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When the miles matter

September 23, 2012

“How many miles did you ride today?” The conventional standard to mark your achievement is distance. Then there are those who feel this metric is useless without the additional dimension of time. “I killed this workout today – kept an 18 mph moving average for 20 laps.” Rivendell founder, Grant Petersen discourages both of these and instead insists on counting minutes or even days ridden instead. “Count things that add up fast, come easy, and encourage you,” he says.

Yes, counting things can be fun. But in the end, who really cares? What it really comes down to for me is this: it’s not how you rode but who you rode with. Looking back on my previous year’s ride reports, the ones I look most fondly back on are those that I shared with friends and family. I think back to a toe-numbing trip for authentic Serbian food, romps to the sources of delicious beers and wines, and lazy circuitous pedaling around the neighborhood. There was the afternoon when Mrs. Bicycle Bug and I stumbled onto the DC Scoops event with free Ice Cream – that was a good one.

The memories I’ve taken away from these experiences have been selective. I don’t remember exact distances (ok, I remember my first 100-mile day), my cadence, speed, or heart rate. I do remember benign conversations, destinations, and wrong turns. I remember the people, not the numbers. So, maybe from now on I should count conversation with other riders, track cups of coffee drunk, or log jokes per hour (JPH) – for these things are where the miles really matter.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 25, 2012 10:02 pm

    Hear hear! I totally agree– when it comes down to it, it’s the shared experience that matters. I always remember the good company, and good food. I guess that’s true for not just bike riding.

  2. September 25, 2012 11:26 pm

    I love this post!

  3. September 26, 2012 8:15 am

    What a great post! It’s so nice to be brought back down to earth and the things that really matter rather than the stats and bravado. That takes the fun out of cycling for me a lot of the time – the best times are when you just get out for a pedal to anywhere with no click just for the sake of it. Happy days 🙂


  1. Benefits of Tracking the Miles | chasing mailboxes d.c.

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