Biking season

Work has kept me off my bike a little more than I would have liked, but I have gotten a few rides in this month. Here’s my Google spreadsheet of bike miles for 2011:

I’m behind where I was at this time last year, but ahead of every previous year. In fact, last year was the first time I ever got out and started riding in March; the beginning of April had always been the beginning of previous biking seasons.

I have a special route to work for March and early April. Because the limestone path that comprises about half of my usual route is still mushy in early spring, I do most of my riding on sidewalks. Urban riders are no doubt appalled by this, but you have to remember I’m out here in the suburbs—we don’t have pedestrians.

I hate riding on sidewalks because they’re uneven. Every joint in the concrete seems to be heaved, and there’s just a constant pounding on my wrists. But riding on the streets themselves isn’t an option; drivers around here aren’t used to sharing the road, and I wouldn’t last a week.

By mid-April, though, I’ll be back on my usual route, among the bobolinks and snapping turtles.

I’m not a huge fan of Google spreadsheets—or of spreadsheets in general—but keeping track of miles like this seems like a good use. If you’re interested in one of your own, you can start by making a copy of my template. I set it up to work this way:

  1. Reset your odometer at the start of the year.
  2. Enter the odometer reading in the Cumulative column for the current month. During the course of a month, you’ll be editing the same cell again and again. You don’t have to enter a number every day you ride, but you should enter one on the last day of the month to get accurate calculations for the averages.
  3. The monthly average is calculated by dividing the total mileage by the number of months ridden. It’s updated at the end of each completed month.
  4. The daily average is calculated by dividing the number of miles ridden in the month by the number of days in the month. It’s updated every day.

If you like keeping track of your miles, this is an easy way to do it.