Interbike 2016: Tech tock

Clockwise from left: The iPod Nano with its fitness app; the Shimano Sports Cam; my iPhone with the cam app open; Garmin's VIRB Ultra 30; and the Timex Metopolitan+ watch and fitness tracker.

Clockwise from left: The iPod Nano with its fitness app; the Shimano Sports Cam; my iPhone with the cam app open; Garmin’s VIRB Ultra 30; and the Timex Metopolitan+ watch and fitness tracker.

Things are slowly returning to what passes for normal around El Rancho Pendejo.

Groceries have been bought and the lawn mowed. The Adventure Cyclist boyos and I have discussed editorial strategery for 2017. And last night I prepared an actual dinner instead of slapping together some light smorgasbord of cheese, ham, crackers, fruit and salad.

My initial impression that Interbike had lost a step or two was confirmed yesterday as organizers guesstimated that visitor count fell 10 to 12 percent while exhibition space dropped 8 percent. The outfit hopes for a good turnout at its Fall CycloFest next month in North Carolina, but you know what they say about hoping in one hand and shitting in the other. One hand fills up faster.

Vato's got a ticket to ride. Orrrrale.

Speaking of lost steps, I used an iPod Nano to track my walking during this year’s show, and I was surprised to have logged only about 20 miles. This is an approximation; I forgot to start the tracker for one longish march, from my room at the Luxor to the Boiler Room to meet some colleagues, then to the media preview at Mandalay Bay, then to the BRAIN dinner at Border Grill, and finally back to the room. If you insist on hard numbers, the way Adventure Cyclist does expense receipts, I can only document 17.5 miles.

I probably would have been better served by using the Timex Metropolitan+ I bought on a whim before heading to Vegas. A watch with delusions of grandeur, it sits on your wrist rather than in your pocket, and thus is harder to forget about. But it needed to be synchronized with my iPhone via an app, and the owner’s manual is about the size of my iPod Nano, and the online instructions seemed to have been translated from the original Feeb into Obfuscation, which is not one of my languages.

So, yeah. Didn’t get it figured out until yesterday, and I may not be completely there yet. Sucker has more hands than Avalokiteśvara, and the app is not nearly as intuitive as the Nano’s basic fitness tracker, which even a Trumpetista with a closed head injury could decode.

In point of fact it’s been something of a technology week here at the ol’ rancheroo. With more video on the horizon for Adventure Cyclist, I finally got around to installing the iPhone app to control my Shimano Action Cam (which lacks any sort of LCD monitor) and began monkeying around with Garmin’s new Virb Ultra 30 cam. You’ve seen footage from the former in my little road-trip video; look for video from the Virb in my review of the Trek 520, the next bike in the pipeline.

With all these tools in-house, and Bicycle Retailer slowing to monthly publication for the off-season, I hope to spend a little downtime honing my audiovisual chops. But you know what they say about hope.

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13 Responses to “Interbike 2016: Tech tock”

  1. Larry T Says:

    Glad you’re back home safely and properly taking care of Herself again, but I was hoping you were going to tell us you would spend some time RIDING one or more of those two-wheeled things rather than farting around with more electronic crap.
    Gorgeous day here in Iowa, our 3-5 days of autumn have arrived so now that I’ve finished our car’s fall cleanup, it’s time to me to ride!
    Meanwhile my final Interbike 2016 post is up

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Fondling carbon now are you? Nice post, but I like the lugged steel post the bestest!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Larry, I always need about a week of decompression post-Interbike before I feel good about looking at bicycles again, much less riding them.

      Today I took a nice hourlong hike that was not through a shopping mall full of porky, tattooed smokers. It was right nice.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Interesting situation – I’m the reverse, after spending so much time looking at ’em and talking about ’em I can’t wait to actually RIDE one again!
        PO’B, I will NOT be trading any of my steel bikes for plastic. We’ll still offer our classic all-steel bikes + the standard aluminum/carbon models in addition to the new, 100% handmade-in-Italy plastic bikes for those who want them.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Well, things haven’t been normal around here. Not too bad, but not normal. Duffy is going through a bout of pancreatitis. So off to the vet yesterday where I gave them my wallet and said, once again, take what you need. He is improving today and finally ate a bowl of rice and chicken about 30 minutes ago. Now if it will stay down, instead of on the carpet, the boyo will be on the road to recovery.

    This eye teaming problem I am having kept me from doing the whole 62 miles on the inaugural Sky Island Tour; I just rode 30 miles to Bisbee and called it a day. It didn’t seem prudent to mix it up with tourist traffic in downtown Bisbee when I have trouble judging distance to the left, because I see two of everything in that direction. To compensate I have to turn my head something like this.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Damn, Pat, that sounds like a whole lot of no fun at all, for the Duffinator or for you.

      I’ve had vision issues over the years and can’t say I care for ’em. Anything the medicos can do to clear yours up?

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Hey there Patrick. The consensus is that physical therapy, using a device called a Brock String, should get the eyes working together again after a month or so of using it 30 minutes a day. Essentially, the problem is that my focusing and aiming systems are not coordinating. It may have something to do with the vision in my eyes being so different caused by a cataract in my right eye which is 1 or two years away from removal. Hard to get doctors to give you a summary of what is wrong in plain English.

        Duffy is improving. Getting underfoot in the kitchen during lunchtime sandwich making looking for a handout is proof that his stomach is no longer in revolt. I think he will be fine tomorrow.
        Your post was entertaining and interesting. Just what we needed this morning. It appear the 520 spec went a little further downhill again. Just in time to market and sell the things on line.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        That Brock-string deal is pretty amazing. You mean to say they don’t wire you up like a Seventies dorm-room stereo, fill you full of designer drugs, and slide you into a glass tube full of flashing lights and stuff? Thanks, Obama!

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        The weird thing is that my vision in my right eye is getting better (20/25) from the cataract while the left gets more farsighted. Go figure. My riding sun glasses have a small bifocal in them which is now worthless. I dug an old pair of Rudy Project Kerosenes out of the parts box and used them for the tour without the precription inserts in them. They worked pretty good, and I might just get the inserts updated to my current distance prescription. So all you hoarders take heart. Sometimes something old is new again.

  3. Steve O Says:

    Wayback win, early captain years in the army, had a buddy with way too many kids going through a way too expensive divorce, and he was moonlighting every which way but how. One of his gigs was in some semblance of a technical writer. Some company in China would send him half a dozen Polaroids of some new gadget, a copy of the users manual in the original Manderin, and a stack full of 5 x 8 cards with scribblings in half a dozen languages, various engineers attempts and explaining what it was supposed to do. My buddy was supposed to take this miss-mash and turn it into an English users manual, and the success criteria consisted solely of approximately matching the original Chinese in general layout and number of pages. Dude could have included “step one: bend over, grab your ankles, and kiss it goodbye,” and he would’ve gotten paid just the same.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The funniest thing I ever saw was a short owner’s manual for a Modolo stem, many, many years ago. I’m not sure what the original language was — Italian? Chinese? Klingon? — but the English translation was a howler. I wish I’d have kept it. Sucker was right up there with Charles Pelkey’s machine-translation poem, “We Were Fought By Men Very Fast.”

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Many, many years ago with Modolo it was most likely in Italian to start. Even today we read “English” menus at eateries in Italy and still have to explain to our clients what the hell they’re offering. One of my faves was “raw flesh” while the Italian menu offered “carne cruda” – literally uncooked meat, but it’s raw, chopped steak, kind of like the French steak tartare, rather than what Hannibal Lector might have enjoyed.

  4. Peter W. Polack Says:

    Geez; just add a pressure cooker filled with ball bearings to that photo and it would be complete!

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