Canal Riding and Strava Testing

Kate and I started training for the St George Half Ironman about a month ago. We got just a little data crazy and picked up a couple of Garmin 910XT super watches that have GPS, Barometer, Accelerometer, Heartrate, Cadence, and a bunch of other features to help you be a better athlete. We also have coaches who we can upload this info to on a special website called Training Peaks which lets them assign workouts and then see how we did.

Recently I learned about another site called Strava that lets you upload the workout data but with a more social twist. You can follow a number of people including some professional cyclists and runners and see how slow you are compared to them.

Last Saturday I did a long slow ride for 32 miles. I like to ride up to the Arizona Canal and spend most of my time on it as there are underpasses at the streets so you dont have to stop. Here is the Strava breakdown of the ride:

There will be more…

Ride a bike in Phoenix? Get a ULock

I love riding my bike. This is no secret. I really love riding my bike in Phoenix instead of driving. Sure it’s hotter than siracha sauce but I deal with that.
What I urge anyone who wants to ride a bike in Phoenix to do is buy a ULock. This is because anything less is like dental floss to a determined bike thief. While a ULock is not unbreakable it is more difficult requiring more time and effort on the thiefs part.

Past getting a ULock I also recommend riding a bike that does not have quick release wheels or seat. These are just more low hanging fruit for a bike thief.

Riding the Canal

Been back in the habit of taking a morning ride around central Phoenix and the Arizona Canal is part of the route. It’s a nice ride as they built underpasses at all the roads so you can cycle non stop for a long time. Let me know if you wanna ride.

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Driving out of California

It’s been a crazy week of cycling down the California coast. Now we are driving back to Phoenix with fond memories and bigger dreams. There are many things to talk about and I have taken pretty good notes and loads of photos. I am going to take the next week and figure out left from right and fill in the blanks. Then I will post more here. In te meantime go outside and enjoy some living.

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Helmet Cams for more than Stunts. Bust Bad Drivers!

Bike Helmet Camera
Bike Helmet Camera
Hat tip to Katie on this one. Apparently wearing a helmet camera while riding your bike provides more than just Youtube videos that no one wants to watch more than once. A BBC story talks about how people are sending their headcam videos of bad drivers to the Police and the drivers are getting busted:

Simon posted a link to his video on RoadSafeLondon, a Metropolitan Police website set up for road users to report bad driving. The coach driver was fined £150 and given three points on his licence.

Here are some Amazon Pay Roger links:

(Full Disclosure, if you click one of these links and then buy something Roger gets some change from Amazon.)

Are you a Radical Bastard?

Hide your children and if you are a parent stop judging!

Radical Bastard Challenge numero 2 is coming up in just a few weeks. Are you ready for this?

For the uninitiated, lazy, lame, or responsible who have more important things to keep up with the Radical Bastard Challenge is an event that I am pretty sure the authorities don’t need to know too much about:

The Radical Bastard Challenge is a bike/hike endurance challenge in the North Phoenix Mountain Park. If you are not up for all five (5) phases, that’s ok. Pick & choose your phases, or volunteer at the bike-check point. Although all levels of radicalbastard’s are welcome… the full challenge is pretty tough. Make sure you are ready for it. (From the Radical Bastard website)

Its not something for the light hearted or weak. If you have a decent mountain bike and can ride 20 miles in a day I suggest showing up on Nov 13th. Check out more at their Radical Bastard Facebook Page to RSVP. I signed up and think its gonna be pretty fun.

As a test I did the second half of the first leg of mountain biking after work today. From my house its a 7.5 mile warm up ride, then the trail begins and its a doozy. I walked a bit of the downhill cause it’s hard and it was dark. Memo to self, wear head lamp for mountain biking, handlebar lights dont necessarily show you where you want to go all the time. For the toughest section of the race on bikes anyway I put this at a 7 and recommend you practice it a bit and don’t feel bad about walking 40% of it(although I will give you shit).

I took a picture of North Phoenix from the back of Squaw:
Dusk in North Phoenix

Here is a map of my ride tonight starting and ending near my home. Total mileage 17.8 and it took 1 hour 40 minutes to complete.

Its good to get back on the dirt!

Cateye’s Social Network – World Commute – Measure your Carbon Offset – Verdict: Bridge to Nowhere

by aloshbennett
by aloshbennett

So Cateye has a new product called Cateye Commute. Its a cyclometer that helps you measure your ‘Greenness’ and stuff and it sounds pretty cool. You can read the Wired review of the Cateye Commuter here. I am more interested in the social network that they built to go along with this device – WorldCommute.com.

The basic concept is not new, there are a number of excercise and carbon offset tracking websites out there. However this one seems to combine them both and acts like a Nike+ for bikes. Unfortunately it is not going anywhere.

There are a few basic reasons for this:

  • Publicity
  • Networking

Publicity – External and Internal

No one is talking about this site. How do I know this? Yahoo is currently showing 7,000 backlinks. That is sad. Whats worse is that the top result on Yahoo’s list is cateye.com. In voodoo SEO terms this means the strongest link Cateye is getting for their Social Network is from Cateye. Nice outreach. For a topic this hot there is no reason they shouldn’t have government and educational sites linking to them as a way to take resposibility for your energy use. Send Obama a computer and get him to blog about it on the Whitehouse blog or something…

How commited is Cateye to this project? From looking at the Cateye website and its lack of a mention or link to worldcommute.com I would say not very.  Currently a search for “site:cateye.com world commute” gives a total of 7 results, on a site with over 1400 pages. The product page for the Cateye Commuter has no link to worldcommute.com. (As a side note there is no link to a Youtube video of how to install the Cateye Commute Cyclometer, or how to use it.)

Networking – As in Social

Cateye knows about Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, but for some reason it doesn’t want to connect its own Social Network to them. This is perplexing to say the least. Considering the Privacy issues that they bring up during signup, I really don’t want to give you my birthdate, it makes sense to take advantage of the info that people have already given to their existing networks. Also its a pain in the ass to send an individual invite to each of my friends to get them to join me at WorldCommute.com. With all the latest stuff going on at Facebook and connecting sites together this is a major mistake.

Is there a way to sync the info from the Cateye Commute to my computer for upload to worldcommute.com? I assume no as there is no mention of this on the product page. This is a big miss as well considering the rise in various tracking methods on iPhones and Blackberries like Nike+ and AllSport GPS.

Conclusion

Cateye is taking a good direction here in terms of broadening their audience and message but in the end no one is going to use worldcommute.com as it is currently setup. There are 105 groups on the site but each one that I scanned over had less than 5 members. Cateye can make this a success if it can link their Cateye Commute Cyclometer to the site and connect worldcommute.com to the rest of the internet better. If you are running the show at Cateye I would love to talk further on this and help make it a success in exchange for some cash.