Cycling Statistics: One Whole Year

Not too long ago, I tabulated the total cost of my Three Rule Ride for a year: $4,323. That post alone didn’t satisfy my statistics nerdery, nor did it justify the massive amount of effort I’ve put into keeping my stats spreadsheet, nor did it answer any really interesting questions. Thus, this followup. Please forgive all the powerpoint-esque graphics, it’s the best I could do.

$1750 for a year’s food bill (“shopping” above refers only to shopping for food; shopping for things falls into “Etc”), $710 for rent, and nearly the same again for other stuff. Of my Etc category, about $500 went for visas, slightly more went for boats, buses, and trains, $100 went to replacing my computer’s motherboard, and the other half I have no idea about – true miscellaneous, I suppose.

Surprisingly low costs for food – did I really spend less than $5 a day on keeping myself alive? How did I not waste away entirely?

Interesting tidbit, unknown even to myself: I spent a solid five months of this year mooching! I believe that makes me an official Fauxbo!

Big shoutouts and thankses to:

Guy (Dalian / the first three nights of the trip); Marcus (Chengde / four nights); Jonathan and Meiqing (Beijing / 10ish nights); Janet and Keith (Xiamen / five nights); my Taiwanese family (Taipei / at least a month); Luke and Tanya (Taiwan / two weeks), Bret and Irina (Shenzhen / five nights); Number 9 (Zhuhai / four nights); Matt (Hanoi / five nights); Wendy (Ho Chi Minh City / five nights); Jessica (Shangri-la / two weeks); Caffy and Ken (Xishuangbanna / six nights);

and to anyone else I’ve forgotten, and to all the other couchsurfing hosts, warmshowers hosts, and random individuals who took me in or put me up for a night or two.

You have all made this an awesome year.

Also nice to notice that I spent about the exact same amount of nights in my tent and in communities/ on farms (combined) as I did in hotels.

“Trans” refers to night trains, night buses, and boats.

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That’s me on the right, practically earning money by sleeping in the great outdoors! Money saved through camping: $350.

(calculated by valuing a night of camping at the price of the previous or following night’s room)

This number should actually be higher, because there were lots of times where I wouldn’t have wound up mooching if the tent hadn’t given me the security to ride around later into the evening, and if it hadn’t given me an excuse to ask people if they knew anywhere I could pitch it; many of those people instead offered to take me in.

In the end the tent ($220) paid for itself and most of my other camping equipment – sleeping mat, sleeping bag liner, hammock, and Leatherman. Good deal!

The answer to the two biggest questions:

Which may sound like a lot of hard work, but the following should put things in perspective:

No more misconceptions about how hard cycle touring is – I averaged about a three day workweek (3.32, to be exact), spending more than half of the year off of the bike, most likely on somebody else’s couch, reading a book or watching Game of Thrones.

Which of course brings up the question: what if I had been a little less of a bum? Say I had ridden at the same pace for four, five, six, or (God forbid) seven days a week. Where could I have gone?


Or, if I had just ridden directly west rather than doing all my loops, I could have made it to the Atlantic at Amsterdam (14,260).

Another way to look at the question of how much cycle touring costs – km per dollar, or vice versa:

Based on some exceedingly off-the-cuff calculations, the boat from mainland China to Taiwan moved about 3.11km for each dollar; a long-distance bus ride in China got about 15km/$; a train ride in China got me 30km/$; the train in Vietnam made 20km/$; and a hypothetical Air Asia flight from Seoul to Bangkok clocks in at 19km/$, or half that if they sell out of special tickets.

Of course, the 3.45km/$ dollar figure incorporates a year’s worth of spending on food, accommodations, and being alive in general, whereas the other figures don’t incorporate anything. In a sense, this is fair, since these are among the expected costs of cycling. In a sense, though, I feel like it gives cycling the short end of the stick. If you flew to Bangkok in a day, but then added up the costs of living there over the next year and incorporated those into the total cost of travel, the ratio would almost certainly be much lower.

And, for the real stats freaks, a graph with not one but TWO vertical axes: Total Km (left) and average Km/day ridden (right)by month, which correlates surprisingly closely with the country I was in at the time:

Conclusions and curiosities:

– Thailand is BY FAR the easiest country to ride in. Almost twice as easy as Laos.

– Yunnan and Laos felt the most grueling, and were certainly the most mountainous, but I didn’t actually ride any slower there than in my first three months in the flatlands of Eastern China. I suppose this reflects a massive stamina increase?

– Taiwan wins the “Makes mike the laziest” award.

Additional Numbers Not Really Related to Anything

Books read: 21

Best three: Beyond the Beautiful Forevers, by Katherine Boo, about a slum in Mumbai; I Am a Strange Loop, by Richard Hofstadter, about how a bunch of swirling brain neurons can create self-consciousness; and Wild: Lost and Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed, about her solo hike of several thousand kilometers.

Episodes of Game of Thrones watched: ALL (36ish?)

Episodes of Louie watched: ALL (36ish?)

Blog posts: 117, counting this one.

Movies, documentaries, and flim-length lectures watched: 35

Photos taken and not deleted: 14,310 (freakily, about 1 per km)

Other round-the-world cyclists met: around 15.

Days so sick I couldn’t ride: 1

Flat tires: 2

Falls from bike: 1

Poos in the forest: Wish I had counted.

Leave any other stats requests in the comments. If possible, I’ll dig up an answer. If not, I’ll add a category to my spreadsheet and do it next year.

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4 Responses to Cycling Statistics: One Whole Year

  1. Jasin says:

    Very awesome!!! Love the stats breakdown, super super cool. Especially the end haha.

  2. ian chen says:

    interesting data graphics!can send me or show a screenshot of one day’s detail records you made?