14 November 2010

You can reach your goals; I'm living proof

I usually don't set goals.  Maybe something obtuse like, "Read more books!"  But last December I realized that after a full year of stay-at-home-dadding, I had become overweight.  I kept thinking that the trips to the playground with a bucket bike fully of pre-schoolers would do the trick, but it apparently did not.

When I started riding bikes (again) in 2005, I was training for STP and bike commuting, so I started a mileage log which I continued diligently as my bike commuting habit grew stronger.  During that time, my body hit a sweet spot and stayed the same size and shape most of the year.  Yay cycling!  2009 marked the first year where I wasn't counting every mile, which is probably why I was surprised when I got on the scale after Christmas and saw a much larger number than normal.  It was resolution time, and figuring that I had only ridden about 1200 miles in 2009, I set out to ride 2010 miles in 2010.

I don't own any cyclometers, but wanted my data to be relatively accurate.  Most of my bike trips are to/from home, so I made a reference table with distances to places I frequently ride.  The occasional long ride usually gets googlemapped post-ride.  I broke everything out by bike, taking care to separate cargo vs. solo miles.  Cargo miles are almost always transportational, while solo miles are often recreational, but not always.

This method of data logging is helpful when I'm trying to justify why I keep certain bikes or why I should be willing to spend money on maintenance.  My Xtracycle has a ridiculous number of miles on it, but I haven't so much as changed the chain.  Even if I have to replace the entire inexpensively equipped drivetrain for $150 at mile 3000, I'll know that was money well spent since all those miles replaced car trips.

I did so many charity rides this summer, and led enough short weekly training rides, that I met my 2010 goal in early September.  I never reached my weight-loss goal, but I did figure out about how many miles per month it takes for me to break even with my nutella toast and beer consumption habits.  And that's the key folks: finding balance.

The really interesting thing about these stats is that I've racked up 800 miles on cargo bikes alone.  These are the short day-to-day trips that most purely recreational cyclists would probably ignore, or just simply drive a car.

Xtracycle: 335 miles (average trip length: 4.3 miles)
Madsen:   425 miles (average trip length: 3.7 miles)

The best part is that the year isn't over!  There are still plenty of opportunities to pedal to my destination and burn off all of those holiday goodies.

Do you track your cycling miles?  Do you find it motivates you to ride more?  What kind of cycling goals do you have?


Robert said...

I use an application for my android phone called cardiotrainer. It's simple to use. You can use the gps to track your miles or mostly I do as you do and manually enter routine routes.

In the alerts bar it tells me how much I've ridden in the last 7 days. If it's less than 50 I get super motivated to go out.

bikemom said...

I don't track, but I'm impressed with your tracking! Wow! I might try it. I've found that biking doesn't help as much with weight loss as actually tracking what I eat. I've figured out that in my older age, I have to actually eat less or eat differently. Biking just helps keep everything feeling good and my body strong (and my mind sane).

BTW, I am LOVING the rain cover, Matt. Please tell your whole family that you've all changed our lives!