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
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!

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.”

cycling · fitness

Sam is going to get faster and stronger and leave the sloths behind (okay she’ll wait for the sloths b/c she’s that kind of rider)

I guess I wasn’t thrilled to see this in my social media newsfeed. I got all indignant. I’m not a slow cyclist!

That said, I like to ride with cyclists of all speeds. See Riding slow and riding fast. 

See also It takes all kinds: Riding with people who are fitter, faster, slower.

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And then this popped up, Do These 3 Rides Every Week If You Want to Get Faster

Fine. I can take a hint.

It’s time to think about getting fast. There’s a certain speed I get up to easily, just by riding lots. I think of that as my natural pace. But going fast (for me) takes extra effort. 

Riding at my natural pace is fun and easy but I don’t make progress that way. I can endurance, sure. But not speed.

See How not to get faster.

To get faster I have to deliberately ride outside my comfort zone. I can do that with drills and timed speed workouts. Or I can do it playing sprint and chase games with faster riders. Both work but I confess I like racing against other people best. For the winter it’ll be the former. For spring I’m hoping to work in some of the latter. Fingers crossed.

In London I had faster people to ride with who played this role in my life. I loved sprinting with Coach Chris and the women he coaches on his Thursday intermediate rides. But here in Guelph I don’t know that many people who ride bikes. My spring challenge will be connecting with the cycling community here. As a midlife woman that’s not so easy.

If you’re a beginning cyclists who wants to get faster, see my advice here.

cycling · fitness · winter

Streak interrupted but still going strong

My bike streak was interrupted this weekend when travel to London to see a concert and help my daughter move made cycling impossible but I’m back at it. Yesterday was warm, grey and snowy and today was bright and cold. Both have their charms but after the greyest November on record  I’ll take the cold and the sun.

I am not the sort of person who thinks after breaking my streak “that’s it, it’s over.” I’m more a “back at it” kind of person. I wasn’t not going to go see Mallory’s Christmas concert. And I’ve got a bunch of streak days ahead. I’ve got spinning classes on campus, my bike on a trainer in my home office, and my bike commute. 

I love riding at this time of year. It feels so good to be moving outside. I used to love winter running for the same reason.

How’s your running/cycling/whatever streak going? Let me know in the comments!


Warm December Days

Usually mean road bike rides. Especially when they happen on a weekend. Whee!

But this Sunday was the President’s thank you holiday gathering for supporters of the university. Deans are required to be there.

After the reception which was fun and moving, Sarah and I decided it was too nice to not ride bikes at all so we got out our gravel/adventure road bikes and ran some local errands and played on the riverside paths in the gravel and the mud. I’m really glad we got out there.

It felt so good, almost magical, to be outside yesterday.

If December is usually cold for you, what do you do with your warm December days? Did you get out yesterday?

charity · cycling · holiday fitness · holidays · motivation · training

Big Hills and Big Cities: Sam’s Summer Cycling Plans

In my no excuses winter cycling plan I talked about making big summer cycling commitments as one of the ways I motivate myself to train for cycling through the cold snowy months of winter.

I thought I’d share those summer commitments with you. Now I’m doubly committed. I planned to do the thing and I told you about it.

In May Sarah, Jeff, and I kick things off with the Five Boros Bike Tour.

“The Five Boro Bike Tour is an annual recreational cycling event in New York City. It is produced by Bike New York. Conducted on the first Sunday of May, the 40-mile ride includes over 30,000 riders. The route takes riders through all five of New York’s boroughs and across five major bridges.”

Sarah and I did it in 2017. See our blog post 5 boros, 32,000 riders, 40 miles, 0 cars, and 1 great day, #tdfbbt.

The other Sarah who blogs here occasionally did it in 2015 and again in years after. Her post is called NYC 5 Boroughs Bike Tour (Guest Post)

It’s a great ride. Come join us!

Here’s Kim and Sarah R and me and Sarah lining up at the start.

June is our biggest thing. We’re doing a ten day bike tour of the northwest coast of Newfoundland. It’s a lot of riding, a lot of hills, and also likely some rain. It’s June 29-July 8. So far it’s Sarah, Cate, David and me. But if you’re interested, sign up!

On August 11 we’re doing the One Day Friends for Life Bike Rally. Sponsor me here.

And then on August 16-18, 2019 Sarah and I are Trying the tri-adventure in its last. year… Join us!!!

Sponsor us here.