The ride over Winnets Pass, was from Hathersage and went along the busy Hope Valley road. I had a light lunch, filled the water bottle, did about ten minutes of stretching and then set off. The first few kilometres were a gentle warm up keeping the pace steady and easing the muscles in to a fluid rhythm. I ate a Mars Bar and began drinking fluid, keen to prepare my hydration and boost my energy so that it was on tap when I hit the hill.
There was a slight headwind, but the road was fast and only about 10km to Castleton, the start of the climb. I raced in to the village swung through the right angle bends, dropped down over a mini roundabout and then started a gentle climb up to the left turn on to the hill proper. The gradient was shallow and I stuck in the middle ring. Steepening slightly, my pace slowed a little before rattling over the cattle grid and past the car park. I dropped to the bottom chain ring but stayed in the saddle.
It was now a “proper” gradient; not steep but enough to pump the legs and strain the lungs. I kept the pace steady and continued in to the deep gouge that is Winnets Pass. The route became more ravine like, casting a deep shadow over the road, the steep sides rock strewn, clinging on almost ready to implode in. I was entering the guts of the ride and with it came at gnawing, cloying, feeling. I clung on, keeping a steady rhythm going. Ahead I could see the road bend sharply to the right, steepening yet more. As I reached the turn I stood on the pedals for the first time, giving a little boost as the slope steepened. The view ahead was an implausibly steep section of tarmac that passed from view around a distant bend. I knew I had to grind it out so kept pushing, turning the cranks. The change in gradient rapidly began taking its toll and I realised that the road was too steep and the gearing too high (30-23), to stay in the saddle. I’d need to stand on the pedals and power through the section; I shifted my weight forward, leaning in to the climb and stood up. This increased the force on to the pedal on the downstroke which enabled me to slow the cadence. More strain was transferred to the arms as I ground my way up, one pedal stroke at a time. After a few metres the pain in the calves and strain on the forearms became too much and I shifted to sitting in the saddle to relax and recover a little.
My pulse had rocketed, my heart pumping and throbbing riotously in my chest. The cranks slowed and I had to switch back to standing on the pedals. I slowly tracked my way up the slope, alternating between standing and sitting, with each change my calves and arms becoming more and more painful. My chest was now heaving, my breathing rapid and deep. I slowed again. The pain in the arms was becoming unbearable; I couldn’t stand on the pedals, yet I couldn’t sit in the saddle and maintain the climb. I looked ahead and the bend seemed painfully close yet unattainably distant at the same time. Could I make it? How much further was the climb beyond the bend? My chest heaved, my arms and shoulders screamed in agony, the calves throbbed in pain. I unclipped my left foot and stopped, slumped over the handlebars, gasping for breath. I couldn’t move, frozen in the moment, with my muscles in painful constriction and unable to think or see straight.
I focused on deep, rapid, lungfulls and after about a minute my pulse came down. I looked up, readied myself, then pushed forward. The bike briefly teetered before I clipped in and started pedaling. The arms were tired but partially recovered. I alternated between standing and sitting; it was bearably painful as I continued up to the bend and around. Up ahead was another cattle grid after which the gradient significantly eased and about a hundred metres further on the climb ended. I was exhausted but set myself on auto-pilot and continued grinding the legs around and around before reaching the top. I ‘d done it. With one stop. Next time…
The free version of MapMyRun has a great route planner built in that I’ve found to be based upon some of the most reliable base mapping and can auto-follow roads very well. The elevation estimates also seem to be fairly reliable. Once you’ve finished your route you can download it in KML or GPX format for your device which is all great.
MapMyRun won’t let you import route files (i.e. tracks without timing info) so if you are given a new route to follow and want to edit it first, there is no easy way to go about doing this. After a little convoluted searching I’ve found a way around this limitation.
MapMyRun expects timestamps in the tracklog, so the trick is to spoof this information to allow you to import it. GOTOES has some really useful Strava Tools, one of which is the “Add or Adjust Timestamps” which does exactly this
Login in to MapMyRun and upload your new Workout
View the Workout and, under the map, click “View Route” which brings you to a standard route view where (under “More”) you can now click “Edit Route” and get back to the standard editing system
All in all a very useful way to work with route data
I’ve just started doing some audaxes and whilst GPX routes are often supplied, you can often start at any point. This made me wonder whether you could follow a route on the Bryton Rider 450 from any point along it. The good news is that - yes - you can, however that comes with one major problem. When you get to the end of the route the map screen goes blank and tells you you’ve “Arrived”. What I want it to do is just carry on from the beginning again which the Rider 450 won’t do. This is perhaps unfair behaviour to expect of it and maybe an “edge” case, which means the route would have to be digitised again for your starting point.
The tracklog does carry on recording and this goes to show that the tracklog and map routing are completely separate activities running in parallel on the device. Precedence is giving to tracking as this is highly time dependent. It explains why the maps take time to refresh and the longer the routes get, the longer they take to load. This can at times can give the impression that the unit has frozen, when in fact it’s reading the whole route back in to memory, taking the current GPS coordinate, loading the correct map tile, then plotting the breadcrumb trail over the top. On one ride, I had started following a route, but for the first 20km rode using the data screen as I knew the roads to follow, I then switched to map view and the Rider 450 took more than 5 minutes to refresh the map. This would suggest to the rider that it was frozen, but the distance and cadence fields were live, so it was clearly working. My guess is that it records the last map shown on the route and then iterates through every position along the route until the it matches the coordinates from the GPS, then refreshes the tile. This is hugely inefficient, particularly for long routes but simple and probably computationally easier to accomplish at the expense of significant time.
It also further highlights that the map screen doesn’t refresh until new information is ready to display, again behaviour that might suggest it’s frozen (and indeed it may lockout other actions until this is complete). Crucial to this series of events is being able to get a GPS coordinate: if it can’t do that, the map won’t update. This means that if your system can’t get satellite lock (in a tunnel, under trees etc) then the maps remain frozen until a coordinate is supplied. The tracklog however should carry on recording (doing whatever the recording algorithm dictates for a lack of current coordinate) in these situations.
The key then is patience and just carry on cycling with one BIG caveat. If you genuinely do have a frozen Rider 450 then it will need rebooting! Remember that means pressing and holding the four side buttons for a few seconds, then releasing them. Once rebooted it then needs to go through the whole process of satellite lock and getting a first coordinate - this can take minutes the first time after a reboot. I have also tried waiting on a number of occasions and once it carried on working and on the other the unit remained frozen. The latter problem came when I suspect the unit didn’t have satellite lock and I tried to change from the map to data screen (or vice versa) freezing operation. It is possible that this is a genuine bug that crashes the unit and I can definitely say the tracklog doesn’t carry on recording. The only solution is a reboot, which is certainly necessary if you want to use the maps/data.
I’ve also noticed that refreshjng the map and the lap timer can well conflict. My timer is set to a fairly rapid 2km (4-5 minutes) and the map often tries to refresh when the timer is due to roll over. The latter is given precedence which again freezes the map display. My best guess at the moment is don’t try to switch in/out of the map screen when this is about to happen.
A later post will talk about what to do with the corrupt files!
In my earlier post I noted a couple of “bugs” that would be good to fix and one of these was downloading workout data (locations and sensor readouts) from the device, app, or Bryton Active website. There is no button to press or link to click to do this, but it does exist and is actually much lower level than this!
At it’s simplest, the Rider 450 is simply a data logger with a built-in GPS that can also link to other ANT+ devices and record all of the sensor data. It writes the data to a file using Garmin’s binary FIT file format (Flexible and Interoperable Data Transfer Activity file) which is simple, small, and flexible. When you plug your Rider 450 in to your PC, it mounts the device as a drive and all the FIT files are in the top directory. You can just copy them straight off!
So what can you do with them? DC Rainmaker has a handy list of bike related software including many to manipulate FIT files, however here are a few worth looking at:
FIT Conversion and Repair: from Steve Gordon, this site allows you upload and convert or repair your FIT files. Simple and easy.
FIT File Tools: a very handy select of FIT manipulation tools, including merging tracks, so if you accidentally split your workout then this can splice it back together.
GPSBabel: the Swiss Army knife of tracklog manipulation, GPSBabel supports FIT files and allows you to convert them in to a range of different formats. Originally a command line utility, it also has a GUI which runs the command line in the background. I wanted to convert my FIT file to a text file (CSV) and it didn’t work because (I think) the GUI didn’t produce the right command line. You want to be using something like this:
This will be a “live” list as things come and go, but I thought I’d start putting down some things that would be good to add or fix:
Reverse a route: I’ve planned a route one-way. It would be handy if you could reverse the route once you get to your destination and then follow the navigation back. Maybe too much to ask.
Read full notification: notifications only show you the first ~11 characters. Would be good to see an entire message
Join tracks: I’ve accidentally stopped and then restarted a track when I’ve been recording it which is irritating as your stats are then calculated separately for each one. The ability to join tracks together.
Download Data: would be great to be able to download the raw data from Bryton Active
Navigation Screen: you can tailor the bottom row of the navigation screen to show any of the data fields available. If you are not following a route, then speed is shown in the top-right, if you are following a route then it changes to “distance to go” in the top-left. It would good to make the top row configurable.
Distance to Go: if you are following a route, then the map page shows you distance to go to the finish, however it overestimates this by 15-20%. Quite why I’m not sure as I know the route length from the route planning application and when I get to the end the distance is the same
Turn By Turn Instructions: if you are following a route and switch from a data screen back to the map page, the next turn instruction will be out of date and won’t update until the instruction refreshes at the next turn.
Lap Timer Error: I’ve set the auto-lap to give me a time every 2km, however if the auto-pause kicks in (e.g. at a junction) then this isn’t subtracted from the lap giving a timing error. The correct time is produced after the ride so it’s clearly correct when the stats are produced, but not during the ride itself.
Max Number of Lap Times: I did a 300km ride a few weeks back I when I got to auto-lap 130 (2km each) it stopped recording them. Is this an in-built number of laps it can record?
Fit: out-of-the-box the Rider 450 comes with a standard handlebar mount. It’s cheap and works well enough, but uses up valuable bar space. There are two other options worth considering: a stem mount or out-in-front mount. The former is a bit more efficient on space, but perhaps not quite so good if you are tucked down.
Learn the Buttons: it goes without saying, learn how to use the unit.
1. Two Operating Modes: I found it slightly counter intuitive to have two different modes. A “cycling” mode and a “settings” mode which you can switch between. The RightTop is a “start” or “OK” button depending which mode you are in, whilst the RIghtBottom is a “pause/stop” or “Back” button.
2. Zoom/Scroll: the two buttons on the left are for scrolling up and lists, except when you are using the map when they zoom in and out (useful!)
3. Map Modes: the BottomLeft changes between cycling mode screens. There are up to 5 data screens you can set up/switch off (in the app) which support a range of different layouts, followed by a navigating/map screen.
4. Power/Light: the BottomRight is for power and light.
5. Reset: the 450 has frozen twice on me now. To reset you need to hold all four side buttons and then release. It will take the GPS sometime to get satellite lock so be patient.
Learn the Icons: there are a number of icons at the top and bottom of the screen. There is an efficient use of space so know that they mean as they are useful. For example, the arrows indicate if you are riding above or below the average speed.
Start/Stop a Ride: be careful pausing a ride as my natural inclination is that once you pause a ride, you press the same button to start again. But no! That stops the ride and all the recording that goes along with it. Unless you really have to, just left the auto-pause kick in and then restart. Leave the buttons alone!
Laggy Screens: all the screens are very responsive except for the map and data sync screens. If you load one of these, wait a few seconds for them to complete.
Notifications: these are a step ahead of the competition as you can set up the app to send notifications from any app (not just texts). This is great, however bear in mind it is a 3-line notification that is limited to 11 characters (ish) of text per line. It shows the app, the sender’s name and the message. Anything longer that 11 characters will be truncated. This is frustrating because how hard would it be to allow the notification to fill the screen and then enable you to scroll through it? That’s any comments aside regarding how safe that might be to do.
Sensors: the Rider 450 supports bluetooth and ANT+ sensors. I’ve fitted a cadence sensor which works flawlessly. No problems there.
Bugs: so far I’ve found the following two significant bugs:
Distance to Go: if you are following a route then the map page which show you distance to go to the finish. Except it overestimates this by 15-20%. Quite why I’m not sure as I know the route length from the route planning application and when I get to the end the distance is the same
Auto Lap By Distance: another useful feature so you can see your splits except I can’t get the setting to sync across from the app to the Rider 450, but you can set it on the Rider 450 itself.