Grocery shopping is just one of the reasons utility cyclists hop on the bike.

Six days a week for the last several months, I’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. to run, ride, swim or some combination of the three.

My lone day off from training for the Xterra — which is this Sunday — has been Wednesdays.

However, today, the last off-day before the event, it occurred to me that there are no real off-days when you use your bike for transportation.

The realization came as I was pedaling a 75 pound cargo bike into the wind with 30 pounds of kid and 10 pounds of electronics on my off-day.

Bike commuters may not rack up tons of miles with their shorter commutes and trips to the store, but the number of times they get on the bike is often really high.

For example 248 days into 2012, I’ve gotten on the bike more than 200 times, but have ridden slightly less than 3,000 miles.

It reminds me of when I started riding a mountain bike and realized I spent all morning riding, but only went 10 miles. A reader told me at that time you shouldn’t measure your mountain bike rides by miles, but rather by hours on the trail.

Of course there are bike commuters who also rack up some amazing miles. I ran into a reader and daily bike commuter who said he was going to break his record for most miles in a month. He was going to have ridden more than 800 miles in August.

Most utility cyclists don’t rack up miles like that, though.

For the utility cyclists out there, do you track your rides? If you do, is the number of rides a better indication than the number of miles?

My off-day consisted of four rides, 15 miles and no gasoline usage. The only off-days for utility cyclists are the days they don’t leave the house.


7 thoughts on “No off-days for utility cyclists”
  1. I ended up with 884 miles for August, 2012. More numbers, through 9/6/12: 247 times I’ve gotten on my bike for commutes, longer road rides and on a trainer. I’ve totaled almost 6,300 miles through 9/6/12. 111 rides to work and home are included in the 247 total rides thus far this year.

  2. 99% of my rides are commuting types. I log for the commuting challenges like the 2 Mile Challenge ( ) and the Pima County Commute Challenge ( ). I probably average 60ish trips per month, but my mileage rarely exceeds more than a couple hundred miles per month. Mainly, I’m happy my car use stays on the order of once or twice per week.

    One thing about off-days, though: an off-day for utility cyclists doesn’t mean staying home. We can walk or run places too. 😉

  3. Back In The Day, most of my mileage was of the recreational and touring variety. Then I got older, more settled down, and career-minded.

    So, cue up The Utilitarian Martha-Rider.

    Ya know something? I’m having a blast!

    My crotchety old knees aren’t up to the touring thing anymore. Oh, well. Worked them pretty hard Back In The Day.

    These days, I cut ’em a break by just taking them around town. And if my knees are happy, well, I’m happy.

  4. I might add that I’m an obsessive tracker of mileage.

    It is truly a tragic ride when my bike computer is not working. Because how will I log my mileage — down to the tenth of a mile — in a spreadsheet?

    Note to all who read this: Tracking of quantities makes Martha very happy. May have something to do with the fact that my father was a mathematician and engineer.

  5. Way To Go Mike,
    Congratulations and all the best Sunday. You have achieved your goal AND you were able to lovingly be there for Irene, Luci and Tucson Velo.
    Speaks volumes, Sets you apart. You are an inspiration. Thanks!

  6. Yes, I do track mileages for all kinds of ride with Strava. I don’t care about the segments aspect.. just mileages speed.

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