Bike ride experience


#1

Tried my first outdoor ride with The Dash. I often ride with a buddy and go about 30 kph (~20 mph) which, according to the manual is the upper limit of speed for mic wind noise suppression. On the indoor bike, the cadence and heart rate were very accurate so I was optimistic for outdoor results. I did three trips. Started and ended the first trip with the app. Started the 2nd with the app and ended with taps on the left earpiece. I was getting regular 5 minute reports but the first trip only logged a total of 5 minutes from a 40 minute trip. The 2nd trip failed to register in the app.

I was unable to intelligbly communicate with my buddy during the ride with The Dash in my ears. I did the trips without any Bluetooth audio to see how the audio transparency worked with and without windshield. At my most typical pace, there was overpowering wind noise that made conversation completely impossible both with and without windshield activated. Things were marginally better when I turned off audio transparency. While the wind noise was gone, it was quite hard to make out what my buddy was saying with the ear pieces in.

I tried a solo trip the next day with music and it again failed to record a trip though it did provide 5 minute audible updates. This time I used the internal MP3 player and tried transparency with and without windshield as well as transparency off. The wind noise interfered excessively with the music unless transparency was off. The audio was OK with audio transpatency off but as I was riding in traffic, as I most often do, I really had to pay extra attention to my glasses mounted mirror. Shortcut frequently unintentionally paused my audio as I hit bumps in the road.

According to Strava, about 60% of the people in my 60 - 65 age group typically ride faster than I do over my usual routes. If my wind speed noise experience is typical, The Dash is not ideally suited for the average Strava fitness rider. I’m going to look into making and testing some self designed foamboard wind deflectors to attach to my helmet to determine whether I can improve on these results.

First, I’d like to get the logging of activities sorted. Perhaps a handlebar mount for my phone may help? Connection from my right pocket was intermittent.

Tips anyone? Any riders out there who ride faster for whom audio transparency works?


#2

Had a bike ride this morning keeping things simple. I turned Shortcut off and played audio via a playlist of downloaded music videos on my phone via Bluetooth to The Dash. After starting the audio streaming, I selected Cycling from the left Dash tap menu. I kept transparency off but kept the volume low enough so as not to obliterate acoustic situational awareness. As expected, the streamed audio partially muted during the 5 minute activity reports. Upon arrival at my destination, I ended the activity with the left Dash touch controls and the audio again partially muted during the final activity summary report. 20 seconds later I stopped the audio player and a further 2 minutes later I removed the earpieces. When I checked the Android Bragi app, it showed the Dash as disconnected which was expected. I then chose to view the activity in the app and no cycling activity post June 3 was saved.

Given that The Dash is supposedly capable of capturing swimming activities and reporting to the app, I expected that it should be reasonable that starting and stopping the activity with headphone taps while my phone was in a locker, disconnected and otherwise disconnected while submerged would allow transferring of activity data upon connecting via Bluetooth after the activity ends.

During my ride, I had intermittent momentary disconnects but given that swimming is supported, disconnects should not be fatal to capturing an activity.

The online information says it should store an activity whether I start and stop an activity via taps on the hardware or via the app. What if I start with a Dash tap and end with the app? That scenario is implied but not documented. What about the reverse? Do I need to disconnect the phone bluetooth and then reconnect at the end of the activity for it to synch after connection dropouts in the course of an activity?

Some of my activities June 3 and prior included indoor biking with a solid uninterrupted connection but I’ve only had 2 outdoor bike activities recorded. The indoor activities were started and stopped in the app but I can’t recall the details of the outdoor rides.

All I can say with any certainty is that when I use my Garmin Vivoactive watch with a cheststrap HR sensor and go biking, it synchs via bluetooth 100% of the time and it includes decent speed, distance and elevation data. My inexpensive VDO bike computer adds barometric grade and at a glance cadence information relevant for instantaneous wind and grade factoring as well as duration, split times and temperature data.

My bluetooth connectivity to the headphones was so bad that I expect there are other factors involved. I don’t have a proper handlebar phone mount and having the phone in my right pants pocket or jacket pocket (less than 75 or 50 cm respectively) resulted in disconnects so I rode with phone in hand. Even held at the right handlebar, turning my head to the right dropped the audio connection.

I use blinking led front and rear lamps and in my experience, the position of the front lamp in relation to the bike computer can impact the wireless connectivity of the VDO cadence and wheel rotation sensor which use magnetic hall effect transducers and an indeterminate wireless protocol. The lights to bike computer interference is sorted now by adjusting the positions of the components, but it seems my headphones have poorer connectivity on the bike than in most other environments.

At this point I’m going to get a corded over ear headphone with 30 mm foam pads for transparency and a volume control dial and a couple safety pins to secure the cord. I have a set of corded ear buds with built in start-stop control and mic but the over the ear foam pads offer better transparency. As far as The Dash is concerned, recording biking activities in my real world application is a non-starter.


#3

I can only assume no one on this forum bikes with the Dash. I’ve subsequently had a number of indoor activities including stationary biking that do not appear as a recorded activity despite having sucessfully started and stopped the activity and having heard interim and final reports over the head phones. I was connected to my phone the entire time by bluetooth as I was listening to audio over that connection before during and after the activities.

Today, I tried an indoor cycling activity thinking I would start and stop the activity with the phone but the option to start a new activity was not enabled in the app even though it was connected by bluetooth at the time. The last time I was able to record any activity with the Dash is now over a month ago.

My next step will be to uninstall and reinstall the Bragi App on my phone.


#4

The reinstall allowed me to start and stop an activity. I went for a walk and set it as a run activity. It was playing bluetooth music for the duration of the walk but as I finished, it had to connect before it would allow me to end the activity. It managed to log the activity. Next test will be to see if it can save an activity started and stopped via the touch interface while playing bluetooth music.

In comparison with my Garmin HR, it reported an identical heartrate. The Garmin app reported 235 calories whereas the Bragi app reported only 2. Given the distance and my weight, the Garmin was more accurate in terms of calories.


#5

I just also noticed that several of my missing activities since June 3 just appeared after the reinstall of the Bragi app.


#6

I tried 2 short activities today starting and stopping using headset taps while streaming YouTube audio from my phone. This time they showed up in the app so perhaps the reinstall of the app fixed something in the tracking/data storage software. Curiously, yesterday’s activity that had recorded 2 calories now reported 184 though reported as 0 calories in Google Fit. Also, today’s two activities were recorded as four or two identical pairs. Maybe it’s trying to make up for all the unrecorded past activities!! Also, I found a bike ride recorded Jan 2, 2015 in my history; nearly 3 years before I bought these units.

At least when I deleted one of each duplicate pair it seems that they were not linked as the other remained in the log.

I’m feeling more and more like a beta tester.


#7

I logged a jog with the Dash last evening starting the activity while disconnected from bluetooth. Near the end, I turned the bluetooth on with the phone and it gave a live updating view of the data and I ended the activity using the app on the phone.

Comparing the heartrate average and activity distance, the my Garmin Vivoactive HR and Bragi gave near idenical results. However, the Bragi app recorded 4 calories whereas the Garmin reported 664. I did notice post activity that my weight was reset, probably with the app reinstall. Curious given that my previous recorded activities survived the reinstall but my profile settings for height, weight, gender and age didn’t.

After the upcoming firmware is installed, I will probably uninstall the Bragi App one more time, delete any folders on my phone relating to the app and start fresh using a checklist of all the parameters I’ll need to reset. I know that the App was out by a factor of around a hundred for run calories prior to my latest reinstall and that was with valid personal parameters set.

Back to the drawing board.


#8