Monday, June 6, 2011

More Data Please

Ever since I've been riding my bike, I've been obsessed with collecting data about those rides. For many years, I've had a cyclometer, usually a Cateye Mity 3, and most recently the wireless version of the same. They are great little devices, and do a wonderful job of tracking horizontal distance.

However, recently, I've been riding a lot of hills, and have been interested in other parameters. How much vertical climbing am I doing? What is my cadence like? How steady is my heart rate? What's the profile of the ride?

To really answer these questions, I needed a new solution, and so after several months of wishing, I finally broke down and used our REI dividend to fund the purchase of a Garmin Edge 500, including the ANT+ heart rate monitor and cadence sensors. While I haven't yet figured out all the functions, it is fun to track all kinds of data and learn more about my riding style and the terrain I ride over. Using Garmin's software makes visualizing the data pretty easy, and as I do longer rides, I'm hoping to use the data to actually improve, rather than just describe the kinds of riding I do.

Below is a ride I did Saturday evening down Loop 360. It actually turned out quite eventful, as I got a flat at mile 11.6, and didn't have any inflator cartridges to pump up my new tire. Through the kindness of strangers, I eventually got it inflated and got going again, but by that time it was dark, and I accidentally turned the GPS off during the biggest hill on the climb. Argh!

Hopefully future rides are just as data rich, but much less exciting.