A Slow Start to the Year, and a Day of Firsts

February 26, 2012

15.71 miles per hour to be exact.

Today is a good day.

Today is a day of reflection and decision making.

Today is the start of summer. In my world there are only two seasons, summer and winter – the former is the set of days when there are sufficient daylight hours for cycling (as a student I was able to schedule work around cycling, but not so much now I work), and the latter is the set where there are insufficent daylight hours.

Today is the first time since September that my road bike has actually been on the road – due to the above I set it up in my flat on a turbo trainer when winter arrived.


Today I cycled more road miles in ~2 hours than I did in the last half a year. And it’s perhaps not then surprising that I did it at a miserable 15.71 miles per hour. I have my work cut out! That said, when I got to Cottenham (about 20 miles in) my average was at just under 17 miles per hour which doesn’t sound anywhere near as bad, so part of the decrease is due to a loss of muscle endurance and part due to a loss of muscle performance – also not really surprising.

Today I used my Zephyr HxM Bluetooth heart rate monitor with Cardio Grapher Cardio Grapher on the road for the first time, until now having only used them on the turbo trainer.

Today I realised that Cardio Grapher really needs to have an orientation preference (landscape/portrait/auto): the handlebar mount that my phone sits in on the bike holds it pretty much parallel to the road meaning that even the slightest of turns makes the phone switch to portrait mode (I have the mount setup with it in landscape), while even the slightest of inclines makes it switch to landscape. Unfortunately the Android orientation detection algorithm (sensibly) incorporates histeresis, meaning that to get it to switch to the right mode would have required removing the phone from the mount. As a result I’ll be putting said functionality into the the next release of Cardo Grapher that I put out.

Today Cardio Grapher helped me realise that thanks to the small amount of cardio training I managed to do during winter my cardiovascular fitness is not (currently) limiting me – my legs definitely are.

Today is day two of ten days of holiday from work, and the first of which that has been relaxing.

Today all the above made me realise I made the right decision recently. Back in December I was contacted by the MD of an Israel based team of self-described “investor-inventor-entrepreneurs” regarding some products they are developing, one of which relates closely to the work that I did for my dissertation, Inferring Transportation Mode using Smartphone Sensor Data. A few emails, an NDA and a couple of Skype calls later and I was interested enough that we arranged (me having first sought the approval of my primary employer) for me to work as a consultant on one of the products in my spare time. At the time my thought process was essentially “hey this is cool stuff, the kind of thing that I can imagine developing just for fun, and here’s the opportunity to get paid for doing it – what have I got to lose?”. So I did. But after just a few weeks I realised that my work life balance was all wrong, coming back from work in the evenings only to sit down at the computer and think “Oh, I’m being paid to work on in my spare time, I should do some of that." This took time away from things like turbo training. The realisation that I'd thrown the "Winter miles for summer smiles" ethic to the wind and not done any turbo training since starting then made me realise that what I was doing was not sustainable. I was spending too much time working and as a result neglecting many other things. So I had to pack in the part-time consulting. When I did, I was asked what it would take for me to move out to Israel and work on it full-time. This was pleasantly surprising to hear, but it didn't take very long for me to realise that as I like doing what I do and being where I am, I would have had to give up a lot only to gain a lot of uncertainty (in both quality of life and financially -- with potential for both loss and gain).

Tying in nicely with the above the following article is a good read: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/12/14/the-overjustification-effect/. Indeed, many of the articles on that site are good reads.

Here is the Google Doc with all the stats: https://www.dhpiggott.net/assets/Cycling/Cycling-Log.html