Author Topic: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.  (Read 14170 times)

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Offline tB41

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« on: December 03, 2008, 12:57:24 pm »
I plan to do the Southern Tier next spring and would like to download mileage, speed, heart-rate data from my bike computer every couple of days, and am thinking of picking up a new/used mini-laptop (2 lbs) for this purpose. Obviously, it would be nice to have e-mail and internet access at same time. If any forum members have lit on particularly efficient or useful methods of downloading data while on tour, I'd appreciate learning about your solutions. For example, is it possible to run and save data to a program like Polar Precision Performance off a flash drive?


Offline staehpj1

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2008, 12:02:47 pm »
If it adds value to your tour then do it, but I would advise considering if any of that is really worth it.

The following is what I recommend.  It is just one person's opinion after one coast to coast tour.

Touring should be laid back and fun.  The more you fuss with average speed, heart rate, etc. the less it can be.  Riding long hard days is OK, but why worry about collecting a lot of data?

Scribble some notes about how you felt, what you saw, who you met, and where you stayed and forget about the rest.  A few extra pounds and then needing to plan your tour around charging and internet access will detract more than it will add to the experience.  When the trip is done the notes you scribble will be far more valuable than heart rate data.


Offline whittierider

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2008, 02:50:40 pm »
I would just write it down in a tiny spiral-bound notebook, the next size down from 3x5", or take my microcassette recorder which is about the size of a PowerBar.  I used the recorder last year as I rode a route to make a very detailed route slip.  I kept it in my jersey pocket in a small re-sealable plastic bag to protect it from sweat, and used a small piece of packing tape to wrap the excess bag material snugly around the recorder, then stapled the top only partly closed with some open-cell foam over the microphone area so there wouldn't be buffeting wind noise on the recording.  At every turn or check point, I pulled the recorder out of my jersey pocket and spoke into it the exact mileage and what to do there, things to look out for, etc., all without slowing down.  (Just don't drop it!)  Since the actual running time was such a small percentage of the ride time, a single tape might last for weeks.


Offline bogiesan

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2008, 09:49:57 am »
> would like to download mileage, speed, heart-rate data from my
bike computer every couple of days, and am thinking of picking up a
new/used mini-laptop (2 lbs) for this purpose. Obviously, it would be
nice to have e-mail and internet access at same time.<


Wee see these questions often, "How much electronics do I need to
carry to have fun?" Those of us over 50 wonder; we have used
postcards,
mail drops, and pay phones or just rolled along for weeks without
checking in with anyone.

Here's something else we know about carrying expensive stuff: it gets
stolen, lost, broken, soaked, worried about, or sat upon.

Once you figure it out, I suggest you test your rig on a few extended
weekenders and see if the data you are collecting really means enough
to hassle with the hardware.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."

This message was edited by bogiesan on 12-6-08 @ 6:56 AM
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline DaveB

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2008, 12:19:45 pm »
Instead of lugging a computer with you, could you carry a USB thumb drive and download the data to it using the  computers in public libraries or internet cafes?  These thumb drives are available in very large capacities these days and should hold months worth of data.  You could even e-mail the files home for later analysis.

Then again, I'm with those who recommend you don't over analyze your trip. Record daily distance, ride time and plenty of notes about what you saw and did. The only major electronic devices I'd want would be a plain cyclocomputer, a good camera and a small cell phone.   I assume this is a vacation and pleasure trip, not a highly structured training ride.  


Offline Westinghouse

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2008, 07:39:02 am »
I wish I could help you on that score, but I have never bothered with any of that except for keeping a journal by hand. I just cannot see the point in all that. When I tour I tour. It is not a matter of keeping track of health matters. I do know that I feel much better, more alert, and healthier after a long tour. There is nothing wrong with my heart, so I do not monitor it. I know that my mind works more efficienly after a long tour, probably because of all that extra oxygen flowing through it.

I had my heart checked out thoroughly. The Dr. said I had never had a heart attack, and never will. So, I am sure it is in good condition.

If you are concerned, perhaps you should take the trouble to record the data. I just know that I would not bother with it myself.


Offline dubovsmj

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2008, 09:59:18 am »
if you are plannin to travel with a laptop and collect data then that is
great, esp if it works for you.  i know that i used to be interested in all
that stuff and have been a "lab rat" for testing accelerade prodcuts vs
gatorade, etc and think it's neat to accumulate and graph that data.  on
a tour, i might consider doing it for a shorter tour...or maybe you
could graph the start of your tour and then the last week of your tour
and see if there's a big change in your fitness (well, since we all know
you'll get in better shape, at least HOW much of a change).  regarding
the laptop issue, a fair number of folks seem to use them....just like
some folks carry really nice cameras along on tour with them.  or, some
folks have gear that is WAY too expensive for what it's really worth (i.e.
panniers, bicycle, etc).  but check out following site.  this couple carries
along laptop and lots of camera gear with them and they talk about
how they deal with, and why, they bother carrying it all along.  in my
opinion, seeing their end results (photos, essays) it's well worth the
effort.  if you are able to incorporate a hobby or interest into a xc bike
tour i think that's great and will only make it that much more
memorable.  so i say go for it and have fun with it. that's the beauty of
bike touring, it's the same route but different experience for everyone.

http://outsideforever.com/

regards.  
michael


Offline dubovsmj

Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2008, 10:04:21 am »
one more thought i had right after i pressed the "reply to topic" is that
we all like to take pictures while on tour, and collecting this type of
data is just another way of taking a "self portrait", physiologically
speaking, of how your body is handling the physical stress.  the more I
think about it the cooler i think it would be.  not sure if you have
access to lab equipment, but if you drew labs on yourself (if your
stomach can handle it) and had a way of analyzing the data then and
there that'd be pretty sweet to see what your blood levels are doing
with muscle breakdown, blood sugars, etc., etc.

michael


Offline JRA

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2009, 05:33:08 pm »
I don't carry my laptop on the bicycle but I do carry electronics when travelling on my motorcycle. If you want to take a lap top check out the new 9 inch computers from dell, Asus, and Acer. Another option would be to see if you can use an Apple iTouch with your software. I use one to check my emails on the road, nice and small.

Offline Sectrix

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Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2009, 04:15:33 pm »
I too have decided to include electronics on my TA trip. Instead of a laptop, I bought a PDA (HP iPaq 111). I like the PDA more because it is smaller, lighter, cheaper, and consumes less power. I don't how your bike computer interfaces, but the PDA includes an SD card slot. It supports WiFi and Bluetooth, but not USB. You can always just enter the numbers in a spreadsheet. The PDA includes eMail and an internet browser as well as an instant messenger.  Also, remember you must charge your device. A solar panel is a good solution to this problem (mine is by SunLinq). However, only the largest portable solar panels will be able to charge a full blown laptop. If all you need to record is numerical data, I'd suggest just bringing some paper and a pencil. It's lighter, cheaper and much less likely to break or get stolen. A bit less convenient but a million times easier (if that makes sense).

Personally, I wrote a program for the PDA that keeps track of my journals and pictures. When I find an internet connection, I push a button and it updates my website automagically. I don't ever have to take it out of my pocket. If I were you, I'd do a similar thing, but for the metrics you plan on tracking.

You can run programs off of a flash drive, but on public computers the security measures usually prevent that.

Offline ravencr

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2009, 12:42:25 am »
I'm planning to take off on a bike sometime in June, and as a photographer and editor for a magazine, I'd hate to think I couldn't have my DSLR and macbook pro, but I'm also considering the weight advantages of carrying smaller stuff to "get the job done only." It's a hard decision for sure.

Chris

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2009, 12:15:44 pm »
When I first started touring, I carried 4 panniers, a handlebar bag, and lots of stuff pile on top of the rear rack.

Now it mostly fits in the 4 panniers, and one of those panniers is relegated to what I call "electronics".  I suffer from sleep apnea, and I now need a machine to regulate by breathing when I sleep.  I do not want anyone's pity.  I accept this condition as it reminds me of why people did not live past their 30s, not so long ago.  My electronics bag is about the same size and weigh as my food bag, and holds a CAP machine (and associated stuff), AC cord, 2 5AH battery packs (and charger), cell phone (and charger), a camera, and spare batteries (lots of AAs).

If I tour this way, I am sure that you can tour with a small laptop and DSLR.

I might suggest that you use a handlebar bag to keep your camera in.  The accessability is good, and you can detach the bag and take it with you when you make a stop.  JandD makes a nice one.  Mine is from the Canadian equivalent to REI, MEC.

My space saving were obtained by being ruthless with what clothes I bring, going to a 45F rated bag, and a really thin Thermarest.  If you can manage a down bag, they are even smaller (just don't get it wet or be allergic to down).  MSG make a cook set that will hold a gas stove (sans fuel bottle).  Now I am experimenting with alcohol stoves, and expect to bring my weight down even more.

I also got a lot better at getting my bags close to the same size and weight.  Maybe this is natural to some people, but I used to be such a putz at it.

Good luck.  You make me wish I was a carefree youngster again.

Danno

Offline ravencr

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2009, 12:59:18 pm »
Thanks for the help man. I'm trying to decide between panniers and a trailer, my existing mountain bike or a Trek 520, Cannondale Touring 1, or Surly Long Haul Trucker. So many decisions... :) MY macbook pro is a brand new 17" model, so it's not small, unfortunately. My DSLR is a D300, and I'll have my iphone, as well as a GPS and SPOT. I'm sure I can make it all fit, though.

Chris

Offline valygrl

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2009, 09:43:50 pm »
Thanks for the help man. I'm trying to decide between panniers and a trailer, my existing mountain bike or a Trek 520, Cannondale Touring 1, or Surly Long Haul Trucker. So many decisions... :) MY macbook pro is a brand new 17" model, so it's not small, unfortunately. My DSLR is a D300, and I'll have my iphone, as well as a GPS and SPOT. I'm sure I can make it all fit, though.

Chris

Chris, with all due respect, that's a lot of redundant electronics there.  Are you sure you need all that?  Last summer I rode with someone (met on the road) who brought too much stuff and quit her trip after a couple of days b/c she was working too hard.    as paddleboy17 said - be ruthless with yourself.

(now I'm going to go try to follow my own advice next time) 

peace.

Offline ravencr

Re: Touring Wired, Wireless, Etc.
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2009, 10:24:22 pm »
Hey Valygrl,

I can appreciate your comments, but I'm not convinced anything I listed is redundant. I'd like to post to my blog with pictures and details from each day using my laptop, take tons of pictures, have the GPS and SPOT for route planning and emergencies, and my iphone for my telephone.

I've only been on 2 week long tours, one supported and one un-supported hotel-to-hotel trip, so I'll admit I'm very in-experienced, to say the least. :)

Chris