cycling · running

Strava and Gender: Also, beer, coffee, and cake

Strava’s 2018 Fascinating Year In Review Stats  makes for interesting reading. 


The easiest gender stat to understand is that Strava is pretty male place. In one year there were 149 million total uploads by women and 636 million uploads by men. That means that  77% percent of the activity uploads were by men and just 23% by women.

According to the report, “the differences in speed, or duration aren’t actually that much different between men and women. Only 5-8 minutes shorter for rides, and slightly slower for runs.”

My fave stat in the report concerns preferred beverages. Cyclists drink more coffee and runners drink more beer. But everyone likes cake! Cake comes in third–just behind beer and coffee–as the food or beverage athletes prefer. I was thinking that ice cream would be up there. But that might be just me.

In order, runners prefer beer, coffee, cake, cookie, donut, pastry.

Cyclists like best coffee, beer, cake, cookie, donut, pastry.

No bananas. No bagels! 

Where’s the data come from? It’s not as Strava connected devices track beer and donuts after all. Instead, these numbers are all self-reported. But all self-reported in a particular way. Strava got the numbers from the titles of individual workouts. (If you don’t give your workout a title, it gets the default of time of day + activity. Morning run or afternoon ride, for example.

So really it means that runners are more likely than cyclists to put the word “beer” in the title of their workout. Ditto cyclists and “coffee.” Given how many “morning coffee rides” I’ve been on that’s no surprise. There might also be a gendered element. There are a lot of women running, and lots of them not on Strava. I suspect women runners would be less likely to give their run a beer-themed name.  But I’m just speculating. 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
“BEER” in bright lights.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
fitness · winter

At home spinning with Sam

Streaking Sam style has meant setting up my bike on the trainer in my home office. I’m not good at doing this for very long but twenty minutes here and there is easy.

I think lots of people don’t do at home riding on a trainer because they think, like me, they couldn’t do it for very long. Still, I find that even twenty minutes, or one Netflix episode a few times a week, makes a difference.

What I don’t do, that I’d like to do, is virtually ride with other people using Zwift. To do that I’d need some way to measure power on my bike.

I’m hoping to set that up in the new year. Wish me luck!

cycling · winter · yoga

My goal for the week, 218 in 2018

I’m at 214 workouts so far for the year 2018 and my goal for the year is 218. For sure, I’ll make it.

My goal for this week is to make it by Friday.

Tomorrow, Sunday, I’m riding my bike. That’ll be 215

Monday I have personal training, 216.

Tuesday is all about driving to see the Messiah so no exercise then.

Wednesday I’m back at the gym for bike yoga.

And Thursday/Friday I’m at a friend’s cottage where there’ll be walking in woods and maybe fireside yoga.

Wish me luck!


Exercising while Dean-ing: Sam finds ways to make it work, #deanslife

A painted rock which reads “play before work’ nestled in the fall leaves

Since becoming Dean of the College of Arts at Guelph in January 2018, I’ve struggled a bit to find time for fitness things. It’s a demanding job. It’s not that regular faculty positions aren’t demanding but this feels different.

The schedule is certainly different. This morning I was at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the U of G table from 7-9 am. A surprising number of things take place in the early hours of the day. There’s also a lot of evening commitments. Twelve hour days aren’t that uncommon. And it’s not that I didn’t work long days when I was teaching and doing research full-time but that schedule was under my control mostly. Now I have an assistant who schedules my days and I have to look and see what’s on and when.

When I first started I imagined I could just book fitness-y things and stick with it. See Start as you mean to continue,

But the thing is emergencies happen often enough that I can’t commit in the way I used to. If there’s a faculty member in crisis I can’t really say, yes, can I’d love to meet with you but I spin then so I can’t. And the hours mean that the usual thing of working out before or after work isn’t working that well for me. I am a big fan of 8 hours sleep a night. After almost a full year as Dean I thought I’d share with you what seems to be working for me.

What does work?

There are unexpected chunks of time. I keep a gym bag packed in my office at all times. I workout on campus. And I don’t need a full hour to make it worth my while.

I schedule personal training on campus over the lunch hour. I’d rather do that and eat at my desk or in meetings.

On the days when things do end early, I head to the gym. This unexpected time makes the gym feel like a treat.

I also have my bike set up at home on the trainer. I rarely do admin work at home and my email seems to begin and end with regular hours not distant from the regular work day. Again, no chunk of time is too small. Twenty minutes on the trainer is just fine.

I bike to work and I walk around campus a lot during the day.

I do random fitness classes when time permits. Bike yoga? Yes! Advanced AquaFit? Sure!

I’m still not sure where this will all settle out. I’m still trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. But being much more flexible seems to be key. I’ll report back soon.

Bitmoji Sam on a boxing ring. Caption reads ‘You got this.”

cycling · winter

Snow commuting, still faster than driving

This story has been in the news a lot this week : Data From Millions Of Smartphone Journeys Proves Cyclists Faster

According to all of the data on our smartphones–here’s looking at you Google Fit!–in urban environments biking time beats car travel time hands down

(There’s been a lot of analysis of the data, from smart phones and from Strava. For the big picture look here: Strava’s 2018 Fascinating Year In Review Stats)

I had my own version of the “biking is faster the driving” phenomena last night when someone saw me on my bike and offered me a drive to a meeting. I calculated the time to lock up the bike and get back to it after the meeting and quickly declined. I wanted the ease of having the bike near me for getting home after the meeting. The driving colleagues offered to let the others know that I’d be late. I didn’t think I’d be late. But whatever.

I was waiting for the elevator when the driving colleagues arrived. “Huh, you beat us.” 

They thought about it and noted that I got to park closer. They parked in a lot a ways a way but I locked up my bike in covered bike parking just outside the building.  But truth be told, I was ahead of them all the way. 

At the first light they were stopped behind a line of cars but I was the only bike in the bike lane.  Between traffic lights I’m not that much different than a car in terms of speed.

Last night, after the meeting, I had a magical ride home in the snow. I took a quiet route with almost no cars. The snow was falling pretty heavily and the plow hadn’t been by yet. I was curious to see how my “adventure road bike” would do. My fat bike is better suited to real snow but this bike did just fine.

What’s an adventure road bike? It’s not a cx bike, not designed for cyclocross bike. It’s not a technical mountain bike designed for mud and rocks. And it’s not a pavement only road bike either.

Here’s one description from Evans Cycle in the UK:

“Different brands have different takes on what adventure road geometry should be, in general they sit much closer to road bikes, but with a more relaxed geometry, a higher stack height for a more heads up riding position and sometimes longer chain stays for stability when carrying a load. The tyres will generally be fatter than road tyres, but with a semi-slick rubber that won’t hold you back on the road, so you’ll be comfortable switching between disciplines with ease.

Because Adventure Road bikes aren’t designed for technical, wooded areas and muddy racing, the bottom bracket stays in a position more akin to that of a road bike, and tyre clearance does not need to be as great. Since it’s unlikely you will need to hop off the bike, and run over obstacles or up banks, disc brakes are common place as low weight is less crucial.What are adventure road bikes good for?

Adventure Road bikes make fantastic steeds for commuting or touring duties – comfortable geometry, shorter reach and robust wheels and tyres mean they can cope with hefty mileage over rough terrain. Therefore, the bikes often have racks for panniers, mudguards and drinks bottles, so you can load them up should you need to.

Adventure Road bikes are super versatile and with one bike you can cover a huge range of riding styles but there are subtle differences and it is a broad spectrum. Before you start browsing think about what you are likely to use the bike for and which features will be most key to your buying choice.”

Guest Post · weight loss · winter

Baby, it’s cold outside (Guest post)

By Eleanor Brown

It was a quite chilly minus 12, so I popped outside yesterday, without a coat, and stood in the driveway for a good 10 minutes, shivering. All in all, I’d call that a good day of exercise.

There was an unseasonable cold snap, you see. It was too icy for a bicycle ride, and too cold this early in the season for my as-yet non-acclimatized body to cope with its usual meandrey hour-long walk. Ah, but a good shiver… that’s some good calorie-killing time well spent.

Why? I was following advice, of course. I found it on the internet. Even better, I found it on a media website. Of a sort, anyway. The write-up is all about the horrors of winter weight gain. Ten pounds, on average!

To wit: « The shift to colder, winter weather often makes us feel lethargic and deters our motivation to go outside.

« But before you pull over the blankets or curl up by the fire to watch your favorite show, you should consider the potential benefits of cold-weather workouts.

« Exercising outdoors in colder weather has numerous health benefits. The average winter weight gain ranges from 5-10 pounds, Senior Director of Clinical Nutrition at Mt. Sinai Rebecca Blake told Accuweather. » That’s a weather website that makes money money as an app on my phone (and perhaps, on yours , too.)

Oh, there’s a lot of good stuff in the story. Winter exercise offers a bit of vitamin D via the faint sunlight exposure. It helps keep your body stronger in terms of immunity from colds, etc. The chill keeps you awake and cool, helping with temperature regulation. I buy all that.

But in the end it’s all about the thin : Winter exercise helps « ease fears of potential winter weight gain.»

It turns out that being outside in the winter can switch that terrible, horrible no good white belly and thigh fat into the Best. Fat. Ever. Yes, behind door number two you’ll find a transmogrification of the nasty bad stuff into the fantabulous calorie-burning brown fat. (Don’t ask me, it’s some miraculous sciencey thing.)

But when it’s very, very cold, I often just say no.

Thank goodness there’s this short-term option.

« Shivering, a mechanism to produce heat, also burns a significant amount of calories. Studies have shown that people expend five times more energy when shivering, compared to when they are resting. »

Now if I could just convince myself to stand outside every horrifically frigid winter day in shorts… why then, life would be perfect. Sadly, I am walking outside while wearing an undershirt today, and am therefore much fatter than I should be.


Eleanor Brown lives in Quebec, and as the Gilles Vigneault song goes, « Mon pays, c’est l’hiver » (my country, ‘tis winter).


Be our guest….

If you’re ever interested in guest posting here at Fit is a Feminist Issue, drop me a line at

In addition to the regular blogging community, there is room for guests.

Here is the note I send guests.

“Thanks for your willingness to join our community of guest posters at Fit is a Feminist Issue.

Posts usually range between 500 and 1000 words. If your post is really long it might make sense to do it in several parts.

First and foremost we’re a feminist blog and we expect guests to share that perspective. We also usually incorporate a personal perspective in our writing, even if that’s the history of what made us think about the thing we’re writing about.

We also are a body positive blog and we try to keep the diet talk down to a minimum. Lots of us are critical of diets, the long term odds of success, and the beauty standards beneath lots of fitness ideals. We’re more about doing things we love and sharing athletic, rather than aesthetic goals. That said, we don’t all agree about all of these things and “big tent feminism” is part of the charm of the blog.

We try to use accessible language and write with a sense of humour, where appropriate. We especially try to avoid ableist language. For example, we don’t say “crazy” or “lame.” Here’s a link to alternatives,

Where it makes sense include links to further resources.

You must include a short bio at the end.

The way it works is that you after you receive and accept our invitation to the blog (through WordPress), submit the post for review and we edit it lightly (mostly for grammar and spelling and adequate paragraph breaks). We schedule it. We also add photos. You can email pictures to (or if you’re working with Tracy, Contributor status means that you can’t add photos. After a few posts, we switch you to author status and authors can add their own photos and schedule their own posts. If you would rather not work directly in WordPress, email us your word docx and we will import it into WordPress.

Note: If you are adding your own photos and video, pls be sure to provide image and video descriptions for the visually impaired. All non-text content should have a text alternative that provides an equivalent meaning as the image. Read past posts for some descriptions of the images in the posts. Best practise is for the image description to go in the alt-text field which you can see when you edit the photo. You can put the image description in the caption as well if you have space. Captions are also useful for photo credits Finally, giving your photo a descriptive title makes it easier for search engines to find.

Please share your guest post widely to let your friends and social media followers know about the blog. We’ve got some excellent regular commentators and if you could check in on your post and reply to them that would be great.

Yay! And thanks for contributing!


Sam and Tracy”

Black tree frog. Photo by joel herzog on Unsplash