ORIGINAL The proliferation of GPS bike computers and online ride sharing sites like Strava has seen our cycling habits change a little bit in the past few years.
Instead of carrying an Ordinance Survey map in your back pocket and working out your route like the olden days, we can now get all the information we need delivered right to our face.
That means that sites like Strava are havens for stat fiends, but there are always the same kind of rides on there. They may be from all over the world, but virtually all of them share the characteristics of the examples below.
The club ride
Check your Strava feed on Saturday or Sunday morning and you’ll invariably see that many of your friends have ridden between 35 and 60 miles with likeminded individuals at an average speed that is favourable to everyone.
Club rides are an important part of cycling – they make you feel welcome, they give you something to do at the weekend and they can form the basis of many people’s enjoyment of cycling.
The massive ride
Normally you stick to rides of around 40 miles, but every now and again you’ll post a ride well exceeding 100 miles to the shock of your friends.
As such, the kudos will fly in from all angles, mostly from people who didn’t think you had it in you to be able to ride such a distance without dropping dead.
The ridiculously short ride
For every massive ride there is a ride so short that you might as well not have bothered recording it on Strava. Popping to the shops, or commuting approximately 1600m to work each day would fall into this category.
The out and back
Rather than bothering to work out a nice loop to do you just pick a point and ride there, returning by the exact same roads because it would be too much hassle to find alternative roads in that area.
The same ride as last week
Everyone has their preferred training route and there are many riders who don’t like to change it up at all. It’s not the same as doing a club run, as many clubs tend to mix up four or five different routes in the area.
Instead you simply find a route that provides you a series of different challenges and allows you to get some fresh air. These routes are particularly good if you just fancy a spin without having to stop every mile to look at the map.
The turbo ride
Love it or hate it, the turbo is a great training tool. So much so that Strava now accepts stationary training as a ride option. Set your GPS computer going on your ride and you’ll sometimes finish to find the Strava ‘route’ shows you having moved violently across your living room.
If the GPS doesn’t kick in, Strava just shows that you rode in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, making some people wonder if you’ve popped away on holiday.
The abandoned ride
Ever looked at someone’s Strava ride and seen that they finished absolutely miles away from where they started? They got to the out point, but on their way back it just looks like they packed it in halfway?
It’s something that cyclists dread – getting stranded in the middle of nowhere having run out of inner tubes after puncturing three times on the first three-quarters of your ride.
A quick call to your partner/mate/mum/mate’s mum and you’re whisked off in the broom wagon. Thankfully the excuses are clear for everyone to see in the ride title.
The ride that inexplicably gets mountains of kudos
Remember that 30-miler you did last weekend? Well 40 people gave you a thumbs up for it. You didn’t break any records; you didn’t even cycle particularly fast, but for some reason everybody is loving your work.
Whenever you see this phenomenon it generally means someone has about a billion followers, hands out kudos willy-nilly themselves so everyone feels the need to give it back to them.
The balls-to-the-wall ride
These rides generally occur on the ‘same route as last week’ rides, because sometimes you want to ride your normal route as fast as you can.
You may have limited time to ride, or you may want to try and set a few Strava KOMs – whatever the reason, you decide to go full throttle and set yourself a little challenge rather than just pootling like normal.