2011 Spooks and Spokes Ghost ride

Last Saturday was the 2011 Spooks and Spokes Ghost Tour of Edinburg, Texas. The event, sponsored by the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce and the Ciclistas Urbanos cycling club, toured various places throughout the city of Edinburg that are believed to be haunted by disquieted spirits.

The ride started at 7 pm but I got there early to volunteer and socialize with other cyclists. By the time seven rolled around the parking lot was full of families, kids, bikes and various Halloweeners in full costumes. In all, the head count was some where in the neighborhood of 80 cyclists that were ready for the tour. Not bad for the first time the event was held.

Mark Pena of the Ciclistas Urbanos cycling club got up and spoke about the tour, the club, and the rules of the road. After that ride marshals were selected to help keep the riders together, fix flats and general safety of the ride.

The fun-filled ride took us to the Hillcrest Cemetery, Stephen F Austin elementary school, the old Citrus Theater in downtown Edinburg, Museum of South Texas History (which was an old jail in the old days complete with gallows), another old facility that was used as a small prison, the oldest funeral home in Edinburg that was established in the early years of the city. Even the university was included as several buildings there were said to be haunted.

Finally we ended up at Monster Carwash for some burgers and other eats. The ride went smoothly with only the occasional flat and minor tweaks on several bikes. One little boy ride his bike on trainers the entire 9 mile ride and was perfectly happy with the results. Beaming smiles and shudders of disbelief made the ride very pleasant not to mention the clear skies and very nice comfortable weather.

Enjoy the pictures!


Re-examine iMapMyRide 4.0.6 App for the iPhone

It has been a while and many updates since I last tested iMapMyRide. The last time I tried out the app it had its problems. Losing data, inaccurate mileage reporting, the in ability to run in the background were the major flaws, In version 4.0.6, the problems have been resolved partly due to the upgrades to both the App and my iPhone 4. I upgraded the iOS to version 5 which support a better multitasking system and notifications.

The big improvement, being able to turn off the screen and have it continue recording data properly. This is a big plus as the biggest battery drain is the screen. If you can turn off the screen while riding you can extend the battery life for long rides. You may be asking what the point of having the screen turned off if you can’t see what is going on? Well, you can do the normal swipe to turn it back on and check your cycling vitals or you can use the Voice Feedback feature.

Voice Feedback enables the system to speak out the basic vitals of your ride:

  • Total Distance
  • Total Time
  • Average Pace
  • Current Pace
  • Average Speed
  • Current Speed

All of which can be selectively turned on or off. You also have two options as to how often to say the information. You can either go by time or by distance. Either way you move a slider to the desired interval and turn on the Voice Feedback. The voice is that of a woman who speak rather slowly and deliberately, but is clearly audible. Knowing how long it takes to spit out the info, I suggest limiting the feedback to one or two items.

Another good use of the Voice Feedback is to use it as timer. If you are on a super long ride, you will want to stay hydrated and the best way to do that is to take a sip of water at regular intervals and not wait until you are thirsty. Set the Voice Feedback to the desired interval based on time, such as every 15 minutes, and now every time it goes off, you can take a sip of water. I used to do that when I was in Dallas and doing my 50 mile rides. Never had a problem of dehydration. Back then I used the regular bike computer. No Smartphones in those days. Shudder!

One of the problems of the earlier version was the accuracy of the distance calculated. The miles ridden was way off on the plus side so you never really knew how far you had gone. That was a frustrating experience. Well, I can safely say that the mileage tracking is on track. I have a route that my car reads as 9.5 miles and the ride I took today came out to 9.58 miles. I’m happy with that.

Something new in the App is what I thought was advertisement turned out to be activity logs that friends had posted on MapMyRide web site. You can now browse their workouts and post comments, look at the route and do the whole Like button thing. Too bad you can’t download the route to your phone for you to use.

One other neat feature is the Nutrition section of the App. Here you can keep track of your eating habits and see how well you are sticking to your nutritional goals. I didn’t get to play much with it but it has the basic concept, determine your calorie intake goals and track what you eat and how much you burn up with exercise. One thing that I did notice is that it ran rather slow. Be sure to use WiFi if you can. There are other apps that do this and do it well such as MyNetDiary.

I ran this app through a series of tests to try to get it to hang up or lose the data and could not get it to fail. I would text it, call it, put it in pause mode and tried to call it again. Nothing happened to the data that it had collected from a ride. I feel confident that from the time you push Start to the time you push Stop the App will keep track of the data and not lose it.

The only thing that did not work for me was the Facebook announcement of the start of a workout and when I completed one.  When I try to log on, Facebook says that I’m connected and already authorized the App access, but the App says I need to connect. Oh well, not a deal breaker.

One of the weakness of this App is the lack of sharing compared to other bike computer Apps. You can Tweet and Facebook it but that’s about it. You can also send an email but not of the GPX file but rather a link to the route on the MapMyRide website. There is no export of GPX, TCX, or KML files of any kind. Understand that this App works in conjunction of the MapMyRide website so don’t expect it to export to their competitors. With that in mind I would still recommend this App to others. I have several friends that use this App and they are happy with it.

If you have an opinion about this App drop me a comment and voice it. I would like to hear from you.

Wahoo Fitness 2.3 Review

Wahoo Fitness version 2.3 is out and is looking good. I did some testing last night trying to get it to fail but could not. I sent text messages and called the phone while spinning the bike and the app worked flawlessly. I also turned off the unit and kept on pedaling and turned it back on a few minutes later. The average mph was spot on. I’m not sure if the app has been fixed or that the fact that I’m using iOS 5 on my iPhone 4 but either way it works just fine now.

Sunday morning I went out for a ride using a route where I knew what the distance would be. Although I could not find where to input the wheel size, the distance recorded was accurate. Now, I’m not sure if that was from the GPS or the sensors. I did set the GPS to off in the Biking Prefs section. Other than that, I find that app real useful and easy to use with all the relevant data displayed in an easy to read format. What I really like are the predefined data screens. There are two themes for the four pages. Here i a run-down of the pages:

  • Page 1
    • Displays data based on the bike speed and cadence sensor
  • Page 2
    • Displays data based on the GPS sensor
  • Page 3
    • Displays data based on the power sensor
  • Page 4
    • Displays data based on heart rate values and zones

So, depending on your training goals you can flip to the screen that you are interested in seeing. I like Page 4 as the it display, in real-time, how much time you spent on each heart rate zone. No other app does that for you. There is one that will give you that information but only after the ride is complete. You have a total of seven pages to choose from that you can turn on or off depending on your needs. Pages five through seven are the same as pages one through three but with a different theme to it.

Since my initial review of the app, there has been some updated Sharing options that are now available. Wahoo Fitness can now share your ride with the following sites:

Still no dailymile on the list and that’s a bummer. On the plus side, I found out that there are many web sites available to upload your rides and compare notes with other cyclists. So many that I don’t know which one to use, but for right now I’m sticking with dailymile. Now the question is, would I recommend the app to others? Yes, I would without any hesitation. It’s a fantastic app that the developers worked out the bugs and are constantly improving on. Did I mention that it’s free!

Anyone using this app? I’d like to hear from you and see how it is performing for you and your  gear. Drop me a comment and share your experience with it.