Trail Ramblings: Why We Log

If you haven’t noticed, it’s that time again. Time to log your miles for the National Bike Challenge. If you’re reading these words you probably know what it is and are either logging, or not. If you are, thanks for supporting Lincoln’s bicycle community and showing we walk the talk by the numbers. If you’re not that’s your choice of course, but we’re curious as to why not. Some find it cumbersome to use the NBC website if logging manually, and of course you have to know how far you rode. There’s an app for that. Actually there are several, but not everyone uses a smart phone. If you ride the same routes all the time you can save them in the website and click on them there, or enter the mileage, which you can find by recreating the route with google maps, endomondo, or another map service.

sample ride
Simple map drawing with endomondo

Others like to use a cyclo computer like a Garmin and upload the accumulated miles periodically. I use an app because I ride all over the city but I have to remember to turn it on and off. Sometimes I get distracted and forget (who, me?) and I have to figure out the mileage later. It takes a minute or two to re-draw the route to learn the mileage, but it’s not that bad. I do this all year long because I like to keep track of my miles and to know when I need a new chain (In my case every thousand miles, or I have to buy a new cassette). It can be motivating if you have a weekly or monthly mileage goal. Yet I can understand those who dislike this kind of structure and the demands of keeping track. Others have had a bad experience figuring out the website, or have had inexplicable troubles with it working right. Still others may dislike what they see as the competitive nature of the experience (you don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to). If you are a refusenik, I’d like to know your reasons.

bike challenge promo
Wisconsin’s poster

The reason it matters to us is more than just beating Madison for bragging rights, though that doesn’t hurt. It shows that Lincoln needs it’s bicycle infrastructure to grow because we use it and we have the numbers to prove it. It also makes us healthier and happier, decreases traffic congestion, and reduces carbon emissions. What’s not to love?