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Requests for iPhone training apps

carlosnashoscarlosnashos Posts: 43
Hey all

I'm a fourth year computing student just starting my honours project.
I hope to develop some kind of bike training application for the iPhone/iPad...but a bit different than most of the existing ones out at the moment.

From what I've seen, most of the existing apps are used to track routes and save a history of times, distance, speed, etc.
What I thought about doing was to create an app which helps to train and motivate the rider using pre-set or user customised training sessions.
One problem that I can see with this idea is - depending on the type of cycling the rider is doing (road, off-road, indoor trainer, track), the training delivery method may need to change.
For instance, a road cyclist may prefer to rely on visuals to deliver the training sessions steps through the mobile device display; or they may prefer to have audio commands via a single earphone?
If the user is on a stationary trainer or rollers then they may be able to take full advantage and use a more complex display and audio method.

Whichever method is most suitable, the basic idea I had was to:

    allow the user to select the type of cycling (road, off-road, track, etc.)
    specify intensity, duration, distance, etc.
    specify a min/max or average cadence they wish to achieve which could be delivered via flashes or beeps as preferred
    possibly to allow the app to select music where the bpm matches the desired cadence (more suitable for trainer use)
    provide pre-set training programmes to choose from
    the user would be advised of the gear to select and cadence required depending on their training specifications

    There are numerous possibilities which could also be incorporated if sensors were used on the bike and the rider such as wheel speed, cadence, temperature, heart rate, calculated or actual power output.
    At the moment for this project - due to hardware cost and interface issues we must assume that sensor input is not used.

    While I'm on the subject though! my original idea was to develop a virtual training system which used bike and rider sensor input to display rider info on-screen in the form of a first person view cycling game (think Tacx but on an iPhone/iPad)
    The problem I encountered with this system..apart from it being mighty big and complex, is that I intended to use the ANT+ wireless technology to connect to Fisica sensors, but alas you must be a registered developer to gain access to the necessary info used to write an application using the ANT+ protocol (which costs $500!)
    Possibly one for the future...

    So, back on point - feedback and any ideas welcome, the best people who will know what features you would like for training is you guys so I look forward to hearing them!

    Also, if anyone has any other ideas for cycling related applications then by all means chuck 'em in!

    Thanks a lot


    • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
      One thought, indictaing what gear to select will be hard to make work I think, as it is too user / terrain dependent - one person's endurance power is anothers tempo etc. You could possibly do it for indoor, but even then you'd need turbo calibration to be correct etc. Plus it's redundant if you're working to power with a training plan anyway.
      "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
      - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
    • mclarent wrote:
      One thought, indictaing what gear to select will be hard to make work I think, as it is too user / terrain dependent - one person's endurance power is anothers tempo etc. You could possibly do it for indoor, but even then you'd need turbo calibration to be correct etc. Plus it's redundant if you're working to power with a training plan anyway.
      I agree with the problems of gear selection depending on terrain and also with trainer resistance differences and calibration, but at the moment this is only a rough idea and the project will evolve through research and testing.

      If you have seen training videos such as these, that's the kind of idea I had in're working purely on cadence, an individuals power effort, and specified power and recovery intervals.

      The point of putting these in a mobile application is so that the user can select different criteria to personalise the programme to their specific needs, i.e. how hard do they want to train, what are they training for, is it a normal training session or a pre-race session.
      Basically just flexibility.

      I also realise that most of the methods I'm talking about refer to trainer use. If the application was to be used on the road this is where the problems would arise, with variables that can't necessarily be programmed in.

      Thanks for the input mclarent
    • Check out Runkeeper Pro, that has many settings for virtually any sport. You can program your own interval sessions delivered to you verbally. Its a good app with a website to go with it, and obviously a lot of money behind it. You can link HR monitors to it too. There may be some ideas for you there,

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    • I use cyclemeter which is really well kitted out for route tracking/performance stats. If you wanted to go down a training app route, I'd personally go for something that is more geared towards future rides and planning.
      Cyclemeter will only give you split times etc when you're riding a route that you've already ridden before - which can get quite dull for training rides. I'd love something that I can plot a route on a browser with an interface similar to so that elevation plots are available, then have the app access the route with regular updates so you know if you're hitting your targets. An audial turn-by-turn navigation element would be useful as well to allow you to tackle new rides without having to stop every half hour to check directions.
    • Hey guys, sorry for the delayed reply, I've been sidetracked with other work.

      So...the app has now become primarily an Interval Training application which will store various preset interval programmes for different types of cycling and intensities.
      The main focus of the app will be to enhance the user experience through ease-of-use and, as much as possible, hands-free control/feedback. As the app is designed mainly to be used while on the bike (where it may be hidden away) or on a trainer, these aspects will determine how successful the app can be in 'real world' use.
      I am hoping to achieve this experience through simplicity (i.e. quick and easy to learn and use, no unnecessary functions), effective feedback during training (clear, concise, and relevant audible and/or visual commands), and also accurate and useful training programmes and information which will be aimed at specific cycling disciplines.

      Gene Hunt - I had a look at Runkeeper Pro, it seems a pretty cool app with very useful features, it does seem very professionally made, and it's free!
      I can imagine it being very useful for cyclists as well as runners; unfortunately my iPhone is broken so I can't test it out for myself at the moment.
      I find it strange that they don't push the 'interval session training' aspect more, looking at the description it seems to be more of a minor feature...but having never used the app I don't know how much of a practical feature it is.
      Also the ability to connect a HR monitor is something I would love to incorporate as it would fit perfectly with the main aim of the app - this may be a future addition.

      Bradders87 - Yeah I hear you about the future rides and planning aspect as it's all very well logging your training, but having a preset programme before you start can help ensure you're maximising your training time. The idea of plotting a route on a browser and accessing it through the app is definitely one I've thought about, along with audible navigation directions for new routes, these could be future additions once the app grows, or for my next project.

      Thanks a lot for the suggestions, it's all appreciated, and I'll keep you updated on the progress.

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