WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

What the Numbers Mean

If you've taken any time to look at some of my unending pages of numbers in rectangles which I cram into this blog, you've most probably come away with little practical information of which you can actually wrap your head around. That's the problem with spreadsheets; they get a bit overwhelming and dull. So I'm gonna try to put some things in plain english for ya. Liven up the party, so to speak.

Huge Year
2015 was a great year for me and my bicycle. Both my overall mileage AND the number of days I spent pedaling along in the saddle increased significantly. I rode:

That's 852 more miles and 10 more days than the numbers I posted for 2014. Now we have some interesting math to consider. Those figures average:

Next it gets really interesting because I track my elevation. That is, I record all the ascents for every ride. PLUS, I track the number of hours I ride. I climbed and rode:
  • 379,066 feet
  • 947 hours and 17 minutes

Let's have some fun with those last numbers! This is the scale all those sexy smartphone tracking apps use...
  • I climbed Mount Everest 13 times!
  • I rode 39 days straight!

Crazy, huh? Take a moment to look over those figures again before we move on and realize those numbers are just for this year; 2015. Then look at the table below.

Massive UK Effort
I didn't plan it. Honestly. I guess it's just what happens when you love to cycle. But there's no denying the fact: I have been seriously pedaling my arse over Wales for the past four years.
  • 24,887.50 miles
  • 528 days
And those numbers average out to:
  • 6,221.87 miles per year, over four years...
  • and almost a year and a half - out of four... just cycling!
But there's one number in the table above that really jumps out at me and I gotta write it in longhand. In the four years that I've been cycling in Wales, I have climbed...
  • One million, two hundred (and) sixty-four thousand (and) fifty-one feet.
Got that?
  • 1,264,051 feet!!!
WOOHOO BABY! That's the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest:
  • 44 times
That's like climbing Mount Everest:
  • 11 times each year...
  • 4 years in a row!
Put that in yer pipe and smoke it.

 Sidebar of Note: 
Six years ago, Dale Brown; owner of Cycles de Oro in Greensboro, North Carolina commented when I first told him that I was coming to Wales; "ooo... it's hilly there". And looking back, I have to laugh because I was so naive! Reviewing maps and elevations, I just didn't think that it would be so much. I mean really(?)... nothing gets much over three thousand feet here.

But, boy oh boy, was I ill-prepared for the severity of the "hills". 10% grades are pretty much the norm, while 12% - 16% grades are very common. They hardly ever use switch-backs (or zig-zags as they call them here). There's just no room. Roads come to the bottom of a hill and bang!, straight up they go. (And I should add... nothing prepares you for the wide-eyed, gripping sensation of two miles down a 20% grade on a fully-loaded touring bike.)

But enough of my digression. I'll leave you with; "it's not the mileage that matters... it's how much you climb". And that's that.

photo by: Will Rossouw

Sustrans, The Kingfishers, and "Going the Distance"
My cycling is primarily divided into three types: I volunteer for Sustrans, I ride with a small cycling club; The Kingfishers, and then I do my own thang where I just cycle wherever I feel like it. Which I'm calling: Going the Distance. [ que: Cake ]

The table above shows the basic breakouts based upon compiling three simple figures each month. If you want to see more details, check out the Charts section.

For Sustrans:
  • I rode 61 times...
  • for a total of 1639.2 miles...
  • at 224 hours (and) 25 minutes

With the Kingfishers:
  • I rode 32 times...
  • for a total of 2364.4 miles...
  • at 300 hours (and) 19 minutes

Going the Distance:
  • I rode 75 times...
  • for a total of 3198.3 miles...
  • at 384 hours (and) 43 minutes

Note: For all you math kids pulling out yer calculators to check my figures (cuz they do seem wildly extravagant...), I've got another odd 250 miles and 6 or 7 rides not accounted for here because they were not directly associated with Sustrans... however, you can find them under the "Other" tab in the Sustrans Charts section.

So there ya have it. And if ya enjoyed those numbers, hang onto yer math cap... 'cuz I'm coming back with a detailed breakout on my work and rides for Sustrans!

Cheers! ~ muse