A Numbers Game

August 28, 2008

I spend far too much time reading cycling blogs so I’ve only got myself to blame for a growing obsession with the numbers. Or rather, one particular number and in this perhaps GOM1 of Tlatet shares some of the blame because he was the one who introduced me to it: the Eddington Number.

The Eddington Number is defined as E, the number of days a cyclist has cycled more than E miles – Eddington himself had an E number of 87, i.e. he had ridden at least 87 miles on 87 separate days in his lifetime. Now according to Map My Ride, another obsession of mine, the trip down to papershop village and back is just over 11 miles, and I’ve easily done 11 or more of them so my E number (discounting all rides taken before I moved up here because I’ve no idea how long they were) is a pathetic 11, and (and this is the killer with Eddington numbers) no matter how many more times I cycle down there and back it’s not going to get any higher either. So I’m forced to find longer rides, and keep lengthening them if I want to see the number improve. Which, curiously enough, I do. I don’t care how fast I go, how many calories I allegedly burn (MMR has a fairly random approach to calories burnt, in my experience) or anything like that but I’d like to have a better value for E

So today, I worked out a different route to Papershop Village, one I’m dubbing the masochist’s papershop run. Not only is it 3 miles longer than the shortest route, it goes over several highly unnecessary hills. This time I did at least remember to check out the contour lines before I set off, although I was using an old map and airily assumed that the elevations were in feet, not metres*.  The end result was 14.5 miles in 1 hour and *cough* quite a lot of minutes, and I only had to get off the bike and push once, when I had slowed down to look at a topiary bird placed out way in the middle of nowhere, and failed to get enough momentum for the vertical climb that was round the bend. I saw buzzards and wheatears (bringing my birds I have positively identified from the bike list up to 7) and a squashed weasel (bringing my squashed animals on the road list up to 5), and precisely no cars until I got almost into the village itself and encountered a prat in a jag holding his racing line round a bend despite the fact that this meant going over into my side of the road (bringing my arseholes behind the wheel list up to 394).

Numbers, numbers, numbers – I love them. I’m thinking of starting a spreadsheet now, just to keep track. What do you measure? And what is your highest value for E?

*I was wrong.