Dehydration—a cautionary tale

I’ve been riding bikes for a very long time, and although I’ve had breaks, I can safely say I’ve been riding bicycles throughout my whole life. I am lucky to have never had any serious accidents or injuries while cycling, other than the occasional my-shoes-are-still-clipped-into-the-pedals thing,1 I’ve never been doored, I never smashed with my bike into things that generally don’t like being smashed into (that’s a lie; it’s just that injuries were never serious), and I was rear-ended by other bikers only on a few occasions.

I used to laugh at people paying $7k for bicycles with handmade steel frames and all the hype that surrounded the whole NAHBS community. After some months of reading PinP aka The Radavist, however, I’ve changed my mind completely.

Modern competitive cycling is, to me, completely uninteresting sport. I don’t watch the big races, I don’t care about the pros.1 Doping is so prevalent that following these events makes no sense to me, and in the same way I don’t give a shit about carbon frames designed in wind tunnels. What John Watson’s community represents is the opposite: yes, it’s nice to crush KOMs2 and go as fast as you can, but that’s not why we ride. We ride, because riding a bike is rad, because the experience of being outdoors in beautiful mountains is fantastic, and because riding a bike is part of our lifestyle—we love bikes. And yes, if I’m to choose between a Taiwan-made carbon frame wind-tunnel-developed bike from one of the major manufacturers versus a steel frame bicycle US/UK-made by guys who love the work, I’m gonna pay those guys, and I’m gonna pay them more than I should. And I’m still gonna be faster uphill than the 50+ overweight fellas on their Pinarello Dogma bikes.


  1. Except for Maja. Maja is awesome.
  2. Though even Strava says that riding is not only about KOMs.

Wired:

Current methods of counting cyclists take a ton of time or a ton of money. The DOT can videotape traffic and have someone sit at a monitor and count cyclists, or it can send someone to sit on the sidewalk and watch them go by in real time. Neither method is terribly efficient.

You’d think that the problem of building cycling lanes is a simple one, right? Well, it’s not. Apparently most cities struggle with obtaining data; no one really knows where and how many cyclists ride, and the only method available until now was installing bike counters, but these are expensive and measure bicycle traffic only at fixed points. So now, apparently, you can buy data from Strava, and this is brilliant.1

Strava is my favorite sport-tracking service (I wrote about it before), and it’s found a new and somewhat surprising source of revenue – selling “heatmaps” to cities.2 Heatmaps are created by analyzing publicly available GPS data from users’ rides and mapping them to frequency. For example, this is a heatmap for Bergen:

Some say that Strava isn’t popular amongst commuters, and that it’s mainly used by people who treat cycling as sport, and not just a mean of transportation, but as is clearly visible on the screenshot above, racers need to get through town just like anyone else; I’d conjecture they need to do this even more often than others.

Anyways, I just wanted to point everyone’s attention to the Wired article, because:

  • it’s very good and you should read it;
  • I envy Strava the brilliant idea of “heatmaps”;
  • it makes me wanna seriously consider a career as a Data Wrangler.

  1. Cheap, too. Only $20000/year.
  2. Some people get upset with Strava selling “their” data, but they don’t realize the data is anonymized completely, very useful, and publicly available anyway.

Winter Sports

I don’t ski,1 and every winter doing any sorts of sports becomes a major problem. This year I’m trying to change that. As anyone will tell you, riding a bike or running in bad weather is simply a matter of attitude. One should just embrace Rule #9 and keep on pushing, but I’ve never been able to do that myself. Every year I promised myself that I won’t be paying any attention to rain or snow, but year after year I failed, bought that monthly bus ticket and locked my bike at home.

On Racing Bergen-Voss

That’s me riding the final climb of Bergen-Voss 2013 race, the famous road from Granvin to Voss and its hairpins around Skjervsfossen. It was the second time I did this race, and although I had a better time than last year, I’m still at the very end of the “top 4000” list. It’s a relatively easy, amateur race. The distance is about 165 km, but there is some climbing on the way (about 1800m), with 3 distinct climbs, one of which is rather serious: