On the PBS show “Cyberchase,” (comma outside the quotation marks for all
of our non-American readers) one of the aliens graphs his relatively long
uni ride to grandma’s house. A fellow Unatic posited that perhaps I did
the same thing on my Century ride several months ago.

It’s a good idea and is totally within keeping of my obsessional
personality. I never thought to do it before but will certainly begin to
do so now.

The idea is that each hour, I can check my milage (or my mileage,
depending on how I’m feeling) since the last obsessional stop to check
milage. Then I can graph my results to see where I go from an uber-cyclist
to an age’d schlub who strongly considers cabbing it over the last three
miles (luckily there were no cabs).

I do recall that over the first 50 miles, I maintained an average speed of
about 12.5 mph. Then the hills got nastier and my legs got jellier, and
when I finished up (including some walking with the Coker towards the
cab-considering final moments), my avg speed was about 10 mph. The easy
math solution tells you that I must have averaged just 7.5 mph for the
last half of the ride.

I’m not sure I am glad to have done this reckoning – rather disappointing.

David Stone
Co-founder, Unatics of NY
1st Sunday / 3rd Saturday
@ Central Park Bandshell
1:30 start time after 11/1/01

“David Stone” wrote:
> The easy
> math solution tells you that I must have averaged just 7.5 mph for the
> last half of the ride.

David, do the slightly less easy math solution and you’ll be a bit
less disappointed.
You averaged 10 mph over 100 miles so your total time was 10 hours.
Over the first 50 miles you averaged 12.5 mph so that took 4 hours.
Ergo, 6 hours remain for the last 50 miles, and 50/6 equals 8.33 mph.

Should that grammatical comma be inside the quotation marks in the US?
Not logical.

klaas123@xs4all.nl writes:
>“David Stone” wrote:
>> The easy
>> math solution tells you that I must have averaged just 7.5 mph for the
>> last half of the ride.
>
>David, do the slightly less easy math solution and you’ll be a bit
>less disappointed.

>
>You averaged 10 mph over 100 miles so your total time was 10 hours.
>Over the first 50 miles you averaged 12.5 mph so that took 4 hours.
>Ergo, 6 hours remain for the last 50 miles, and 50/6 equals 8.33 mph.
Actually, we’re both wrong, and all because I wasn’t clear about the
times. I may have confused you because I took 12 hours to complete the
ride but was only riding for 9.5 hours. When I checked my cycle computer
at the 50-mile mark, I’d been riding for 4 hours but had taken a few
breaks totaling about 30-45 minutes.

Anyway, you are right that my 2nd half of the ride was at an average speed
of over 8 mph (when riding!). Since I took 5.5 hours for the last 50
miles, that’s around 9 mph, so I feel better. Still, I would have liked
to do the whole ride in 10 hours (including breaks) and to have averaged
about 11 mph. That would mean, for example, riding at 12 mph for 8.5 hours
and taking 1.5 hours of breaks. Not impossible. Or averaging 12.5 mph for
8 hours and relaxing for two hours. It’s not a course where one can
average much more than that safely (or at all – lots of hills), and
breaks are really necessary to prevent numbness and pain. So I think 10
hours total is possible, but on that course, it would be hard to do
significantly better. The record for 100 miles is amazingly under 7 hours,
but that was done under different conditions (including a larger wheel). I
wonder if there is a link to more specific details about that ride.
>
>Should that grammatical comma be inside the quotation marks in the US?
>Not logical.
Totally illogical. I hate it.
>
>
>Klaas Bil

Co-founder, Unatics of NY
1st Sunday / 3rd Saturday
@ Central Park Bandshell
1:30 start time after 11/1/01

That’s one on which I’m wishy-washy. The wishy half of me wants to follow the grammatical rules and leave punctuation inside the quotes, the washy half tells me to do what makes sense and color outside the lines in this case.

In a spirit of jocular and amicably self-parodying pedantry…

Whether the comma should be within the quotes depends on a number of factors, and there is some wiggle room anyway depending on emphasis. I recommend the relevant appendix of the Cocise Oxford Dictionary for a concise but thorough explanation.