Wahoo Fitness Expands Cycling Offerings with RFLKT Bike Computer

The market for smartphone-based cycling computers is a crowded one but with enhancements in phones constantly coming along, developers continually have room to differentiate their products from rivals, and that is what Wahoo Fitness is looking to do with its latest offering.

Wahoo has long been a developer in this space using the iPhone as a core piece of its offering and its latest is no different. The company’s RFLKT Bike Computer is designed to be used with an iPhone 4S and the recently released iPhone 5..

There are several components to the product. A user mounts the RFLKT unit on the handlebars of the bike and it displays the information that a cyclist needs to evaluate their ride. Among the data that it allows users to monitor are power, speed, cadence, heart rate, pace, distance, location, and course.

However the data is gathered using the iPhone, which the owner can keep in a pocket or another safer place than the handlebars, and its various built-in features as well as third party apps as needed. The phones GPS helps plot out your path and its Bluetooth capabilities transmit the data to the RFLKT unit.

A user can use a favorite cycling app with the device and switch between screens. The iPhone enables a user to customize the look and feel of the appearance on the RFLKT’s display.

Also available for use are a host of technologies and apps from Wahoo including its speed and cadence sensor for iPhone, heart rate monitor and its Power Trainer. A user can also check in with their favorite social networking site or run playlists via the device as well as monitor their riding stats.

Wahoo Fitness’ RFLKT Bike Computer is currently being demonstrated at the Interbike 2012 trade show in Las Vegas and is expected to ship in December with pricing to be determined.

RadioShack Tour Tracker Will Return For Second USA Pro Challenge Mobile Coverage

The USA Pro Challenge debuted in Colorado in 2011 as a new stage race but with a long history in some respects dating to the iconic Coors Classic which ended in 1988. The high degree of the new event's success even surprised race organizers.

Strong online and mobile event coverage helped in 2011, and it will return for the race's second edition, Aug. 20-26, beginning in Durango, Colo., via the RadioShack Tour Tracker.

Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), the third-place finisher in this year’s Tour de France, 2011 Tour de France titlist Cadel Evans (BMC) of Australia and defending race titlist Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) of the United States are among the favorites for the Colorado race.

Five of the top 13 finishers in this year’s Tour de France plus a host of other Tour de France and Olympic riders will participate in the 683-mile, seven-stage race that will take the expected field of 126 cyclists from 16 teams to Denv


The free RadioShack Tour Tracker (RSTT) app is downloadable from the Apple app store and Google Play. Available as a mobile and web-based app (online at prochallenge.com/RadioShack-TourTracker), RSTT features live video coupled with real time data, including stats and the standing of each rider.

Each stage will be detailed “on the road” and will immediately report breakaways, time gaps, speed and road gradient.

Fans viewing the race in person can use the RadioShack Tour Tracker’s integrated GPS tracking to monitor race progress on the detailed course map and anticipate the arrival time at their viewing point.

The TourTracker is considered the premier online and mobile race coverage platform. (Editor's note: We profiled Tour Tracker last year.) It addition to the USA Pro Challenge, it's utilized in the Tour de France, Tour of California, Tour of Utah and other international cycling events.

James Raia is a California-based journalist who writes about sports, travel and leisure. Visit his cycling site at tourdefrancelife.com


New York Times Comes Full Circle With Online Olympic Track Cycling Video

Like other Olympic sports with global popularity but only in niche locales, track cycling comes to the masses every four years at the Summer Olympics.

There were few sports more prominent in the United States in the early 1900s when six-day races were all the rage for celebrities and high society theater patrons who made bets on riders competing in Madison Square Garden.

London Olympics' track cycling venue

Bobby Walthour, a track cycling champion at the time, was among the country’s highest paid athletes and made more than $100,000 a year. His exploits on and off the track were prominently displayed in the New York Times — including his image in a display advertisement for Camel cigarettes.

How ironic is it that it’s the online edition of the New York Times’ (Page 1, Aug. 3) that  featured a video, detailed charts and accompanying audio explaining the nuances of the sport’s most well-known event — the match sprint?

The video, “A Simple Bicycle Race,” begins with the description: “In the track cycling match sprint, riders go around a 250-meter track three times. Typically, they go slowly at the start, until someone makes a move.”

The narration of the video describes the event’s strategy and takes viewers around the track in animation and via the perspective of two riders’ head cameras via a split screen.

In addition to the Olympics, track cycling has a yearly World Cup circuit and a World Championship, the latter of which was last held in the United States in 2005 at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California.

The Olympic track cycling competition continues through Aug. 6.

To view the New York Times’ video, visit: Olympic Track Cycling

James Raia is an editor and publisher in Sacramento, California. Visit his site: www.tourdefrancelife.com

When Do Olympic Events Start? Google Will Tell You

Now that the opening ceremony is out of the way, let the Olympic Games begin. And if you want to know when any event will start, Google is ready to tell you — and will even handily sync it to your local time, all the better for those of us who want to watch things in real time, no matter how far we are from London.

As a cycling fan I knew the men’s road race was nearing its start time over in London but I didn’t know exactly when it kicked off, so off I went to Google — where I found a handy cycling schedule to the right hand side of the screen, telling me that the race started at 2:00 a.m. my time. Entering “swimming” in the Google search bar brought up an equally impressive interactive schedule (screen shot to the left) with all heat race times. I am assuming Google has this info sussed out for all events on all days. A handy and easy thing and a good way for the Googlers to make sure they get more than their share of search revenue during the games, by being the best at pointing people where they want to go.

With NBC promising to stream everything live, Google’s “Watch Online” button will probably get quite a workout. When it comes to the men’s road race Saturday I know Mark Cavendish is the favorite and if it comes to a field sprint he won’t be beaten. But Olympic races never seem to go as planned, and remember Cav ain’t racing here with the full Sky team but only four other teammates, with no radios so it’s not a given that Cav will deliver. Our good friend John Wilcockson earlier this year sussed out the strategies we may see on the London course. I’m going to go with Peter Sagan as my pick, just to seem smart.

Xirrus Gets Yellow Jersey for Successful Tour de France Mobile Wi-Fi Network

That white circular thing at upper right is a Xirrus wireless array, doing its duty in a Tour de France press room. Credit: Xirrus.

Just like Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, Wi-Fi gear vendor Xirrus had a pretty good Tour de France, as its wireless arrays finished off a successful string of supporting the demanding needs of the world’s media during the 21-stage event.

According to a Xirrus press release, the company supplied its gear to French wireless supplier Orange, which delivered Internet access to the race’s start and finish areas, a challenging task that involved quick setup and teardown in the host cities. The Xirrus release said that its network for Orange supported “125 TV broadcasters, 2,300 journalists, 70 radio stations, and 450 newspapers transferring enormous amounts of media-rich files from the Tour’s Start Village, Timing Locations, Sprint Locations, Media Centers, and Finish Lines.”

If you’re not familiar with the demands of sport media, the still cameras alone at a big event like the Tour de France can account for millions of megapixels. Typically the photographers, who spend most of race days on motorcycles, decamp at the finish line press tents and start immediately downloading huge files of photos to their main offices, where the images are posted on web sites or readied for print publications. And they are just a subset of the throng of local broadcasters, national and international print writers and radio commentators who all need big broadband pipes to get their information from race site to website.

That’s where Xirrus and Orange came in, designing a highly mobile network infrastructure that featured Xirrus’ modular access points, which can be configured with more radios as are needed to handle bandwidth demands. That Xirrus was as up to the task as Wiggins and all the other riders who traversed the race’s thousands of kilometers was proven in part by the money quote from the apparently satisfied client, Henri Terreaux, Events Projects Manager at the French Operation Division of Orange:

“Orange is focused on providing the Tour de France, NBC Sports, government dignitaries, and thousands of media professionals during the race with reliable, high-performance wireless connectivity. Xirrus makes it easy to support the thousands of devices, simultaneously transferring large amounts of video and photo files through a robust network that, due to the race, must be redeployed on a daily basis, across 21 cities, in extreme environments. The array-based platform is the most powerful and trusted solution we’ve tested, and very quick to set-up.”

Here are some more details on the Xirrus blog.

Velocomp’s iBike Powerhouse System Hits Market

Velocomp has delivered its iBike Powerhouse to the market just in time to train another generation of Tour de France hopefuls along with the much more likely crowd of weekend riders looking to step up their game.

The iBike Powerhouse is a portable computerized cycling fitness system that runs on either an iPod Touch or an iPhone and is designed to adjust automatically to an individual user’s exercise goals.

The system features power measurement and analysis technologies and features that monitor your efforts and provide feedback and updates that are automatically-adjusted based on a number of goal-oriented cycling plans that the company provides.

A user simply selects from any of the four to six week goal-based programs that the application features and it will set up a program that is designed to help you reach your goals with a series of rides that vary between 45-90 minutes long.

The plans, which include programs such as “iSlim, ”“CycleMax,”“ Express Fitness, ”“Brazilian Butt,”“ Weekend Warrior, ”and“ Zero to 20 miles also, allow a user to set their skill level so that a couch potato and a potential racer do not have to follow the same regime. Included in the information and feedback for each program are videos from cycling coach Hunter Allen that provide tips on overall cycling and how to improve your performance.

The iBike Powerhouse comes with a water/shock resistant case, a set of electronics for your bike that register your cycling performance and a wireless speed sensor. A handle bar mounting system also ships with the app so that a user can clearly see what is required for the current workout session. The iBike Powerhouse kit has a MSRP of $279 and comes with two workout programs, iSlim and CycleMax while additional programs are available for $9.99

Sports feedback is a very competitive field, with players from Nike, Garmin to all of Ant +’s customers and many in between trying to grab a piece of the market. Velocomp has a well rounded offering that has gained critical acclaim and should be able to carve out a nice niche for itself.