Quantifying mybikerides
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Quantifying mybikerides



This talk was given to the Quantified Self Meetup in San Jose on May 23rd, 2013. It shows how I became interested in biking, measuring bike rides and how I use Strava and Cyclemeter.

This talk was given to the Quantified Self Meetup in San Jose on May 23rd, 2013. It shows how I became interested in biking, measuring bike rides and how I use Strava and Cyclemeter.



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  • Thank you to Karen Herzog and the Meetup team for giving me the opportunity to tell you about how I’ve tracked bike rides through the years. Thank you also to the Tech Museum. I saw it evolve from idea to community venue, and love the tubular skylight with its tree sculpture.I am going to give you some background into what makes me a quantitative person. I will then go through some of the ways I’ve measured and tracked bike rides, looking at the pros and cons of various approaches.My goals is to tell you what works for me in tracking my cycling fitness and what has helped me keep off weight – everyone is different – but I can share with you what works for me and what doesn’t. I’m not going to go into devices for professional cyclists or the latest technologies. This is a historical perspective for the “person with a bike” rather than a cyclist.
  • How did I get interested in self-measurement? Weight is important from the day we are born.New babyannouncements show metrics. I learned about weight by helping mother weigh my sisters on wicker baby scales.
  • Before the industrial revolution, shepherds tended to count in vigesimal, i.e. in scores or 20s – here’s Ilkley Moor above where I grew up.I counted sheep if I couldn’t get to sleep – my quantitative training had begun. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yan_tan_tethera
  • The Village School. Aged 5, my class had over 40 children. The top 10 sat round a large table and taught the others. We’d queue up to present work to the teacher. Here I learned about time. My father bought me an alarm clock so I could wake up fresh.
  • For my 6th birthday I received a blue Raleigh bike like this. It had no gears – just one speed. Chrome, a Brooks blue and white saddle and white wall tires meant I was always cleaning it. With mudguards & chain guard it was heavy and big for me.
  • My love of being ranked started when I went to a competitive girls school in Leeds. In the junior school, my reward was a visit to the head mistress in her study every time I got 10 stars. In the senior school I liked competing for a Form Prize and in my final year the Maths Prize.
  • At age 13, I restored a rusty full-sized bike that I bought for about $2. I painted it bright yellow and blue and added a new cable for its 3-speed gears. The cable came loose, wrapped itself round the front wheel and I jumped off into the grass, narrowly missing a tree. Lesson: tighten the nuts.
  • My bike was ready. I fixed this type of mileage counter to the front fork and the front wheel. Each time the wheel goes round it clicked on the side of the mileometer or odometer. Content to measure only distance, I typically did 4-6 mile rides. I once biked the 11 miles of busy roads home from school.
  • I studied math at the first women’s college, built 100 years earlier outside the boundaries of Cambridge, so its blue stockinged students wouldn’t be distracted by men. My average speed was about 12 mph on the two and a half mile bike ride into town – some days I did it 3 times.
  • More studying - math, computing and business – at Canada’s University of Waterloo, then London’s Imperial College. Many bike challenges. Snow totally covered and bent the frame of a $10 bike. Thieves stole 2 bikes, one saddle and a wheel – insurance company said no more bike insurance.
  • After my first day of work at Bell Labs, I discovered I couldn’t get a car without a credit history, so I spent $200 on this bike. I rode it to work, through New Jersey, around Redwood Shores and in the Napa Valley. I was too busy to measure my rides.
  • My first Cyclocomputer –basic and reliable with excellent battery life. It’s wired not wireless, it uses one battery. I’ve used it for years. It clearly shows your speed, plus one of Average Speed, Ride Time, Ride Mileage, Total Mileage or Time.
  • My gym introduced Fitlinxx, a web service with consoles in the gym. I used to track cycling with its tedious web interface. Recently it added support for the Pebble activity tracker, ActiPressure Blood Pressure Monitor and ActiScale scales.
  • The original iPhone didn’t have GPS but I could browse Fitlinxx from it and I could track my food. It was hard to enter data because the Fitlinxx screen at the time didn’t have a design for mobile. It does now.
  • I first tracked my diet on 3 different HP PDAs, before there were smartphones. Many food diaries use the government’s USDA database. This iPhone app, Absolute Fitness, helped me lose weight, especially at holidays, by tracking calories and exercise.
  • Endomondo was the first Smartphone app I used for tracking bike rides. I used it because it was free, ran on an Android phone – so I didn’t have to use my precious iPhone battery. Here you can see today’s Endomondo screen shot.
  • Where’s this? The map is weak. It shows Sebastopol and around the Dry Creek Valley, CA. Endomondo shows your average speed for intervals. It supports heart rate monitors and other sensors. I don’t use Endomondo regularly.
  • Here’s Cyclemeter, I use it for almost every ride. You can customize the first screen – I’ve chosen Ride Time, Distance, Total Time, Elevation, Average Speed, Fastest Speed, Ascent and Descent. The graph shows speed and elevation.
  • Cyclemeter has a clear map, showing intervals. The blue mark shows your current position.The Splits screen shows that in the first mile I stopped for2 minutes. I actually stopped twice – once to pick up the newspaper, then to stop at a Stop sign.
  • Cyclemeter gives you a triangle based on your average speed – a solid green triangle is the best, a half green triangle next best, orange is in the middle, a half red triangle is half bad and a solid red triangle is really bad. Each day you can tell if you’ve had a good or bad day.
  • In 2010, the world’s most successful female ocean rower Roz Savage, asked on Facebook for people to join her on the Climate Ride. I took the training schedule very seriously. Week 1 starts with 2 10 mile rides, Week 18 has 2 60 mile rides – I did 100K at Folsom and 72 miles round Lake Tahoe.
  • Today the 4th California Climate Ride ended in San Francisco. I did the first one from Eureka to Golden Gate Park – 320 miles in 5 days. Here I am on Route 1, just north of Jenner. I lost 10lb as a result of training. My iPhone died about here –so couldn’t only tracked about 90 miles of this 100 mile day.
  • Another tracking app I use on almost every ride is Strava. This is the simple interface to start tracking – you just push the red button. I track the ride on my iPhone and then submit it to the server. I then like looking at my performance on the website from a large computer screen.
  • This is what you see on theStrava website when you login. At the top you can see I did 11 activities – 10 bike rides and a run. What I like best here are the rewards. Strava users define segments of a route and people compete. 4 segments show personal best times.
  • People can cheer you on by giving you Kudos after each ride. In this case 5 people from Western Wheelers Bike Club, who I allowed to follow me, encouraged me. You can also look up a person and see their rewards – this person has two Queen of the Mountains, a 2nd overall and a 4th overall (among women).
  • Here’s what you see after a ride. A map, speed and elevation. Strava calibrates your climb with more accurate tracking devices, like those from Garmin. Bluetooth and ANT devices can track heart rate and more.
  • Here’s another map which shows performance. It tells you how you compare with the fastest people and you can see your speed, elevation and estimated power.
  • Here I’m 190th out of 196th on a particular stretch of road. What I like best is I can compare myself to other riders – everyone or just females – if I paid I’d be able to compare people by age and weight.
  • New feature for Strava is Instagram integration. Both Strava and Cyclemeter failed because I failed to turn off Airplane Mode until I got to the top of Mt Tamalpais last Saturday. So only the 2nd half of the ride was tracked.
  • Strava and Cyclemeter are my favorite apps. I didn’t discuss wireless tracking devices with Bluetooth and ANT+ interfaces that add more tracking capabilities. Simplicity is key. Social engagement and goal-setting helps you keep fit and lose weight.

Quantifying mybikerides Quantifying mybikerides Presentation Transcript

  • BIKE TRACKING:TALES, TRAILS & TALLIESAngela Hey@amhey @techviserangelahey.com andtechviser.com
  • LEARNING TO COUNTSource: ©2013 Terrametrics and Google. ©2009 GeoBasisDE/BKG
  • Source: © 2013 Google. Image Date: Sept 2012LEARNING THE VALUEOF TIME
  • LEARNING TO RIDE ABIKESource: BikeForums.net
  • LEARNING HOW TO FIXBIKESSource: whitetrashnyc.com
  • TRACKING MILESPhoto Source: http://www.tandem-bicycle-central.com/image-files/roadmaster.jpg
  • COLLEGE – TRACKINGMILES PER HOURImagery ©2013 DigitalGlobe, Getmapping plc,Infoterra Ltd & Bluesky, The GeoInformationGroup, Map data ©2013 Google12 mph
  • COLLEGE CHALLENGESSource: Photo of Mathematics Building, University ofWaterloohttp://www.quebecscholarships.ca/images/universities/the_university_of_waterloo_about_1268621594.jpgChallenges:• Find A Bike – Bought 2 From Police -$5 & $10• Snow – buried $10 bike and crushedthe frameChallenges:• 2 Bikes Stolen• 1 Wheel Stolen (Retrieved FromThief)• 1 Saddle Stolen• No More Bike Insurance
  • SIMPLECYCLOCOMPUTERSpeed+Average SpeedOr Ride TimeOr Ride MileageOr Total MileageOr Time100K Bike For Breath
  • FITLINXXScreenshot Source: Fitlinxx.com
  • IPHONEJune 29th2007
  • FOODDIARYSource: Screen Capture from Absolute Fitness 2.1 on iPhone
  • 2009 -ENDOMONDOUsed On 2nd Phone – AndroidLIKES• Saved iPhone Battery• Free• Early In The MarketDISLIKES• Ads In Free Version• Initially Very Basic FeaturesScreen Shot Source: Endomondo 2013
  • ENDOMONDO (FREEVERSION) TODAYScreen Shots Source: Endomondo 2013
  • 2010 – CYCLEMETER (PAIDAPP) FROM ABVIOLIKES• Highly Customizable• Support From A Founder• Talks To Give Status• Emails Status• Clean Interface – No AdsDISLIKES• Ascent Is Inaccurate• Don‘t Use Friends FeatureScreen Shots Source: Cyclemeter 2013
  • CYCLEMETER MILE BYMILE MAPLIKES• Informative Map• Easy To Read• Satellite/Hybrid Views• Current Position MarkedScreen Shots Source: Cyclemeter 2013
  • CYCLEMETER –RANKING MYSELFMY FAVORITE FEATURE• Green Triangle – Good• Red Triangle – BadScreen Shots Source: Cyclemeter 2013
  • 2010 CLIMATE RIDE –TEAM ROZSource: Screen Shot Of Mileage Chart & Logo Source: ClimateRide.orgPhoto: Roz Savage arrives in Honolulu courtesy Roz SavagePhoto: Angela Hey by Kip Pierson, Climate Ride Photographer
  • 320 Miles in 5 DaysBenefit:Lost 10lb
  • MY OTHER FAVORITEAPP - STRAVAScreen Shot Source: Strava 2013
  • STRAVA DASHBOARDRewardsScreen Shot Source: Strava 2013
  • SOCIAL REWARDSScreen Shot Source: Strava 2013
  • Screen Shot Source: Strava 2013
  • Screen Shot Source: Strava 2013
  • Screen Shot Source: Strava 2013
  • PROBLEM: AIRPLANEMODE ONDISLIKE• No tracking in AirplaneModeScreen Shot Source: Strava 2013
  • WHAT I LEARNEDFavorite Apps• Strava – easy to read, easy to start, great information, tempting to upgrade• Cyclemeter – usually keeps running, even if climbing info is not good, paidappSimplicity Works• Cyclocomputer – old, simple, reliable• Climate Ride – simple chart of mileage goals for each weekSocial Engagement Motivates Climate Ride – persuaded to do it by following Roz Savage on blog thenFacebook Strava – encourages by using Bike Club affiliations, giving KudosThere’s More To Track Cadence, Heart Rate, Power, Breathing, Video Bluetooth and ANT+ devices