My Gunnar Roadie – probably the third Gunnar in India!

I have been riding since 5 months now and Marin Fairfax SC2 has been a great hybrid bike to get me started. Since I got hooked and started doing longer rides consistently, I decided to switch to a Road bike. After several visits to several shops over a period of a month, I decided on Cannondale Synapse with 105 groupset. But no one had my size in stock and no one was ready to give me delivery timelines. One of the dealers said it could be as late as January 2017! My second option was between Merida Ride and Marida Scultura (Endurance and Race geometry respectively). Since Chethan, whom I bought my Marin deals with Merida as well, I decided to pay him a visit. There I got to test ride a Scutura of a fellow biking friend Pancham Bharadwaj. After riding Scultura I felt that I can adopt to Racing geometry (I started bike search with Endurance geometry in mind). While discussing these points, Chethan showed me his Gunnar and explained me advantages of a steel frame! I just nodded my head telling to myself “this isn’t for me” (expensive!) and went home with lot going in my head.

I wanted to carry out my independent research on steel frames and Gunnar. The more I dug, the more interested I became in getting a Gunnar. All the reviews said ride quality is very smooth on a steel frame because of it’s vibration dampening properties. Gunnar uses air hardened, heat treated steel which makes it possible to make frames lighter with no compromise on strength (normal steel would make them a lot heavier). I had a look at the frame, It was beautiful and handcrafted! Steel is also highly durable as they say “steel frame is for life”. I test rode Chethan’s Gunnar and I could feel the difference and the ride was plush. I went ahead and gave a green signal to build a Gunnar Roadie!

Click to enlarge

Picture Credit: Chethan Ram

I have done around 600+ KM on my Gunnar at the time of this writing and I really enjoy the ride quality i’m getting out of it. I recently went on my first 100+ KM ride on it, more on that soon. Overall, I feel it’s the money well spent!

Since people choose this option rarely and unavailability of the brand in India, AFAIK this is the third Gunnar bike in India unless someone else imported.

Relive.cc – Create Awesome Videos from Strava Rides Automagically!

relive-featured

While exploring Strava third party projects I came across this website Relive.cc. Relive automatically creates a video out of your ride on Strava!

All you need to do is:

  1. Authorise Relive.cc to Strava
  2. Take a Ride
  3. Wait for the mail from Relive.cc with the link to video!

That’s as simple as that! Though there are some limitations for this to happen:

  • This will not work on past rides, it only works on rides you take after authorising Relive.cc. They may change this in future.
  • Activity needs to be public (not private)
  • Activity needs to be longer than 20 minutes and 20 kilometers (and shorter than 12 hours)
  • Activity is not tagged as a “commute” in Strava

That’s all! Relive will continue to send you videos for all future rides unless you opt to unsubscribe.

Update: How to download the video

Relive doesn’t have an option to download the video. I used this chrome extension to download it on Chrome. You can look for similar extension for Firefox if you use Firefox.

Link: Relive.cc

Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor Review Using With Strava

Strava-Heart-Rate

I started Cycling couple of months ago and always wondered whether I’m pushing my limits or taking it easy. I quickly learnt that measuring Heart Rate will intern measure the intensity of workouts. Being a newbie Cyclist, I love Strava and hence I started looking for Heart Rate Monitors (HRM) which work well with Strava. Strava’s store had Wahoo and seemed like they recommend Wahoo Tickr.

Wahoo Tickr is a chest strap HRM and generally chest strap HRMs are more accurate than optical sensors which comes in watches and some phones. Tickr is pretty straight forward to use, just adjust the strap length to comfortably cover your chest and put it on. As soon as you put it on, it starts detecting the pulse as well as starts bluetooth discoverability, I opened Strava on my Android phone, opened “Record Activity” screen and tapped on sensor icon & in couple of seconds it appeared. I just had to tap “Add” and my Heart Rate was already streaming.

Using it with Strava

Strava does real-time recording of Heart Rate streamed by the Tickr. When you are Cycling it shows present Heart Rate on your phone screen so that you know how much effort you are putting in. Once the activity is finished you can access HR in the analysis of your ride.

Strava Heart Rate Analysis

Strava Heart Rate Analysis

Using this analysis you will know your limits and start working towards improvising. One must calculate their Max Heart Rate to make more sense of this. There are multiple formulas (Tip: Google for “Max HR formula”) to calculate Max HR. Simplest (but may not be most accurate) formula being 220 – Age. So if you are 28 years old your Max HR would be 220-28 which is 192.  You can learn more about Max HR by Googling since it is out of context in this article I’m not going to talk more about it here.

Strava Suffer Score (Premium Only)

Once you calculate Max HR, you need to feed it into Strava in “Settings -> My Performance”. Based on Max HR Strava will create Heart Rate Zones. Post activity Strava analyses how much time you were in different HR zones and calculates “Suffer Score”.

strava suffer score

Strava Suffer Score

Next time you plan a long ride, you know which zone you need to stay in to keep going. The more fitter one becomes the less effort it would take to do same workout/ride. Overall Wahoo Tickr is very simple to use and works very well with Strava.

Buy Wahoo Tickr on Amazon.in

P.S: If you follow Tour De France, you can see Team SKY riders using Wahoo Tickr!!

5 reasons why I got hooked on to Cycling

hooked on cycling

Walking was my first choice of activity to be fit until it became boring. I was doing 45 rounds in a park to finish 5KM walk. You can imagine how boring it can become after few days. Then I tried Gyms, after 10 days even that felt like I’m on a hamster wheel, BORING! After three years of thinking about it (because of high upfront cost), I finally decided to go for it. Thanks to a talk about cycling in Barcamp Bangalore by Raison D’souza and my dear friend Prashanth for inspiring me. It’s been 1.5 months since I started and I have done 404 kms so far and I’m hooked! Here I list 5 reasons why I got hooked to Cycling and why it can happen to you too:

1. Keeps it fresh

Unlike other activities, Cycling keeps it fresh everyday. There’s always a new road you can take and explore. Walking/Running greatly reduces geographic range because of intensity. While in Cycling a 20km ride is no sweat and I’m saying that after just 1.5 months. Though I stuck to single known route for first month to build confidence, I have now started to explore. I follow a simple rule, go anywhere through any road, as soon as I hit 10 – 12 km, return, that makes it 20 – 25 km ride (thanks to Prashanth for this tip).

2. Game mechanics makes it addictive

If you are not on Strava, you are not cycling! Strava is social networking for athletes but what’s more interesting is it’s game mechanics. With all the data tracked you are always competing, either with yourself or someone else. This gives a sense of progress/improvement everyday and you get addicted to it. Every time I finish my ride I spend at least 15 minutes looking at Strava, it’s so satisfying! “How I did in this segment”, “How my time compares to people I follow/people in clubs/etc”

How I compare in a segment

How I compare in a segment

3. Meet new people

The first day I went on the ride, I was a bit nervous since this is all new to me. I saw another Cyclist on the other side of the road in opposite direction. I couldn’t wave since I was tightly holding the handle bar! When I came back home I was wondering if there’s a way to know who that was and connect. To my surprise Strava had exactly what I had imagined called “Strava Flyby”! I connected with him on Strava and after a month he happened to be on same path I was, we had a long conversation.

Starva Flyby Gif

Strava Flyby

4. Communities, Groups to ride along for long rides

There are many groups which are amateur friendly one of which is Cadence90 run by Chethan Ram (he also owns Cycling Experience Store by the same name where I bought my Cycle). When you get the hang of your bike, you would want to leave the city! But there will be some uncertainty running in the head doubting whether you can pull it off. Going in groups is great to break this mind barrier. Find a group in your city and ride with them when you are ready for it. Most groups are open and friendly.

5. People around you will envy you

When I bought the bike, I was shying away from telling the price to anyone. I knew they would make fun of me, going by my historic failure in continuing any activity for more than 2 weeks. They expected to me to fail, but reverse happened and I had proof in Strava! When I say “I went on a 20km ride” on a weekday it surprises them. It may sound like nothing to fellow Cyclists but most people around me aren’t even walking a kilometer a day!

So that’s what is keeping me going and I hope to keep the tempo and do more mile crunching!

Review: Ogle, The Indian Netflix

Ogle India

I got to know about Ogle from my friend @SathyaBhat. I follow many TV shows and majorly relied on torrents to watch them since there was no other way. When I saw Sathya tweeting about Ogle, it immediately caught my attention.

Ogle was in closed beta & I requested for an invite. It took couple of days to get invited. The whole sign up process is quite complicated for an average user since it involes lot of manual work. And hence it took about 2 days to get my hands on Ogle post getting the invite.

Currently Ogle uses Plex to make content accessible to it’s users and hence the setup is little complicated if you need to begin with Plex. For me I was using Plex already which made setup process much easier. Once I was in, it surprisingly had pretty much all the shows I follow. At this moment, I can’t mention the names of the shows, which can result in violation of content rights and Ogle may lose the content.

But yeah, it streams good, catalogue is well updated, I went through few seasons of a show I always wanted to watch without a problem. It’s working like a dream right now.

Unfortunately, at the time of this writing Ogle has closed new registrations for beta. You might want to follow them on Twitter to know when it will be open again.

Xiaomi ripped open source project Xposed Framework without giving credits!

xiaomi-logo

I wanted to root my Mi3 and install Greenify & other root dependent apps. For experimental features on Greenify it requires Xposed framework. When I went to install xposed it said it might put me in bootloop because of a known issue. Further digging into this I found a post by developer of Xposed framework pointing out Xiaomi ripped Xposed to build things around MiUi and didn’t give any credits to original developer.

Link to the post

If you are not aware already, there are tons of apps built on top of xposed framework. Most popular being GravityBox which pretty much enables you to customize your phone to any extent. It’s like DIY custom ROM!!

This is really unprofessional of Xiaomi and they lost all the respect I had for them.

Why I Find Uber Cab Unreliable and Uncomfortable?

uber screen

In last one week I have used cab services for at least 7 – 8 times, mostly between Uber and Ola. I have been using Ola as goto option and Meru as fallback option. For last week I made it Uber and Ola. So here is why I find Uber’s way of working is uncomfortable.

No Advance Booking

Uber doesn’t have advance booking, you book and you have a cab in 15 to 30 mins. It sounded great until a situation which happened last night. I was out for valentine’s day dinner, and I really wanted to use Uber. Throughout the dinner I had to keep a tab on Uber to see whether cabs are nearby. Everytime I saw, it showed me ETA of 20-25 mins, so I thought to book it 30 mins prior leaving. And when I was about to book, the cab disappeared and I was left with “no cab available“. Then I had to book an Ola to go home. In case of a Ola or a Meru, I would have done advance booking and stayed peacefully at the event.

Enforcing Low Wait Time

For some reason drivers want you to take off as soon as they arrive. Though I only asked them to wait for 10 – 15 mins.

No different from a typical rikshaw driver in peak time

When I tried booking at around 7 last evening, Uber said because of high demand fare at that moment has been doubled! Reminded me of rikshaw driver demanding “Meter one and half agathe saar” (1.5 time the meter). I was disapponted with Ola for charging Rs.50 extra during peak hours, but asking for double is unacceptable for me.

Apart from this, service of Uber lives upto it’s name. But may not be a good option if you want reliability and peace of mind.

Simplenote – note taking app that works for me

simplenote logo

My biggest requirement in a note taking app is accessibility. And hence Google Docs used to be my favorite until I discovered Simplenote. I think it is a well polished note taking app with excellent featureset which I am going to talk below.

Accessibility

It is available on Android, iOS, Kindle, Mac and Web. I have used Web, Mac & Android personally and the interface is identical. Everything is synced. I have a pinned note called “Clipboard” which I use whenever I need to copy paste long text from one device to another. Simplenote also features a nice search box using which one can quickly find what they are looking for.

Sharing & Collaborating

Sharing a note is dead simple. In a note tag if you enter an email address it autotically share the note with that email. Recepeint has an option to view the note without signing up, but one needs to register to edit and collaborate.

Versioning and backup

All the notes are backed up and have timely versions. This is a great feature especially when collaborating with others. If something goes wrong just switch back to older version of the note.

Publishing

Notes can also be published to web for public access. Anyone with the link will be able to access the note. Simplenote also supports “markdown” which makes writing experience better (for people who are used to markdown).

P.S: Simplenote was aquired by Automattic, makers of WordPress, the most popular blogging platform.

Android – Play Store
iOS – App Store
Web – simplenote.com
Mac – App Store

Alternatives

I am slowly switching over to Evernote whenever there is more research involved and collaboration is involved. Some of my colleagues use Google Keep also, but somehow I couldn’t get used to it. So basically Simplenote for quick note taking and Evernote for more research oriented notes.

Idea – Go back in time with your friends, before you became friends!

idea image

When I make new friends, I always wondered how many times we must have passed by each other, living in the same city, travelling in same bus….without even knowing? You know when you met your best friend for the first time. What if you could know wehere all the places you were together, without even knowing.“Holy Shit!!! I was also there for that Russel Peters show that night!”. I learned that låna pengar means to borrow money there, and got robbed in Sweden on traveling excursion once, rather an useful quote if you are stuck in the same situation. In a way it becomes catalyst for relationships of all kinds making people know each other better.

CAN WE MAKE THIS REAL?

Though this kind of thought was there in my mind since my childhood days, I never thought it could be made real until a recent light bulb moment. Thanks to Android and Google location history, our everyday whereabouts are now tracked. Thanks to mass adoption of Android, almost everyone I know use it these days. So, I started thinking if we could take location history of 2 people and super impose one on top of other, by time and see which all places they could have been together without knowing? Sounds quite possible right?

DOES GOOGLE GIVE ACCESS TO THIS DATA?

First thing which came to my mind was to check for APIs. And after digging I figured there was none. That put an end to my thougth process for a month. Then another “light bulb” moment occured (few moments ago) and I realized “I have access to my data!”. We dont need APIs, we need people to download their location history (hmmmm…..kml?) and upload to our server.

WHERE TO START NOW?

I have no clue. Do connect with me if you are interested in taking this further.