Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Something for the techno geeks

I've been fiddling around with cameras again. Some time ago I noticed people matching their GPS track to their videos so I spent a bit of time yesterday trying to do the same. It turned out that a couple of apps I'd been keen on trying were off the air, although I eventually found the simple but powerful Suffervision which enabled me to easily synchronise a Strava ride with a video posted on Youtube and visualise data such as speed, heart rate and cadence as a rather neat heads-up style display. I managed to eke more than an hour out of a GoPro battery this morning and record an entire 30km ride. The result can be seen here, although be warned it's long and while I find it fascinating, I freely acknowledge it may not be that riveting after the first few minutes for others. Particularly cool is the ability to zoom in on the map display and follow the little dot as it zooms along. Pardon the video quality on the longer sample, this shorter version is at a higher resolution, plus a bit of traffic to make things more interesting.

It got me thinking to how far technology has come for cyclists in the last few years. I think it's a safe prediction that video cameras will become commonplace for cyclists within the next five years. I suspect that many of us will have front and rear cameras overlaying just this sort of data, not for the purposes of showing off, but to enhance our safety. I'd expect they will be relatively cheap, record in high definition and long battery life and large storage capacity. I wonder how much ubiquitous video recording on bicycles might influence driver behaviour. I suspect it might lead to an improvement if evidence of the misdeeds visited upon cyclists was both readily available and compelling.

5,806km so far this year.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ranelagh Ramble 100km audax

In September and October in southern Tasmania, the seasons are changing and the weather is - to put it mildly - unsettled. This time of year is characterised by windy days less predictable than the fickle weather we normally enjoy. The forecast for Saturday's ride wasn't very good from a long way out but there remained a possibility that a good ride could be had.

The course for this ride was adapted from the Mountain River Meander 100km last year and takes in some of the most scenic roads of the Huon Valley. Although around ten or so riders expressed an interest and seven entered, the forecast played a part and there was only a hard core of five who turned up to the start line on Saturday morning. I fitted had a GoPro camera to my bike but somehow managed to somehow misplace my Garmin so spent the ride wondering idly how fast I was going and how far I had come.

We set off from the Summer Kitchen Bakery in Ranelagh in cool but not unpleasant conditions. Our small peloton split into two groups pretty early on with the quicker chaps heading off up the road and a trio of us slower riders plodding along behind. We had sun and a strong headwind on the highway section to Huonville, where I ended up on my own for a bit after the others stopped at the toilets. I pedalled onward and we nearly reformed on the Cygnet Coast Road but the others stopped again to don raincoats during one of the showers we encountered and I pedalled on oblivious for a few minutes to their departure. I amused myself concentrating on holding my modest pace on the gravel sections and filming the more picturesque bits using a remote control to activate the GoPro until the battery inevitably died about two hours in. The weather alternated between light showers, cool breezes and sunshine making it a little hard to find a rhythm.  

I was reminded that riding along can be quite enjoyable at times. Though there's not the enjoyable chatter of being in a small group I was able to concentrate on getting around the course in good style. I poodled along at my own pace, catching up to the quicker riders as they finished their lunch at the burger shop in Cygnet and was immediately getting dropped on the big hill out of town at around the 60km mark. I sat on a steady tailwind-assisted pace back to Huonville where I stopped for a quick bite to eat before polishing off the last blustery 25km, finishing in just under five hours. All in all a very pleasant ride.

5745km so far this year.