MapMyRide to Strava Converter

Strava
Strava.  Ur doin’ it rong. (Photo credit: lodri)

[UPDATE 07/03/2014: Mark Filer provided a new link to a converter.  Procedure updated.]

[UPDATE 24/06/2014: Manually-created MMR workouts cannot be converted; there’s no time data.  Thanks to Amanda for working that out.  Use http://www.strava.com/upload/manual to recreate instead.]

[UPDATE 26/06/2014: Mike Palumbo, the author of the current converter, commented on the issues some of you are having.]

I’ve converted to Strava.  The app and website are so much nicer than MapMyRide.  Not perfect, but quite nice.

Naturally, I want to upload my rides from MapMyRide to Strava so that I can analyse my rides with better tools and get a good comparison against many riders.  I can even compare against myself easily and graphically.  The Strava upload instructions are at https://strava.zendesk.com/entries/20950143-Uploading-to-Strava-Website

From MapMyRide I downloaded a KML file and GPX file of my ANZAC Day ride around Mt Stromlo Loop 3.  The KML file worked well in Google Earth and let me fly over the route.

However, the GPX file failed when uploading to Strava, with the error message “Error processing activities”.  The solution is on Strava Customer Support here.  To quote Mat from the Strava Support Team,

Data exported as GPX files from MapMyFitness sites does not contain workout data, which includes the time data for your activity. Since Strava requires time data for Segments, segment matching and other analyses, data exported from MapMyFitness is not compatible directly with Strava.

If your activity on MapMyFitness sites does include workout/time data, and you would like to export that data, you can try this third-party workaround, a tool that is available on the web (but is not affiliated with Strava or MapMyFitness):

Conversion instructions

To convert and upload your MapMyRide workout, follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to http://www.mikepalumbo.com/MMRConverter/ (Thanks to Mike Palumbo for the new converter and Mark Filer for the new link!)
  2. Enter the workout ID of the ride you want to convert and click <SUBMIT>.
  3. The converted workout saves as a GPX file.
  4. On Strava http://www.strava.com/upload/select upload the GPX file.

Perfik!

What could possibly go wrong?

A surprising number of things.  Firstly, the original conversion site went offline without warning, but Mike Palumbo provided an alternative.

  1. Only recorded workouts can be converted.  Manually-created workouts do not have data to convert.  Workaround: On Strava, http://www.strava.com/upload/manual and enter the details manually.
  2. Your browser might add an extension to the .GPX file such as .XML.  Workaround: Look at the filename in full and remove any stray extensions before uploading to Strava.
  3. If the converter fails to convert, it could be an error as the upload is occurring.  To quote Mike Palumbo, “99% of the time, the issues are caused by MMR losing your time data on upload, resulting in a “NO_TIME_SERIES” error on their side. Without that data, sadly, there’s nothing I can do to export your ride or run. Sorry about that!”  Workaround: Try again?

Sunday rides and Strava v. MapMyRide

Phoenix chainring
Phoenix chainring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Started so well.  I rode to Coffee Guru at Bonner, which is likely to become a favourite start/finish line for such rides.  I got down to the bottom of the concrete path near Mulligan’s Flat Rd and Rob Riley Circuit (known as “Bonner Training Climb” on Strava) and had a bit of a stretch.  The climb on the middle ring felt OK, a fact confirmed by my time of 5:21 and King of the Mountain status on Strava (first place out of 2 riders).

Scrambled over to the bottom of the grassy climb.  The inner chainring (the granny gear) was not letting go of the chain.  I flipped the bike upside down to find the sticky link.  A few wiggles and the problem should have been solved, but then I saw some burrs of alloy on the chainring, which I cleaned off with a screwdriver.  Until I found one almost the size of a grain of rice.  This was not so much a burr as a tooth that had been folded backwards and no amount of scraping would remove it.  It will need to be ground or filed off.  Even liberal lashings of lube that worked when the chain was not loaded could not overcome the jam when the chain was loaded and was therefore seated deeply into the chainring and hard against the burr.  The old chain would catch a little, but must have been just wide enough to not get stuck.  There would be no attempt on the climb today and walking it would have been pointless and misleading.

The rear shock pressure was just about right at 250 psi and about 15mm less sag.  The pogoing has reduced but not disappeared, I can stand and pedal with reasonable success and I was a good 10mm from bottoming out, even after some big bumps on my return ride.  However, I had to let out some air from the front fork; 180psi was way too much and 150psi was more like it.

But I really need to get the brakes bled.  The front brake lever almost touches the handlebar before it starts to work, so I had to avoid picking up speed where it would be tricky to reduce it.

Joined the border track near the Mulligans Flat Rd/Gundaroo Rd roundabout and continued on my normal run.  But this time I ended in O’Conner in the hope of seeing some bikes at Bike Culture.  Well… at least the 39 Steps cafe was open and I had a free coffee on my card!

Return was around the Southern side of Mount Ainslie.  On Telecoms Rd I was stopped by a personal trainer who sought advice on the tracks heading to Mount Ainslie.  His mission was to take “sloths” from the Department of Defence building to the East and give them an hour of pain they wouldn’t forget easily. I’m not sure if there are tracks heading from the fire trails to the peak, but there must be.  We chatted about options for a little while and then he set off to try some out.

Oasis of green in parched bushland.  Three small gulleys empty into this spot.  Sadly, I scared off the parrots that had been feeding there moments before.
Oasis of green in parched bushland. Three small gulleys empty into this spot. Sadly, I scared off the parrots that had been feeding there moments before.  132kVA poles in the background.

I took the Blue Metal Rd and turned left to follow the 132 kVA lines until I ran out of track.  I climbed the walking track until it met the fire trail.  A few moments later I was climbing a steep and rocky hill when saw a man and an 8-year-old girl jogging down the hill towards me.  They had just cleared the steepest and rockiest section when the girl tumbled forward onto her face.  Her father went all drill instructor on her arse telling her to stop crying and that the fall was nothing to worry about.  He said this even as he wiped dirt from her teeth and removed stones from a cut in her hand.  I stopped to see if everything was OK (apart from the drill instructor dad bullshit) just long to wonder.  Oh, and to put things into perspective, they were at least 1.5km distant and 50m above the nearest house or hope of first aid.  Nice one drill instructor dad.

Return was back along Goorooyarroo and Mulligan’s Flat.  Bum started to hurt, more from chafing than from pressure.

Strava was a bit of a change from MapMyRide.  For a start its display is dark (which probably helps battery life a little) with a single start/stop button.  The only stats are time (nice big numbers), distance and average speed.  I’ve since discovered that you have to swipe to see the map, though it only takes up 1/3 of the screen.  First attempt at uploading did not go well.  After 5 goes it seemed to work.  I uploaded the return journey successfully over WiFi when I got home.

A very big difference is the amount of analysis you can do in the app.  For MapMyRide you can get some information on the app but you need to use the website (and click through several levels) for analysis.  By contrast, Strava has every segment (course) you’ve ridden with leaderboard, filters, accurate grade, distance and altitude measurements.  And the units are consistent.

It’s obvious that the Strava community is much larger than the MapMyRide community. Or perhaps Strava encourages competition.  On my out ride I rode 13 segments, compared to a no courses on MapMyRide and 8 on return compared to 1 on MapMyRide.  I’ve already had a comment from the person upon whose segment I achieved KOM..  He has vowed to beat my record on Tuesday.  I’m treating that as friendly and neighbourly competition.

A few mods before cycling today

PSI dial
I’ve giv’n her all she’s got captain, an’ I canna give her no more. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It turned out that I had 4 too many large links (or 8 links in total) on my new chain.  It was a fairly easy swap as there’s nothing particularly special about the pins.  The joining pin has a snap-off extension simply to make it easier (possible) to join a new chain.
I also increased the pressure in my shocks.  The rear shock can apparently take 300 psi and I had about 180 psi in there.  Try as I might I couldn’t get more than 250 psi in.  My pump would hit 300 psi but the needle would slowly sink to a lower level.  Despite much pumping I couldn’t get it closer to its maximum.  Anyway, the sag is now much less and I won’t bottom out as much.
I also found a nice Columbia backpack in Mountain Designs to fit my Camelback and all of my stuff.  It doesn’t have a dedicated holder for the water nozzle, but the sternum strap will do the job adequately.
I even found 20 mm pedal spacers at The Cyclery so that I could put my Time ATAC clipless pedals back on for non-technical ride, but I’ll leave them for now.
Slight issue is that my brakes need bleeding.  The front brake lever is almost touching the handlebar.  There’s enough braking to stop me, but the feel is less than ideal.
Last change is to Strava app from MapMyRide.  As nice as the MapMyRide app is, there are a few inconsistencies that have not yet been resolved.  Of slight annoyance value is the Facebook integration which might post a dog walk without my knowledge and against my settings.  The website is good but I have to navigate many layers to get the view I want.  And some graphs show my rides occurred at 200-210m ASL instead of the true range of 600-800m ASL.
Just as with MapMyRide, I won’t be able to embed Strava code to my blog (should I upgrade to WordPress pro?) so you’ll just have to join.
I’m taking on the Bonner Widowmaker today.  How many stops will I need to make?

Mt Stromlo – Lost and Found

Funny ride today at Mount Stromlo.  Beautiful day to have another go at Loop 2 to avenge my poor performance last time.

Lost – Granny Ring

Changing my old Sachs chain for a new Shimano seemed a great idea at the time.  Sadly, I forgot to compare the number of links with the old chain.  A sudden attack of chain suck indicated a tight link; not unusual with a new chain.  Then I realised that the rear derailleur couldn’t take up enough of the chain to clear the rear cluster when on the smallest front chainring.  I could only access the 2 lowest gears at the rear when on the granny ring at the front.

I didn’t have my chain breaker tool and I wasn’t sure that I could reuse the pins anyway.  (UPDATE: You can use any pin.  Just press them out far enough so that they remain attached to the other link. I took 4 big links or 8  links in total off the new chain.)

On the plus side, I should probably be using the middle chainring anyway; you just can’t get over obstacles when you are spinning the pedals.  Despite this the pedals took a beating (I really must pay more attention) on rocks, tree roots and the trail itself.  I saw a large chunk of a plastic pedal on the track after a rather nasty obstacle.  I feared that the studs I had extended would be bent and snapped, but all was well, if a little scratched.

Lost – XC Loop 2

Revenge postponed.  Loop 2 was closed from Red Rock Lookout, about halfway.  (This also affected Loop 4.)  So today Loop 3: rating Intermediate / Advanced with a suggested ride time of 60 to 90 minutes.

Found – mad skillz and power

I was surprised at how many sections I was able to clear.  Loop 3 is challenging with a lot of rocks right in the middle of the lovely track you’re riding. As previously reported, my new Shimano Saint flat pedals and my wider stance as a result has given me much better balance and somewhat better power from my legs.  Several times I was all but stationary on an obstacle and managed to get the power down on the right line and clear it.  I did plenty of walking (there are sections that defy belief) but I rode sections that I barely walked on Loop 2.

Found – Lost Garmin

At 14:40 I found a Garmin 500/510 on the side of the track on Shady’s, still running.  I’d let 3 overtake me and there was a group of about 8 riders that had left the previous junction just ahead of me.  It shouldn’t be too hard to find someone looking for a missing computer.  If I had to stand in the carpark and yell “Lost Garmin!” and see who came running.  Worst case I’d put a message on Garmin Connect.

At 14:50 I met a rider coming the wrong way, one who had overtaken me earlier.  Sure enough, it was his Garmin.  Shane then spotted my vintage Cannondale Super v 700 SX and then we chatted about his bike, a Specialized Stumpjumper and discussed what bike I should buy next.  (The 2011 Specialized Camber Elite XXL on special at The Cyclery.)  He answered a call from his friends with the good news.  After a few minutes and a good yak, we started the right way up the track.  Despite the track doubling back on itself, Shane was soon out of view.

Lost – Loop 3

The signposting on Mt Stromlo is generally good, if sparse.  Some loops share sections.  I’m sure that one day I’ll learn all the tracks.  This is especially useful when there are trail options… or if I need the fastest way back to the carpark for whatever reason.

I reached the end of one trail and there was no signpost to greet me.  I rode to a nearby trail end and found a sign for Loop 4 and 6; no mention of 3.

So I rode Missing Link (blue and unnumbered) until I found a sign for Dingos.  I had to ride some distance from the sign and turn sharply to enter the trail; 2 warning signs I shouldn’t have ignored.

Lost – all sense of direction

“Dingos” was great fun; tight berms, some drops, trees at my shoulders.  A good skills challenge.  However at the end of the trail the sign was facing the wrong way.  Or rather… I had just ridden Crimtrac the wrong way!

Comparing my MapMyRide trace to the Loop 3 map it seems that I missed the Telegraph Junction and ended up on the wrong side of Crimtrac; and you don’t want that!)

Two riders were just about to enter Crimtrac the right way.  Keep them in my sights and I should be OK.  I let them pass (nice track stand in a wide part of the trail) and struggled to keep them in eye- or ear-shot.  At the end of Crimtrac I could see them climbing towards Dingos, so at least I’d ride that the right way.

Found – Loop 3

I was now on the downhill stretch.  There were small climbs and uphill berms to negotiate, but the vibe was “coming home”.  MapMyRide had me quite close to the carpark, but there’s an unknown number of twists and turns to get there.

Stats from the ride

I switched off the auto-pause feature on MapMyRide because I was concerned that any slow sections might be interpreted as pauses and may under-report my true times, putting me at the top of the leaderboard on any courses I rode.

I stopped a few times; to check the chain, deflate my tyres, take a “natural break”, decide whether I wanted to play anymore and handed back a lost Garmin Edge computer.  Riding the same track twice doesn’t help.  The track also stopped a km or two from the finish, for some reason.  My real time was probably just under 2 hours.

  • Distance 17.53km
  • Time 2:23:56.  Somewhat more than the suggested ride time of 60-90 minutes.
  • Climbs Cat 4 and Cat 5
  • Calories 2548
  • Heart Rate: Ave 177, peak 197, 62% was above zone 3.

Found

I’m really happy that those happy accidents happened. I found that I could finish Loop 3 without too much bother, negotiate gnarly obstacles (mostly), help someone and get lost and find so much.

 

MapMyRide suggested settings

MapMyRide is a great little app.  I can keep track of what I do and compare with others who have ridden the same paths.  However, there are two settings that can cause issues and confusion.

Oversharing?

I like to share my bike rides, because it suggests something favourable about me and it is friendly competition to my friends.  It’s nice to have your weekend presented on FriendFace as maps and hills and calories burnt instead of swearing at football results and photos of drunken antics, either of which future employers could make judgements on. I don’t share my dog walks.  (That’s another thing to like about MapMyRide; there’s so many types of activity you can record or log.)  Partially because I’m happy to record those km for myself. There are sharing settings on the app.  However, these are overruled by your sharing settings in your MapMyRide profile.  So if you save a workout without sharing and mark to “only me”, but your profile is set to share, you’ll share.

Thank you for contacting us! I show that your account is connected to Facebook online https://www.mapmyrun.com/account/connect/. Also is set to share workouts in the Privacy sections https://www.mapmyrun.com/account/privacy.

If you are using the same log in for both apps then all of this information is being shared, as they are running on the same platform. We apologize for the confusion.

To make the changes:

Website profile: Settings > Privacy > Activity Privacy Settings > Set all to share with friends or private.  Note: If you share with friends, they will get informed through the app, but not through Facebook/Twitter.

App settings: deselect Facebook/Twitter sharing.

To share from the app, save the workout.  Once the details have saved to the website, click the orange share button and select the share medium.

Auto-pause too sensitive?

Auto-pause is a useful function; stop at traffic lights or help an old lady across the street and your workout time doesn’t suffer.  However, it can a threshold that pauses when you think you’re moving.

I’ve been riding (!) some very steep hills lately and I admit that there have been times when I have had to walk the bike.  At very slow speeds (slow, painful walk) the ‘workout auto-paused’ message will remain; you have to move a bit quicker to clear it.   To save iPhone battery I don’t have the display on at all times, so it wasn’t until I was riding home that I noticed the ‘workout auto-paused’ message appear and disappear even though I was travelling at 10-12km/h.

When I analysed my rides on the website, I’d been given a KOM award for riding the 2.85km and 196m Category 3 ascent of Mount Majura in  20:48 at an average speed of 10.1km/h.  (yes, neither the time nor the average speed make sense!)  The true speed is likely to be about 5km/h if I’m lucky.  I didn’t keep track of the real time since I have an app for that.  I’ll have to wait 2 weeks for another crack at it, this time with a second stopwatch.

So switch off auto-pause if you notice the ‘workout auto-paused’ message appear and not clear when you move.

English: Mt Ainslie, Mt Majura from dickson oval
English: Mt Ainslie, Mt Majura from dickson oval (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sunday ride – pedals, saddle and finding Mount Majura

IMG_1177
I carried it most of the way up here, so why stop now

0900 start for a Sunday ride was just achievable after a Saturday night dinner party.  I spent some of the time removing the spacers from the pedal studs for an extra few mm of grip ready for the early start.

Not off to a great start

A 10km ride to Dickson and I wasn’t feeling great.  Kneecaps tingling, legs just OK, not quite with it.  I had a female rider behind me who flew past on Phillip Avenue and was 250m ahead in no time.  I wasn’t warming up like I had hoped.  Today was going to be a struggle.  Amandeep had suffered on the previous day too, so we would probably have to be satisfied with a reasonably long but gentle ride.

For some reason I shifted my body forward on the saddle and pedalled.  Immediately, the pain in my kneecaps was gone.  Maybe I had found another magic position change.

Saddle position?

I met Amandeep in Dickson at 0900.  Before the ride proper I shifted my saddle forward about 15 mm; it had been almost fully back on the rails.  I think this originated with my first road bike when I discovered that the head and seat tube angles were 77° and I put the seat back to try to get some room.  When I got my mountain bike I put the saddle up to road height and felt very top-heavy and unbalanced.  As we can see, I’m starting to put these bike position mistakes right.

The first 1.5km was flat but I could already notice a difference.  At the 2.5km point we entered the Mount Ainslie Reserve and chose a first lap clockwise from Hancocks Rd.  From the beginning of that long climb the extra power was obvious.  I was a bit sore from Saturday, but my legs moved really well.  The Telecoms Track descent was a bit trickier with the number of walkers (never like this at noon) and the rolling hills to follow were dispatched with relative ease.  Maybe Amandeep’s suggestion of a second lap as we started the first was not so far-fetched or unattainable after all.

Mount Majura, where art it?

I few weeks ago I didn’t reach Mount Majura.  Twice.  My first heroic attempt got 3/4 up a very steep hill and I am proud of that.  The peak at 730m seemed a little unspectacular but I took a panorama series of photos anyway.

The second attempt was from Majura Drive and the access road.  The locked gate had no facility to crawl through and the big signs warned me not to trespass the civil aviation site.

By the start of our second lap I was feeling good enough to try to find the route to Mount Majura again.  Clever dicks who are currently asking “But it’s the highest peak, so why didn’t you just look up?” are invited to try to find a peak when standing at the bottom of a eucalypt forest.

Hancocks to Hacket track and then up the Blue Metal Rd.  Taking the left track towards Majura Pines (instead of the right curve towards the fake Mt Majura) we were at the bottom of a gnarly singletrack going up.  I managed to ride sections of it but the narrow and rocky track was definitely not made for cycling and it wasn’t clear where the track headed.  Maybe it was the sound of children from above us that helped the decision to continue.  We had come this far and decided to walk to the peak.  (I later discovered on MapMyRide that the climb from Blue Metal Road to the peak is 2.85 km long and 197 m up at an average of 6.9%, or a Category 3.)

Soon we stumbled across a vehicular road that must join with Majura Pines.  While it was steeper than the singletrack it was at least wider and offered some hope of being rideable.  We attempted a few times but it was a bit of a scramble.  So we walked.

At the top of that climb was a T-intersection where a family was having a picnic.  Now that was a surprise.  We got quite useful information from the many walkers, such was the peak being 1km away.  However, no-one was able to explain that it was also 110m higher than where we were.  Quite a few sections were rideable, but there was still some pushing.  We set mini goals to ride to a tree or a flat section to break up the mountain into molehills.  And its nice to get encouragement from others, who have expended no small effort to get there themselves, albeit on two legs.

The final push was very steep.  Hikers had made a narrow walking track on banks above the road.  I took the rough and steep road because the idea of falling off the high bank while riding didn’t appeal.  Made it a tiny way up before being passed by a poodle.

At the top of the path is a gate… and then you see the access road.  (So, I can’t ride up the access road, but I can climb the dirt road and then go through the gate.  Right.)  A short, steep climb and we were on the peak at 888m.  The view is spectacular, not least because of the red, rotating radar just below.  Amandeep took his gloves off with little hesitation (good sign) to take my photo.

(BTW, if you look at my 6:11 time and 10.6km/h average on MapMyRide it will appear that I screamed up those hills.  However, the auto-pause setting was overactive.  Even when I was travelling rather quickly the screen showed that auto-pause was active.  The correct time was closer to 20:30 and 3.2km/h.)

Amandeep on Mt Majura.  Trusty bike on background.
Amandeep on Mt Majura. Trusty bike on background.

The downhill was interesting; we passed about 20 hikers and it’s hard to stop when the front brake is a bit squidgy and the rear tyre is scrambling for grip. Instead of taking the steep track to Majura Pines we continued straight down a singletrack with some great little obstacles. It got a little congested with hikers (it is their track, after all) and some of the steps were tricky to negotiate.  Maybe the “no cyclists” sign was supposed to be heeded.  We turned off to the 132kVA track and Blue Metal Rd.

After coffee and a croissant at Good Brother we left separately; Amandeep to his car and bike rack, me to The Cyclery.  The downhill was not fun with a front brake that was very soft at the top of the hill and slightly firmer by the bottom so I looked for a brake bleed kit.  But bought a new chain instead.

I’m not finished

Return trip… hmmm.  I was feeling genki so I headed for the dirt once more: A 20km return instead of the 10km road ride.  Rode the lower Ainslie track, climbed Hancocks (3rd time) to the Hackett Track and descended through Watson to the Federal Highway climb.

But why stop there.  Last week’s ride along Horse Park Drive was not pleasant and since I was feeling quite good I crossed HPD and descended along the fence line of Goorooyaroo.  The entry point is just below the handle where the bike lane crosses the uphill off-ramp.

I’d only ridden back along Goorooyaroo for the first time on Saturday and that was from its peak.  But my legs felt fine (bum a bit sore, though) so I was up for it.  Got quite warm and windy, so I didn’t push too hard.  But just as I reached the gate at Mulligans Flat I ran out of water.  I hoped that I would make it home OK, even if I had to do it under reduced power.  By now it was nearly 1400.  Big thanks to Conservation ACT who gave me some drinking water as they packed up their sausage sizzle.  A big drink was enough to get home.

Post mortem (not literally)

Position on the bike is very important.  Being 195cm tall I know that more than most.  But subtle changes can reap huge benefits.  Paying someone $100 or more to fit you to a bike is not a waste of money at all.  For the first time since I was a student I can feel the whole leg working to move me along.  If I pedaled out of the saddles before my quads would scream.  It appears that it wasn’t using them to cycle and they were suddenly awoken with a rush of blood and lactic acid.

And I no longer have lower back pain, perhaps from the hamstrings pulling the muscles.  I still have tingling fingers and some numbness, so there’s still work to be done.  Apart from a slightly sore and chafed bum and a dark cyclist tan (dark forearms, light hands and watch band, dark knees and outer calves, light thighs) I feel great.  And that’s after over 90km of intense cycling (and climbing) on the weekend.

I have next weekend off the bike for my sister’s visit, ironically because her husband is riding from Sydney to Canberra for Police Legacy.  I doubt that he’ll be in the mood for a dirt lap at the end of his journey… but you never know.

 

Saturday ride – new pedals = new legs?

Today was a second attempt on the ‘widowmaker’ climb out of Bonner.  Last week I managed to climb the concrete path (average 5%, probably 8% in parts) without dying.  However, the grassy climb (well over 5% and probably 10% average) was well beyond my abilities.  Pedalling was hard enough but I simply couldn’t stay balanced long enough to make any sort of attempt at it.  Several times I went off-piste because I couldn’t keep the front wheel down and in turn, couldn’t ride up the steep track.  And since I use clip-in pedals, it gets a bit hairy when you start to tip and you need to get your foot out.  It’s even worse when you’re trying to take of and you can’t quite engage the pedal.  At best I rode 10% of the track, walking the rest.  My colleague Amandeep stopped a few times but did ride the entire length.  His effort was telling as after a short climb I asked him to take my picture and it took him 2 minutes to get his gloves off!

So in preparation for today’s ride I purchased flat pedals.  My reasoning was that I could move my knees in and out much further and retain balance much more easily.  I could also start off without struggling to engage.  The reduction in power, because I could only push down on the pedals and not in a (more-or-less) full circle, should be balanced by… balance, I reasoned.

Time ATAC and Shimano SAINT pedals. Big difference
Time ATAC and Shimano SAINT pedals. Big difference

The difference is quite obvious when the pedals are compared side-by-side.  In the picture above, the spindles are both aligned to the solid line on the left; it appears different because of parallax.

  • Width (from crank): 120mm vs 85 mm
  • Contact width: 100mm (20mm~120mm) vs 60mm (25mm~85mm)
  • Weight: didn’t measure, but the Saint pedals are lighter.

The ride, the climb, the pedals!

I wore an old pair of 3/4 cross-trainer shoes.  While the grip was not perfect and slips did happen, grip was regained very quickly and without interruption to pedalling.  (Though I will have to modify my bunny hop style.)

Back to the climb Take 2: everything was suddenly less frightening.  The climb was no flatter than last week and I suspect that my front wheel lifted on the same bumps.  The difference was that I could remain upright without much thought or effort.  This was a real surprise.  I had expected to be moving my knees side-to-side in a rather comical way to maintain balance, but that was rarely necessary.  I had to stop about 6 times and I admit to walking a very steep section of about 10 m, but I got up that bloody hill.

The rest of the ride was the border track, then the flat Pipeline Rd, up to Goorooyarroo and along to rejoin the Pipeline Rd.  Instead of dropping to Horse Park Drive for an awful ride back to the cafe, we turned around at the peak of the Pipeline Rd and returned to Mulligan’s Flat North track, through Forde and back to Cafe Guru (Canberra’s own coffee, don’t you know.)

It’s true that the pedals did not hold on to my shoes like clip-ins.  There were a few moments when my shoes slipped, but never far enough to be bothered by it.  But there was something else happening beyond balance…

Balance is not the only thing, grasshopper

There was something better about these pedals and I reckon it was the increased width of my feet.  I suspect that up until now I have been pedalling with my feet too far inboard.  Moving my feet out by 30mm or more has obviously changed the alignment of my legs.  I noticed my quads being used for first time in a while; I think that my hamstrings (and lower legs) have been doing most of the work.

It felt like I was using more of my thigh muscles, with the result that they hurt all over.  No, it actually felt like the work was spread out a bit.

Here’s the 3D flyover version of the route.  And no, I can’t embed it for you… http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/render_route_video?route_key=4968668242483609601&site=mapmyrun.com

The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide To Knife Fighting – a complaint on behalf of Prius Owners everywhere

I have just sent the following letter of complaint to ABC-TV.  Since it is riven with left-wing bias and post-modern wankery I don’t expect a reasoned response of even a response.  Therefore I post this to my blog in the hope to raise awareness of this insidious attack on our society.

UPDATE: 9/04/2013 10:51. My complaint has been received by Audience & Consumer Affairs and been allocated a reference number.  “The ABC endeavours to respond to complaints within 30 days of receipt. However, please be aware that due to the large volume of correspondence we receive, and the complex nature of some matters, responses may at times take longer than this.”

Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to register a complaint about “The Elegant Gentleman’s Guide To Knife Fighting” episode 1 as shown on ABC 1 on Wednesday 3 April 2013 (not including subsequent re-broadcasts or iView). While I appreciate that the show does as it says in its promotional material and has saved me the time of watching two separate programs for the guidance of elegant gentlemen and knife fighting, it has failed me terribly in another respect. I refer of course to the recurring sketch of the dinner party guest who owns a Prius.  He is depicted as a sociopath who forces the other guests to live out his sick fantasies, powerless to resist his urges.  He is shown bullying the guests, forcing two females to kiss in a provocatively sexual manner, emasculating the males and humiliating the guests to perform “Scarborough Fair” as various states of undress and bondage.  As a Prius owner myself I must naturally object in the strongest possible terms to a characterisation of a Prius owner as one who is ignorant of the specifications and capabilities of his Prius.

EV Mode or EV mode?

The Prius Owner (PO) arrives unannounced to the surprise of the Dinner Party Guests (DPG) by virtue of running his car silently in EV mode.  However, he wrongly suggests that 24km/h is the maximum speed that can be attained in this mode.  If PO were a real Prius owner he would have known that Stealth Mode can be maintained at 66km/h in the NHW11* (2001 – 2003) and NHW20 (2004 – 04/2009) and 74km/h in the current ZVW30 (05/2009- ).  And even if he meant EV Mode (not EV mode) by pressing the EV button, this Mode is disabled at 40km/h, as long as the car in in Stage 3 or Stage 4.  That is a schoolboy error.

* Note: I’m ignoring the NHW10 Japan-only model (1997-2000) that may have been obtained by grey import for reasons that, if not already obvious, soon will be.

What is the sound of shaking Prius car keys?

Secondly, PO goads the DPG by shaking his car keys.  This is particularly puzzling since neither the NHW20 nor the ZVW30 have keys in the normal sense as all Australian-delivered Prii have the Smart Key System.  Any metal key would have been concealed within the black, plastic keyfob, which was clearly not present. Perhaps he was referring to the NHW11 model, which did have keys but also had a keyfob.  However this is obviously not an explanation as PO declares that he obtains a fuel consumption figure of 3.7 litres per 100km, which corresponds to the ADR 81/02 extra-urban cycle figure for the ZVW30, which busts the myth of the rattling keys.

“Because I get 3.7l/100km.”  Oh really?

Thirdly, PO stated that he gets 3.7l/100km, not merely that its ADR81/02 figure obtained under laboratory conditions is 3.7l/100km.  Here’s where the mystery deepens further.  Under real-world conditions, the average fuel consumption for the ZVW30 Prius is 5.0l/100km when the variety of driving conditions, techniques and climates are taken into account. It should be obvious to the even casual observer that PO must be intimately aware of the capabilities of his Prius and hypermiling techniques such as Stealth, Pulse and Glide, Warp Stealth, Super Highway Mode and Driving Without Brakes (notice that I have not mentioned drafting) to achieve the ADR81/02 figure.  That is not to say that such a feat is impossible; there is a 1000 mile club for Prius drivers, which corresponds to slightly better than 2.8l/100km for some 1609 km.  However, it is clear that PO’s poor knowledge of his own vehicle and, we can safely assume, poor knowledge of driving technique would make his claim of 3.7l/100km impossible to sustain.

Naturally, I can also dismiss the notion that his Prius has a plug-in conversion (See EV Mode or EV mode).    In short, I bet the character doesn’t even own one.

It is just this sort of misrepresentation of the Prius and their owners that I have sadly come to expect.  Should PO be a  regular character I can’t imagine what ignorance he will display next.  ABC has probably bought the series so there’s probably little you could be bothered to do about any future episodes.

BTW, I have owned a Prius for just over 1 year, so I am eminently qualified to comment.

Good day to you… I said GOOD DAY!

Vale Tommy Tycho and a lesson for national anthem singers

The Hungarian-born Australian pianist, conductor, composer and arranger Maestro Tommy Tycho AM MBE passed away on 4 April 2013 aged 84.  He was responsible for the music that Australians heard at openings, sporting events, film and television.

Perhaps his most significant and recognisable work is the recorded version of the National Anthem Advance Australia Fair that is now usually used to accompany singers at major sporting and community events.  Of all of the  great works Tommy Tycho produced, this is by far the most significant and important.

At the schools I attended, the national anthem was sung at any major assembly, so there was plenty of opportunity to practice.  We never ventured into the second verse or the supposed subsequent verses, but we will never forget the words to the first.

Tommy Tycho’s arrangement added a few lines before the more familiar intro.  The ending holds the notes for “advance Australia fair” about 3 times longer than the normal phrasing too.  Apart from that, the meter, phrasing and pitch stays the same throughout the song.

One advantage is that the audience can sing along.  Audience participation must be worth a few extra points to Australia when we’re playing another country.

Contrast this with the US National Anthem, which appears to require a rewrite for every singer booked to sing it.  And the infamous performances by Roseanne Barr and recently Beyonce at the Superbowl where the sacred was reduced to farce and controversy show that consistency is lacking.  I’m not aware of any complaints about the 26 minute rendition from Bleeding Gums Murphy on The Simpsons.

Had Tommy Tycho had his way, the US National Anthem would have been standardised, performers would have their confidence restored and audiences would have joined in.  And he would have probably taken out the bit in the middle that sounds like “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” too.

Vale Tommy Tycho