A Challenge for the Uncompetitive Cyclist

The increasing popularity of GPS trackers as a method of improving fitness has never appealed to me as someone who has little interest in the sporting aspect of cycling; however, a recent event aimed at promoting cycling as an everyday form of transport did take my interest. The ambitiously titled “European Cycling Challenge” was launched by the City of Bologna and part financed by the the CIVITAS Mimosa which is a collaborative European project championing sustainable mobility. Seven European Cities including Reading U.K were involved in the event which challenged participants from each city to log their cycle transport mileage during the month of May, the winner being the city that cycled and recorded the most miles.


All trips had to be logged on the Endomondo Sports Tracker website where live results on the progress of the challenge could be viewed, providing significantly more interest and excitement than the results round of the Eurovision Song Contest!

Trips could be recorded and uploaded to website via the free downloadable Endomondo Sports Tracker app for smart phones or from a Garmin GPS, or by manually importing a GPX file. I suddenly discovered a competitive nature that I never knew I had, but this competition was based on logging miles where the bicycle was secondary to the purpose of the journey, so while commuting and shopping were fine, miles clocked up on fast club runs were not allowed! As GPS tracks for trips of longer than 10 miles were required to be made available on the Endomondo site for public viewing, any attempts to bend the rules could be contested.

Uploaded GPX track on Endomondo showing one of my shopping trips!
As the competition progressed it became very apparent to me how the use of GPS Sports Tracking through a site like Endomondo can significantly promote cycling in all of its forms and disciplines. Either through participation in the ongoing series of challenges that are created on the site or by setting up personal challenges or creating challenges between friends. Since the European Challenge which saw the Reading Team creep past IASI Romania to take a credible 4th, place, I have signed up to the “most calories used across all sports” challenge, coming in at 945th place out of 31256 participants having burnt 37470 calories on the bike, and am now in the last days of the “2012 Km in the Year 2012” challenge which interestingly only runs for 2 months… oh yes and there are prizes to be won too! It’s all good fun and provides a great incentive for people to use their bike more at every level of ability.

 Highly Recommended!