Cyclemeter – the iphone app

Yesterday I downloaded Cyclemeter to my iphone, today I tested it. A 3 hour drive very nearly drained the iPhone battery (it was in the red by the time I got home) so it obviously won’t be useful for very long rides.

I had it in my back pouch, and a wireless cateye computer on my handlebars.

Here are the stats:

Distance: (Cateye) 59.24     (cyclemeter) 45.29

Time:        (Cateye) 2:52:51  (cyclemeter) 2:17:13, plus 16:15 in stopped time

Average speed:      (Cateye) 20.5  (cyclemeter) 19.80

Maximum speed: (Cateye) 36.8   (cyclemeter) 40.52

A few discrepancies… I’m not sure which tool captured the right distance and time. The cateye only logs time when my wheels are turning. Cyclemeter logs from start to done, though it does record stopped time which suggests that when my location doesn’t change, it takes note of that. This still doesn’t account for the discrepancy in time between the two tools. I’ll have to figure out how to validate the right one. I’m not quite sure how to validate the cateye, but I can check the accuracy of cyclemeter by taking note of the time I leave (something I neglected to do this trip) and the time I return. If I add both the ride time and stopped time, I should come up with the exact length of time I was gone.

I’ve not yet come up with any ideas about how to validate mileage. I’ll figure out how to do that eventually, though if anyone out there has any ideas, I’d love to hear them! For now, I suspect the cateye is closer to correct. The google map of my route does not reflect the fact that I turned away from the Old Port on my way home since I knew there’d be a lot of people there (plus the bike route back is different from the route out, and I followed it).  Still, I don’t think that is enough to account for the 5k difference between the cateye and the cyclemeter. The cateye is set for my tire size (I used the chart that comes with the computer), and since the cateye determines my distance by the size of my tire, there is some room for error there. I could measure my actual tire and then program the that number into the computer. That should be precise, should it not?

[edit: doh! I just noticed that the map has me ending at the ice cream stop! that’s mile 46 on the cateye, mile 45 on the cyclemeter. No wonder the distances on the two don’t agree! I wonder if it stopped tracking me when the battery ran low? If I’m going to use cyclemeter, i’m going to need more juice for my iphone!]

One of the features of this app that I really love is that you can export the data to a google map so you can see your whole route (you can also see it in the app, but the screen on the iphone is so little, it’s nice to be able to look at it on a regular computer screen). When I look at my route (and you can do that too, it’s right here), I am kind of impressed! Apparently, I sailed on past the Montreal airport, and since I saw a plane coming in for a landing while en route, and it was so near to the ground I figured the airport had to be close even though I couldn’t see it.

They cyclemeter also told me I climbed a total of 202 metres, which is nice information to have. That info seems about right to me since it was mostly a flat ride with only one real hill (and while it was steep, it was also short).

Here are the photos I took along the way: one of a horse and buggy in the Old Port waiting customers, another of the river shore to the left of me at the 25K mark and of the tree directly above. It’s a gorgeous path and made me want to find a place to live in Lachine.

I had intended to take a photo of the various kinds of ice creams you can choose from at Havre aux Glaces, the hand-made ice-cream place at Atwater market, but in my eagerness to get some for me, I completely forgot! I had pistachio in a sugar cone. It was soooooo  good!

Cycling with your iPhone

I’ve been browsing the app store this morning, looking for an app that can be used to track rides (what I really wanted was something that has Velo Quebec’s Route Verte, but I haven’t found that one just yet) and I found Cyclemeter, which is just amazing: it will track your time, location, distance, elevation, and speed. You can see the results of your ride on a map, on graphs, and on a calendar. It’ll track your distance by day, week, month, year etc.

Check it out…

And if that’s not enough, you can hear your progress as you ride, and you can even share your ride via Facebook or Twitter, and hear encouraging comments from your well-wishers as you go along (via text-to-speech technology).

I do track my distance and time, average speed etc using a bike computer, and I log it all into an excel spreadsheet. I just like to track my progress. I would so LOVE to be able to track my routes, too! I was hesitant to buy the app at first, because I just couldn’t see how this was going to work very well with the phone tucked away in my little carry-sack with emergency tools and spare tube.

but lo and behold, look what I found…

That’s right, an iPhone mount for a bike (by bicio). How perfect is that?