A biking challenge for the new Jewish year – 5784


Rosh Hashanah was today. It is one of my favorite holidays, in part because it played such a big role in my family becoming Jewish but also because it start of a new year in the Jewish calendar, which of course, leads to the topic of resolutions.

Two years ago (5782) I had a powerful experience of doing my best to avoid driving for a year, trying to do as much of my daily travel by bicycle. I did this partly because I love bicycling, but mostly as a creative way to observe the Sh’mita year, in an unbound creative way.

So, for 5784 I’ve decided to do a new challenge. While I’m not able to quit driving completely for this year (due to familial obligations — mostly the need to transport my son from time to time), I do want to travel many more miles on the ebike this year, so I’ve set an annual mileage goal: 4204.9 miles, which is the length of the TransAmerica Bicycle trail, a coast-to-coast bike route that goes from Yorktown, Virginia to Astoria, Oregon. I hope to someday ride this trail (inspired by my friend Jeff Paterson who rode it this last summer), but for now, I’m going to try to accumulate this amount of milage over the course of the year.

And so to start off this year of riding, here’s my report from my ride today (FYI – future reports will be tagged with )

bike route map
September 16, 2023

Today’s mileage: 19.99
JYTD 1 Mileage: 19.99





Notes and Pictures: picture of James M Branum, wearing a bicycle helment and yellow reflective vest in front of back gate at Temple B'nai Israel with a Shanah Tovah banner in the background.

I departed from Temple B’nai Israel after the morning Rosh Hashanah service and the famous Brotherhood Covered Dish Luncheon. I then rode to REI to talk to the mechanics at the bike shop (who wisely advised me to do several things, including replacing my very badly worn back tire). I then made it another mile before I had a flat!

picture of two bike tires side by side, one is very worn down, the other is brand newSo I changed the tube, but also changed the tire (which I was overdue for as you can see from the picture above), sitting in the shade in front of Whole Foods.

Little Free Library in Nichols HillsI then traveled from there up to Trader Joe’s in Nichols Creek to pick up a few things, and then road on Grand Boulevard west (stopping by a Little Free Library -see above), over the freeway and then to the Lake Hefner trail.

picture of a flock of sea gulls and a deer at the BLuff Creek Water treatment plant in OKCI traveled counter-clockwise around the lake (and got some good pictures, including this one of some deer and early-arriving winter sea gulls at the water treatment plant)

Lake Hefner in OKC

. On the west side of the lake (at Britton Rd) I continued north on the new trail to Hefner Road, then on residential neighborhoods to Macarthur Blvd for the final push home.

It was a wonderful ride (even with the flat) and a great way to start the new Jewish year. Shana Tova!

  1. Jewish Year to date

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