So tonight I rode Stage One of the 2012 Tour de France on the ProForm TDF bike. Here’s a link to my ride on iFit.com.
It was a lot easier than I imagined it would be, as it was mostly flat. I’m sure it will get a lot harder in the next stages as I hit the foothills and then the mountains. Some quick observations:
- Google Maps LiveView does actually work, but you have to hit the LiveView url on iFit.com only after you’ve actually started the ride. If you hit it before that, you get a strange error page claiming that something went wrong, they are aware of the problem and working on it…in other words, complete BS. It works both on the desktop browser (chrome) and on the iPad (again I was running chrome, didn’t bother trying it in safari). There have been a lot of reports of it only working in chrome but I haven’t bothered to test.
- I was able to view the ride afterward on iFit.com, but only on the non-beta version of the site, for some reason on the beta site none of the maps or charts show up. On both versions of the site, the UX is horrendous. It took me quite a while just to figure out how to get to the workout I did and not someone’s else’s version of the same workout…very strange and stupid.
- iFit.com doesn’t bother to report the cadence or power data from the Proform TDF bike. Those are actually the stats I care the most about. Major #FAIL. I am definitely going to need to hack the bike itself, as the data I want to log isn’t on iFit.com at all – yes I checked the page source – I see the GPS data, speed/time, but not power or cadence. I had gotten feedback from another developer who was scraping his Treadmill data from iFit.com and then creating a .gpx file from it, but I don’t think this is going to be enough for me since not all the data I care about is in the source.
- I was very easily able to telnet from my Mac into the Linux box that is the computer of the Proform TDF bike and peruse all the files and directories therein, as Bruce Potter mentions in his blog post, http://cycleoverride.org/review-proform-tour-de-france-stationary-bike/ . I wrote to Bruce asking him for more details on his experiences hacking the TDF but haven’t heard from him, yet.
So first I need to figure out the scripts on the TDF box that are communicating data back and forth from iFit.com, then figure out how to capture that live from my own script. Then I need to write that to a .gpx file, plus merge it with the Heart Rate data from the .gpx file on my Garmin – since my Garmin HR monitor isn’t compatible with the Proform. In fact, my version of the Proform TDF is advertised to work with Polar HR monitors – they even stuck a Polar HR technology sticker on the bike – but if you look on the product site they don’t say anything about HR monitoring, and one user posted that while they originally advertised that it in fact does not work with any HR monitor.
I guess, ideally it would be awesome if I could create an iPad app that communicated directly with the TDF, displayed the Google street view as the live-view currently works, and then on top of that overlaid my data plus goal data similar to how they do it on trainerroad.com. Then again, maybe that’s a bit ambitious for a personal hacking project…I guess we’ll see…
- This was my first trainer ride, EVER (well first time I tried a trainer for more than two minutes). I had resisted doing stationary trainer rides because I love riding on a real bike and I figured the trainer would be extremely boring
- I stuck to 90 rpm b/c that’s all I could remember about cadence from the spin class I took with a friend of mine.
- Secondly, now I’m actually really motivated to read that training with power meter book another cycling buddy recommended. Especially b/c the stupid iFit site doesn’t bother to capture any of the cadence or power data coming off the TDF bike.
- thirdly, I have even more motivation to hack the damn bike, I just really want to log that data. Call it techie if you want but from my perspective it’s incentive to train more.
After the ride I felt, really, really good. As the sweat dripped off my face I kept picturing the Tour de France pro guys when they would warm up for their time trials, on a stationary trainer with Apple headphones in their ears and sweat pouring off their faces. Even though I didn’t get enough sleep the night before – I was dead tired the entire day and drinking lots of tea, plus started the day with a cappuccino – several hours after my trainer ride I am wired, wide awake, and writing blog posts. Also my legs feel awesome. I can see myself doing this regularly, insha’Allah. Who said trainer rides are boring?