How far did I go today? After several longish rides last summer (longish meaning about six miles or so), the question became more important for me to answer. Not for any pressing need, but just to satisfy my own curiosity.
In the course of mining the web for anything bike related, I came across Bike Journal. It’s a place to log your rides online. You can enter the ride date, distance, ride time, average speed, ride type (flat, hills, etc.), and bike. Those are the six default columns for data. If you buy a premium membership for $20 a year, you get many more columns, and the ability to customize the look of your journal. You can also take a look at others’ journals and see what their riding is like.
Bike Journal has built up quite a biking community in the years it’s been in operation. It was just this month that the owner of Bike Journal cut back the number of data columns you get for free, and pushed harder for premium memberships.
I had been logging my rides on an Excel spreadsheet as well, and customized it to match what my Bike Journal data looked like. I added columns for maximum speed, my weight(!), and a description of the ride. I keep monthly totals and year to date totals.
So, how am I doing? Well, that’s why I keep these stats — I’m trying to find out. My average monthly mileage is somewhere between 100-125. In the five months of 2007 for which I kept records, my total mileage was 567.2. Average speed: 13.9. It’s a baseline to build from.
If I keep to my current average, I’ll rack up about 1200 miles this year. Not much, compared to an older friend of mine, who did 2200 miles last year.
However, I don’t feel compelled to pile on the miles to match his number. I’ll try to build throughout the spring and summer, but mainly to get ready for organized rides. And to try to get a handle on my weight, which is around 214 these days. I’d love to get it below 200.
I can see a time when logging my rides will seem like a silly thing to do, but that’s probably a couple of years away. In the meantime, I just realized by reviewing my stats that I’m behind my normal monthly pace. I have to get out and ride some more.
I’ve been using http://www.mycyclinglog.com for a couple of months now. It’s free (for now) but I believe it’s still a fairly new site, so that may change. I like that it integrates into my blog and it provides monthly and yearly stats as well…I’m sure it’s very similar to Bike Journal.
Mike Weiland says
Another free option is http://www.mapmyride.com“. They integrate Google Maps into the system, routes can be searched for and shared. I don’t always map my training routes unless it’s a good one, so the system is flexible enough if you only want to use it to log your mileage.
I have been using http://www.winningstats.com since November. It is also a freebie, and pretty customizable. It looks like there a some good options out there. I used to use an Excel spreadsheet before as well, but I like the options I have with Winning Stats.
I am using a spreadsheet I designed in Google Docs. It’s got the infinite flexibility of an excel spreadsheet and the ability to update it anywhere I have Internet access like Bike Journal.
Although I blog, I’m not a huge fan of “social networks” like MySpace, so places like BikeJournal seem a bit superfluous to me. I also don’t care much for ads all over the place and pressure to pay money for premium memberships. I guess I just stay with Google docs.
The reasons for cyclists — especially neophytes like you and I to log miles are many. You’ve done a good job outlining quite a few of those reasons!
There’s nothing like raw numbers to motivate you. Unlike Noah, I am a fan of bikejournal, but I use it more for self-motivation and comparison to others rather than the social network aspects… so in that we are alike. I really enjoy the ability to see how I rank (in terms of mileage, if not power output, or average HR, etc.) with those registered in my area and beyond.
In addition, I use motionbased.com that ties in to my bike computer, as well as a spreadsheet of my own to generate the stats on my site. I can’t get to google docs from work, but SSH works, so I just transfer it back and forth via sFTP between work and home whenever I update it.
Speaking of, I don’t recall reading anything about a bike computer here. If you don’t have one, there are many options out there for very little money that will record as much or more than what you need. If you do, then there you have it!
Keep blogging. Excellent posts, all!
Bike Noob says
I do like to see how I compare to other riders on Bike Journal, but I don’t make a conscious effort to outdo them.
And yes, I have a bike computer, and that will be the subject of an upcoming post. But if you’re using motionbased.com, I assume you have a GPS computer, and I ain’t that sophisticated. Yet.
I am that sophisticated (I am uber-nerd), but I don’t “train” and can’t justify spending more on a bike computer than two of the four bikes in my household cost. 🙂