. Comment by Erin | 06.6.2012 | 11:35 am


    You guys are giving me lots of food for thought for sticking with the spirit of the “nowhere” part of this ride. Next year.

  21. Comment by JIm B | 06.6.2012 | 12:17 pm

    Bill, you should have invested in a TT bike and TT helmet to help you get it done a bit quicker.

    I’m impressed all the same!

  22. Comment by Dan O | 06.6.2012 | 2:43 pm

    Crazy Town. Awesome…

  23. Comment by Bill H-D | 06.6.2012 | 2:59 pm

    @Rose. Thank you, sincerely. I am grateful for the support and inspired by the generosity.

  24. Comment by Bill H-D | 06.6.2012 | 3:02 pm

    @JimB I’ve not ridden TT bikes very much, but even going in a straight line I was barely avoiding catastrophe. I can only imagine what that might have been like riding in a tight circle!

  25. Comment by Fuzz Martin | 06.6.2012 | 6:29 pm

    Your story gives “spinning” a new name. I got dizzy just reading it. Nice work!

  26. Comment by Wes | 06.7.2012 | 9:01 am

    I think you deserve the reward for the craziest 100 mile route. Fatty needs to give a prize for the most outlandish ride done that year for the 100 Miles of Nowhere. I thought about finding a 1/4 mile loop and doing 400 laps and that sounded terrible but this is just beyond impressive.

  27. Comment by Bill H-D | 06.8.2012 | 7:13 am

    Thank you, cyclists, and especially the Friends of Fatty for believing that this insane behavior is something other than evidence that I should be institutionalized. :)

  28. Comment by Jeremy | 06.10.2012 | 11:33 am

    That is some serious lean. Good call on reversing from time to time. I tried something similar (longer loop) but found I couldn’t reverse well with the off-camber turns.

    Good fundraising, too. Good amount for a good cause. Why all the goods? Because Fatty says, “Do something good.”


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