Posts Tagged ‘cycling’

Riding Through Mountains (of Data)

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

(Here is the documentation for my thesis project at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. PDF version here.)

Riding through Mountains of Data:
Visualizations of Cycling

Robert Carlsen
Interactive Telecommunications Program
Tisch School of the Arts
New York University


This project attempts to describe the cycling experiences of several riders in New York City through a series of visualizations. Specifically, I am interested to discover if riders similar to myself share a common experience through which a sense of connection could be derived.

Cyclists were encouraged to record their travels using their personal mobile devices running Mobile Logger, a custom iPhone application.
Log data was uploaded by the application to an online database in near real-time during each ride. This data was analyzed and filtered to provide source material for the resulting visualizations and system “dashboard” at


Cycling, New York City, sensors, iPhone, visualization, mapping, tracking, logging, mobile, application, bicycle


Earth Day + Mobile Logger

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

1260201893_posterThursday, April 22nd is Earth Day. The weather is looking to be sunny and 65 degrees in New York City. Sounds like a perfect day to ride your bike (or walk, run or whatever you like to do outside). Since you’re already going to be out there, why not log the trip, help me with my thesis, and have your data made into some visualizations I’m preparing for the project?

It’s pretty simple…download Mobile Logger from the App Store (iPhone 3G/3GS), open it, then tap Logging switch to begin. Put the phone in your pocket, bag, mounted to handlebars, or wherever is convenient and go. You can double-tap the screen to disable the display, but shouldn’t lock the phone.

When you’ve reached your destination, tap the logging switch again to stop and you’re done! The log data is automatically uploaded to the Mobile Logger server and will be included in my research (this uploading can be disabled if you’d like to use the app without contributing to the project, too).

What I’m really interested in exploring is a sense of connection between us by sharing our experiences. I ride a bike daily through NYC, and encounter many other cyclists, walkers and drivers. We pass each other in a moment, or perhaps share a lane for a bit and then continue on our separate ways. How does my 5 mile, 25 minute ride from Greenpoint to the East Village compare to someone riding from Queens? What does a ride around Prospect Park share with one in Central Park? What’s the loudest part of the city for a cyclist? Where are the most frequently ridden routes?

I’ll be working with the contributed data to create visualizations which attempt to answer these questions. The “dashboard” of the system will be present at More info about the app is available on it’s documentation page.

Times UP! is also organizing a ride at 7pm from Union Square if you still need another excuse to get on a bike, skates or a board. It would be neat to see a bunch of riders converge on a location, then ride together in a group. I really want to see what that visualization would look like…

Thanks, and enjoy the ride!

Mobile Logger on the App Store!

Monday, April 12th, 2010

appstoreAfter several rounds of rejection, Mobile Logger has been accepted and is available on the App Store! Feel free to try it out; hopefully some folks will find it useful. The source code for the application has been released under the GPL and is available on github.

I’m still actively recruiting participants for my ongoing thesis project, which involves visualizing cyclists in New York City. If you’d like your riding to become incorporated in some pretty pictures to be presented in May, then by all means start logging (and thank you in advance)!

Be warned, it’s a battery hog. Feel free to let me know if it gives you any trouble.

Golden Cheetah 1.0.277 released!

Friday, January 9th, 2009

gc_10277We finally got a new version of Golden Cheetah out the door….it’s been only like, almost a year. Whew! Pressure is off.

I had been making personal builds since the summer to give out to folks who wanted to take advantage off several new features introduced since the march build. Sean gave Justin and I write access to the svn code this past December and we’ve been playing catch up on a backlog of patches, and i’ve been remembering c++ and Qt.

Several new features have been added in this release: Critical Power calculator, find best intervals utility, Pedal Force / Pedal Velocity chart, iBike and Ergomo CSV import, GUI power zones creator, separate vertical axes for Power / HR / Cadence and Speed in the Ride plot, sorting rides with the most recent at the top of the list, and many bug fixes courtesy of JT Conklin. This version is also using FTDI D2xx drivers rather than VCP.

We’ve also switched to a numbered versioning system which will serve to better indicate which svn revision the releases were built from and perhaps will mask our slow release cycle. :)

The new release is available on the Golden Cheetah download page.

Visualizing (proxemic) space

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

In conducting research for the CycleSense bicycle traffic proximity system I gathered data about the amount of space behind a bicycle rider traveling through typical New York City traffic at various times and locations. The initial visualization of this data was to graph the distances over time to look for specific events that the system would need to detect in order to be useful. I cross-referenced the space data with video taken on the same rides


Wheel Building!

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

PowerTap wheel buildI finally built my first bicycle wheel. I’ve wanted to do it for a long while, but never got around to doing it. The opportunity presented itself after the Zipp 404 clincher rim laced to my PowerTap hub cracked, again. This has happened more than a few times to me, so I requested that Zipp replace the wheel without my PowerTap hub. Zipp came through for me, replacing the rim under warranty and providing a new Zipp hub at no cost. Thank you Zipp Speed Weaponry.

Anyway, I had the PT hub anxiously looking for a good rim. Our sponsor shop, Breakaway Bikes, hooked me up with a DT Swiss RR 1.2 rim, and I opted to use 2.0/1.8 Paul spokes and brass nipples. It was really nice to hand pick the components for the new wheel.

I used the procedure outlined by Gerd Schraner in “The Art of Wheelbuilding”. It wasn’t as difficult as I had always imagined it to be, and really methodical, almost therapeutic. I did overtighten the right side spokes, which caused me to round some of the nipples that had to be replaced, but nothing catastrophic. So far, the wheel has held up well. I’m looking forward to building another wheel…

Golden Cheetah releases a new version!

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Finally, the new work is public. Download available at

The biggest change is that the application now includes BikeScore. A metric developed by Dr. Phil Skiba based on TRIMPS and Andy Coggan’s TSS. These metrics aim to provide a way to quantify training load. It’s useful to help getting an appropriate amount of work done while avoiding overtraining .

We already have the next version of Golden Cheetah’s features in the hopper. I’m personally interested in adding long-term analysis of training data so we can track fitness trends over time. I’d also like to overhaul the interface.

For now, I hope that people will find the new version useful.