More Big Data on the Big Ride

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Austrlaia and New Zealand

Well Sunday turned out to be a fantastic day, weather was great, (a bit hot and humid), EMC raised over $5.5K from our contingent of about 16 riders and the Gold family, (pictured about ¾ of the way), finished with all smiles in just over 4 hours. (Kudos to my son who was lumbered with the backpack and by daughter who is very fit but did zero time on a bike and rode an old mountain bike)

But what struck me more as I marvelled at the wide variety of people, (ages, sizes, weights, fitness, etc.), the multitude of bicycles, (from fold up to lie down), was the overwhelming presence of technology! I thought I was a gadget freak with my iPhone and my Polar heart monitor, but I was the luddite amongst the ‘serious’ riders. GPSs, Power meters, iPhones on handlebars…

The power meters, which are embedded in the rear wheel cog, measure the power the rider delivers to the wheel. After all that is what cycling is about, using the body to deliver power! This data stream is recorded on the multi-function device on the handlebars for later dumping and analysis. (A serious rider friend of mine told me he had a coach who was in another city and used this data to coach him remotely!)

My old technology measures just the basics like speed and cadence, and as this are done by my heart rate monitor, I have feedback on how hard I’m working. (As if the stream of sweat is not good enough!) But I’m told that this is not good enough, as there is a lag between effort and heart rate change, and this latency in response is critical to the serious rider. The instant feedback from the power measure, allows them to immediately adjust their effort to conserve energy and muscles.

The other interesting thing I noted was the use of iPhones in-place of traditional bicycle computers. Using a sensor on the pedal for cadence and I’m guessing the GPS for speed. A little bulky and I’m not sure what happens in the rain, but an interesting ‘convergence’ of devices here.

The big realisation I had was the amount of data that ride must have generated! But is it useful and where is this all going… next time.


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