Do Fitness Trackers Have a Dark Side? The Exercise Strikes Back

Unless you’ve been living under Iraq and haven’t read my stuff before, you know I got into fitness tracker at the same time I began this blog. A look at my list of post titles will show many with numbers of miles I’ve ridden the day before, that week, month or year. And while my Garmin vivoactive 3 music watch and the Strava application have certainly helped motivate me and keep me accountable, there are also some negatives. Aside from the data and privacy concerns, who’s the servant and who’s the master? Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke. And by that, I mean you.

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The Coronacles of Blarneya, Part II

Back when the coronavirus which becomes the disease COVID-19 pandemic was just six weeks old (the length of the lockdown in Austin, Texas), I wrote Part I of this title. If you were here for that long, rambling and meandering post (or go read It now), you may recall a sense of aimless wandering. You might have been right about that. In many ways, we as a human race were doing that long before this outbreak. Now we are clearly fumbling our way through this waking nightmare, bad movie, or really, just stark reality. So as the band War sang,

Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip and see
Take a little trip, take a little trip
Take a little trip with me

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Bicycle Night Ride with a Friend in Austin, Texas

Autumn in Austin has been pretty spectacular thus far. Little rain, warm temperatures, and sunny skies. While the dryness isn’t good for plants or the water supply, it is good for bicycling. As the coronavirus pandemic continues for the eighth month (stay at home shelter orders began here in March), getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine have been essential for staying healthy and sane. Most of my rides are solo, but I’ve had the good fortune of being joined by several friends. One such ride the other night was fairly routine for me but pretty good for one of my dudes.

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Call Me Mister Consistency

In my last post, Muscles, Might & Math Mean More Miles, I touched on how numbers help motivate me to achieve my bicycling goals. As it turns out, the last seven days I’ve ridden an average of 21.25 miles per day, from 20.5-22.2 miles. And I did that because of the math, which then went from my brain to my legs. Sophie the sea foam-colored Fairdale Weekender Archer got the memo as well. All I did was subtract the mileage I’d completed for the year (over 5,000) from the total goal, and then divided that by the number of days remaining in 2020. The answer? The number 21. So that’s my new mantra. So far, for seven days, I’ve done just that, 21 miles, within .5-1.2 miles difference. Call me Mister Consistency.

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55-Mile 2020 Birthday Bike Ride with Friends; 5,009 Miles for the Year

To commemorate my birthday I’ve gone on longer bike rides for the last few years. Last year it was cold and rainy, so I only got in part of it, and went for the full distance a week later. But I still managed to git ‘er done. This year, the weather was dry and hot with a high of 99 F. Despite the heat, I wore a mask the entire time I was near friends or other riders. It’s a bloody pandemic that’s killed a million people, people! Here’s a short report with photos for your enjoyment, edification, education, etc.

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I Bicycled Every Day for an Entire Year: Lessons Learned

Here’s the thing:  I didn’t set out to bike 366 days in a row. If you had a crystal ball and told me my future a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I just went on my birthday ride, a mile per year of life, as I have done the last several years. But instead of taking the next day or more off to rest like a normal person, I became more like Forrest Gump:  I just kept bike-ing and bike-ing and bike-ing… Except there was no Robin Wright as Jenny yelling, “Bike, A Dude, bike!”

The Energizer bunny I’m not. I’m just a middle-aged, slightly overweight (aka fathlete), regular guy who chose the bicycle as his vehicle for his mid-life crisis mobile. I can’t tell you why I did this, except at some point it was simply to see if I could do it. And now I have. Don’t believe me? Check my Strava activity log – it’s all there. But this isn’t really about me. Here’s the main thing I want to tell you: If I can do it, most of you can, too.

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Approaching the Summit of a Goal? Prepare for the Ride Downhill

As with most if not all of my posts, I’m writing it because I think it might help others in some small way. But I’m a work in progress also trying to figure things out myself. This comes after 2.75 years of daily walking and  writing, 4.75 years of blogging, 5.75 years of a whole bunch of bicycling and almost 1.00 year of daily biking, plus 6.75 years of daily yoga. So I know a thing or two about my own sports psychology. (I’m no professional though, so see a real doctor if you need one.) As I approach the zenith of several goals, one quite big, another that’s Huge, and a third that’s FREAKING GINORMOUS, I know that there’s a big zenith of a let-down coming, too. So let’s talk about what we can do about when that happens.

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September 2020 Stats: And I Did Walk (& Bike) 501 Miles

Last September set records for being hotter than July even here in Central Texas. This year, wonderfully cool weather arrived on the 4th, cancelling out 29 days of 100+ degree F days in August. But I still had to do less biking because of my dumb J-O-B. So it was all I could do to make my 100 bike miles and 10.5 or more walking miles for the week. But together, 501 is still pretty respectable. Life goes on, even during a pandemic. You do your best. Let’s go to the numbers.

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30 Thoughts I Thunk on My Bicycle Ride, I Think

Biking is a great way to clear your mind, focus on solving a problem, just allow it to wander, or as a kind of moving meditation. Of course you need to concentrate on the task at hand, especially with road hazards and when interacting with other traffic. But if you’re like me, biking is a time to ruminate. The thoughts one thinks can be serious and sometimes, they can be a little silly. Herewith are some that I had this evening.

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