2014 – the year in biking

On top of Müggelberg, which with its 115 meters is Berlin's highest mountain. Blackberry photo by Simon - the only photo I have from the whole biking summer!

On top of Müggelberg, which with its 115 meters is Berlin’s highest mountain. Blackberry photo by Simon – the only photo I have from the whole biking summer!

It was the best bike year ever, with 6,463 biked kilometers, most of them on Tempelhof, and many of them with Simon and sometimes other new biking friends. Here is the Strava calendar for 2014:

strava_2014

We also made many rounds in Brandenburg. Here is my heatmap from Veloviewer (a site that uses the Strava data but provides much more detailed and modifiable visualizations), it covers everywhere I’ve been with my road bike from when I bought it three years ago:

veloviewer_heatmap_2014

Actually, the map doesn’t say that much, since I’ve mostly biked the same tracks over and over.

I bought my road bike late 2011 and thought I biked a lot in both 2012 and 2013, but this graph in Veloviewer shows how much more I biked in 2014, and also that I started the season earlier and ended it later:

veloviewer_2011-2014

The highlights:

  • Many “Laktatrunden” (90 km) to Königs Wusterhausen with Simon, sometimes combined with some Tempelhof rounds afterwards to reach the monthly Strava “Gran Fondo” challenge of a 130 km ride or a “century” ride of 160 km (171 km in my case).
  • Our first group ride with three people from a mailing list, so we were five altogether and could take turn drafting each other really fast. This was also to Königs Wusterhausen and back over Großen Müggelberg, where Simon crashed on the way down at 57,5 km/h.
  • My first group ride with eight participants – to Rauener Berg and then back over Müggelberg again. Long (120 km), fast, and I was ill prepared and hungover – but kept up until the end and had a lot of fun. Again, these were people from the list. It’s full of hobby cyclists who don’t belong to any club but who enjoy riding together.
  • Reaching 50 km/h average speed on the runways on Tempelhof, thus making it into the top 10 of those segments on Strava.

Veloviewer provides a 3D rendering of every ride – this is what the Laktatrunde looks like, very flat except for Müggelberg (the many rounds up left is Tempelhof):

r3915542605

Veloviewer is quite fun. I haven’t used it a lot, but paid for a membership anyway because I want to support the programmer who on his spare time decided to build all these amazing features that can be extracted from the Strava data. He has come up with a Veloviewer score based on your placement in your top 25 % segments. Here is mine for 2014:

veloviewer_score_28_dec_2014

I’m really happy I’ve found biking as a hobby/sport – it fits me perfectly and I can honestly say I love it, or else it wouldn’t be possible for me to spend so many hours and days on the saddle. Actually I was quite surprised that I biked so much this summer and I’m not sure I will keep it up next year, but I hope so.

I sometimes refer to Tempelhof as “my Berghain” to a friend who spends an equal amount of time at that club – and then he seems to get it. It’s actually not a bad comparison. I’ve always had a lot of excess energy that must be dealt with, and clubs were good for that. But as I’m getting older, clubbing becomes less and less of an option (also, less and less fun), especially since I don’t take drugs. The hangovers are getting longer and the insane hours that Berlin clubbing is done fucks up your sleeping rhythm.

Cycling is the perfect substitute – that it makes you fit is just a fun bonus. A friend measured my resting pulse last weekend, and it was only 54, which apparently places me in the “well-trained male athlete” section of a pulse chart, above “very good”. And this was in the evening, while I was drinking wine! I hope my health won’t deteriorate totally until the next season begins.

The other day I ordered lots of bike apparel on Amazon. I’m actually very modest when it comes to clothes, and bike clothes are usually very expensive (because as they say: road bikes is the new golf). In fact, the jersey and pants I bought for my bike tour in 2002 are still in use! So in 2014 I didn’t spend anything on bike apparel. I have three sets, my favorite being the Cannondale team bib + jersey I wear on the picture at the top, ordered from China in 2013 for a total of ca 50 euro including the German taxes I had to pay on delivery.

I was close to buying a cyclocross bike for winter use, but instead just stopped biking when it got too cold. Instead I hope I can start biking again on my road bike in February or March – the apparel I bought included shoe covers and a pullover. My Cannondale will probably need a makeover though, well used as it is by now. I had the chain changed this summer, but I think the bearings too might need to be changed, because there’s a worrying creaky sound on each rotation when I pedal hard.

As for normal, everyday bikes, I had three of them stolen this year, which got me a bit depressed. Apparently I have to keep them in my apartment in order not to have them stolen. But there is only space for one bike here, my Cannondale, so instead I don’t have any everyday bike at all now. And that sucks, to be honest. We’ll see what I’ll do about it.

Last of all, I’m very happy not to have been sick or had any accidents during the year. A cold and an abrasion was all. I’m especially happy that my knees are alright, since they are easily damaged for cyclists, but I try to take care to always warm up before I start pumping hard.

Well, that’s it for the bike year update!

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