Saturday, January 11, 2014
the Mileage Post
It's that time of year when dedicated, responsible bike bloggers post how many miles they rode the year before. Some cyclists had sub-par years. All Seasons Cyclist was unhappy because he only rode 5,000 minus 51 miles and that's less than usual. He was out of commission for 8 weeks due to illness. Another well-known blogger rode less than 2,000 miles, and seemed to be going through some existential angst over it (to be fair, they did have some radical changes and trials in the past year).
Well, I am sorry to report I am unable to report how many miles I rode last year. I can't break it down by bike, type of trail, utility or recreational, pleasure or business or further subdivide it into all those other categories our bike computers can provide and bikers geek out over.
Not that I'm against keeping track of miles. I like to have a general idea of how far I've ridden on long trips and to make sure I don't break the speed limit around town. But I had trouble with my Cateye. Sometimes the unit would pick up the signal from the little magnet on the spoke, then it would quit mysteriously. I'd fiddle with the placement, replace batteries, etc and spin the wheel and it would work. Then I'd ride a bit, it'd work fine and then quit. I'd stop and spin the wheel and get a readout of a few miles per hour, but then get on the bike and there was no display. Maybe the tire's round profile on my Vaya was blocking the signal. Couldn't figure it out, grew tired of it, and eventually just took it off the bike. I prefer an uncluttered cockpit, anyway.
So all I can say is I rode about the same amount as the previous year which was…well I'm not sure because I had bike computer problems in 2012, too. Lost it, rode without one for awhile, bought a new one, found the old one. I think that's when I started not caring too much about how many miles I'd ridden in a day, week, month or year. The important thing is I was still riding my bike more, and enjoying the rides.
Now I'm thinking about getting a GPS based unit to replace the Cateye, but those start at $100. Garmin has the new Edge Touring model which comes with a cycle map and doesn't have all those training functions that I would hardly ever use. It's compatible with other maps like the Topo US which you can load onto a microSD card. I like the idea of using the Garmin maps instead of running down the battery on my phone when I get lost or unsure of which way to go. And it'll work when in a no-cell service zone. Sounds tempting, but it's $250 and takes up more space on the bike stem.
Oh wait, I have a Garmin Forerunner wrist gizmo with a handlebar mount, why don't I just use that? I'm sure I can find a reason not to. For starters the bike mount is zip-tied to the handlebar making it difficult to switch between bikes. And it's not something I'm going to put on and off my wrist all the time before and after riding to work.
Anyway, sometimes it's best not to know how many miles you've ridden. It can become a form of clock watching. You look at the clock at work waiting for the work day to end, but every time you look at the clock it's barely moved. I discovered the same thing happens on long bike trips, too. There was one section on our Bitterroot Loop ride last year where I'd look at the Cateye and discover we'd only ridden a few miles since I last looked and had 20 more miles to go. I finally turned it off. The day went much better after that.