As we ride our bicycles we need to know how we’re doing, if we’re getting better, and if we’re on track to meet goals we’ve set for ourselves. The way to do that is to take measurements to see if we’re on track to success.

Five Ways to Measure Cycling Success

  1. Keep a log. This can be as elaborate or simple as you want it. It can also be free or available for a price. I’ve used both Excel and online tools and it’s a matter of personal preference and requirements as to which method you choose.
  2. Use a cyclocomputer. You don’t need anything fancy but if you’re a numbers nut there’s high-tech computers available. Some of the nice cyclocomputers have options to download data into logs for convenience. Bike Noob recently wrote a good article on What’s the Best Cyclocomputer?
  3. Note how your clothes are fitting. I found out last year that one of my best indicators that I was making progress was how my clothes were fitting. Because I was riding so much, and building some muscle, I wasn’t losing a ton of weight but my clothes were fitting so much better. I was even able to get into clothes I previously couldn’t wear.
  4. Listen to people. Are co-workers asking if you’ve lost weight? Is your family asking if you’re still riding all those miles? If people are taking an interest then they’re more than likely noting change. It also means they care.
  5. Listen to your body. I think this is huge. Only you know your body and only you can tell how you’re feeling. I can notice significant changes in how I feel when I haven’t been riding.
What I Noticed Last Year

While training for my first century ride last year, I spent a lot of time riding a bike trail here in Dallas that loops around White Rock Lake. It’s right at nine miles per loop. When I first started training it took me around 45 minutes to make the loop. As I neared the end of my training program, and on days when the riding effort was required to be hard, I was able to cut ten full minutes off that time. That was a huge number to me and was a great measurement of the success I was seeing in my training.

How Do You Measure Success?

Now I want to hear from you. How do you measure your success on the bike? What worked and what didn’t?

Image courtesy of orcmid