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5 Random Things From The Past Week

While last week was a bit of a short vacation post-Boston, it’s still been quite a busy last 7 days.  Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past week:

1) A week in Florida

While we were down in Florida for five days, I did plenty more things than just get stung by a stingray.  For example, I rented a bike and headed out for a ride:

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Yes, the handlebar tape is only the beginning of the ever-so-stylish bike that I adorned.

Of course there are plenty of American establishments that we enjoy visiting.  You know, like IHOP:

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How is it that there are a million KFC’s and McDonald’s in Paris, but no IHOP?  Can’t I make a trade?  I’ll give you back 20 KFC’s for just one little IHOP.  Please?

And of course, there was just relaxing on the beach too:

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I wrapped things up Saturday morning with getting in an openwater swim, this time stingray shuffle and all:

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As with before, The Girl dutifully walked alongside as I swam.  A nice quick session to get some data for later.

2) Bumbled back across the Atlantic

With Florida and IHOP trips complete, it was time to head back to reality and back to work.  So first a flight up to Washington DC where I connected onwards straight to Paris.  Below, heading up the Atlantic coast of Canada, just about to fly back from Newfoundland.

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As is usually the case on most of our US trips, we were bringing back lots of stuff.  Much of it for the CupCakery this time, though of the three boxes below half the contents are mine (sorta unusual).  We get many non-food products for the shop there that are hard to find in France. For example, cake stands for display/rental, decorations for various seasons, and random other accessories we use.  Most of these items are dirt cheap in the US, especially at places like HomeGoods and Marshalls (for example, the cupcake Ferris wheel contraption on the home page).

Astoundingly, all three boxes ended up looking really darn nice post-flight.  Usually things are rough.  We use boxes from Staples because we don’t then have to buy/pack extra bags.  United gives me three boxes at 70 pounds each, and 62 linear inches…so we use every last inch of that. Works out great.

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3) Had a very quick test ride with the Polar V650

The previous Friday as we were leaving for the Boston Marathon I got a text from the Cupcakery gals that a box had arrived.  The picture showed a freshly arrived and hand-delivered Polar V650.  Unfortunately, we had just boarded the plane and I wouldn’t have a chance to poke at it until my return from the US over a week later.

So Sunday after getting back home I got the unit all unpackaged and went for a short 30 minute ride.

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It’s still a beta unit (as evidenced by the PR 000 on the front), and the quality of the software reflects it.  That said, I was impressed by a few features, such as the color quality of the screen, clarity of the text (sharpness/contrast), and the responsiveness of the unit.

The touchscreen had no problems with the random rain squall that started about 30 seconds after I stepped out my front door (seriously?!?).  And the screens and settings are easily configurable, and the sounds easily heard even at half-volume on busy city streets.  One random feature I stumbled into was the ability to set a pin-code upon turning on, sorta like a phone lock.

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As for the timing of a review there, I expect it won’t be until late May or June.  Once they have a final unit in my hands with final software, then a few weeks later.

I also had installed the Redshift Aero system on my road bike.  In theory, I would have remembered to actually utilize said system to slide the seat back for road riding.  Nonetheless, in installing both the aerobars (not used on this ride) as well as the seatpost, I’m quite happy with the quality and stability.  It’s more solid feeling than I expected, completely in-line with standard aero bars.

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More on that though in the future.

4) Bounced over the channel

After spending less than 12 hours at home (basically just the daylight hours of Sunday), I hopped on a flight and crossed the channel.  I find this much faster than swimming the channel.  Plus, no pesky s-named animals to deal with.

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Btw, the above airplane is one of a handful that British Airways painted for the 2012 Olympics.  It looks like a giant bird with a gazillion golden feathers (better pic there).  For whatever reason it’s seemingly always my plane back and forth between London and Paris.  Personally…I think it’s kinda ugly and was bummed that they couldn’t come up with something that actually screamed “London Olympics” rather than golden pigeon.  Just my two cents.

From here I’d drive 2 hours from London Heathrow to Cardiff, Wales – ultimately getting in just two minutes after midnight.  Typically I’d prefer to fly directly to Cardiff, but there’s only a single flight per day from Paris and on Sundays it’s at noon.  Semi nearby Bristol has some options (one flight), which I’ve taken in the past, but the timing wasn’t great on Sunday either.  So, driving got me half my day back at home.

5) Running with the Wahoo TICKR around Cardiff, Wales

My workout for Tuesday was 10x800m repeats.  I even tweeted out to see if anyone wanted to join me, but nothing.  I’m sensing a pattern there.  I also tweeted out a week ago to see if anyone wanted to join me on a 23-miler (run).  Crickets.

No worries, I headed on out by myself.  Last time I was here I had a set of 800m repeats to do as well, and that time I wandered first through the park along the the river and then did loops next to the stadium late at night under the lights.

This time though with a bit more daylight I headed back along the river and instead did loops around some giant fields:

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The weather was quite nice for Cardiff.  On average it seems to rain about every 4-5 hours here.  Yes, hours.  This was in between rain spots, thankfully.

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I’ve been using the Wahoo TICKR RUN the last few workouts.  It was announced back in January, and hits ‘shelves’ later this week.  The unit features dual ANT+/BLE connectivity, but also does a form of running dynamics like the Garmin HRM-RUN with the Garmin FR620 & Fenix2.  But unlike those, it can also track pace indoors with just the HR strap (I haven’t tried that piece yet).

I didn’t think to take a photo of my chest, but I did take a photo of the app:

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Afterwards you’ll get running dynamics information, seen below:

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I saw no issues with HR spikes either – which is good.  I’m working on a review of it, though I’m trying to see if the timing will work out to do both the TICKR RUN and TICKR X (that’s still forthcoming).

As for my workout, they were good, though I was a few seconds off pace on most of the sets.  A bit tired, which I suspect is to be expected given the schedule over the last few days.  Ironically, the pavement seemed to remind me of it:

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In case you’re wondering, the ‘ARAF’ is Welsh.  Welsh is listed on virtually everything here next to English (since I’m in Wales).  When people speak Welsh I can’t really figure out where the words start or end.  And apparently they follow Wheel of Fortune rules, and charge for vowels – since the vast majority of words seem to lack them.

As for the below – I once again point out that not all my trips are glamorous with fancy hotels.  This is a standard Hilton, and this is the view from my room.

More importantly however, is the seagull.  This seagull is apparently quite upset about something in life.  He (or she) squawks all day and night long.  I don’t know when it sleeps.  Because instead it just sits outside my window and squawks…even at four in the morning.  Astoundingly loud.

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Regrettably, there is no way to open my window and provide any incentive for the seagull to leave.  And when I tap on the window, he simply cocks his head both ways and looks at me sideways.  Perhaps it’s payback for this incident with one of his cousins years ago.

No worries Mr. Seagull, I’ll leave the view to you today.  Back to Paris I head.

Thanks for reading!

66 Comments

  1. Hugo

    Hi Ray,

    I feel sorry that you always have to run alone. Rest assured that if you come to The Hague (Netherlands and not US :) ) I'll join you.

    Keep on going.
    Hugo

    Reply
  2. Yannick

    And if by any chance you DO come to the Hague, but feel like a ride instead of a run, I'll join you for that.
    :D

    Quite curious about your Ticker X review.
    I'll be waiting (im)patiently.

    Br,
    Yannick

    Reply
  3. Madelein

    Did you feel the foot at all on your run or is the pain gone completely?

    Reply
  4. Hey, what is the tracker / watch you have on in the second photo?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Samsung Gear2.

      Reply
    • Gary replied

      It's the Samsung gear 2. Really looking forward to Ray's review. Hopefully it is better then the fit

      Reply
    • Richard replied

      I thought so! :)

      I just wasn't expecting you to review it given you'd just reviewed the Gear Fit.

      I've pretty much settled on the Gear 2 Neo for my partner, but would still be cool to see what you make of it if you're giving it a test through.

      Reply
    • Richard replied

      I think the Gear Fits reasonable HRM performance whilst running, plus the ability to listen to music with the Gear 2 / Gear 2 Neo, might make it a reasonable option for some casual runners. Look for to the review though :)

      Reply
    • Mike replied

      The better question is what watch was he wearing below the Samsung Gear2 that left an imprint. Looks like the new Mio optical heart rate wrist band; but we can all hope he's hiding something new!

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Just a Link. Why I had it so tight is totally beyond me.

      Reply
  5. Dom

    Any time you're in Cambridge UK, and are doing some kind of extremely-easy-by-your-standards run that I'd actually be able to keep up with...

    Reply
  6. Chmouel

    Do you know if the Tickr can act as a brige?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      No, it does not.

      Reply
    • Manuel replied

      Since you're usually well informed: Are there any plans to add this feature later?

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I don't believe it's on the short-term radar, though I do believe it can technically do it.

      Reply
  7. The wahoo tickr run looks interesting. I'm looking forward to a more in-depth review, but it definitely sounds like you deserve a little rest! Sounds like you had an awesome week and I'm glad your foot feels better!

    Reply
  8. Gabor Szilagyi

    Anytime you come to Hungary, Budapest, home of people who do 30 ironman races in 30 days you will always find someone to run with, no matter what distance.

    Reply
  9. Nathan

    Agree, that BA paint job makes for a real ugly plane.

    Reply
  10. Plodders

    Doh missed the tweets, though plans wouldn't have worked. As far as vowels in the welsh language goes, its actually contrary to what most people believe, we just have more than english:

    a e i o u w y

    Reply
  11. Tim

    Wishing the Tickr Run had memory to store the dynamics data for later retrieval... I don't run with a phone, and since the data can't be gleaned into a Garmin it becomes much less useful for anyone who doesn't.

    I suppose I'll have to wait for the Tickr X, but there I don't need the alert features or random activity bits (push-ups, swimming, whatever motion analytics they are working on). Plus another 2+ months to wait is a bummer :)

    p.s. The picture of breakfast is making me hungry.

    Reply
  12. Ian G

    First time I drove into Wales on the M4, I wondered why the service stations were all called by the same name, Gwasanaethau... (which actually has a liberal sprinkling of vowels!)

    Anyway, if you're ever in south London, I'll join for a run! (You'd be welcome down the local track, too)
    Or Bristol — such a lovely city! You should fly there, stay there, and commute to Cardiff for the days you're here...

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yeah, I was commuting to Bridgend, so Cardiff was about 30mins as-is. Bristol would have been a wee bit more!

      I did fly out of Bristol last trip, but it only has one flight a day to Paris as well, unfortunately just a bit earlier than I'd prefer (wish it was around 7PM or so).

      Reply
    • DLJ replied

      And I should point out that Welsh actually has more vowels than English :)

      Reply
  13. Hoss

    Glad you're recovering from the ray, Ray. Go Rays.

    Reply
  14. Pilot

    Pic of engine nacelle was scary until I read they weren't massive oil/fuel stains but rather painted feathers.

    Reply
  15. Ah, the joys of the stingray shuffle. I hadn't thought of that in years until I was in San Diego late last month for some diving and was reminded of it by a dive buddy, followed by your post. Twice in a month.

    Oh, and yes, the three bags at 70 lbs each. Biggest reason to try and maintain Gold status with United!

    Reply
  16. Troy Braxton

    Any specific reason for the red shift system with a road bike and not the tri bike? Also, how does the red shift system compare to other clip on aerobars?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I think there might be two questions in there, so I'll answer them both just in case.

      The Redshift system is all about taking a road bike and making it equal-opportunity for both tri and road use, with being able to near-instantly swap back and forth. It takes about 1.5 seconds per aerobar to remove, and about .5 seconds to adjust the seat. Thus, perhaps 5 seconds in total. It wouldn't make too much sense to put it on my tri bike, since that's more of a static configuration. The ultimate goal of the Redshift system is for people that may do group rides or other road-focused ventures where having a tri bike might be frowned upon.

      As for why I didn't use my tri bike on Sunday, that's simpler. It's at the LBS. I had dropped it off before my trip, and since the shop isn't open on Sunday's when I arrived home, it's spending an extended stay there. :)

      Thus far, as far as comparison to other clip-ons, I'm loving it. While the package you get looks daunting at first, it takes about 5 minutes to realize you only use about 10% or so of all the parts/pieces. So once you figure that out it's easy to install and had a good level of flexibility in configuration (more than most clip-ons). More importantly is that it comes off easily. While other generic clip-ons are cheaper, I think if I were on the fence with the whole tri thing with Olympic or less race distances and still wanted a 'clean' road bike otherwise, I'd definitely go Redshift. If however, you're just looking to stop-gap for a season (and pickup a tri bike in clearance next year), then I'd probably save the cash and go with cheaper clip-ons.

      Reply
    • Stephen replied

      I'm one of the founders of Redshift Sports - he pretty much nailed all of the points that I was going to make. The only thing I'll add is that the system also lets you switch back and forth on the fly between the road position and aero positions while you ride. That means you can choose your riding position based on the conditions you encounter during your ride.

      For example, in Ray's case if he's riding through traffic in the center of Paris or ascending a long climb, he could choose the road saddle position and ride on the brake hoods, but then easily switch to the aero saddle position and drop into the aerobars when the road flattens/straightens.

      Reply
    • Doug replied

      Hi Ray, I'm interested to see how close you can match up your trek road bike to your cervelo tri bike positioning. Where I see this being handy is instead of taking my 'good' bike out I can put redshift on my winter bike and get the miles in with my tri position but also have a good road position when I want to switch back.

      Reply
    • Bart replied

      I'm about to order a set of aero bars with the S-bend (don't know when te future is so i can't wait until the full review) but my greatest concern it the connection between the fixed part and the removeable part. I there is only the smallest "kreep" this will get worse and worse and the complete set will become useless. I've looked at the pictures and movies multiple times but it remains how fixed this is.
      Seatpost is unusable as i look at it on an aero seatpost (TCR Vector Composite/ not round) which i have on my Giant bike.

      Reply
    • Stephen replied

      Bart - The quick-release on the aerobars works similarly to the quick-release in your bike skewer. You adjust the tightness to an appropriate level by turning the skewer and then cinch it down with the lever to take all of the "wiggle" out of the system. Once the clamp is properly tightened, there is no tendency for it to loosen over time. Even if it did loosen for some reason, you would simply need to open the lever, tighten the skewer slightly, and cinch the lever closed again to remove any wiggle.

      I should also mention that the QR mechanism has a built-in safety mechanism that prevent accidental release of the aerobars. Even if the quick-release lever is completely open, the aerobars cannot detach from the handlebar clamp until you intentionally release the secondary retention device.

      Hope that helps - I'll let Ray weigh in if he has anything to add/dispute.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I'd agree with what Stephen said. It's identical to a bike skewer in that respect. I continue to be impressed by how solid it is.

      Reply
  17. Justin

    I'm looking forward to your thoughts of the redshift aero system. I've just received mine and I'm quite happy so far. Should be able to put off buying a tri bike for another year now.

    Reply
  18. DS

    Domestic House of Pancakes?

    Reply
  19. Adam Hollingworth

    Hey Ray, glad you're fully recovered after the Stingray incident. (link to youtube.com) Cant get this TV theme tune out of my head since reading about it!

    I was wandering if you had any further thoughts on the Mio Link? Ive had mine for a few weeks. Unfortunately i've given up on it. At best it was a random number generator, at worst it failed to generate any numbers. Trying to send it back/exchange it but Mio have gone very silent with their email customer support. Seriously disappointing :-(

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      I'm having mixed luck (at best) with the production units. A firmware update sounds to be on the way to address some issues. The Mio folks are responding daily in the 'First look' post I have. If you haven't heard back from them, I might send again, since they sound like they've been pretty active with responding to requests.

      Wish I had a better answer as to why things went from 'perfect' on the pre-prod units to 'broke' on the prod units.

      Reply
    • Adam Hollingworth replied

      Ah ha. Sorry, hadnt thought of going back to the original post. Thank goodness I'm not alone in my unit being useless. Was starting to think i might be going mad. Will start emailing Mio on a daily basis. Perhaps one day they will reply!

      Reply
  20. Bill Coffelt

    I will be returning my Mio Link also. The only way I have gotten it to work consistently is by positioning the sensor directly on my radius bone. Even then there have been several times where HR was way off shortly after I started a run and I had to stop and readjust it. I have a Tickr Run arriving on Friday. Hopefully, it will be a good replacement. Mio customer service is a far cry from Wahoo customer service. I had preordered a Mio Link from their store, but cancelled when I found out Amazon had them in stock. It took over a week of several e-mails and phone calls requesting cancellation and refund before I got a response. I had a couple of issues with the Wahoo App and my Tickr Run order and Wahoo got back quickly each time.

    Reply
  21. Andrew Prince

    Hiya from Adelaide,

    I notice Scosche have now removed the 'available in a few weeks' reference from the Rhythm+ page; they're starting to look like clowns on this. Do you happen to know what the deal is?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Hmm, I thought they were 2nd week of May. I'll find out.

      Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Though, do keep in mind that unless you have a pre-order, most of the times the availability date shown on a site is for new orders.

      Reply
  22. David Manley

    You didn't happen to be anywhere near Bridgend did you - I saw someone who looked an awful lot like you entering my office as I was leaving it yesterday?

    Reply
  23. Stipek

    Mr. Seagul reminds me of the first 6:30 minutes of the movie "Up The Creek" :)
    link to youtube.com

    Reply
  24. You could of gone and done the Pentyrch fell race just 5 miles out of the centre of Cardiff. link to pentyrch.org.uk

    Reply
  25. Chris

    Just for clarification, the Ticker Run does not transmit dynamics data to the FR620, correct? And this is likely due to the non-standard profile for running dynamics, and Garmin's use of private ANT for dynamics?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Correct. Wahoo could reverse engineer it to work, but hasn't to date.

      Reply
  26. Peter

    Usually you don't see United Airlines and "works out great" in the same paragraph!

    Reply
  27. Jim

    My pre-race meal is almost always IHOP spinach omelet and pancakes.

    Reply
  28. Matt

    I have to say I blinked a couple of times looking at the low price of the Wahoo. Since I am looking at replacing yet another Garmin heart rate strap, is there any reason to not just replace it with a Wahoo? This way I can run with just my phone or my Garmin, plus I doubt their strap can have any shorter of a lifespan than the Garmins.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      As long as you aren't buying a Garmin Fenix2 or FR620, which do Running Dynamics requiring the HRM-RUN, then no reason not to get the dual Wahoo strap.

      Reply
  29. portlandpaul

    On the TICKR, what exactly is 'Smoothness' and should we be worried that your average was 87?

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      From Wahoo's site: "Running smoothness is a measure of running form. It is a combined measure of body motion and impact shocks in 3 directions. On average runners have a running smoothness index of 100. If your form is more smooth your running smoothness index will be higher. If your form is not quite as smooth your running smoothness index will be lower."

      Played with it a lot on today's 20-mile run, across various terrain. Far less smooth going downhill (60-70's), more smooth uphill (110-120), and on the flats about so-so (80-100). Still trying to sort out exactly how to utilize that though, given no 3rd party sites support it (that I'm aware of), and Wahoo doesn't have an easy way to view it on a larger screen (like a web viewer).

      Reply
  30. Gen

    Do you know an updated release date for tickr x? Thanks

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      As of a day or so ago, it was "Mid to late June". Personally, I'm going to guess a bit later.

      As a result, I'm separating the two reviews and will simply knock out the TICKR/RUN review shortly.

      Reply
    • Gen replied

      I hate it when they give you a taste of what is to come and take forever to release! Did they say what the hold up is? Is there anything else out there now that maybe better option that will integrate with Magellan Echo? Looking for similar features as tickx.

      Thanks for the help.

      Reply
  31. Gretchen

    The reviews on the original tickr state that it won't let you use Bluetooth headphones at the same time. Is that true for the run? Deciding between the viiiiva and run, and that's a huge consideration for me.

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      It's not true for either. There's no correlation between using BT headphones and Bluetooth Smart sensors. Zip, zero, zilch.

      Reply
    • Chris replied

      I run with Blubuds and the Polar H7 on the treadmill and there's no issues from the iPhone 5 side of things handling both

      Reply
  32. Chris

    Ray, can you please check if the noisy pace in Wahoo's app is present when doing treadmill runs with the TICKR Run? The same noise you saw from your miCoach review.

    I really want to get this to replace a Polar H7 and miCoach (and support Wahoo), but won't buy unless they've fixed that issue.

    Also, small world you were in Tampa. I was right off Gulf Blvd in Redington two weeks ago, you probably ran by our motel. I went for a swim, saw a few rays go by in the shallow and stuck to the beach the rest of the week after reading about your adventure. Their baseball team is appropriately named :)

    Cheers,
    Chris

    Reply
  33. Kieran

    Hi Ray,

    I am in the same boat as Chris above.

    Can you please help review TICKR Run on treadmill? I would like to know if the pace and cadence are accurate or not. I read another 2 reviewers, one said it is accurate but another said it was way out especially if you just walking on treadmill, seem like it will not register that you are actually moving.

    Cheers,
    Kieran

    Reply
    • Rainmaker replied

      Yes, that's the only outstanding item in my review actually (to go back onto a treadmill to test). I have some travel next week with treadmill access.

      Reply
  34. Chris M

    Just as an update, I did buy the Wahoo TICKR Run before I saw any credible reviews. I bought this to use in place of my Polar H7 and adidas miCoach stride sensor. I do all of my running on a treadmill and bike on the trainer and road.

    I used the sensor for a few days and ultimately returned it for a refund. A few things I saw;

    1) The HRM did not communicate with the treadmills at the gym like my Polar H7 via 5KHz frequency (no big deal, Wahoo never claimed they did)

    2) The HRM worked great on the bike/trainer and the LED's indicating power/connection status were slick.

    3) The run tracking didn't work as well. As previously mentioned, the TICKR run quit recording pace/steps if you fell below a certain threshold e.g. walking. Even using the Wahoo app with other stride sensors, this did not happen.

    4) The display pace is STILL noisy, borderline useless in the Wahoo app. I don't care if the sensor output is noisy, and obviously the app/sensor did a good job of integrating the pace to get a very accurate total distance. However, why even bother displaying this noisy pace in the app if you can't adequately filter it/make it useful? The cadence display is relatively solid, why can't the pace be? They've known about this bug for at least 6 months and it should be a quick filtering fix, but it was still there last time I used the app.

    I returned my Wahoo TICKR Run for a refund. I also removed my 1st Gen RFLKT and Wahoo Blue SC and ended up buying a Garmin Edge 500 bundle. Couldn't be happier with the Edge, the only thing I dislike is not being able to upload the activity right after the workout.

    I was excited to support Wahoo and buy all their gear, but was pretty disappointed (and/or impossible to please) in their tech support and the fact that they'd roll out a v1 TICKR Run that didn't work well on the treadmill.

    I hope they get it figured out, they have some pretty neat products and ideas. However, I'm on the ANT+ train now.

    Reply
    • Kieran replied

      thanks for update Chris.

      I guess I might buy just tickr version (only HRM) and use it with my adidas speed_cell (stride sensors)

      Not sure if this setup will work or not.

      Reply

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