2014 Virtual Bike Rides

I’ve presented my progress on my virtual bike rides before but now that I’m finishing 2014 statistics and starting 2015 program it’s time for an update here. What is all this? In order to manage my weight I need to do lots of exercise. Given it’s very cold out and snowy I can’t do actual outdoor exercise. So I do a lot of workouts in my basement on treadmill and stationary bike. Fine, but this activity, while very good for my fitness, is boring, so I keep a lot of statistics in Excel and so generate all sorts of artificial “goals” (some metric I can compute from past data to use as a future goal). Additionally, for my biking I pretend to be doing real rides. I take the data from the spreadsheets and add to various maps in my Delorme mapping application so I can create virtual rides. While basically silly, nonetheless this is a way to create other goals, like let’s get to Arkansas by the end of the month. Fine, this helps me and so I’ll share it with you for your amusement.

My first virtual ride starting at Omaha and through a very circuitous route manages to at least touch all the lower 48 states. I’ve been on this ride since Jan2013 and just updated my maps to include the end of 2014 and re-initialize for 2015. So here’s that map:


I started 2014 in western North Dakota, near Medora (where I was camping last year in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, so I actually have been on some of the route). Generally I follow interstates in this virtual ride (usually illegal on real bike). As you can see I then wandered a lot in order to pick up the upper midwest states and the northeastern states. I finished 2014 near Asheville North Carolina, riding 5338.4 miles during 2014 (vs 5831.8 miles in 2013) for a total trip, now counting first few rides in 2015 of 11,256.6 miles on this virtual ride, or averaging 15.42 miles per calendar day (actually rode on 351 days, or an average of 32.1 miles/session). This represents 659.18 hours !!! I’ve spent on stationary bike in basement, so if I rode 10 hours/day, 6 days a week, this would be about 11 weeks, quite a ride. As of 5Jan I now have about 5300 miles to go (the dotted line on the map) to return to Omaha, so it looks like I can complete this loop in 3 years.

A real ride like this would basically be impossible for me, both because I’d have to take a somewhat different route (using roads more suitable for biking), plus have some support team to pick me up at the end of riding days to drive to overnight lodging and food and return to the ride the next morning (for a real ride I can’t just “stop” and spend the night where I complete the day’s miles). So I’ll have to settle for a virtual ride, using this to provide motivation to grind away miles (and calories) on my stationary bike.

I also created a new ride at the beginning of 2014 just to provide some variation in where I’d be if I were on a real ride. I decided to zigzag north and south, from west to east, I “started” at the Canadian border in Washington state last January. So I’ve now completed the first year of this ride (same basic statistics in spreadsheet, so I won’t repeat them, but mapped onto a different route):


I’m glad I’m not doing this route for real as it’s very cold, right now, at my virtual location, not far from Grand Island Nebraska. It’s interesting that in my first year of “riding” I just barely crossed into Nebraska by the end of the year. Now I’ve actually traveled, in various vacations, almost every part of my 2014 odyssey so I kinda know what it would be like (and it would be a fun route to actually bike). Instead of picking a route that would maximize distance (like riding right along the Pacific coast) I generally stick to fairly direct routes (Delorme only allows me 100 “via’s” (intermediate point) and a route this long would require more than that so I just let Delorme generate the route from more major waypoints (the small white circles). Unlike my 48 state route I’ll generally (but not always) be sticking to more local roads I could actually ride, but that’s partly because Interstates just aren’t going to connect up this route. This route still has about 8300 miles to go so I won’t complete it until well into 2016.

So between the two routes I have places to “see” (again, purely virtual) to provide something a bit more interesting that just pedaling on the stationary bike. It may seem silly, but it works for me to keep me moving (some days when I don’t feel like workout one of these “goals” drives me to do the workout anyway, which I could easily ignore without this type of incentive).

But what is the point of all this and that leads to a “real” 2015 goal. Despite my steadily increasing age I’m in rather good shape and a lot better shape than I can hope to maintain for many more years. So in 2015 I want to do a real trip, either on bike or hiking, or perhaps both (a way to self-support, i.e. drive bike to the end of a day’s hike, drive back to start of hike, hike, get bike and ride back to car, then use car to get lodging and food). I don’t know what trip I can do (the Camino de Santiago, while tempting, won’t be it) but I just feel I need to have the added incentive to use all this exercise to get in shape for some real challenge – what will it be? Tune in next January to find out.



About dmill96

old fat (but now getting trim and fit) guy, who used to create software in Silicon Valley (almost before it was called that), who used to go backpacking and bicycling and cross-country skiing and now geodashes, drives AWD in Wyoming, takes pictures, and writes long blog posts and does xizquvjyk.
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