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  1. #1
    Long Live Long Rides
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    Who rides to ride? Who rides for distance?

    Man! It seems like everyone I talk to wants to know how long it took. I tour quite a bit throughout the year. I'm also a bike commuter and runner. When I commute, my route to work is 14mi one way. "How long does it take?" they ask.

    When I run, I'm usually between 6-7 miles depending on how I feel. "So how fast is your mile split?" they ask again.

    When I tour, sometimes it's two days (90-100mi each day), sometimes it's 5 days (60-70mi each day), longer tours (12+ days-it depends). "So how many miles per hour do you ride?" they ask once again.

    It seems like my rides, runs, and tours have been pre-occupied with trying to have an anwer to someone's inevitible question.

    This past week, I rode to Rocheport for dinner. A two day ride, 90mi each day with an overnight on a nice piece of grass by the restaurant. Excellent ride. I have no idea how long it took. I didn't even care. I don't know how much I spent on dinner, or how fast each day was, or exactly how many miles I actually went each day! It was nice.

    For the record: My new answer to almost every question regarding my tours, commutes, and runs........."I don't know".

    There. I think I'll have a T-shirt made.

    Jerry H
    Jharte
    Touring...therapy for the soul.

  2. #2
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    You don't know how fast but you do know how far you ride. I guess each person has their own desires. You care about the number of miles. I also don't care how fast but I am interested in how far. A few years ago folks always asked me how far was my commute, how many miles did I ride in a year etc... I never knew so I finally bought an odometer and began to record. I was really surprised how many miles I rode. Speed distance, cadence...none of it really matters but some people want to know. Different strokes. You care about distance others care about speed, some only care about the ride.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Like you, I keep track of distance and I don't keep much track of speed ... but I'm starting to keep track of the speed because I want to increase my speed ... so I guess that the first step to increasing speed is knowing what my speed actually is!

    I don't know if you have a log, but I've been logging my distance for the past 15+ years ... it is quite an extensive log ... but not a word in it about how fast any of the rides took me!!

  4. #4
    Hiracer
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    Since I ride hills, I keep track of neither speed nor distance. Time in the saddle is what counts for me. I have been known to ride three hours of hills with an average grade in double digits. Not much speed or distance, but a grueling ride nevertheless.

  5. #5
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i pretty much measure my rides in time. not necessarily average speed, just how long i was in the saddle. for example, in my mind, i know how hard a 5 hour ride will be compared to a 3 hour ride.

  6. #6
    Hooked on Touring
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    In the old BBC series "I, Claudius" after all the other imperial candidates had either murdered each other or died some mysterious death, Claudius stood before a dubious Roman Senate. He was a stutterer and was considered mentally ********. I still remember his response - "I have been accused of being a half-wit. Well, apparently, it is the quality and not the quantity of wits that counts."

    Same goes for miles, hours, feet climbed. I bicycle for the experience of movement in a magical world. So, why do I want a big ole semi barrelling down my backside? I have increasingly found myself doing strange loops and backtracks just to stay on roads that offer me the best possible experiences. And, increasingly, those are dirt. Truly, truly, the old paradigm repeats. Less is more.

    Best - J

  7. #7
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    I think it's because people don't know what else to ask. "Oh you do long distance cycling..........errrr.......how far do you go? What speeds do you do?"

    I've not met anyone who's ever asked me what it feels like riding on a crisp morning by crystal lakes as the sun rises, or as I finally reach the top of a long climb, or meeting all the interesting people on the way; which is good because I just couldn't explain it.

  8. #8
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    It's the ride that's important. Mileage means.............what?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    I always got a kick when touring that the same questions are asked, no matter where I am traveling. Where are you from? Where you going? Wow, that far (anything over 100 miles seems to impress most non-riders). How long will it take? Aren't you scared? Ever been hassled? etc.

    I have seriously thought of having a business card printed with the answers but thought that would eliminate a great way to meet the locals.

    Happy Trails! John

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    For me, the answer to your question is that I ride to ride and I ride for distance and I ride for speed and I ride for fun and I ride for my health and I ride for competition and I ride for views and scenery and just to enjoy the outdoors and I ride to be with my friends and family.

    I log all my rides, both distance and average speed and who I rode with and where I went, so I can tell you that I have ridden 3401 miles so far this year (2712 on my road bike and 689 on my touring bike) at an average speed of exactly 15.0mph. I've done 94 rides so that is an average of 36 miles per ride. I've done 31 of the rides solo and 63 with my friends and family. I've done 10 century rides and plan to do one a month for who knows how long. My longest ride was 145 miles on a fully loaded tour I did in New Mexico and that ride also happened to be my fastest ride at 18.2mph (downhill and with a huge tailwind). My slowest ride was also on that tour, 8.2mph on a day we were going uphill and against the wind. I've also spent about 29 hours doing indoor spinning classes which probably equals another 435 miles of riding.

    I could give you even more information, but I think you get the idea. I think it's fascinating to keep track of my rides. It helps bring back wonderful memories and motivates me to ride even more. But to each his own and I can understand how keeping details like that would drive some people crazy. Do what you enjoy.
    "The wind, it is what it is, you can't curse it and you can't count on it."

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    My commute is 28 miles 1 way and takes a little less than 2 hours. On tours of several days or more, I dont let time or milage be a factor--I get there when I get there. My longest day was 104 miles , my shortest was 24 based on an 8-10 hour day.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TulsaJohn
    I always got a kick when touring that the same questions are asked, no matter where I am traveling. Where are you from? Where you going? Wow, that far (anything over 100 miles seems to impress most non-riders). How long will it take? Aren't you scared? Ever been hassled? etc.

    I have seriously thought of having a business card printed with the answers but thought that would eliminate a great way to meet the locals.

    Happy Trails! John

    When I was in Australia, I got all of those and more ... but I think two of the oddest questions were:

    1) From a girl at a BBQ where we were all making supper ... "What happens when you run out of clothes?"
    I was speechless for a moment trying to think what she was talking about ... then it occurred to me ... she was asking what I did when I'd worn all my clothes and they were all dirty ... so I responded, "I wash them."
    It took her a moment to respond, and then it was a little laugh, and ... "Oh, I didn't think of that."

    2) From a couple who met us at a tourist attraction about 30 kms away from the nearest town, where we were staying. The road out to the tourist attraction went uphill for about 15 kms, then downhill about 15 kms to the attraction.
    "Did you cycle all the way out here?"
    "Yes", we responded
    "Well, ummmmm ... " a pause while they looked around the parking lot for a likely looking vehicle, "who is taking you back to town?
    "No one" we responded
    "You mean you are planning to cycle ALL THE WAY BACK????"
    "Yes"
    "But it is UPHILL all the way!?!?!"
    (some drivers have no idea!)


    And one of the best ones from my trip through the UK ...

    Him: "Are you a Yank?"
    Me: "No, I'm a Canadian"
    Him: "Well, that's OK then."

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I've never had any desire to own a cyclecomputer. I ride without any idea how far except what it says on the map if i care to figure it out.

  14. #14
    Touring senior
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    I was riding the Alaska highway this summer, and stopped at a dumpster to drop off some garbage. An American tourist with a huge RV was stopped too, and he came over with the usual questions:
    AT - Where ya goin'?
    Me - Arctic Ocean
    AT - Where's that?
    Me - Far side of the Northwest Territories
    AT - Dang! They sure do make studs up here!

  15. #15
    Long Live Long Rides
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    Yea, jamawani, this is what I was thinking about. The older I get the more I like the ride for the ride. My last two day trip was really good because I saw things I hadn't seen before. Took all day but it was nice.

    I'm still fairly competetive. I have my cyclocomputer. I still try to log a couple of fully loaded centuries each year. However, for me, the competition of time seems to be less and less important (at least this year!).

    Heck, who knows, maybe next year time and distance will be the driving force for me!

    Ok, off to work...........
    Jharte
    Touring...therapy for the soul.

  16. #16
    imminent danger
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    I do it all.

    I have a speedo on my roady but not my hybrid and plan to keep it that way. I keep an eye on the numbers but never stress about them. People like to ask about these things and simple answers seem to keep the happy.

    I guess there is a curiosity with people who do something they know they can do but in a far more dedicated fashion. After all, who amongst us wouldn't be tempted to ask a serious poker player about their largest pot or a rock climber about their toughest climb. Of course, if someone asks more than that then I go geeky until their eyes glaze over.

    For me it all depends what kind of mood I'm in. Sometimes I like to push myself on a tight burn and use the speedo as a crop. Other times are like this weekend where I cycled from Central London to Guildford. I have no idea how far it was and it took about 4.5 hours of modest effort including stopping for coffee twice. It was fantastic.

    Ultimately though, if Speedos didn't exist I would still ride, how else would I get around.

  17. #17
    Junior Member BearLite's Avatar
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    I had a bike computer on my bike before and it was practical, but I couldn't stop competing with myself, especially the average speed function got to the demon in me and made me push too hard.. I'll probably buy a new bike computer soon, but I think I'll put it on in a way that prevents me from reading the display while on the saddle! :-) . It's the distance function that is most helpful for navigation together with map and compass and then I don't mind stopping a few secs anyway. I need to set a goal for each trip to enjoy it the most but still it is the ride itself that is the best part, no doubt.

  18. #18
    imminent danger
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    I specifically bought one without an average speed readout. I too would become a slave to it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BikePackin's Avatar
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    I just make sure that I ride slowly enough so that I can see what I am doing.
    Towards that end, I mostly find myself climbing alot on The Blue Ridge Parkway.
    Speed ? .... probably minus something :- ).
    So, in response to your header, I supposed that make me a Ride to Ride-r.

  20. #20
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    I keep track of distance on tours, but it's usually no more than a planning tool -- making sure the distances are actually manageable in line with all of the other things I want to see in a particular place.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  21. #21
    gnz
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    Being there, doing that gnz's Avatar
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    I like just riding but I also like stats. I ride with a GPS which provides loads of data.

    I think knowing your stats is valuable because it puts you in perspective with the size of the world v.s. your capabilities. This is useful when planning long tours.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDan
    I think it's because people don't know what else to ask. "Oh you do long distance cycling..........errrr.......how far do you go? What speeds do you do?"
    I agree - they just want to talk to you and don't know what to say.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Seldom Kill
    After all, who amongst us wouldn't be tempted to ask a ... rock climber about their toughest climb.
    Actually, what they ask is: "How do you go to the bathroom up there?"
    ...

  23. #23
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by The Seldom Kill
    After all, who amongst us wouldn't be tempted to ask a ... rock climber about their toughest climb.


    Actually, what they ask is: "How do you go to the bathroom up there?"
    [/QUOTE]

    pack it in, pack it out. I have never liked climbing below others on big walls. And it ain't the rockfall I'm concerned about.

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