Sunday, 18 January 2009

Slow cycling

I am a bit of a slow cyclist. Although I can hardly claim to favour style over speed, I do share a lot of other ground with the Slow Bicycle movement. It is the journey that's important. I aim to enjoy the ride, and I do get there, eventually.

But having said that, I sometimes feel that I should be making more effort. After all, part of my rationale is to get fitter, and part of the fun is seeking out new places to visit. With more speed I would get more exercise, and I could reach places further from home.

So yesterday I tried setting the GPS system to bleep every time my speed dropped below 10 mph. I wasn't sure what the best threshold would be, but 10 mph seemed a reasonable starting point for the first experiment.

As expected, some of the time it just told me when I was going up a hill, or into a headwind (which was quite annoying). But it also worked as a reminder when I had relaxed and started to cruise on an easier stretch. The result was that I ended up putting in a bit more effort than usual.

I then realised that my old GPS tracks have distance and time information in them, that show how far I have ridden at different speeds. It turned out to be more difficult to extract the data than I expected, but I figured it out, eventually, and this morning I crunched the GPS tracks from about 1,000 miles of riding in 2008.

It came as something of a surprise to discover that my speed was under 10mph for about half the time I was riding. Of course, in a "glass half full" kind of way ,that also means that I am riding at more than 10mph for the other half.

But I think I could do quite a bit better, and I will try to in 2009.


Gregory Marler said...

I can't remember quite where you are, but have the feeling it might be west of the M25 somewhere? If so you might be interested in this request:

Anonymous said...

My average speed has been a fairly consistent 10mph and I noted recently that that is marginally faster than cyclists in Copenhagen! Obviously I must stop rushing about.

town mouse said...

hehe - I have to admit that if I'm coming home and my average speed for the trip has dropped below 11mph, I do speed up for the last bit to try and make the figures look a little better. That's still pretty slow though, so I'm hoping my membership won't be revoked...

Nick said...

More speed, or take more time; which is the better option? It's a tough call, but the second gets my vote. You get less sweaty.