Apple Watch Fulfills Prophecy, Ushers In New Era of Fitness UI
by David Schloss on Sep 09, 2014 at 12:12 PM
Just after I rode my bike into a parked car while trying to figure out the UI on a Garmin 810, I began to speculate publicly about what then were early rumors of an Apple watch and how they would do to fitness what the iPod had done to music. Today they have done just that.
At the dawn of the iPod era there were a number of competing, ugly, cumbersome and limited devices. Each of them could hold a bit of music, most of them had their own music management software. None of them were good.
The iPod took the conventional designs of the day and threw them out, changing everything with a new interface and a device large enough to store complete music collections. They then added to that with a player that was simple to use and seamlessly integrated with the device.
The new Apple Watch (or technically the Watch) will revolutionize much of the portable computing world, but it will have a tremendous impact on the fitness world, even for those that don’t but it. That’s because the User Interface (UI) and the User Experience (UE) are so groundrbeakingly advanced that they instantly make every other tool on the market look dreadful.
When the first GPS-based cycle computers came out, the hard-wired LCD computers of the day suddenly looked antique. Big numbers, sensor-free recording and (on some units) turn-by-turn directions brought a whole new level of functionality to cycling. As their capabilities grew through ANT+ sensors and Bluetooth technology, they began to offer functionality that the previous round of technology couldn’t even contemplate.
But since then the UI and UE of these devices have pretty much stalled. Garmin has added features to their devices, but hasn’t really refreshed the look or feel of their hardware. There’s little to differentiate the Garmin Edge 1000 from the Garmin Edge 100 from which it came, and I’d even argue that the UI of Garmin’s devices is worse now than it was when the Edge 100 came to market so many years ago.
I don’t think that a sports watch is necessarily the best solution for the cyclist, but I’ll wager that Apple Watch-specific bike mounts are coming to Kickstarter any day now. But what’s really important is that Apple has entered the wearable space, has focused on fitness, and has opened development up to programmers. I’m looking forward, for example, to Strava segments that use the haptic feedback technology of the watch to announce the start and end of a segment, or coaching apps that tap out a cadence through the watch to tell a cyclist when to start an interval and give heart rate feedback.
By tying the watch into the phone, Apple extends a good technology and makes it better and that’s something that hasn’t really happened in fitness. Companies have made stabs at this, but their devices usually need to come back and talk to an app to be useful, while the Apple Watch will use wireless communication with the phone to provide even more information than if it were used alone. And unlike the Garmin Edge, it won’t just be good for the bike, everyone from runners to cross fit junkies will be able to use the device to participate in custom-created fitness programs.
The first generation of the iWatch might not change fitness overnight, but it’s an incredible looking first-generation tool. More importantly it’s a shot across the bow of every fitness device manufacturer in the world—make products that are as easy to use as Apple’s new watch, or see your customer base fade.
A decade from now we’ll probably laugh at the simplicity of the Apple Watch compared to the wearable devices Apple and others are making, but today Apple’s announcement has provided a much needed boost to the fitness sector and will hopefully usher new people into cycling and into other sports. Today marks the end-of-days for ugly and complicated fitness devices and the start of a new era of beautiful technology.
Issue 16: Back to School
by Byron on Sep 09, 2014 at 11:23 AM
Elliott Bay Bicycles is Closing
D-Plus at EBB
Here’s the thing, Elliott Bay Bicycles, an historic gem of bike culture, is closing and we’re flattened by the news, like losing all momentum. It was a shop with a resident builder — and the source of inspiration for much of our writing, including our travels with S&S bikes stuffed in suitcases. We’ll miss it but will have more stories to tell after Bob Freeman retires and Bill Davidson finds a new location. This issue started out with a Back to School theme. We have articles from Zanne, Shawn, and David about that, but also paused our regular programming to share what we remember the most about the shop, once we learned it was closing.
As Patrick wrote for this issue, it’s sad to lose another great American bike shop. This one was located in downtown Seattle between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market where they throw fish and buskers play street music. It’s where they made bikes with soul for 31 years, like the D-Plus, a bike built to fight. In the background of the photo is the machine shop. The bike represents the work of a master builder, bike stylist, machinist, welder, and creatives
As Patrick wrote for this issue, it’s sad to lose another great American bike shop. This one was located in downtown Seattle between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market where they throw fish and buskers play street music. It’s where they made bikes with soul for 31 years, like the D-Plus, a bike built to fight. In the background of the photo is the machine shop. The bike represents the work of a master builder, bike stylist, machinist, welder, and creatives.
Also a time to remember how things change.
This is my editor’s letter from Issue 16 that drops today on iTunes and the Web. Bike Hugger Magazine is ad-free and costs $16.00 for a subscription or $4.00 an issue.
Issue 16 Cover
Patrick Brady’s article about shops like Elliott Bay Bicycles is the cover story and you can read it for free with a sign in.
MFG Cross at Sammamish with CX-1 and Hydro
by Byron on Sep 08, 2014 at 12:59 PM
MFG’s Season Opener
That was intense, sweaty, painful, humbling, AND I got concierge-level heckling from the promoter Terry and course schlepper Robert Trombley. Thanks guys! They said I was racing 14 minutes laps, sounds about right….
Next up, CrossVegas and then Starcrossed, if my legs don’t petrify by then. My equipment worked great where the body lacked.
I’m running CX-1 with the new HydroR on a Crux this season. After last year, when the Crux got hung up in the garage during the recall, giving it another go. Not that I needed much braking power at Sammamish, considering my rate of speed, but the Hydro is def more refined. It has better modulation too and less hand effort in a more comfortable, lighter and refined system.
SRAM released PR today about their impressive Cyclocross roster with a quote from Powers on CX-1
This year will be the first time I will ride a production groupset that is purpose built for cyclocross. SRAM continues to innovate in new ways, even subtle ways, and develop product that is exactly what I need. Even better, it’s super quiet.
As much as I was flailing around out there, banging the gears about, it didn’t let me down with solid shifting and it shifts way better than the DIY, privateer version of a one-by (Red with XO type 2) we and many others had been running on our bikes. Rode through the first of three sand pits on the course (4 out of I think 5 times) with the gearing and Hutchinson Black Mambas on a Vision wheelset.
A Crux with CX-1, Hydro, Vision and Hutchinson tires
Congrats to Richter for the win, and the guys racing fast. Also hat tip to Richard McClung for a course that was at times, very hard, and flowed. It was a hard flow.
And hey, who moved September up on the calendar…it was like Monday last week when Matt Hill asked if I was racing MFG Cross. “Wut? I said, oh, the season is starting? Really!”
There’s this thing about life, sometimes it gets in the way of training, and racing, and practicing your skills. But you gotta start.
Preview of the (printed) Roads Were Not Built For Cars book
by Byron on Sep 07, 2014 at 9:00 AM
Carlton uploaded a preview from the galleys of the printed Roads Were Not Built For Cars book. At the end of the edit he shares the dustcover with a photo I took of him in Taiwan, on a tall bike.
Tall bike for Carlton
IF Mode on Extant
by Byron on Sep 07, 2014 at 8:52 AM
Extant is a sci-fi show that ran on CBS and is available now on Amazon via Prime. We’ve been watching it, noticed all the electric cars, including the BWW i3, and then the IF Mode. Here’s a video about the bike in the show and photos from me when I visited Pacific Cycles where the IF was made, including an iteration of the design called the IF Move.
Bike Hugger Mobile Social presented by New Belgium Brewing and Tern Bicycles
by Byron on Sep 06, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Photo: betterlyphotography of a custom, Xtracycle keg bike
For the first few years, the Mobile Social was word-of-mouthed only and with zero advertising or marketing – it was like the smoke monster, just sort of happened. Then went away again. Back in 2008 when I was consulting with companies about social and creating interesting content, I wrote…
Announcing the Mobile Social Interbike (and the other ones we do), we get asked, “so what is a mobile social? I don’t get it.: Well neither do we, we’re just making shit up all the time and hoping to get paid!
OK, joking, joking – the Mobile Socials are an intersection of bikes, technology, and culture. We ride, talk bikes, blog, party, and give away product. The event offers no douchebaggery or lameness, but is for like-minded cycling fans of all types to get together and talk about bikes.
Technically, it’s a social media marketing event targeting an enthusiastic niche audience with lifestyle branding, but it’s just not our style to talk big with those sorts of mumbo jumbo words. As Brian Oberkirch describe them, “it’s a coffee klatch on bikes, an excuse to get together” with your buddies and geek out.
And next week we’ll get together again with our bike buddies in Vegas and ride the Strip. For the Bike Hugger Mobile Social presented by New Belgium Brewing and Tern Bicycles, we’ve got more partners involved, activities, and destinations than ever. So we made an itinerary and will have flyers at the show…
- 6:15pm – Registration at the South Convention Center Parking Lot, nearby entrance to Daylight pool club.
- 6:45-7:00pm – Depart
- 7:45-8:00pm – Arrive at The Park on Fremont
- 7:45pm-10pm – NBB Beer Specials and some goodies (Screenprinting) at The Park and Atomic Liquors (Knog Photo Booth and NBB Hat Press). Watch the Crit.
- 10pm – Tern bikes get packed/loaded out
RSVP on Facebook – to get drink tokens…
Special thanks to New Belgium Brewing and Tern Bicycles. Knog, Pure Fix Cycles, Revolights, Green Guru, and you! Also Rapha for the fashion.
Motor Doping and Chinese Democracy
by Byron on Sep 05, 2014 at 1:45 PM
Try it yourself…
Possibly because we ran a ‘shopped photo with Mini Lance pushing Ryder’s bike and insist that “motor doping” is as real as that album Axl Rose keeps promising; whatever it was, insiders were texting me their frustrations yesterday….
Here’s the most relevant comment…
Lay your bike on the ground on a hill. You’ll notice that the bike will spin to orient itself so that the pedal touching the ground (one of only 2 touch points. The other is the handlebar) will cause the bike to rotate so that the pedal is oriented as high as it can go in the crank rotation.
And geez, this just might cause the wheel to spin as the pedal is rotating the bike into its favored orientation.
BREAKING: Ryder Motor Doping
by Byron on Sep 04, 2014 at 10:13 AM
Video footage reveals ringleader of motor-doping conspiracy
We spent the morning Zaprudering the Ryder motor video and in one of the frames, spotted this! Mini Lance is the Motor Doper.
Currently following the money to e-bike sources deep within the industry.
Revealing report scheduled for release during Interbike.
Zoomed in even closer, you can see the little hand on the top tube of Ryder’S bike pushing it.
But seriously folks, shaking my head at how fans and fellow media who are over doping as tired topic, but think there’s motor doping. Road.cc breaks it down.
Re: Disc Brakes this Season
by Byron on Sep 03, 2014 at 1:58 PM
Stops great, sometimes loudly
Didn’t get it on video, but the first time disc rotors got wet this season and screeched like a melting witch in the Wizard of Oz with me cursing just as loudly, it was admittedly comical and embarrassing.
People are just walking their dogs in a park and enjoying the peace and quiet nature has to offer in a busy city. Then this jackass (me) is hard braking and coasting and braking again across a grassy field. Also complaining while trying to dry the rotors off.
Once glared at with dogs on taut leashes, I sheepishly coasted away on my Cross bike.
Next week I’ll race CrossVegas, an event that I consider the best in the bike business and one that starts like a Road Warrior chase scene. Where you end up after turn one, is like betting on a roulette wheel…everything is spinning, then slows down, and stops for a bit, until turning again. You hope good luck and faith will pay off, and keep the rubber side down. Oh and also hope your disc brakes don’t screech like feedback on a PA, interrupting an Elvis impersonator singing Viva Las Vegas.
Read an interview with Brook Watts, the promoter of CrossVegas, in our Magazine this month.
Elliott Bay Bicycles Closing After 31 years
by Byron on Sep 02, 2014 at 12:27 PM
Designed by Mark and Bill D, welded by Max
It’s the end of an era for Bike Hugger too. Many of the stories written, opinions shared, and “in the shop” posts were from Elliott Bay Bicycles. They were based on the Davidson Bicycles we had built, then rode, and raced (6 and counting for me and @mzsitka, many more for Mark). Without running the content through text filters, I’m guessing 40 to 60% or more of the posts are based on and from EBB.
The shop is where Mark Villegas and I met. First for mechanical help and then later we conspired to blog about bikes. The downtown-Seattle shop is closing at the end of the month and the clearance sale starts tomorrow.
I wish Bob the best miles and restorations in his retirement and we’ll continue to support Bill in his new location, making bikes, and telling stories about them in Bike Hugger channels.
The last time Bill and I chatted, I learned about the first tubulars in America, before Sinyard was selling them out of a VW bus. Also, how he hoped to make something that lasted much longer than the shelf life of Taiwan carbon. I paraphrased Bill in a recent Element.ly story
In contrast, I figured the carbon CruX I was on had a 3-year lifespan. It’a an amazing bike, but it’s newness was going to quickly fall out of fashion like a typecast starlet with no new parts to play.
Today we talked on the phone and he told me he wanted to maximize his bicycle-making happiness by focusing on building the bikes in a new location. Seattleites will remember Il Vecchio Bicycles (a boutique-style shop) and that’s his new business model.
Of all the stories Bill has told me (his knowledge is infused in our content for a decade), this new adventure is probably the best one. He still rides up to 3 hours too. We met up in Kent a few weeks back.
A retrospective perhaps will get written over the next few weeks – the party stories at least.
Mark V trying to remember where the keg cups are at our 2010 holiday party
I have to ask Mark and then figure out where to start? Is it the Modal, D-Plus, Hotspur or one of Mark’s bikes?
Maybe focus on a bike built up in Bill’s new location….
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