December 11, 2011

A poll for the start of winter

As the outdoor cycling season shuts down in the Northern Hemisphere, I'm seeing more and more numbers appearing on cycling blogs, and perhaps not coincidentally becoming more aware of how friends use numbers.

My friend Larry counts the number of species of birds he sees in various locations, and keeps track of the first time each year he sees a species. At least, I think that is what FOY stands for.

My boss, when asked how he discovered the Berkshires, said "More than twenty years ago, my wife went to camp here." I know for a fact that his wife graduated from college before I did, so it was surely more than twenty years ago times 2. More than 20 years ago, I rode a bike daily in metropolitan Washington, DC, and there were fewer cars on the road there than there are now in Washington, MA, which boasts a population of about 600. More than twenty years ago ... a fine measure.

As a cyclist, I pay attention to lots of numbers: heartrate, cadence, speed, distance, number of vertical feet climbed, pounds lifted in weight training, reps. Not watts, I don't have one of those meters, or I surely would. Not calories, though apparently many of my colleagues at work do. The number of dollars a plane ticket costs. Not the exchange rate of those dollars to euros, though. I probably should care, but I doubt it will influence my behavior. As a world citizen, I'll shoulder my part in supporting the French economy. Days of vacation I can take at one time and still have my job when I return.  Now there's an extremely important one.

Temperature. Winter is here and today at least, 26F is too cold for me to cycle outside, new warm clothes or not. Which brings me to the point of this post, specifically inspired by Gerry Patterson's recent post about numbers.

I have a question, an online poll for you, my reader. Please participate! You don't need to own a bike, ride a bike, want to ride a bike, or do anything bike relelated, though that wouldn't hurt. You only need to have an opinion, formed from whatever experience you pay attention to.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.


  1. Hey, Suze, was that only one question? I was getting all ready for a 'test'! Anyway, miles are miles (unless they're kilometers, I suppose), whether you go somewhere or not. Take my coach for example. He lives in Alberta, where he only has half a year or something silly to ride outside. His mileage would be maybe 40% less if he didn't count the stuff he did on the trainer.

  2. Jerry, Only that question. After I read your post on annual kilometers and goals, it set me to wondering about how many I had ridden last year... so I took a look at my records and saw right away that it is pretty lame without those indoor trainer miles!

    You might be thinking about your more recent post about your new bike computer also ... I have one, though not as sophisticated, no altitude or climbing info. In the winter I suppose I am compulsive about heart rate training.

    Good to hear from you and kudos on all your work on your Languedoc site!


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