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Sensors on Willem's Blog

The best bike computer app: Cyclemeter

Get advanced ride data with a flexible setup

Apr. 30, 2019
Collect advanced bike ride data using your smartphone connected to external Bluetooth sensors and a steer mounted display.

This month I have intensified my training to become fit for this year's Fietselfstedentocht, a 235KM bicycle ride through Friesland. Over the years I have tested different kinds of bike computer setups: from dedicated (and expensive) Garmin Edge bike computers to no data at all. Eventually I came up with a flexible setup to gather advanced ride data using my smartphone, let me explain how this works.

Swimming and cycling with Apple Watch

Different activities in the workout app in watchOS

Sep. 27, 2018
This month I tested the newest watchOS while swimming and cycling.

This month Apple launched a new Apple Watch series and released an update to watchOS. The focus of the smartwatch is more and more gearing towards health and fitness. This made me curious, how well does Apple Watch work for different activities?

Listen to your body

Why I stopped using health and fitness sensors

May 17, 2018
Using health data gathered by sensors and wearables I learned to listen to my body. Now I have stopped using bluetooth sensors all together.

A good customer of mine was once a physiotherapist, he told me about people asking him to "feel their muscles" to tell them how they where doing. "Crazy!" he told me: "I can never feel better than the people themselves, if they only would listen to their body". This caused me to question the health and fitness sensors I use.

Outside the comfort zone: amateur acting

Wearing an heart rate monitor during my debut performance

Apr. 18, 2018
This month I strapped myself with sensors during a little experiment outside my comfort zone: I debuted as amateur actor!

This month I made my debut as amateur actor. I am no Hollywood star, nor do I envy to become one. But I do like crazy experiments and operating outside of my comfort zone often leads to new and refreshing insights. I took part in an amateur drama play and - in the name of science and fun - strapped myself with sensors to measure what happened to my body.

Commuting by bike

One week (240KM) on the VanMoof Electrified S

Dec. 2, 2017
One week on the VanMoof Electrified S E-bike testing it for commuting and comparing it to a normal bike.

For a few years now, I commute to work using a bicycle. I have lost more than 15KG since I stopped using my scooter. This week I tested a VanMoof Electrified S, an electric bike with an industrial, minimal design. Is it any good? How does it compare to a normal bike? Will an electric bike make you lazy? Read along to find out!

Collecting health data with Biostrap

Wearing a clinical-grade photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor for a month

Nov. 15, 2017
Wearing a clinical-grade PPG sensor for a month to collect advanced biometrics from my wrist.

Most wearables (smartwatches, fitness trackers, etc.) use very basic sensors to capture heart rate. Their signal is binary: just counting beats. Biostrap is different, instead of just checking pulses, it captures a high-fidelity PPG waveform. These waveforms are the same kind that doctors use, making me wonder what I could learn from them!

Fietselfstedentocht 2017

Cycling the 235KM bicycle tour through Friesland

June 30, 2017
Cycling the 235KM long Fietselfstedentocht through Friesland

This month I cycled the Fietselfstedentocht, a 235KM tour through Friesland. This tour brings you through various Frisian cities throughout one of the most Northern provinces of the Netherlands. The tour was first organised in 1912 and has grown to become legendary due to its history, challenge and popularity; well worthy of a blog post!

One year of cycling

GPS recording an entire year of bike rides using Garmin and Strava

Dec. 31, 2016
GPS recording an entire year of bike rides using Garmin and Strava.

One year ago I started recording all my bike rides, including commutes, short grocery trips and long Gran Fondos. I equipped my bicycles with Garmin Edge computers that recorded location (GPS), speed, cadence and my heart rate. I covered more than 7683 kilometers during 320 hours of riding. It's time to review all the data and share some photos I took along the ride!

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Sneek, 1912 - the first Fietselfstedentocht
Sneek, 1912 - the first Fietselfstedentocht
Swimming with Apple Watch using the Workout app
Swimming with Apple Watch using the Workout app
One of my nightly rides went through the McDrive - bikes are welcome, apparently :-)
One of my nightly rides went through the McDrive - bikes are welcome, apparently :-)
Set to go - ready for 235KM on two wheels!
Set to go - ready for 235KM on two wheels!
One month of Biostrap health data
One month of Biostrap health data
Heatmap of my bike rides in the Amsterdam area.
Heatmap of my bike rides in the Amsterdam area.
After some long haul rides I disassembled the bike to get home.
After some long haul rides I disassembled the bike to get home.
Biostrap it's pretty much just like a Swatch, light on the wrist because of it's material: rubber and plastic.
Biostrap it's pretty much just like a Swatch, light on the wrist because of it's material: rubber and plastic.
Rain radar image during test riding the Electrified S (source: knmi.nl)
Rain radar image during test riding the Electrified S (source: knmi.nl)
Histogram of time and heart rate, showing how long (% of total time) a given heart rate was measured. (blue is electric, red is normal)
Histogram of time and heart rate, showing how long (% of total time) a given heart rate was measured. (blue is electric, red is normal)
Apple Watch summary screen after swimming
Apple Watch summary screen after swimming
Recovery after an heavy Thursday night can take up to days
Recovery after an heavy Thursday night can take up to days
Swimming with Apple Watch (shot with iPhone)
Swimming with Apple Watch (shot with iPhone)
Instead of just counting beats, the Biostrap cloud services analyses the PPG waveform captured by the sensor.
Instead of just counting beats, the Biostrap cloud services analyses the PPG waveform captured by the sensor.
VanMoof Electrified S
VanMoof Electrified S
It was really cold during this ride in December. My drink bottles, gloves and shoes where frozen!
It was really cold during this ride in December. My drink bottles, gloves and shoes where frozen!
Yep, it's me. :-)
Yep, it's me. :-)
The combined speed and cadence sensor mounted on my bike
The combined speed and cadence sensor mounted on my bike

More Sensors on Willem's Blog

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