Zwift is a Game but your performance isn’t dependent on how fast you can move the mouse or click the buttons! Zwift is a virtual world for cyclists (coming for runners soon) where they can take a spin at the comfort of an indoor trainer! Since going out for cycling through weekdays was becoming hard for me, I started looking to get an indoor trainer. Another reason was that, I almost never could follow training instructions while out on road.
Kinetic Road Machine: Short review
I was initially looking for a smart trainer, but their availability in India is nil. Smart Trainers have interface for apps like Zwift, TrainerRoad to automatically adjust resistance. So, when you hit a climb in Zwift, it automatically gets harder for you to pedal! Asking someone(from US) to get it for me wasn’t an option because it would weigh around 20kgs! So I picked up the best indoor trainer available over here, Kinetic Road Machine. I had to also buy a small device called “Kinetic inRide” which kind of makes this trainer semi smart by streaming power over bluetooth. Zwift can still calculate “virtual power” if inRide is not present but that would require speed & cadence sensors (Ahh this is getting too technical!). I have been using this trainer for a month now and I’m really happy about it. I’m glad that I didn’t buy a smart trainer, cost difference wouldn’t make up for auto-resistance adjustments. Plus the hassle of importing and not having warranty.
Why iPad instead of a display?
Most Zwift users use their laptop and hook it to a big display/TV, which is something I tried the first time. But using living room TV whenever I desire wasn’t an option since my parents would be watching some or the other program. There was no space in room to accommodate trainer and use my display. I tried to use iPad, and it was actually pretty good. Having the screen right in front of me allowed me to have better readability/visibility and also intractability! Though a big display would give a better experience comparatively, it wasn’t much of a compromise with iPad.
Wahoo Tickr: Read my full review here Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor Review Using With Strava
Video of my setup:
Indoor trainer was bought at Cadence90.in (Disclaimer: owner is a good friend & I race for this team)
Overall, my consistency of being active has increased since having an indoor trainer. Whenever I feel like spinning I can just hop on and do a 10k ride in Zwift! Otherwise, my timing was only limited to morning 6 to 8, beyond that traffic would increase and make it not so fun to ride. I quit gaming few years ago for having negative impact on my life, but this is a good addiction to have for a change!
With lot of meetings to attend, my notes started getting cluttered and I started loosing some. That’s when I started looking for a digital solution which is as close as possible to normal note taking. Through my initial searches I landed on Wacom Bamboo Spark Notepad. It didn’t make sense for me to put so much money into a notepad. Then I realised that I have an iPad (iPad Mini 2) and started to explore note taking on iPad. Having an iPad was better in meetings since I could also use that to browse and do other research while in the meeting.
With my hunt for note apps on iPad which have good palm rejection, I ended up with GoodNotes. I ordered a normal touch screen stylus on amazon to use with this app. Though it gave a decent palm rejection with “palm rest” feature, it was far from making taking notes natural. With further research, I ended up with Wacom Bamboo Fineline active stylus series. There were other bluetooth active styluses (like Pencil by 53), but the finiline had a thin tip which made it perfect for taking notes/writing. Pencil by 53 would be better option if the usage is more towards art/sketching.
Bamboo Fineline just feels very natural, so much so that you would switch from iPad to paper and try to write! Since it’s an active stylus, palm rejection is perfect. When the Bamboo Fineline is connected, iPad stop taking input from you fingers and palm which makes it perfect. Though this feature is not supported by all the applications, list of applications which support these features is available on Wacom website. Bamboo Fineline also has pressure sensitivity, which was not really important for me since I was just looking to write with it.
Overall, it feels great in hand like a normal pen and palm rejection makes it a great iPad companion for someone who takes notes, scribbles or into sketching/art.
Here is the sample scribble I had done using Bamboo Fineline 2 (pardon my handwriting, it actually looks better here):
Amazon – http://amzn.to/2jKNzKd
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
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
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!!