Maybe it’s the “yellow fever” of watching the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong win his 6th Tour, but I’ve taken a renewed interest in cycling this summer. I’m on the bike every chance I get, rain or shine, and it’s been an absolute hoot. Having just finished Lance’s second book Every Second Counts, I was intrigued at how Lance uses the data collected while cycling to analyze his performance on the bike. I don’t have any of the fancy gadgets that he does, like a heart monitor, but I do have a little Sigma cycling computer and I do collect basic mileage information. My only dilemma was what to do with the data.
For the past year or so, I’ve been transferring the data by hand into my Palm OS handheld using the handy application DayNotez. I enter all my workout information into it and I can pull it up to see what I’ve done at any time. However, the data is simply a note and there’s not much I can do with it other than refer to an individual ride. Then I stumbled across the web site Bike Journal and expanded my view of how I stack up with other cyclists.
BikeJournal.com is at its heart a journal where you enter in your individual ride information. Once your data is in their database, you can then see trends with your cycling and compare your information to other riders. For example, I noticed this morning after entering my 22+ miles from yesterday’s ride that I’m now ranked 845. I may never reach the year-to-date 12,737 miles of “Hammer”, but knowing my competitive spirit, I plan on climbing that chart. In fact I have “geargrrl” in my sights right now 😉
Of course there’s more to BikeJournal.com than just the journal itself. If anything it’s your online bike persona, where you can enter club affiliations, USCF category, and pictures and descriptions of your bike(s). Suddenly your little weekend rides have a much larger context. How do your average rides compare with other riders? How does the State of Tennessee stack up with other States (we’re 5th)? How did last month’s data compare to this month’s? The best part about all of this is that BikeJournal is completely free. They do have a sponsorship option, but you can enjoy all of the features of the web site for free, which is really nice.
The only negative I can find about the site is that the member profiles are only available for viewing by other members. I suppose this is a security factor, but I don’t like the fact that you can’t see my profile at this link without being a member first. However, if you ARE a member, then add me to your buddy list!
Even if you just consider yourself a casual cyclist, but enjoy riding, I highly recommend that you check out BikeJournal.com. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge of your riding habits and overall ability in a larger cycling community without having to join a club. You can set your mileage goal for the year and then track how well you’re doing, or simply enter notes about the various rides that you do. Either way, it’s an easy web site to navigate and use and could greatly enhance your enjoyment of cycling.