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Cycling Infographics

Infographics make complex information eye catching, shareable and easily digestible.  The best ones combine eye-catching graphics with interesting facts.

For example, A World of Languages.  Did you know that 146 living languages are used as a first language in Malaysia?

2017 Infographic 7 Alberto Lucas López www lucasinfografia com

Graphic courtesy of Alberto Lucas López

Unsurprisingly, there are lots of infographics to do with cycling.  This one plots the increase in the number of riders who completed the Rapha Festive 500 between 2011 and 2014.

2017 Infographic 3

Graphic courtesy of Rapha

For 2017, the number of roundel winners is above 19,000.

More details about the 2012 and 2013 Festive 500s are presented in these infographics.

Some activity-tracking sites produce individualised infographics.  Strava is perhaps the most popular online cyclists’ community, with 203 million rides logged in 2017.

Each cyclist using Strava can generate a movie summarising their own achievements in 2017.  The closing graphic looks like this.

2017 Strava My Year in Sport

Graphic courtesy of Strava

Strava also lets members generate heatmaps showing where they have ridden during a user-selected time period.  The color used highlight the routes changes from blue through purple to red, depending on how often that particular route has been ridden.

2017 Strava Heatmap

Map courtesy of Strava

Third parties can access Strava’s data to produce their own infographics.  This is the heatmap produced by Jonathan O”Keeffe’s Strava Multiple Ride Mapper application.  It improves on the native Strava heatmap by using a wider range of colors to indicate ride frequency. is another third-party application that pulls data from Strava to create individualized infographics.

One is a variation on the heatmap, supplemented with the date, distance, and elevation of each of the rides within the user-selected date range.

2017 Veloviewer Wheel

Graphic courtesy of Veloviewer

The more popular Veloviewer infographic, especially at year-end, is the one which tracks a variety of measures through the year.

2017 Veloviewer

Graphic courtesy of Veloviewer uses your Strava data to produce art, rather than infographics in the strict sense of the word.

Like Veloviewer, the user selects the time period from which data is to be used.  Clocked represents each of your activities as a ring. They start when you started and finish when you finished.

The Multi-Route plots the route of all your rides for the chosen time period.

If you are interested in more infographics about cycling, like this one . . .

2017 Science of Suffering

Graphic courtesy of Velopedia: The Infographic Book of Cycling

or this one . . .

2017 Hour Record

Graphic courtesy of Velopedia: The Infographic Book of Cycling

then Velopedia:  The Infographic Book of Cycling is the book for you.

The Eddington Number for Cycling

When I first started using VeloViewer, I focused primarily on the graph showing distance cycled by year.  My main goal in 2015 and 2016 was to cycle further than I had in any previous year.  This zoomable graph was one way to track my progress, ride by ride, against that goal.


Graph courtesy of VeloViewer

VeloViewer displays a plethora of other data, spread across eleven pages.  You can read an overview which I wrote more than two years ago here.

I occasionally browse the other pages, but I spend most of my time on only two pages.  The Update page, where you import your Strava data into VeloViewer, and the Summary page, where the graph above, and other charts and tables, are displayed.

It was many months before one item, highlighted in red in a panel titled Activity Stats on the Summary page, caught my eye.  It was a button labeled “Eddington”.


Graphic courtesy of VeloViewer

Which I soon found out stood for “Eddington number”.

Some Googling revealed that there are two Eddington numbers, both devised by Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington.  Arthur Eddington was, among other things, an astrophysicist.  In astrophysics, the Eddington number NEdd is the number of protons in the observable universe.  Eddington was the first to propose, in 1938, a value of NEdd.

Arthur Eddington was also a cyclist.  He is credited with devising a measure of a cyclist’s long-distance riding achievements. The Eddington number (E-number) for cycling is defined as the largest number E, where you have cycled at least E kilometers / miles on at least E days.  For example an E-number of 50 kilometers means that you have ridden 50 kilometers or more on 50 or more days.

Note that the units of distance are important.  An E-number of 50 in miles means having covered at least 50 miles on 50 days.  The equivalent E-number in kilometers means having covered at least 80 kilometers on 80 days.

Achieving a high Eddington number is difficult, since moving from, say, a metric 80 to 85 will probably require more than five new long distance rides, as any rides shorter than 85km will no longer be included in the reckoning.

VeloViewer displays an informative graph when you click on the red “Eddington” button in the Activity Stats panel.


Graph courtesy of VeloViewer

The blue bars show the number of times each distance (you can select kilometers or miles) has been completed.  The top of the orange bar intersects with the orange E-number line.  The orange bar shows your current E-number.

A more interesting feature pops up when you hover the cursor over a bar.


Graph courtesy of VeloViewer

The pop up box shows how many days you have cycled the distance denoted by that bar.  For bars to the right of the orange one, the pop up box also displays the number of days you need to cycle at least that distance for it to become your new E-number.

My current metric lifetime E-number is 104.  VeloViewer tells me that I have covered at least 104km on 113 days.

To move my E-number to 110, I need 23 days of 110km or more.  A minimum of 2,530km is a lot of riding to move my E-number up by 6.

Which is what makes the E-number an interesting, and I am sure to Type A cyclists, an addictive measure of progression.  It gets more and more difficult to increase your E-number.

Two more days of at least 105km.  Come on!



An Abridged History

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June has been a quiet month for riding.  The weather, weekend travel, illness and idleness have all kept me off my bikes.  I started 2015 with aspirations to average 1,000km a month.  So far I am 150km per month short of that goal.  Nevertheless 2015 is shaping up to be one of my better years for cycling.

I consider my first day as an avid cyclist to be Sunday January 31st, 2010.  That was the day Big Bill B guided me on a 53km loop around Houston, including a food stop at Carter & Cooley Company Delicatessen in The Heights.

It was the first time I rode with a Garmin cycling computer on my handlebar, which allowed me to commit this and all future rides to that collective memory that is the internet.  I am a bit of a ride data geek.  I started feeding that habit with Garmin Connect.  After a few years I supplemented that with Ride With GPS, and very soon after Strava was added to the mix.  Lately Veloviewer has joined the party.

Why so many tracking apps?  In my case, mostly because they each provide different ways to view my ride data.  Ride With GPS provides nice summaries by month or year.  I can see what my buddies have been up to in Strava.  Veloviewer makes annual comparisons easy.  Charts like these ones provide the grist for this post.

Charts courtesy of Veloviewer

Charts courtesy of Veloviewer

Between January and the end of April 2010 I rode in and around Houston.  Those rides included my first century ride, The Space Race, and my first BP MS150.

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

My biker chick had started her new job in Den Haag, The Netherlands, in April.  So my bike spent May in a container, along with our other possessions, on a ship bound for Europe.

I spent the rest of the year exploring the bike paths around Den Haag.

I logged 2,831kms in 2010.  My average ride distance was 59kms.  My average ride time was 2 hours 28 minutes.

In 2011 my total distance covered jumped to 6,886kms.  My average distance went up slightly to 63kms.  The average ride length went up in tandem to 2 hours 33 minutes.

Much of that increase in total distance ridden is testament to the outstanding cycling infrastructure in The Netherlands.  You can’t help but get on your bicycle in a country where the riding in so safe, convenient, and scenic.

In 2012 my mileage again jumped significantly over the previous year.  To 11,019kms.  The average distance stayed almost the same at 62.25kms.  I picked up speed though, with my rides averaging 2 hours 29 minutes.

Heat map courtesy of Strava

Heat map courtesy of Strava

Almost all of my riding over these two years was in The Netherlands.  I did occasionally venture further afield.  I made my first extended cycling trip in 2011.  I went to Ninove in Belgium, to ride in the Ronde van Vlaanderen sportif.

In 2012 I did the Ronde van Vlaanderen again, which started and ended this time in Oudernaarde.  I also took two trips to Maastricht, for the UCI World Championships and the Amstel Gold sportifs.

Heat map courtesy of Strava

Heat map courtesy of Strava

In October 2012 my biker chick and I returned to Kuala Lumpur.  My bikes (by this time I had two) followed soon after by air freight.  So it wasn’t long before I was immersing myself in the relatively new and booming road cycling scene in Malaysia.

Cycling in Kuala Lumpur reminds me a lot of cycling in Houston.  You share the roads with traffic.  Sometimes a lot of traffic.  City riding is best done at night, when the roads, or motorcycle lanes where provided, are quieter.  The popular daytime cycling routes are mostly outside the city.

In 2013 I started venturing further afield.  Century rides in various cities around the country become a regular activity, including one international road trip to Hatyai in Thailand.

Despite the number of century rides, my mileage in 2013 was only 7,102kms.  My rides had become shorter, averaging 49kms and 1 hour 58 minutes per ride.  I remember that tropical rainstorms had a lot to do with curtailing riding time in 2013.

The downward trend continued in 2014.  I had four months of enforced time off my bikes because of a crash, and two unrelated surgeries.  Those breaks from cycling resulted in only 3,918kms ridden.  My average ride was surprisingly long though, at 66kms and 2 hours 35 minutes.

Heat map courtesy of Strava

Heat map courtesy of Strava

Almost all of my cycling since the end of 2012 has been in Malaysia.  The exceptions were in 2013, when I flew to the United States to ride in the BP MS150 from Houston to Austin, and to ride in the 5 Boros Ride in New York City.  In between those rides I visited an old friend in Denver, where  I managed to squeeze in a few rides as well.  I came home with bicycle number three.

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

Heat Map courtesy of Strava

That bicycle is a Ritchey Breakaway.  It came with me to Melbourne in December 2013.  My last cycling trip away from home to date.

Heat map courtesy of Strave

Heat map courtesy of Strava

2015 looks good so far.  I am up to 5,078kms as at the end of June.  My average ride length for the year is 71kms.  I must be a bit fitter than I was last year too.  I am riding on average 5kms further this year as compared to last, but my average time is the saddle is only 3 minutes more, at 2 hours 38 minutes.

I’m hoping to take at least one cycling trip outside Malaysia this year.  And I am looking forward to staying healthy and spending as much time as possible riding.

JFK Quote 3