The Pound A Mile Challenge

The Pound A Mile Challenge

In previous years, I’ve attempted to curb my game spending and encourage myself to actually complete games I have by gradually reducing the amount of money I’m allowed to spend on them. These were known as the £25, £20 and £18 Rules. Last year, I kept to the £18 Rule – meaning I’ve currently missed out on Mario 3D Land, Skyrim and Batman Arkham City, as they’re not cheap enough (yet) for me to buy.

That isn’t a problem though, as I’ve plenty of other things to play, and they’ll drop in price eventually. Except Mario, of course, which won’t. Ever. Hmm.

There is also an issue with the £18 Rule, in that I can still buy as many games that are less than £18 as I like. Mainly, this was downloadable titles for XBLA, the 3DS and the Wii last year. And they all add up. In terms of value for money, a £40 Skyrim purchase would do me better than the 7 or 8 downloaded titles I probably bought instead. Which means I buy more games, although generally still do spend less. Perhaps.

This year, I’ve decided on something different. Why not apply a physical limit on game purchases, instead of a monetary one? And so it has come to pass that I am announcing…

The Pound A Mile Challenge

The basic rule is this: for every mile I cycle, I’m allowed to spend one pound.

That’s it. Simple, right? There are a few additional rules, however:

1) Miles must be earned before being spent.
2) Game prices do not include postal charges.
3) Store credit, vouchers, etc. can be used instead of (or in addition to) miles.

With this rule, I hope to rethink how much I really want a game. Is it worth me going out cycling for 30 miles in order to buy Mario 3D Land? I also hope to get fitter simply through desire for a game.

One challenge this year will be the Wii U. I’m expecting the price to be around £200. Which means, I’ll need to cycle 200 miles to get it. Not all in one go, of course. I’m not Jochta. I’ll really need to work for it!

Last year, I spent just shy of £900 on games and game “stuff”. If the same is true this year, I’ll need to cycle 900 miles in 12 months. On average, I’ll need to be doing about 17.5 miles a week to spend that much. To some, like HarpingOn and Jochta and people who are not me in general, that’s not a lot, but it’s above my current average so I’m going to have to train harder and for longer. That’s not such a problem in the nice weather, as I can easily manage 8-10 miles in a day (in my current fitness state – hopefully this will improve!), but at the moment 4 to 5 miles is the norm. I may have to “stock up” the miles over the summer in order to see me through the winter!

Ultimately then, I’ll end up doing one or the other of these:

1) Being unable to keep up the mileage, so spend less on games, or
2) Being able to buy whatever games I want, so end up fitter.

Either outcome is a win, although 2) is clearly the target 🙂


  1. Hey, thanks for the @mention.

    I’m strictly a spring/summer/autumn cycler, so I’ll get back to it come late March probably.

    Mean time, gym, treadmill and I’ve signed up for a 5K road race. Eep!

  2. Sounds like a good plan. Just know that you will do less in the winter months. Don’t bust a gut trying to reach what you think you need in Jan/Feb as you will definitely do more and more easily in the spring/summer. You’ll have to wait for that game you really want and you might save money as it’ll be cheaper by then!

    A target of around 1000 miles in a year is pretty decent. A lot of regular cyclists won’t get near that in a year.

    Note that you should set an on-road rule. Turbo trainers and exercise bikes do not count towards annual mileages 🙂

    Find your nearest CTC club and think about joining some of their rides too. That can get you out and about and discover new routes. Cycling fitness can improve very rapidly.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I fully expect to let everyone down by February 🙂 Kicking myself for this already – Up to 17.5 miles yesterday, Skyrim was £17.99. Today, it’s £33. Bah! If I’d only cycled half a pound more!

    Just trying to get out at the moment, regardless of weather. Even only 2 or 3 miles is better than no miles. Had a few lax months but still finding it easier than when I first started last year, so that’s an improvement.

    I realise exercise bikes aren’t the same as on-road, but they must count for something, yes? Maybe 50p a mile from them?

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