Saturday, April 7, 2012

Track your progress

I want to reiterate that biking is awesome. This was my fourth week of biking to work; time flies, it feels like only two weeks. Every day that I bike, my day is better because of it. I feel more focused at work. I'm more tired (the good kind of tired) but paradoxically more energized.

I've been tracking my progress with the MyTracks app. I love tracking my progress because it shows how I'm improving over time. Check out all the data I've generated. Time is in minutes and seconds, distance is in miles, speed is in miles per hour.

Date Total Time Moving Time Distance Avg Speed Avg Moving Speed Max Speed
3/2026:2420:543.427.779.82 18.76

By keeping a record of my bike rides I can see myself getting faster. I've decreased my moving time by six minutes from the first time I biked this year. My average moving speed has crept upwards until now I'm flirting with 13mph. My total time spent commuting (one way) is pretty consistent now at under 21 minutes. For perspective, my trip by car usually takes between 9 and 13 minutes. I know I can do better too, like around 15 minutes, once I'm fast enough.

It's really motivating to watch my progress. Some days I want to beat my best time so I'll push myself harder. Other days I'll take it easy and afterward I notice I'm still faster than I used to be.

I've biked twice a week for the past three weeks. I would have biked yesterday, too, if it were warmer in the morning. Sure, I could have anyway, and I'm a wussypants for letting a little cold stop me. But I decided it's more important to have fun with this and have my bike commute be enjoyable. The last thing I need is to feel like it's a chore.

There is another point in there. When I started I needed to take a day off after biking once. I was tired and I needed to recover. I don't feel like that anymore. I still need to recover but that need is less and less. I biked to work on Tuesday and Wednesday, and by Friday I was more than ready to go again. Soon it will be warm out every morning — or I'll stop minding the cold because I'd rather be biking.

I'll be maintaining my goal to bike at least once a week; I see that being easy from now on. My new goal is to keep pushing up the number of times I bike in per week. When I hit four days a week I'm going to be feeling pretty good about myself, let me tell you.

Last I want to say thanks for all the helpful advice people left in comments. Bethimar gave me the super useful advice to raise my bike seat, which was spot-on and afterwards biking is easier and I feel more powerful. And I'm constantly reminded about what MMM said about why we bike:
Because that's simply how you get around. There are no other alternatives. What, you're going to use a MOTOR, when your own legs can do the job?
I'll be on my way to work, sprinting up a hill so I can make the next traffic light, feeling smug watching the column of sukkas in automobiles gunning their accelerator pedals waiting for the congestion to move on to stop again at the next traffic light. And I'll think to myself, this is why I'm biking. This is how I get to work. That's just the way it is.


  1. Congratulations! It's great that you've pushed through the early doubts and reached both achievement AND enjoyment.

    I got my bike out this week (trying to avoid the remaining ice patches and enormous piles of road grit), and it feels so good to be riding again. Yay, spring!

    Pretty soon now my only bike route to work will be open again and I can't wait.

  2. Yay!! You're turning into a biker! That is just so awesome to hear. Love this post.

  3. it's nice idea to have a speed/distance table like that, I'll make one too. thanks)