TCI Friday

It all began, my seemingly endless affair with cycling, with one ride.

Living two blocks from the beach in SoCal, I decided cycling would be my go-to fitness fix after I sprained my ankle playing basketball. I pulled out my Trek road bike from storage, pumped up the tires and even lubed the chain.

I hit the Pacific Coast Highway and rode down to 7-Eleven. Bought a Gatorade and Hostess Twinkies, and road home. Exhausted, but refreshed.

I immediately jumped in the car and drove the route: 3.5 miles there and 3.5 miles back. My lucky 7.

Within a year I had a cycling computer. That’s how I know I finished my first Century. I can’t remember how many miles I logged a year for those first couple, but it was enough to blow my mind.

Eventually the computer told me how many miles my brothers and I rode from San Francisco to Los Angeles. And that I hit 55.5 mph on the downhill outside Goleta. Then the batteries died and so, too, my fascination with mileage and stats.

For a while I kept track of hours per week riding, and that faded to nothing at all. I roll out and ride however long I feel like riding. I know I’m just a right-brain, hare-brain freak compared to most.

I’ve never worn a heart-rate monitor nor power meter nor thought about Strava.

This week’s is a question that I am literally interested in your responses: Why do you Strava or track miles or heart-rate or power, especially if you are not training for a race and consider yourself a recreational rider?

Join the conversation
  1. jlaudolff says

    I never wanted to participate in strava but friends hounded me to join. I do like encouraging others and keep in touch with people I have ridden with via strava. I enjoy seeing my prs on local hills and routes. My one concession to being a once strava curmudgeon is that I don’t track heart rate or power which frustrated my friends to no end. I still have mixed feelings about strava but see that generally it has done positive things for me and the cycling community.

  2. khal spencer says

    Never used Strava. But I track monthly mileage as a measure of whether I am keeping my fitness up. For a while, I thought of doing some Century rides this year but the idea of driving somewhere to ride my bike seems absurd, so I do rides around my city, of which there are many variations. But basically, track miles to remind me not to become a couch potato.

  3. alanm9 says

    I have a spreadsheet of miles mostly because I get a small monthly subsidy from my work if I prove that I commute by bike. The rest of my miles I track just to impress myself. I’ve been off and on with Strava but rarely use it except to check my computer on long rides. Never used a power meter nor heartrate monitor and never will.

  4. johnrom719 says

    I use Strava to track rides, runs, hikes and strength workouts. My current mental health and long term healthspan goals require 7 hours/week of trackable exercise. I like to have it all in one place. My Garmin watch is cool for tracking elevation on mountain routes and data flows to Strava, too. It appears I’m an outlier here on TCI, but I track many things in my life, not just exercise: money, net worth, blood pressure, professional accomplishments, publications, etc. My CV is 9 pages long!

  5. trabri says

    I use my Garmin when I ride a long route. I load it on to Strava to get a good visual of my ride. While I like to see my name on leaderboards, I need to remind myself that is not why I’m out there. It’s hard to let go of my competitiveness. I used a heart rate monitor for a short while but the data scared me.

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