As my eponymous blog title would suggest cycling is a regular activity of mine. It is a sport that has been a large part of my life for more than 25 years. More than 30 years if I were to include BMX in addition to road cycling. I’ve had my share of epic rides but most are far more mundane loops close to home. Limited time, convenience, and local knowledge of the roads still make for an effective training session or a simple enjoyable spin.
Various social media platforms allow for sharing of ride data or images. Strava has become the primary platform for ride detail, data, and photo sharing. In the cycling world, much like fisherman tales without photographic evidence of a catch, if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen. Strava can be used as a basic electronic mileage log but the social community offers so much more. Gone are the days of manually logging mileage, average speed, and heart rate data with ride notes onto a notebook. Strava is a great motivational tool. Who ever got motivated by their paper ride log? It pushes me as an athlete to get my miles and measure my effort. How can I sit on the couch when other cyclists I follow are posting their rides? You only rode 40 miles? I’ll go roll 50. At a greater average speed no less. Let the “kudos” roll in. Post some epic mileage or elevation gain? “Kudos” to you.
Instagram has become a separate extension of the cyclist. My feed is dominated by professional team and race photos along with random riders who share great pics. I travel to another place in my mind. Living in the upper Midwest of the United States doesn’t lend itself to capture epic photos of the Swiss Alps, French Pyrenees, incredible climbs in Thailand, Norwegian fjords, or the Australian coast. It looks more like muddy fields of Belgium this time of year without incredible spring classic races racing by. Thank you to those who take the time to carefully pose their bikes to capture an incredible scene or the selfie with the perfect background. It makes me wish I was there. Quite often during challenging stretches of my own rides I am there if only in my mind.
These social media platforms shrink my cycling world. In my past days of diligently logging mileage into my notepad my cycling world seemed small and closed. Today these global riders whom I’ve never met seem like regular acquaintances. They may have mundane rides as well. They can’t all be epic rides through postcard fantasy lands. Can they? Either way, kudos to you. Maybe one day I’ll join you for an epic ride. Until then, I’ll continue to cherish my mundane epic rides.