Monday, June 20, 2016

Spinning Wheels (Lessons from Two Years of Cycling): Stats

I confess. I am not a STRAVA aficionado, at least not yet. In fact, I do not have any cycling apps on my droid, but I do keep statistics.

Cateye Velo 7
To begin with, I rely on a Cateye Velo 7 computer mainly to tell me how fast or slow I am riding and to keep track of my total miles. This entry level computer offered, at a minimum cost, seven functions, but I generally use only these two. It was easy to install and has served me well and malfunctioned only under extremely wet and muddy conditions on the C & O Canal.

Example of  Stats
On every ride, I carry in my riding jersey back pocket a small “Rite in the Rain” All-Weather Notebook with a nub pencil or pen to take notes about my ride. At the beginning of the ride I usually write down my starting time and perhaps the temperature. If I am riding with anyone else I write down their names. When I finish I jot down the total miles I rode and perhaps the ending time. I also note anything particularly special about the ride.  This notebook also contains important information about my bike, such as model number, serial number, and tire size as well as important phone numbers and some information about local trails.

Soon after I return home from a ride, or at least within the next couple of days, I enter my riding stats on my laptop using MS Word, which allows me to copy and paste information from past rides if I want to, search for keywords in entries, and maintain a running summation of total miles cycled. This riding log has been an invaluable resource as I have been writing this series of blog posts.

 I record how many miles I rode and where I cycled, noting the date I rode. I often record my starting and ending time and overall miles per hour. I might also record other particular details about the ride such as an above normal or below normal ambient temperature, if I encountered rain, something odd I saw such as a deer crossing the trail, and anything I wish I had done differently like wearing warmer socks or taking more energy snacks or water. I also keep a running total of how many miles I have cycled thus far during a season. Such records enable me to judge whether or not I am riding farther, or faster, or more or less often compared to the previous couple of years.

In addition to cycling statistics I also keep a record of the work I do or have done on my bike. For instance, I will note when I clean and lube the chain, adjust the brakes or derailleur, patch a tube, put on new tires, or make any modifications. I also keep track of what I buy for the bike or cycling, such as the brand of cycling shoes I bought, when and where I bought them, and how much they cost. This way I am more aware of how much I am spending on cycling, how long gear lasts, and whether or not it is time for a minor or major tune up.

Not every rider will be as much an OCD cyclist as me, but some may be even more so. What stats do you keep? What stats do you wish you had kept over the past few years? What statistical based apps have you found helpful?

Here are links to previous installments in the series:

Accidents Happen (Seventh Installment)
Pedals for Cleats (Sixth Installment)
Riding Shoes with Cleats (Fifth Installment)
Be Kind to Your Behind (Fourth Installment)
Combating Hand and Arm Numbness (Third Installment) 
Reading and Riding (Second Installment)
Starting Over (First Installment) 

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