For those who wish to achieve a goal that involves cycling—distance per month or year, number of days cycled—keeping a record of your rides and consulting the record regularly will inspire you to keep going. If you participate in challenges such as #30DaysOfBiking or the Great Cycling Challenge, it is good to keep track of your efforts, especially if you’ve accepted a challenge for a charitable cause.
Most people have smartphones with GPS so apps like MapMyRide, Strava, RideWithGPS, Endomondo (and others) will enable you to record your rides without any effort including data such as average speed, estimated calories burned and distance. Additionally, some (if not all) of the bike-specific GPS cycling computers, such as Garmin, Bryton, Polar amongst others, have the capability of uploading their ride data to some of the mapping/logging websites above or to their own specific websites.
Even if you don’t have a smartphone or a GPS cycling computer, most of the websites above allow you to create your routes online and log your rides for the routes after you’ve completed your rides. One other advantage of being able to create routes ahead of time is that if you want to ride 100km this Saturday morning, you can sketch out your route and know where you have to ride to achieve that distance rather than finishing an unplotted ride only to discover that you’ve only ridden 80km or worse, getting to the 100km mark and realizing that you have another 30km to go to get back home. It also helps if you need to let your loved ones know where you plan to ride so they know the route you’ll be following.
Most, if not all of these websites and apps will allow you to share your rides on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, after which, your friends can give you the well-deserved praise for your efforts. You may even get some of them (or friends of theirs) to join you when they see what you’ve just done.
I find that keeping track of my distances inspires me to challenge myself by comparing my monthly and annual distances with previous years’ results and then trying to do as well or better than the previous month or year. This type of personal challenge is one of the motivations I used to help me maintain my fitness.