When I saw Bike Snob’s challenge to have a Strava-free weekend -- and considered whether it was possible for me to do this -- I began sweating, shaking violently, and vomited at my desk at work. When my coworker Fred saw this, he asked me what was wrong, so I told him. Being a cyclist and Strava user himself, Fred also vomited (but Fred is a total poser -- he rides a hybrid and doesn’t even pay the $60/year fee to be a premium Strava member!). Once I realized I was exhibiting classic addiction/withdrawal symptoms, I realized I had to try.
So this morning, on a beautiful fall Saturday in NYC, I rode up to Flushing Meadows Park. Since I wasn’t distracted by dominating my personal bests while hunched head down over my aerobars, I noticed many things about cycling in my city that I had never seen before. Firstly, there are all sorts of people! Other human beings that normally would have been mere annoying blurs in my peripheral vision or obstacles to be nimbly navigated. As I continued into the park, I also noticed other cyclists! These people were making casual laps around the lake, seemingly unconcerned with their KOM times or Suffer Scores, and they actually seemed to be enjoying themselves regardless! My greatest discovery of the day had to be the Kissena Velodrome. A Velodrome, I learned, is sort of like the loops in Central and Prospect Park -- but without all of the obnoxious pedestrians. My urge to do a few laps was defeated when I noticed a children’s event going on. Now I’m not saying that my initial gut impulse to scream “GET OUT OF MY WAY!” at them wasn’t there entirely, however it was squelched by…well, just how darn cute they were! On their miniature track bikes, wearing tiny little jerseys! I started shaking when I wondered if any of them were using Strava to record their laps -- but I was able to take a deep breath and compose myself. Maybe there is hope for the future, after all.
So thank you, Bike Snob, for challenging me to address my addiction to data collection and the cycling equivalent of being a chronic masturbator. Who knows? Maybe even Fred and me will go for a nice, leisurely ride together soon (but probably not).