Strava sinks (and stinks) for swimmers

Screenshot 2016-04-25 10.49.41.png

There is a severe lack of Swim detail in Strava imported swim activities. Essential metrics for loyal Strava customers such as lap splits, heart rate, PRs, CRs, etc, etc are all missing. The current swim visuals are very poor indeed. I’m more of a cyclist and runner, but if I feel this aspect of Strava lets me down, I can only sympathise with true swimmers and triathletes.

Swapping to Premier paid membership didn’t make any difference in this aspect. Thus, one of the reasons I cancelled my Premier status as have many others. Strava is a great app, but outside cycling and perhaps running, it doesn’t cater for much else.

Many have invested in expensive fitness devices that allow measurement of these metrics. Without the ability of Strava to take advantage of these, customers will consider using the device bespoke applications instead.

Customers have been asking for this for years and Strava just doesn’t seem to care.

Even endomondo also a running cycling site is much better mapping PR’s etc

Screenshot 2016-04-25 10.53.20.png

Garmin itself does much more (it even shows the gap where I paused instead of pressed lap) but it has never really taken off as a social platform ….. will update this if i see something better.

Screenshot 2016-04-25 11.00.11.png

best apps for training

With more and more people buying smartphones and the proliferation of training apps now available for them, it’s never been so easy to accurately keep track of your training. Gone are the days when you kept track of your training in a notepad, with careful handwritten notes. ROAD.CC

The latest generation of training apps makes it far easier to record and analyse your training, as well as setting goals and targets and reviewing previous performances. We’ve chosen 10 of the most popular apps so you can kick start 2013 with a digital thump.

And with smartphones now offering GPS maps and large colour screens, many cyclists are opting to use them in place of a dedicated cycle computer. Either mounted to the handlebars or safely stored in a jacket pocket, recording your ride on a smartphone is now common.

Garmin Fit

Garmin’s Fit app allows you to use your iPhone or Android smartphone as a training tool. It can be used for various sports, and one you’ve finished it uploads your session to Garmin Connect. It costs 69p but Connect itself is free to use. Once there you get all the important data and there’s useful functions like a calendar that totals your hours of riding each week, giving you an easy way of tracking your training progress.

Available for iPhone and Android.


This app functions as bike computer but can also store your route in Google maps, which can then be exported to social media networks like Twitter nad Facebook. A calendar makes it easy to see your recent rides at a glance and help to plan your next ride, and your favourite routes can be saved for future use.

The Athlete’s Diary

You can easily keep track of training rides with graphs of the total distance and time accumulated with this app. Information is clearly presented with the main screen a log showing some of your latest rides, so you can see at a glance how training has been going. You can also search your recorded rides too. Data is manually entered, but there’s an Autofill option for rapid entry. Only available for iPhone and costs $19.99.


This app lets you share and compare in a number of sports. As well as speed, distance, time, it works with compatible heart rate monitor straps and cadence modules. You can replay tracks on Google Maps, share with Facebook and Twitter friends, and export to the SportsTrack website. It only works with Android phones and costs £2.99.

Training Peaks

A popular choice for cyclists, as it stems from Joe Friel’s TrainingBible series of books, Training Peaks is a very comprehensive training package that offers unlimited detail and control of your workout data. There’s training plans that can be bought and downloaded, taking the guesswork out of training, and there’s the novel Virtual Coach too. Works for Android, iPhone, iPod and iPad.


CoachMyRide, only available for the iPhone, lets you set goals and choose training sessions from a library of 105 included in the app. And for analysing sessions, Lionel Reynaurd is a professional cycling coach is available to offer feedback and share his knowledge. AS you progress in your training and you get fitter, the app easily adapts your training to suit.


Endomondo is a community based workout app that lets you challenge friends and analyse your training. A clean and clear display shows distance, speed and time when cycling, and you can customise what is show on the screen. Once you’ve done a ride you can upload to the website where you can create groups for your friends to share rides, and share through Facebook. With a Bluetooth heart rate strap you can add heart rate data to your training data. It’s free and works across all platforms.


Described as the “Swiss army knife of GPS tracking and timing” Kinetic lets you organise your training sessions by activity or event. It can set goals and monitor your progress against a predicted finish time. Voice notifications chart your progress in real-time. Kinetic GPS Lite is free, while the full version is $3.99.


Rather than automatically logging your ride data, which is fine if you want to use your smartphone on the bike, Cychosis differs by requiring you to manually enter data from each ride. So you can leave your phone safely at home or not have the battery drained in 5 minutes by the constant GPS usage, and enter ride information form your cycle computer when you’ve finished your ride. And if you love your spreadsheets, you can export ride data to your computer.


One of the most popular apps is Strava, because of its unique feature of letting you compared times on ‘segments’ of road. Users can create segments themselves, and any person that has ridden along this segment is added to a leaderboard. So you can see who is fastest on your favourite climb for example. With a community revolving around this feature, it adds a competitive element to training on your own. A suite of power and heart rate analysis tools makes it a good option for those who want to take their training seriously. Available for iPhone and Android.

Polar release integrated gps watch the RC3 GPS

For recreational runners and cyclists who want integrated GPS with smart guidance. This looks like a better made version of the Garmin 610 …. As some readers might know I have the Polar RCX5 with a separate G5 gps pod. I love the extra features of the RCX5 but think that for most athletes and the less tetchy and geeky this RC3 with integrated GPS makes more sense.

One thing polar need to look at in the future – well two things to really help Polar appeal to all the mass market is firstly to go ANT+ using the most common and useful protocol for sensors and the other is to enable polar personal trainer to export .tcx files so that users can upload into social exercise sites like Strava, Endomondo and MapMyRun to name a few. Or failing this to allow those websites to access the protocol for the polar communicator / uploaded.


  • Training Benefit gives you instant feedback after your session
  • Tracks your route, speed and distance using built-in GPS
  • Running Index scores your performance
  • Slim and lightweight design with rechargeable battery
  • Allows you to share your training with your friends


Body measurement features

  • Compatible with Mac (Intel-based) via USB cable
  • Compatible with PC via USB cable
  • Compatible with via USB cable
  • Back to start
  • Distance – training, lap, and total
  • Route mapping – opt. with web service
  • Running Index
  • Speed/Pace – current, average and maximum
  • Backlight
  • Date and weekday indicator
  • Display text in English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish
  • Dual time zone
  • KeyLock
  • Low battery indicator
  • Rechargeable battery
  • StopWatch
  • Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
  • Water resistant – IPX7

Software for your Heart Rate Monitor and GPS

To some of us geeky MAMILS (middle aged men in Lycra), one of the biggest pleasures, next to the ride or run itself, is quantifying the vast amount of data available to us about our performance.  The prevalence of GPS based and downloadable cycling computers, combined with various websites and programs have made it possible to catalog, view and analyze mountains of data; metrics from average pace to peak wattage vs. peak heart rate are now at your fingertips.  Here’s a quick overview of a couple of the more common sites and programs out there.



my new favourite after a while playing with Endo … (see next) is the relative new kid on the block in terms of ride analysis.  Offering both free and frankly too expensive subscription services ($6 per month or $59 per year) will allow riders to directly upload rides from their GPS devices and track their performance.  Displaying a GPS track of the route you rode, along with an elevation profile and metrics such as distance, elevation gain, moving time, speed (max and average), average speed, average cadence and average power, you get a mass of information to sift through and analyse.

The coolest thing about Strava and it is something that Endomondo also does is social connection ….  You can link Strava to your Facebook page and twitter account and you can even challenge friends (or strangers for that matter) to competitions.  Strava has a unique feature that allows you to designate segments of your ride and run (climbs, TTs, crazy descents) that you can measure against every other person on Strava that has covered that route (or just a section) before and uploaded their ride.  It’s an excellent idea that promotes competition and growth amongst different riders all riding in the same area.

Here is a section of the Arran ride that someone has made into sections … woo hoo I did well without even knowing it.

For example, imagine your club has a friendly “climbing competition” up a particularly long, steep, or otherwise nasty climb.  Anyone who is a member of Strava who uploads a ride containing that climb will be ranked based upon speed, power, time and VAM (Vertical Ascent Meters) along with everyone else who has ridden that climb.  The best part of the whole thing is that once the climb is designated on Strava, the site software automatically finds that segment of your ride and analyzes it, compares it to everyone else, and posts it in ranking of fastest to slowest.  It’s an excellent tool to use to compare both your form compared to others around you, and to chart your own progress by comparing to your previous attempts.

PROS: Great community based concepts.  ”Segments” option for competing with your friends.  Excellent data presentation and layout. Standalone free iPhone app if you don’t have a dedicated gps hrm

CONS: Pay site is yet another expense (free site only 5 rides/month allowance)


My old favourite social exercise site – allowed you to see your friends workouts and comment on them. Again it allows analysis of the ride or run and also keep a note of your PB’s.

The social interaction may be slightly better on Endo although I prefer the slightly better analysis on Strava …. Again there is a dedicated app for iPhone so you can use that on commutes when your gps or hem is at home. Both these sites are better with Garmin products and that is more to do with the disinterest on the part of Polar and suunto more than the development of either of these two platforms. At the moment I import the gpx track from file although this loses the hrm info from the exercise. At the moment you can import the average and max readings into the endo workout but it is not a true graph.

Alternatives for Me

Movescount for Suunto users

Good analysis but lacking social connections as there is no app and your friends can’t compare to you.

Polar Personal Trainer for Polar HRM users

Better analysis but even less social connections.

Feeling like Number 1

I use endomondo now and again – it is like a Facebook for exercise – mainly to keep abreast of what friends are doing.


They also have challenges that they invite people to take part in … one of these is a calorie count and others allow you to chase goals – i.e. by running 50km or 100km a month.

It is motivating and i am currently doing the 50km challenge although very close to 100km (at which point I get chucked out) …. but nice to see myself at no 1 for a change.

No 1 woooo hoooo

Sunday running

I must remember to be less social – giving friends an open invite to come around at Sunday ‘sometime’ meant that my plans for a sneaky Kitesurf session were scarpered when a 12:30pm early lunch was confirmed. Bugger there was no way that would work out for me to get down to the coast have a session and be back washed and ready to cook. The solution I am led to believe is not to ditch said friends but to make alternative plans.

So plan hatched was to get my arse in gear and get out for a run. I confess to having been a bit lazy since the Jedburgh half marathon and my sciatic nerve was twinging a bit (stiff arse for lack of a better word) so down for a normal run to glasgow green And along the river path heading east. It is a great run and as I entered glasgow green right next to west brewery I became aware of heavy footstep runner approaching from behind … I sped up and he still narrowed the gap within 400m and passed me. Phew, younger, taller, slimmer and wearing clothes more appropriate for summer than a violently windy autumnal nay even wintry stormy day. Still a good run and slowed down from the unsustainable 4:20/km pace and sauntered on. Legs felt crap and a bit dehydrated (better than hungover) but heart rate was a lowly 141bpm …. Aaas one of those days.

The run is a simple out and back – down the glasgow green path until the path stops at the construction fence (for the commonwealth games) then back. 12.9 ish on the garmin foot pod and 13.01 using google maps.

Rest of day fine, friends good, food nice (cooked a smoked mackerel risotto yumm) prosecco palatable.

Hope you all had a fine Sunday too …….

A nice walk

Away for the weekend with friends to a great estate out in the country. Ardmarnoch estate out in argyle – 2 hrs from glasgow. Mainly out here for a party but a couple of dogs here so went for a romp yesterday through the bracken and over the hills. Wintry day wind up a bit and a heavy sky with the threat of rain but stayed dry. The 9 month old sheepdog I took for a walk must have easily done 10km to my 5km, was watching its little legs clambering down the odd scree and equating that to a technique for fell running – which is a future thing to try. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Kiting then Run

Went down to the coast this morning as the forecast was great (wasted an hour trying to get my Go Pro to switch on) think it is flecked and it has only been used once…. will check the battery compared to a pals otherwise will have to send back to B&H

troon in better weather

It was a lot windier than this pic and both Leo and I were out on our 7m kites … winds were gusting from 19knots up to about 32 – quite a change and got hit by gust twice in mid air so not the best. Leo bust his footstrap doing his 2nd kite loop so we decided to play a bit – first heading offshore to the reef … then going upwind towards prestwick past the long reef. Leo was tucking into small barrels about 3 foot from the windward side of the reef – I gave a healthier 20 foot berth to the sharp rock. I then went into the river mouth north of prestwick as the sandbar here throws up some nice waves.. Then after two hours I was knackered and headed for home ….. a good day.

Once back in Glasgow it was time for a run – today was a long run day and had intended a 20km run before I went kiting but once back and legs already a bit tired I headed off and did a shorter run  13km in 57min (a 4:24/km average) – I am planning to taper this week as I am running the Jedburgh Half Marathon next week ….. Was dreaming of a 1H30 finish but think it will more likely be a 1H37. Will see how enthusiastic race day makes me …..

Summary from Garmin Connect
BEST DISTANCES (from endomondo)
  • Cooper (12 min) 2.87 km
  • 1 km 4m:02s
  • 1 mile 6m:39s
  • 3 miles 20m:23s
  • 5 km 21m:07s
  • 10 km 43m:08s

How was your weekend?

Sunday Ride – a nice 50km *cough cough*

Still haven’t shaken my cough and it was a pain this weekend as went up to nr Dundee to see pals. I went out for ride with Tom a nice 50km into the teeth of a fresh breeze and then looping around the hills before gliding home with the sun and wind on our back.

Not sure whether it is the 11kg steel bike or the cough or a lack of fitness but was suffering up the hills. Tom is debating on a new ti road bike with a budget of around £4000 … need to send him my Cycling Plus which had a great review of the Enigma Eclipse which would also save him a fortune.

endomondo screengrab

PDF below of the review for Enigma Bike


Bryton Cardio 30 review (the first few days)

The watch HRM is still new to me but initial thoughts are this. (Update used at Ruthin in MTB race with mixed result see bottom of this page HERE part  …..Was using the Bryton Cardio 30 on the bike as well as the Garmin Edge 305 (which is great and now around £175) and there was quite a large difference in readings. There was a small section in woodland but not enough for this difference…..)

Now done a Full Review where I advise against spending money on this watch.

Good Points

  • The watch is small – much smaller than you think – quite a bit smaller than the Garmin 405 which I guess is a direct competitor, and more importantly comfortable on the wrist which the Garmin wasn’t.
  • Bryton Bridge seems reliable and the ability to export .gpx files is great for those using other online diaries like endomondo (although giving the protocol to Endomondo would be useful too in case people wanted to import direct)
  • Waterproof rated to 30m so I wont hesitate to use this kite surfing.
  • Ability to pair with any ANT+ protocol device like HRM straps and power meters / cadence sensor etc

Middle Points

  • So far I would say i am still not convinced – initial operation is a bit fiddly – the user interface is more complicated than most GPS units I have used.
  • Initial satellite lock is longer than the Garmin 405 and the Suunto GPS pod.
  • The displays on the watch are also not as clear or as user friendly useful as some I have seen.
  • The USB connector lead is short – for me connecting to the back on an iMac I would say an inch or two too short but others may find it fine. Unusual connection – don’t lose the lead as it isn’t a regular USB. This uniqueness may have something to do with the waterproof features.

Not so good Points

  • The display always has distance at the top of screen then main display is set as either km/h, rpm (stride), min/km, HR or calories. I would have liked to see an average pace as GPS reading are so flaky that it isn’t a reliable indicator.
  • Display is small and doesn’t have the versatility you would need as runner or biker in monitoring your stats/status.
  • A moan would be the lack of auto-lap summary – I have set unit to put in lap marker every 1km but it needs to flash you the last km time to be really useful as a running HRM. The Suunto T6C would flash up a lap time for a few seconds e.g. 4:11 along with ave HR for that lap so then you would know whether to kick in a bit or stay at pace.


Still positive but yet to take it for a proper run – will do that one morning this week before work or Saturday morning and hopefully I can report back with an extended update.

10km run in the sleet

A day working from home – the perfect time to go for a run. Stepped out and stepped straight back into the house – man it was cold. Checked the weather station (with its remote outdoor temp) and it was 4 degrees C.

Put on unattractive ear muff cycling thing and some gloves then headed out.

It was a great run – was using the Suunto T6C with gps but also using the iPhone (playing music) and running the Endomondo running app to test it (more on that later). It was cold and breezy and being spring occasionally sleety.

A bit of traffic on the roads at some points so slower laps sometimes. Not a quick run but good to get out.


on movescount



iPhone GPS running and bike apps tried, hated, liked but none loved

*UPDATE Endomondo is a very good option Bluetooth HRM belt will also give you heart rate and online it is like a facebook of exercise – in a good way*

I know the iphone is not a dedicated gps unit and won’t replace something like the Garmin Edge …. but i have one and apps are relatively cheap ince you have the phone. But so far I have to find one that I actually love.

What I want on my bike Screen is:

Distance / Time
HR / Calories (or elevation/slope/Direction)

These are screen grabs from the garmin Edge 305 (with a smaller screen than the iPhone)

But then the iPhone must have an app as good or as versatile ….. No such luck – here is a run through


1. BikeMate

This looks promising although I haven’t tried it yet.


– Trip –

This is the speedometer function.
Current speed, maximum speed, average speed, travel distance, travel time, altitude, and calorie information are displayed. You can save your riding progress using the save button.

– Route –

Current location and travel path are shown using Google Maps.
You can read the saved route and photos using ‘Load’ function, and you can ride along the loaded route.
When you take a photograph, the location where the photograph is taken is displayed.

– History –

With calendar function you can check saved rout

e information organized on daily bases.

You can check total distance, total riding time, and total consumed calories for all previous rides (only with the saved route data) to get an idea about the amount of total exercise.

– Taking Photographs –

You can take photographs with an iPhone camera, and the location where the photo is taken is saved with the photo image so that they can be checked against the photographs from the route data.

– DATA Management –

You can check/delete/edit the riding paths and photographs, and you can send them by email and MashUp.

You can modify the functions related to BikeMateGPS to your preference.

1. MotionX

(their blurb) MotionX-GPS is for your outdoor life:
That’s Walking, Hiking, Running, Cycling, Biking, Sailing, Skiing, Flying, Racing, Geocaching.

MotionX is committed to constant improvement. We listen to our millions of MotionX users and continuously add the most requested features. Recently added user-requested features include:

Map Storage Interface: Downloading and storing maps is faster and easier than ever.
MotionX Terrain and Road maps can be stored for worldwide use and no data fees.
High contrast skin style for easy daytime viewing.

Support for GPX file import enables wirelessly importing of GPS tracks and waypoints from any source, anywhere.


criticised in comments now tried and very swiftly deleted Not a great app for mtb’ing

(blurb) Monitor your speed, review your path, and share your travels. TrailBlazer lets you monitor and record where you are and how fast you’re going:

– see the route you’re taking on a map and monitor graphs of your speed and altitude

– review and share your paths.

Create colour-coded paths according to speed so you’ll know how fast you were going at any point along your track.
Create animating Google Earth files so you can watch your journey unfold in Google Earth and know exactly where you were as time progressed.
You can wirelessly download your track information from your iPhone directly to your Mac or PC using just a web browser!

3. The BIKE

Having a bicycle computer is one of the most fun (And geeky!) gadgets you can have on a bike. This one is similar but larger than a standard bike computer. None the less, this is a great little free app to have and I recommend it to all cyclists as long as you don’t want altitude and HRM functions.

4 GPSies


GPSies is the most easy to use iPhone Application that allows you to geo track your sports and leisure activities. Recorded tracks can be stored locally for later reference or uploaded to with one tap. is the leading platform and community for GPS recorded tracks and is used by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts around the world.


  • Record tracks. Pause and resume any time.
  • View elapsed time, current and average speed and pace.
  • View covered path and altitude profile.
  • One-tap upload to
  • Export to all major formats and applications through
  • Store tracks in the iPhone for later reference.
  • US and metric system support.
  • Recording interval adjustable to suit activity type.
  • Pocket mode for optimized battery life.
  • Edit tracks with map on

This is pretty close to what I want apart from HRM functions

5. Trailguru

More of a cross sport web based app – for trails and paths.

(blurb) Use your iPhone 3G to do more than just listen to music while you run, bike, or hike. Download Trailguru and capture your outdoor activities using the iPhone 3G’s integrated GPS.


Although more of a running app it could be used for mtb’ing. Basic functions and displays though

7. B.icycle

I have not tried this as spending £6 to try something out that could be a bit pants is a lot …. their blurb promises a lot …..


B.iCycle is a next generation cyclometer for your iPhone!

It provides all the information you need on the bike. Our stylish user interface combined with maximum ease of use create a new experience on the bike.


  1. – Accurate values for current speed, average speed, maximum speed, total distance, trip distance, current altitude, climbed altitude, burned calories as well as trip time
  2. – Watch your bike automatically move on the map and zoom in on your trail
  3. – Receive your trips via email (KML und GPX) and review them at home (e.g. with Google Earth) or share them with other bikers
  4. – Suspend, pause and resume for trips allows you to receive calls or take a break
  5. – iPod function can be used together with B.iCycle

Based on countless test drives and refinement we calculate all values with maximum precision of the built in GPS. In contrast to standard cyclometers you do not have to calibrate B.iCycle to your bike. It just works – out of the box.

For the full experience we recommend to use a bike mount.

“Bicycle Mount Pedestal with Swivel-head” from provides solid mounting as well as fair pricing.


A MAP! Including bike trails! Even offroad you will not get lost while biking:  Somebody from the huge OpenStreetMap community has already been there and mapped the trail for you! A community of more than 70.000 people is constantly mapping bike trails around the globe!

This really brings biking to the next level! B.iCycle makes perfect use of what the iPhone can do with GPS, connectivity and the amazing screen resolution.
And watching your tracks at home is more fun then ever, especially after a hard workout!



Why you need this and why you would pay for it beats me – A free download like Evernote makes much more sense