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Saddle-Up Column: Staying motivated to cycle in the city

Richmond cyclist talks about competing with other cyclists through an app.
Geordie McGillivray (Saddle up)
Richmond resident Geordie McGillivray writes about different aspects of cycling.

I’ve spoken before about how motivation can come in many forms, and one way to get motivated can be competing against others. But what if you’re not a competitive cyclist, or fast, or strong? Well, there’s still a way you can compete against others.

If you use any device to record your rides, then there's a good chance you’re familiar with Strava. It’s an online site/app that any cycling computer, smartphone or smartwatch can upload your ride data to if you’ve created a free account. While there are social aspects to it if you like, there are other ways to compete without even letting people know.

I’m talking about the feature called Local Legends. And as I said earlier, you don’t need to be strong, fast or even ride any particular type of bike. You just need to have your rides uploaded to your Strava account and it will do the rest.

Becoming a "Local Legend" is achieved simply by riding your bike down any given road, in any city and doing it often. For example, you and another person both ride your bikes by Richmond City Hall every day for ten days. Then that other person decides to drive a car one day. By riding your bike that next day (assuming no one else has ridden it more) then you are now the Local Legend and will be notified by Strava. If you take some days off and the other person rides, they will take that title from you! This feature has encouraged me to ride some days instead of taking a car.

And what keeps you on your toes is the feature uses a 90-day rolling total. After 90 days, you start losing your points from those rides a long time ago. You need to keep riding in order to keep the title. This way you don’t have to be discouraged that you can never catch up to the leader. You can, and you will if you’re persistent.

I recently moved, and I pass by the city hall every time I ride to the airport. I passed the person who was a Local Legend just last week. She had ridden eight times in the last 90 days. If I start taking a different route, then she could pass me again and I’ll get an email from Strava saying I’ve lost my title. 

You can have as many Local Legend titles as you can handle if you put in the time on your bike. I encourage you to check out Strava as a way to record and even share your rides with others. With this amazing weather, I hope the sun is all the push you need to get out, but a little extra motivation never hurts.