Like many bicycle enthusiasts have done at one point or another, I used to track my trip distances, average speeds, and weekly, monthly and annual mileage. It was a way to measure “progress” and “performance” as I imagined it. To what end, I can’t really say, since throughout most of that time I wasn’t racing. Perhaps I was “racing” with myself. Whatever the reason, that way of thinking clearly grew out of our still prevalent proclivity to view the bicycle as a sporting good here in the U.S.
Now, as a person who loves riding bikes, but is even more concerned with leaving the car in the garage, I use a different metric to track progress. Now, I think in terms of miles not driven, or what I like to call “replacement miles”. For someone like myself who is passionate about a future with fewer cars on the road and more bicycles being used for transportation, this is a more satisfying and effective way of looking at it. Don’t get me wrong; riding for fun is all well-and-good, and I highly recommend it. But now, if I put the bike in the car and drive across town to participate in a recreational ride, those miles don’t “count” because they didn’t replace a car trip*.
If tracking your total miles and elapsed times provides motivation to keep riding, by all means, keep doing exactly what you’re doing. But, if reducing automobile use is important to you, perhaps thinking in terms of replacement miles makes more sense. Doing so gets me out of the weeds and helps me to stay focused on the larger goal of only using the car when absolutely necessary.