As a Data Scientist, I have seen how data-driven companies financially outperform their non-data driven peers by up to 6% a year.
So when I returned to cycling I was really happy to find it is one of the most advanced sports when it comes to using data to improve performance.
I use the free software from Golden Cheetah to analyse my rides, and using the three sensors described in this article I can directly measure or infer these Key metrics (and many more).
Power, W’Bal, Heartrate, Speed, Cadence, Slope, Gear ratio.
It will be really easy to add a Bluetooth power meter as the Wahoo App supports these
I started out with Strava which is great but was missing a few features I REALLY wanted (well they were missing on the free version anyway).
Reading the forums it seems I am not alone, so I thought it would be useful to explain how I got what I wanted
Knowing your current speed is more useful than average speed
On my main screen I wanted to see the current speed rather than average speed, I wanted to know my cadence and I also wanted to see my heart rate in real time
I was also keen to have other metrics such as incline visible during my ride. I tried a few computers but found that generally the screen was too small and the cheaper ones had proprietary sensors that were fiddly to set up and needed constant adjustment.
Using my Phone gives me great visibility and 6+ hours of battery life
I really wanted to use my phone, a Motorola G3 with a nice big screen and Android 6.0.1. it lasts about 6 hours with the screen permanently on and the three decathlon sensors.
Firstly I downloaded the free Wahoo fitness app, this has loads of metrics and supports Bluetooth Sensors (which do not have to be Wahoo). It automatically posts the ride stats to Strava when I finish my ride.
Three programmes but only one Start and Stop Button
Strava automatically updates Golden cheetah so there is only one start button to press and no manual data transfer between the programs is needed because it all happens automatically behind the scenes.
The only minor issue I found is that Strava sometimes reports slightly different values to the ones that Wahoo sends which is a little annoying. Strava says this is an issue with all data sources including Garmin
“Strava activity data may be different than what your Garmin displays because Strava analyzes all data independently once uploaded, regardless of the device used to record the file.”
It’s not a dealbreaker but I’m going to investigate this further to see if I can fix it, in the meantime if this is important to you can import the Wahoo data straight into Golden Cheetah and avoid the Strava stage.
Here’s what you need to replicate what I have
- A Smartphone and a way to attach it to your bike
- Free Wahoo fitness App
- Free Strava App
- Golden Cheetah Data Analysis software (Free Open Source)
- Decathlon Speed and Cadence Sensor pack ££32.99
- Decathlon Chest strap/Heart Monitor £29.99
Decathlon Speed and Cadence Sensor
I really like this speed sensor. It is a one piece unit without a separate magnet (separate magnets are a pain) and attaches to the hub with a rubber ring and a cable tie for extra security. It connects via Bluetooth or Ant+ and uses a CR2032 coin battery (included).
The cadence sensor is very similar to the speed sensor and doesn’t use a separate magnet which is great. Cable tie it to a crank and you’re ready to go. Again it connects via Bluetooth or Ant+ and uses a CR2032 coin battery (included).
Decathlon Heart rate sensor
Now for the Heart rate sensor, the chest type is best and makes you look like a Pro. The Decathlon one is cheap, comfortable and works really well. As with the other sensors it connects via Bluetooth or Ant+ and uses a CR2032 coin battery (included).
The Strava App
Install the free Strava app and set up your free account as required.
The Wahoo Fitness App
Install the Free Wahoo app and once you have the sensors fitted to you and your bike fire up the app and it will find and remember them all.. (Click on the double wireless like symbol in the top menu to see this screen).
Now click on the Speed & Cadence sensors and edit them to set the activity type and the wheel size. The Heat rate sensor doesn’t need to be setup
Go to the setup menu (3 dots top right) and choose user details then add your personal information.
Go to the setup menu (3 dots top right) and choose linked accounts, switch on Strava, enter your Strava credentials and set to automatic download.
Install Golden Cheetah on your PC or Mac https://www.goldencheetah.org/
Create a new athlete (go to Athlete then Open Window then New Athlete) Fill in as many details as you can.
In the GC top menu select go to Share then select add cloud account, add your Strava credentials and save.
Congratulations. You are now ready to go! Press the Green arrow followed by START!
PS: Golden Cheetah has so many features it can be a little overwhelming at first. There are some great educational videos on their website https://www.goldencheetah.org/#section-tutorials
I will be writing a blog post on how to use GC soon
PPS: Look out for my blogs on how to get the most out of Strava and Wahoo
PPPS: I am not affiliated to Decathlon in any way and get nothing for recommending their products.