Tag Archives: cycling

4iiii Viiva Heart Rate monitor revisited

Some time ago I posted about my general dissatisfaction with the 4iiii Viiva heart rate monitor.

In a nutshell, in addition to being a ANT+ and Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE) heart rate monitor, it also acts as a bridge between ANT+ devices that don’t offer BTLE functionality. In my original review of the Viiva, I complained because few software offerings provided support for it and the data is sent to apps wasn’t accurate.

Well, I need to revise my opinion of the Viiva … it has gained adoption and now appears to be quite useful.

Those who use training programs (such as Zwift) with Apple TV have already learned that the Apple TV only supports 3 total BTLE devices connected. One of those devices slots is already taken by the remote control. That leaves only 2 more slots.

If you’re using a training program, you’ll need at least 3 devices connected (possibly more) …

  • Cadence sensor
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Trainer
  • Speed sensor (depending on the trainer)
  • Power meter (depending on the trainer)

In my case, I need a cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, and Kickr smart trainer (which acts as both a smart trainer and power meter).

You can use the Zwift companion app to gate the BTLE sensors, through the phone, to Zwift … but I find that to be somewhat twitchy (see my post on Zwift, which I will create later and link).

With the Viiva HRM, I’m able to pair my cadence sensor (which broadcasts in both ANT+ and BTLE) to it and feed both it and the heart rate data to the Apple TV without needing an extra BTLE connection slot.

So far it’s working well … the only issue I’ve had is that sometimes it takes a little while for Zwift to pick up the Viiva heart rate monitor.

Another option to accomplish the same thing is to use the North Pole Engineering (NPE) CABLE ANT+ to BTLE gateway. I tried using that but had problems with the hardware. It was probably defective. Getting support for the device, from the manufacturer, was pretty difficult. I ended up giving up, returning the device, and using the Viiva (since I already had it).

Garmin RTL-510 Radar

Review of the Garmin Varia RTL-510 Radar

Standard disclaimer:

Being into technology, I’ve accumulated a fair bit of bike tech also.  As such, I’m going to try doing thumbnail reviews of some of the bike tech that I current, or used to, use.

These aren’t going to be super technical reviews.  For that kind of thing I suggest you head over to
DCRainmaker‘s blog or GPLama‘s YouTube channel.

These are going to be my impressions of the product … what I like, what I don’t like, what could be better, and some things that should be left just the way they are.

All the items I’m going to review have been purchased outright by me and I don’t get any compensation for the reviews (unless I provide an Amazon link, in which case I get a small commission).

A few years ago I decided I could try bike commuting to work. The office I work in has a bike rack and (lucky for my co-workers) a locker room with showers.

I figured I could leave earlier than I normally would, ride the 20 miles to the office, lock my bike up, shower, and start work about an hour after I normally would. I would leave a change of clothes, toiletries, and fresh cycling kit for the ride home.

A few years ago a 20 mile ride to work would have seemed impossible, but now it’s really not a big deal. Takes about 90 minutes.

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Road Cycling in Maui

OK, first and foremost, this isn’t going to be an in-depth, expert, evaluation of road cycling on Maui … it’s just my impressions and opinions.  If you want something more, I suggest you take a look at Tom Meloy’s very nice writeup from a few years ago.

On a recent vacation to Maui, I decided to rent a bike and try some cycling.  I did, and here’s what I found…

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Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor

One of the things I like to do when I’m cycling, is keep track of various statistics related to my ride.

This includes things like speed, cadence (how fast I’m peddling), and heart rate.

To do this, I have a number of sensors that connect to my bike computer (Garmin Edge 810).  The sensors communicate with the bike computer using a low power communication mechanism called ANT+.

There are, however, some advantages of being able to track the sensor data on my iPhone in the various fitness apps (Strava, Endomondo, iBiker, etc).  The problem is that the iPhone needs an adapter to receive the ANT+ signal.  It’s not a big adapter, roughly the size of a charging cable connector.  In addition, the adapter is currently only available for iPhone 4S’s and earlier … it uses the 30 pin connector.  There are no ANT+ adapters for iPhone 5’s & newer (which use the lightning connector).

iPhone 4S’s & newer do have a variation of Bluetooth called “Bluetooth Smart” … also known as Bluetooth Low Energy (BTLE).  SOME fitness sensors support BTLE, but very few support both BTLE and ANT+.

This is where the 4iiii Viiiiva Heart Rate Monitor comes in.  It functions as a heart rate monitor with both ANT+ and BTLE communication.  In addition, it can act as a BRIDGE between other ANT+ sensors and feed the data via BTLE.

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Not Dead Yet

During the 2013 Tour de Cure ride, my friend Marty was active on various social media sites … he frequently used the phrase “Not dead yet”.

As it happened, I recently finished a book that was recommended to me by a fellow type 2 diabetic.  It was “Not Dead Yet: My Race Against Disease: From Diagnosis to Dominance” by Phil Southerland.

When Phil was a child, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.  His mother was told that he would either be dead or blind by the time he was 25. Despite this prediction, he went on to be a world class professional cycle racer and founded a professional cycle racing team: Team Type 1 (now Team Novo Nordisk).

I found the book to be very good and quite enlightening … on multiple levels.

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Tour de France

I’m actually watching a sporting event on TV right now … well, slightly time shifted, as it’s recording on the the TiVo.

I’m watching (as you might have guessed) the Tour de France.

I’m honestly not following most the technical details, but it’s kind of interesting.

Unfortunately, the detached perspective of watching on TV makes it hard to judge the significance of various aspects … like speed, climbs, head winds, etc.

Still, kind of interesting.  I’ll keep watching for a while.

Metric Century!

Well, I did it.  I rode a metric century (100 km / 62 miles) for the 2013 Chicago Tour de Cure!

That’s the longest distance I’ve ever ridden in a single ride.

I also raised $5,291 for the ADA. That made me a Champion on a Mission. A big thank you to everyone who sponsored me.

I’m super proud of myself for both achievements!

I was quite worried about the weather.  The forecast was for rain, but thankfully the meteorologists were as accurate as usual, and the weather was perfect.  Sunny, warm, but a bit cool at the start.  Perfect riding weather.

I rode with my friends Marty & Steve. Due to allergies, lack of sleep, and the remnants of a bad cough, Steve wasn’t able to finish.  Steve did do 45 miles which, under the circumstances, was pretty darn good. Marty and I finished the ride with few problems.

Below is a map and statistics of the ride from Strava…

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Tour de Cure 2013: GOAL!

Well, I’ve achieved my goal for the 2013 Tour de Cure!

Last year I raised $3500 for diabetes research & education … this year I initially set my goal a little higher than that … $4000.  I quickly found out I have a group of very generous and supportive friends, family, & co-workers.  My goal was (rather quickly) raised to $5000.

Last Thursday, I achieved that goal.

Am I going to stop trying to raise money?  Of course not.  More is always better.

Being involved in the Tour de Cure is a wonderful outlet for me … it’s a very worthwhile cause, gets me on my bike on a regular basis, and has introduced me to a lot of really great people.

I’m also enjoying getting Team RED transformed into something a little more cohesive.  While we haven’t been able to get as many training rides organized (mainly due to weather), I’m pleased with what we’ve done so far.  I’m hoping to keep Team RED organized as a group through the year so we can continue pulling together as a real team next year.

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