In praise of slow
I have a problem with speed. Basically, every ride is a race. Not against anybody else; I’m older and slower than most and can live with that. But every ride is a chance for a Strava PR. Even in the winter, when I know I’ll never get close to my best times, I still hammer as hard as I can on every ride.
The problem is that this is now the fourth year in a row where February has basically been a write off due to picking up some chest infection and not being able to shift it.
So, last night I went out for my regular mid-week night ride and decided to make a conscious effort to take it easy. I wrapped up warmer than usual, didn’t push it (up or down) and even stopped occasionally. You know what? It was actually quite good fun and it was nice not to feel totally wrecked at the end.
Not sure how long I’ll be able to keep it up for (need to work on ways to make slow riding more fun) but in a sport that seems to be obsessed with going as fast as possible, it’s worth exploring the joys of slow from time to time.Posted 6 years ago
need to work on ways to make slow riding more fun
buy some really cheap lightsPosted 6 years ago
buy some really cheap lights
Now that’s what I call thinking out of the box 🙂
It’s funny, as besides my highly profound insights into the joys of slow, the other epiphany I had last night was that I don’t like riding in the dark! This was the first mid-week ride for ages where I started with at least some light and I realised what a huge part the scenery plays in my enjoyment of riding. I don’t need to see herds of wildebeest sweeping majestically across the plain, but I don’t like feeling trapped in my own tiny cone of light.
I’ve got a super powerful Exposure Reflex light and always ride with it on the highest setting. I might try experimenting with running it as dim as possible in the hope that it might reduce that hemmed in feeling.Posted 6 years ago
What you need is a bike that looks like a pile of scrap preferably with panniers & a bar bag with a camera in & cheap lights for when its dark.
Don’t dress up like your a mountain biker and just go out for a ride to look at stuff the camera comes in hand for stopping opportunities.
I call it going for a Bimbeander that’s Bimble & Meander, its very relaxing and I’ve found places less than a mile from home I didn’t know existed including some good cheeky shortcuts for night rides 🙂Posted 6 years ago
Going as hard as you can all the time isn’t the best way of doing things in terms of getting quicker either. This winter I’ve made almost every single outside ride a bimble, and done all my hard sessions on the trainer. I’ve been surprised at how much quicker the bimbles have got without an increase in effort, and they’ve also been really enjoyable, despite the weather, which has kept me motivated for the intervals.
Making hard sessions properly hard and easy sessions easy seems to keep things fun for me.Posted 6 years ago
At the end of last year I’d laid up my ragley because of some mechanicals and bills and was mostly just riding my trailfox and scandal- brilliant bikes, but both fast and focused and not really good at dawdling. So I was kind of riding to the bikes strengths.
Then I got my fatbike, and I love riding it fast or on hard stuff but I also like riding it slow. And suddenly you realise what you were missing out on- the first ride had miles of bimbling, some beach, some paddling in a reservoir, lots of fail, and was completely lovely.
I could probably have done the same just by un****ing the hardtail mind but new bikes are better, even when the whole bike cost less than the wheels of the old bike.Posted 6 years ago
New routes and exploring places you’ve not been before keeps slow interesting.Posted 6 years ago
It’s called a recovery ride for a reason. And most people have no idea how easy such a ride should be. If you are in Heart Rate Zone 2 then you’re over doing it!
I find spinning along on flat roads on my SS mtb prevents my HR ever getting higher than Z2.Posted 6 years ago
There’s an increasingly large school of thought that says train slow to race fast. I stumbled across this by accident after nearly 18 months of debilitating respiratory illnesses. I would just go and spin the gears, if it got hard, change gear and don’t hammer yourself. When I stopped getting so ill I actually found myself fitter with a better riding style than before. I still have a blast now and then but always remember spin to win.Posted 6 years ago
Not that you need to hear this RP but that is why I bought my fatbike (sorry, but that’s the truth).
I wanted a bike that I could ride slower. Enjoy the vista. Take some pics (failing at this one still!) and enjoy seeing wildlife and nature.
This partly came from spending lots of time on my road bikes chasing faster times from local loops and then even when out on the MTB (mine has faster wheels then yours 😛 ) it was about speed. But my beaten up body, carrying damage from 30 years of mtbing etc. was never going to get that much quicker.
Then last summer I was ill with, what was diagnosed as the effects of extreme stress.
After that I looked for a way to relax and chill out on the bike.
That’s why my choice wasn’t the latest in geometry or the like. It was a comfy bike that covers ground efficiently enough but it has also bought a massive smile again.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say a fatbike is some panacea but it was what I was looking for, clearly.
In short, for me, going that bit slower has never been so good 8)Posted 6 years ago
Just leave your GPS device at home/don’t start Strava app on phone and you won’t be worrying about fastest times as you will never see them.Posted 6 years ago
I don’t race but I know a fair few (runners) who do, so I’m familiar with the concepts of recovery sessions and making slow properly slow. I just have trouble putting it into action.
Part of the problem is terrain. I like to ride up and down hills and those hills get pretty steep in places. I can’t get over the idea that pushing is failure and no matter how low your gear, getting up steep hills takes effort. Maybe I need to find some routes that aren’t so hilly but are still interesting, or just work on balance, so that I can ride uphill at really low speed.
Don’t get me wrong, when the sun is shining and the trails are dusty I’ll always want to reach for the trail bike and hammer it as hard as I can (even if that will never be properly fast). But maybe that shouldn’t be the aim on every ride.
Yes, that is indeed a big part of the appeal of fatbikes. Not sure I want to go down that route yet, but they do seem to be bikes designed for having fun while going slow, which does sound like what I want.Posted 6 years ago
Just leave your GPS device at home/don’t start Strava app on phone and you won’t be worrying about fastest times as you will never see them.
I have a real problem with this, but I’m not sure why. Even when I know that I’m never going to get anywhere near my best times I still have this feeling that a ride has to be recorded and logged or it doesn’t count. How stupid is that 😳Posted 6 years ago
Single speed fat bike and a Davy lamp should make it more interesting .Posted 6 years ago
Slow is always good, your out of the house for longer.Posted 6 years ago
I have a real problem with this, but I’m not sure why. Even when I know that I’m never going to get anywhere near my best times I still have this feeling that a ride has to be recorded and logged or it doesn’t count. How stupid is that
I suppose when looking at your yearly mileage then it wouldn’t count.Posted 6 years ago
Change the screen settings on your GPS. Have a bimble setting.
Time, HR, total climb….. and so on.
I’ve got different set ups for race, train and recovery. Cos i need (well, for a given value of need!) different data depending on activity.Posted 6 years ago
I suppose when looking at your yearly mileage then it wouldn’t count
No, but why do I care what my recorded yearly mileage is? I’ve been riding a bike for over 40 years now. For most of those years I have no record of my rides (just memories). Even some of the years where I did fastidiously record the rides I’ve ended up losing that data (recorded on old devices and in formats that I can no longer read). Will I still be able to access my Strava data in 10 years time? and anyway, does it matter? A ride is a ride whether I’ve got a record of it or not.
It is useful having GPS tracks for rides that I don’t do very often and to be able to look at those on maps or satelite images and scope out other possible routes. It’s also handy having some benchmarks of changes in fitness over the years. But I’m still not sure why I feel the need to record every single ride.
Change the screen settings on your GPS
To be honest, unless I’m using the map, I tend to leave my GPS on a fairly useless screen and not look at it during the ride. It tends to be afterwards when I load it into Strava and start obsessing about the segments.Posted 6 years ago
I try to do one or two days commuting out of five as recovery rides, but it’s very difficult to keep HR in Z1 or below when riding to work in the morning when there’s even small hills involved.
On the way back (where there’s a small amount of bias toward descending) and no time constraints it’s more practical to achieve 99% Z1 rides, and have enjoyed going extremely slow off road, especially on the climbs (nothing testing) very very slowly. Bit of a test of balance, not quite slow enough to track-stand, but getting there.
Not managed it this week however.
Without a GPS it’s almost as if I never did the ride. Speed used to be the most important field to me, but now I ignore it during the ride, and only look at time of day, distance, and HR, or the route screen.Posted 6 years ago
I’ve started using VeloViewer in addition to Strava and it’s producing all sorts of (nerdy) stats that having nothing to do with speed. The Explorer figures are an example. It’s encouraging me to go out and find tracks I’ve never ridden and even some places with no tracks.
Mind you, I’ve been a fan of Bimbeanders for years 8)Posted 6 years ago
I did my daily commute by single speed today due to the snow this morning. SS 33×18 means you cant go fast just so I don’t really bother trying.
The slow meander home was really nice tonight thanks to it being light. I think it was enjoyable as it did as much offroad as possible so I didn’t have the usual car driving idiots to wind me up.
In a similar position where terrain is very much up and down so very little opportunity to take it easy as such. For this time of year I’m more likely to take the Hardtail out on the road and spin out some miles instead or do a route that includes both so I can include some recovery.Posted 6 years ago
scotroutes – Member
I’ve started using VeloViewer in addition to Strava and it’s producing all sorts of (nerdy) stats that having nothing to do with speed. The Explorer figures are an example
Where’s the explorer figures at? Ive been using veloviewer for a couple of months but not noticed them.Posted 6 years ago
summary page, paladin – ties, tile size, that sort of stuff. TBH I haven’t yet worked out what it shows!! be handy to tie it to a ride..Posted 6 years ago
VV creates a grid of 4km squares. Each of these you’ve ridden/walked/paddled etc in is a tile.
Then there’s the biggest square, that’s the biggest square of tiles that you’ve visited. Typically you’ll have been riding various loops but you might find there’s a square or two in the middle that you’ll need to visit.
I’ll try to upload some screenshots later.
As I said it’s about exploring new places rather than going fast.Posted 6 years ago
Is that 4km a side, or 4 square km? (2km a side)
As there are a good few bits round here where there aren’t any trails/paths in a 2kmx2km square! Just endless bog and lakes.Posted 6 years ago
Oops sorry, the squares are roughly 1km on each side (not 2km as I was thinking 😳 )
The bogs and lakes bits just mean you will have to get more creative 😆
Here’s one I prepared earlier
[url=https://flic.kr/p/EsurJQ]Veloviewer Example[/url] by Colin Cadden, on Flickr
That track crosses into 19 tiles (some only just).
The biggest Max Square on it is 2×2. However, going back another day and traversing the little ridge on the blank squares in the middle would create a 3×3 square (the explorer stats are cumulative). Obviously it gets progressively harder and for some you might want to consider walking, running, swimming or paddling!Posted 6 years ago
And here’s my current Max Square(s) 8×8, outlined in blue (there’s two overlapping 8×8 squares).
[url=https://flic.kr/p/EJaRds]VV_Crop2[/url] by Colin Cadden, on FlickrPosted 6 years ago
Thanks scvotroutes, I can see me using that a bit 😀Posted 6 years ago
7×7 so far …
In this case creative = n+1 (does a kayak count as a +1?)Posted 6 years ago
Funnily was only talking to my brother about the very same subject on a bimble this morning generally found steel fully rigid single speed means bimblePosted 6 years ago
Ah,i got about 10 words into the first post and that dreaded word jumped out of the page, yup STRAVA
Do yourself a favour, turn it off.
#jobdonePosted 6 years ago
Also on the summary page is your E (Eddington) number. Trying to increase that will have you chasing longer and longer rides. Obviously easier on a road bike.Posted 6 years ago
I took the ‘cross bike out for 3hrs of singletrack yesterday. Instead of trying to go fast I focussed on being smooth, manualling bumps/puddles etc and bunny hopping roots. Was lovely not to be rattled to death and felt I was riding well.
On the uphills I just sat and held a nice even tempo to the top.
Just back from 3hrs on the road this morning. Again kept it steady Z2.
For balance – during the week I did 3 horrible, whimper inducing, wobbly legged Turbo interval sessions. Well you can’t go slow all the time! 😀Posted 6 years ago
Finally, a thread that matches how I feel about cycling these days. I even adopted the term for my user name…Posted 6 years ago
I’d forgotten about his thread, but I coincidentally made 10×10 today
Posted 6 years ago
I’d forgotten about my own thread too 🙂 but I had my first foray on a fat bike at the weekend. Three hours of bimbling around lochs, trotting through bogs and playing on some descents. Very seductive. That “go anywhere” capability could help to fill in a few squares too and improve on my current (rather pathetic) best of 4×4 😳Posted 6 years ago
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