On Monday I made a slight detour off of my previously planned journey from France to North America to visit the headquarters of Polar Electro, well known maker of heart-rate focused sport devices. By ‘slight detour’, I mean an approximately 1,500 mile detour (one-way). Polar’s headquarters is located in Oulu, Finland – which is just shy of the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland. Here’s a quick refresher on your Finnish geography:
The goal of the trip was primarily to sit down with the different product teams working on the V800, V650 and other products to get clear updates on the slew of previously announced updates. While it’s one thing to have a conference call, it’s another to sit in a room with the product leads for 6-7 hours to understand the ‘why’ behind the decisions they’ve made.
At the same time, I’d also take the opportunity to provide a small behind the scenes of the headquarters. As is often the case, I generally have free reign to take photos of what I want – though like others there were a few places where photography isn’t permitted (primarily related to production tooling facilities). And finally, like all my other behind the scenes, I pay for my own travel costs, so your support of the blog is always appreciated to make stuff like this happen.
A Tour of Polar Headquarters:
Polar’s Headquarters is located just a few kilometers away from the commercial airport in Oulu, right along the roadway headed to ‘downtown’ Oulu. Though, technically the facility sits in the city of Kempele.
The complex is a bit of a hodgepodge of buildings that were strung together over time, now accessible through what is at times a bewildering set of corridors and keycard entry systems. Said differently, it would be an awesome place to play hide and seek.
They’ve got a parking garage with a helicopter pad affixed to it – in the event you prefer methods of transportation involving rotors. Regrettably, my arrival was via conventional taxi. Uber Helicopter has not yet made it to Northern Finland.
Though, while nobody could remember the last time the helicopter pad was actually used, it is maintained.
In the event you prefer two wheeled operations, they have ample bike parking only a dozen meters off a main bike trail.
While there were many bikes outside, there were just as many bikes in hallways, offices and any other nook and cranny you could think of.
Meanwhile back outside, all day long a little robotic lawn mower went bumbling around the grounds doing its job. There’s quite a bit of grass to cut and it’ll simply just roam around and then when needed it goes back to its home and recharges before going back out again.
Heading inside the main entrance to the right side they have a small display showing the history of consumer focused Polar products starting from their first heart rate monitor.
They then iterate through each decade – illuminating the 1980’s and 1990’s in all their glory:
These then transition into the most recent products including the Polar Loop and Polar V800. There was this gigantic V800 available there as well, in the event the smaller ones just don’t do it for you.
On the other side of the reception area is a focus primarily on the team, education and gym systems, which I’ll dive into a bit later.
Once past reception, the main corridors aren’t terribly unlike other office buildings. Like most companies, they have promotional materials floating around.
From what I saw, virtually all employees had their own offices (or shared offices). I didn’t see any vast cubicle farms.
As I’ve seen with other European companies, there’s a much higher focus on an in-house cafeteria. While in many US companies that has slowly evaporated, it’s still strong in Europe and Finland as well.
All of the food is made onsite, including a number different types of breads that are baked each morning. And, as I can attest at lunch, the food was quite good.
Interestingly, they cook slightly more food than required for lunch each day. This allows employees to pickup ready-made dinners for themselves or their families on the way home from work. So one could have gotten a family-sized box of the chicken stew along with rice to-go later in the evening when headed home.
In the event you arrived via bicycle (or, cross-country skies in the winter), you’d have an assigned full-height locker in the locker room. All the employees do.
They even have this fancy drying machine that you simply hang your clothes up in, and by evening they’re dry again:
There are multiple locker rooms in the building, including a number of saunas. Saunas are extremely popular in Finland, with the vast majority of the population having them also built into their homes. Companies having them built into offices is also quite normal.
The penthouse sauna seen above (and later in the end of the post) was adjoined by a large executive meeting area that could double as a reception room, complete with a pool table and a foosball table of sorts.
Or, you could just head out to lounge in the semi-open air deck that overlooks the rest of the grounds and a small sliver of the sea off in the distance.
With an overview of the facility complete, let’s dive into the company a bit.
The Organization at Large:
While I was visiting their headquarters, the 300 employees located there are less than a quarter of their 1,300 employees worldwide. These employees create and manage products that end up in 35,000 retail outlets and generate €150M each year in sales. Over five million Polar devices are sold each year. Of course, due to the nature of Polar’s products in the marketplace, that’s not all watches, but rather a combination of sensors (like heart rate straps) and watches.
These products are primarily sold in Europe, which accounts for 63% of sales. The Americas make up another 32% (the vast majority being US/Canada), and then the remainder of the world makes up 5%. They noted that they struggle in penetrating a number of the Asian markets, specifically Japan, China, and Korea where consumers largely demand that the products be localized in their native languages. You’re seeing Polar start to focus more and more on adding language support for those regions – a common theme I hear across the industry.
From an organization standpoint, Polar is broken up into three major areas:
Polar Consumer: This is what the majority of readers of this blog are likely familiar with. This is the segment that makes products like GPS watches and multicolored heart rate monitors and straps. Activity monitors fit into this category as well, such as the Polar Loop. Essentially, if being sold to an end consumer, it’s coming from this division.
Polar Solutions: This division is responsible for looking after gyms/clubs, pro sports teams, and education. This group generates holistic software and hardware solutions that appeal to organizations wanting to track groups of people. While not always as visible to you the end consumer, these have a substantial following in the organized sports world, as I’ll discuss a bit later.
Polar Technologies: This division is primarily focused on the sale of sensors to gym equipment manufactures (not the gym’s themselves). For example, 9 out of 10 equipment manufactures use Polar heart rate technology in their products (even if never branded as such). You know those hand-held heart rate sensors on the treadmill? Yup, likely Polar. That’s formally called “contact heart rate”, in case you were curious.
These groups collectively generate hundreds of patents and products, which are proudly displayed in a hallway (with another few rows still to be installed).
Some of those patents are for what is clearly a full product, such as Polar’s chain-based power meter:
While others are merely small components in a larger cog, such as this patent that covers what is ultimately the measurement of heart rate of someone swimming, seen in some of Polar’s higher end products.
Yet it was interesting to me that the first slide of the day started with a statement that noted that while Polar invented the wireless heart rate monitor in 1977, they couldn’t “lean on it”. They expanded that there was clearly a period in the not too distant past where Polar had set a course that ignored the greater technology trends (such as GPS included directly in watches). I think over the last 12-18 months or so we’ve seen that renewed innovation, starting with the Polar Beat app, but then moving into Polar Loop (activity monitor), and now the V800 and V650. But more on that in a few sections.
Consumer Product Design:
First up is a look at how products make it from ideas to production. For that there’s two pieces. The first is determining what a product will do. Meaning, the features and functionality. That typically happens in standard meeting rooms with lots of PowerPoint presentations – not unlike the ones I got while there:
Once the spec’s are determined, the Industrial Design team gets involved. These folks sit up in what’s kinda like a bit of a tiny lighthouse over the building:
They first start by creating design boards. These boards include everything from moods to colors to feelings that a given product wants to evoke.
They often include many iterations of a product’s external look and feel. For example, above and below, ones from Polar Loop.
Next, they go through the process of deciding on different color options. In the past, Polar has kinda gone a bit crazy with product SKU’s and colors. I think you’re seeing them reign that in a bit (both in terms of color options and products, especially in the lower end markets).
At the same time, they’re also iterating through 3D printed prototypes, some of which are merged with actual componentry to make up working units.
Next, they head downstairs into their small scale production facility. This facility allows them to create and utilize the same tooling that they do in their full scale manufacturing facility. Due to some projects going on inside the room at the time, they couldn’t permit photos inside.
This facility though is more than just spitting out a handful of dodgy prototypes to float around the office. Rather, the goal is to do small scale production runs of final units. This allows them to scale into the hundreds of units onsite, rather than having to iterate with a large manufacturing facility elsewhere on the globe (which increases time and costs).
From there they finalize the tooling and equipment used to make the different units. For example, you can see some of the different V800 components below, each requiring a separate tool to manufacture and integrate.
When it comes time to manufacture at scale, Polar owns (end to end) a manufacturing facility in Guangzhou, China. Owning the entire facility is a key differentiator between someone like Polar (and Garmin and Suunto), and a smaller player like Soleus. It enables them and other companies to typically drive higher levels of integration, and usually to own the timelines a bit more. Of course, such a sizable investment only really happens at the biggest volumes.
From there, the raw units are shipped to two distribution centers. One in Hong Kong, and the other in the Netherlands. Once they arrive at those two locations they’re merged with the actual box packaging and manuals for their end destinations. This lowers the costs with respect to air shipping volume (especially to Europe), and also allows them more flexibility on regional demand (different packaging).
Finally, the two distribution centers then forward the packaged units onto their respective regions. For Europe, they depart from the Netherlands. For the rest of the world, they come from Hong Kong. And a few days later, they arrive in your retailer’s hands.
Next I had a chance to check out their team and gym products. These products fall into two different camps. First is the Polar Team System platform, which looks a bit like an Xbox from afar:
This product is heavily used by many professional sports teams globally, though, in most cases larger sponsorship agreements supersede Polar’s ability to advertise as such. For example, 75% of English Premier League teams (soccer for Americans) utilize the system or other Polar products as a standard across the team. So do 80% of US MLS teams (Major League Soccer). It’s also popular with football, basketball, hockey and rugby teams. Essentially, traditional team sports played on a field/court of some sort.
The reason the field/court aspect is important is that it’s constantly monitoring the athletes, so something like a cycling team spread over hundreds of kilometers is more difficult. The platform uses legacy Bluetooth, but with a long-range twist so that a single unit can cover an entire football pitch. Though, the platform can also handle buffering in case a player gets out of range. This particular system can scale up to tracking 80 athletes concurrently.
Interestingly, both UEFA and FIFA officials groups heavily leverages Polar heart rate files from referees to determine if refs are fit for duty. They analyze the fatigue over the course of the game, by reasoning that if the referee is struggling towards the end of the match (fitness-wise), then they’re more than likely to make poor calls. Hence why you’ll often see referees wearing Polar watches during matches.
Also of note is that for many top-tier pro athletes (especially in soccer) they’ll have clauses in their contracts about whether or not their Polar HR data history is actually included in the transfer between teams. This is not terribly unlike how cycling teams often look heavily at historical power meter data in making decisions there as well.
However, most people aren’t professional athletes. For that, Polar has the Polar Club app, which is aimed primarily at gyms and various class settings. This system is based on iOS and has different components from a participant check-in component to an instructor piece. The system does however require participants utilize a Polar branded Bluetooth Smart strap, such as the H6 or H7.
To start, this iPad is typically mounted outside a given room, or at the reception. An athlete then check’s in to a class, selecting from the ones at the right. They’re then able to pair to their specific heart rate strap, which is saved for future classes. All of this is tied into the user’s existing Polar Flow account, so the data is automatically saved to the person’s normal account at the end of the session.
Alternatively, if they lack a strap, you’ll see an option to ‘Borrow Sensor’, which allows them to simply pickup a numbered sensor for a temporary loaner.
Meanwhile, the instructor is able to create full class schedules in the app, including workout components.
The system then concurrently collects the participant’s heart rate data and displays the zone information by color coded information, unique to the user based on the pre-defined zones.
This information is then typically displayed on a large screen using Airplay, as was the case here. The platform can support up to 40 concurrent users in a single class, and can support multiple classes at once.
Additionally, there are controls on the instructions screen not seen on the big screen. For example, they can create and save playlists, and control them via dropdown menu.
It was definitely interesting to see this side of the business, as it’s not something I’m typically exposed to. I was even more surprised to hear the licensing scheme here only costs a gym 99€/$137.50/month. Meaning, no matter how many classes or students are offered, that’s it. Of course, you do need a Polar Bluetooth Smart heart rate sensor, but, gyms can loan those out pretty cheaply as well.
Updates on Flow, the V800 & the V650:
Of course, for many of you here, you’re probably interested in updates coming to Polar’s flagship lineup of products, including their multisport watch the V800, their upcoming cycling unit the V650, and the web platform pulling it all together – Polar Flow.
V800: 2014 Firmware Update Plan
When it comes to announcing plans, Polar was put in the position of really having to identify a clear schedule for future firmware updates to the V800. That’s because while the hardware has been solid and very technically capable, the firmware hasn’t been terribly competitive in the marketplace. Thus, the features haven’t been as competitive. Polar had laid out a plan for firmware updates taking it to the end of the year, and is working towards hitting those goals. Here’s the current plan:
V800 Firmware 1.1 Release – End of September/1st Week of October
– Adds power meter support for Bluetooth Smart power meters (see this for full details)
– Adds stride sensor improvements, including improvements in auto calibration and tweaks for manual calibration
– Adds ability to set pace/distance source as the internal GPS, or an attached footpod (a huge and welcomed change)
– Adds Interval Timer on watch for time and distance based intervals, including ability to set warm-up/cool-down – all from wrist, no computer required
– Touch TAP usability improvements, including ability to set as ‘off’ from the wrist (no computer required), as well as ability to set/change sensitivities
– Significant improvements in 3rd party sensor support
– Minor bug and usability tweaks
I wanted to call out the 3rd party sensor one specifically and talk to that a bit. This was one area that I took Polar to task to in the review, due to the non-compatibility with pretty much all the major Bluetooth Smart fitness sensors in the market. As a result of that we’ve had several discussions about the topic. In doing so they’ve come up with a list of sensors that they’ve determined are non-compliant with the official Bluetooth Smart specifications. Some of these I’ve been able to independently validate as well as being non-compliant. They’re grouping these into three specific groups:
No spec issues: 4iiii’s Viiiiva. They’ll be supporting this as-is in the 1.1 release, though they won’t yet have implemented power or footpod support via Viiiiva. But, they are working on that.
In some cases, these are due to the vendors adding additional features beyond the spec that the V800 didn’t understand. In others, it’s due to improperly adding such features. For example, on the Wahoo RPM, it technically shows as a speed/cadence combo sensor and delivers a null speed value. For all of these, Polar will be implementing fixes to make them work.
I’ve actually been able to confirm a few of these myself using other devices/apps. In these cases, the devices are so far afoul of the standards that Polar won’t be trying to fix these.
Now, the unfortunate thing here for consumers is these non-certified devices are slowly going to wreak havoc on the Bluetooth Smart sport/fitness ecosystem as more devices try and use these. For example, I’m already seeing some similar issues with the Suunto Ambit3 and various 3rd party sensors.
V800 Firmware 1.2 Release – End of October
– Add Indoor Swim Metric Support (stroke recognition for free, breast, butterfly, back, other), distance based on pool length, pace while swimming, stroke count, SWOLF.
– Add Daily activity user interface in wrist: Will show steps, active time, distance from steps, and active calories. Will also allow steps to scale beyond 100% (bar graph). Note, the time/home screen will show your percentage of goal, but not steps.
– Add Speed/Pace Zones for workout targets. Heart rate was already there, and power would be added in previous 1.1 release.
– Add Inactivity alerts on V800. On-watch notification at 50-minutes, then inactivity marker recorded at 60-minutes.
– Add activity goals to V800 (similar to Polar Loop). Flow will also enable this for V800-only users (today requires Polar Loop)
– Minor bug and usability fixes
The big focus here is really on swim metrics and activity monitoring. They decided to split up the swim pieces and get the indoor features out sooner, and then follow-up with the openwater swim support in the next update, knowing that with the exception of the folks Down Under, most would appreciate indoor that time of year over openwater.
V800 Firmware 1.3 Release – TBD Q4 (by end of year)
– Add Openwater Swim Metric support
– Add Android V800 Flow App support (specifically December 2014)
– Additional TBD & TBA fixes/tweaks/features
The exact date for the above is still in flux, but it’ll be out by the end of the year. Additionally, the exact features are in flux, and there are a few unannounced things that’ll hit that firmware update as well.
Note, I’ve covered stuff like export, etc… in the below Polar Flow section.
Finally, for lack of anywhere else to stick it, we did discuss smart notifications (i.e. missed call notifications). It’s something they’re working on but don’t have a specific date. It seemed as though it’d become commonplace in their devices, but they noted that the implementations may vary. For example, they said how that would enumerate itself onto devices such as the Polar Loop would depend a bit on more testing. Said differently, no device specific promises yet there.
Oh, and speaking of random notes without a proper heading, about that GPS update on Tuesday. As many V800 owners noticed, the GPS functionality essentially broke on all V800’s the previous Friday. The workaround was to reboot the unit. Tuesday’s firmware update addresses the problem. The specific root cause was that there was a line of code that broke the GPS search piece after 46 days since the last reset of the unit. A firmware update effectively triggers such a reset. Thus, the 46 days corresponded to the last firmware update you did, and, exactly when the last update was released. The reason they didn’t catch this in testing is that like most companies they are constantly updating to the latest test versions, 46 days on a development build in the tech world is an eternity. I’ve encouraged them to consider posting a bit more detail for this incident and future incidents, à la Strava’s Engineering blog.
Polar Flow: 2014 Update Plan
The Polar Flow side is getting what amounts to roughly monthly feature releases till the end of the year. I’m able to share the September through November components below.
September Flow Release:
– Add Power Meter Analysis Components
– Add Power based targets for workout creator
– Add Data Export (GPX/TCX)
– Add RR recording (including out of activity testing) analysis on Flow, and export of raw unfiltered data
On the RR recording, I got a demo of that and it’s pretty darn cool what they’re doing both on the Polar Flow analysis side, as well as the open 3rd party export capabilities. They showed me using some industry standard tools (i.e. Kubios) for doing RR/HRV analysis using the files straight from Polar Flow. They noted that they went with a bare-bones and most-compliant approach, hoping that’ll minimize issues with 3rd party tools by just focusing on providing the raw unfiltered data, rather than some Polar-fied approach to it.
First, here’s a screenshot of the demo I got showing the RR analysis on Polar Flow:
And then here’s a screenshot showing the same thing from Kubios (3rd party app), using the exported file from Flow:
For the GPX/TCX data export, they are testing with a number of 3rd party sites, including Strava, Training Peaks and others. In the event you can’t wait a few more weeks for activity export, you can use some of the 3rd party Polar Flow export tools available here. Polar is aware of them, but at this point doesn’t see any good reason to block them. Obviously, if they somehow lead to system instability or issues down the road things might change.
October Flow Release:
– Add Swimming Analysis support
November Flow Release:
— Add Speed/Pace based targets for workout creator (power/HR alread there)
There’s more coming down the road beyond November, but this is where they are today on being ready to release plans.
Q4 Release (exact dates will vary):
There’s also items coming by the end of the year, but don’t have a specific date on them. These include:
– Ability to fix errors/values/delete sections of activities on Flow (i.e. forgetting to turn off unit for drive home)
– Ability to automatically merge in your online diary a planned activity (target) with the actual completed activity.
– Adding ProTrainer 5 (PT5) and PolarPersonalTrainer.com (PPT) training history migration to Polar Flow
– PPT: Adding ability to select certain activities to migrate, or, to select a larger timeframe
– PT5: Adding ability to transfer training history. Not all fields will exactly match, for example, if you created custom sports, they have to align to Polar’s predefined sports, so you’ll be prompted to choose a best match. They’re doing this to improve calorie estimations based on different sports.
– Adding ability for older PPT device users to use Flow. This is for Websync and Weblink synchronization users, whereby it’ll allow you to push to Flow.
Right now they’re looking at the PPT data migration piece and determining how far back to enable data migration. Currently they’re thinking of 1 year’s worth of data, but they’re interested in feedback on that.
V650 & Bluetooth Keo Pedals: Product Release and Update Plan
This hasn’t changed any in the last 7 days, so just for the sake of completeness, here it is from last week:
Polar V650 Head Unit Release Date: Currently the first week of October 2014
Polar V650 Power Meter Support: 3-4 weeks later, by the end of October 2014
Polar Look Keo Bluetooth variant (full system): October 2014
Polar Look Keo Essential system (left-side): October 2014
Overall, in looking at the firmware updates and using it on units during the workout noted below, I feel very confident in the September V800 firmware update. I saw no obvious issues during that ride with the power meter support (that’s all I was focused on). For the V650 one…I’m a bit less confident there based on what I saw. They conceded throughout the day that had they known what the schedule slip would have looked like for the V650 back last January when they announced it, they would have held off until they were much closer.
I’ll be working over the next day or two to update the timelines (as required) within my Polar V800 In-Depth.
A Few Random Thoughts:
(Why the bottles above? It’s random, and was in the conference room. Given this section is titled ‘Random thoughts’, it seemed appropriate.)
As always, Polar is no doubt working on new products. That’s true of any company that wants to remain in business. And to that end, I do think in looking at their future pipeline that they have a good grasp on direction of what people want and the price points people want. I think we’ll see less of a feature and pricing gap in the future, than we’ve seen in the past. But, at this time Polar doesn’t have anything to announce or share new product wise.
When I look at the challenges facing Polar, I think the core uncertainties stem from how the major players like Apple and Samsung will approach the fitness watch marketplace, potentially as soon as next Monday. To date, Samsung’s offerings in the market haven’t been competitive, and have largely been throwing mud against a wall to see if it sticks. But, their most recent announcement last week of the Gear S starts to come incredibly close to the turfs of Polar and competitors in the space. As I’ve said recently, these companies need to re-focus their thinking towards being competitive with Apple, Samsung, Google and potentially others. Being competitive with the likes of Garmin, Timex, and Suunto will be the least of their concerns.
This point doesn’t appear to be lost on Polar.
The question is can they innovate and implement quickly enough to outpace these well funded entrants. And it’s the second part that will be most difficult for Polar in particular. While Polar understands very well the products that athletes want, its challenge to date has been in implementing those services on an efficient timeline. In particular, on the web services side (Flow). I would guess that by Silicon Valley standards, the Flow team is probably understaffed for the job they’ve got to do – in many ways similar to what I suspect is the case at Garmin and Suunto as well with Garmin Connect and Movescount.
I suspect that executive leadership at these companies doesn’t quite understand to the degree necessary how quick firms like Strava and their geographic friends at Google and Apple can innovate. And it’s not just a case of sheer number of employees – but rather, fresh talent. Talent that might be hard to get in locations like Oulu, Finland and Olathe, Kansas.
On one hand Polar has seemingly acknowledged that divide by publically already signing up to feed data into Google’s health and fitness focused platform, Google Fit. They’re also actively investigating the Apple equivalent of that, HealthKit. But, those platforms will only take them so far. They will be great data consolidators, but not likely anytime soon great at being the central configuration point of Polar devices (i.e. settings, workouts, etc…).
For that, Polar (and really others in this space) must find ways to ensure that its own web platform is considered the ‘best experience’ for their devices. Because once companies like Polar lose that ‘best experience’ status, they quickly lose the ability to retain a consumer to a different device.
Now, let me be crystal clear, this doesn’t mean to minimize API’s and the like. No, far from it. It means to open those API’s and let the users data flourish. But, it also means to simply do a really damn good job at your web site and innovate in those services quickly. People are no longer buying just a device, they’re buying a platform.
Out for a Ride:
With a day chock full of meetings complete, it was time to go for a bit of a ride. I had brought with me my helmet and shoes, and they supplied a bike that had been relegated to indoor testing duties for half a decade. It was time to set it free.
The bike had been outfitted with the new Bluetooth Smart Polar/Look Keo Power System. Additionally, I had both a V800 and V650 with power meter support enabled on them. Because Bluetooth Smart at this point on these devices can only support one connection to the pedals concurrently, I used the V800 for the outbound portion of the journey, and then stopped and switched to the V650 for the return.
Configuring and completing calibration in the bike parking area was just as easy as it is on any other power meter and associated head unit combo.
The three of us then headed out on the bike paths behind Polar towards a bit of a peninsula. It was great, the paths were empty, and the weather beautiful. And the pace nice and brisk.
In watching the V800, I didn’t seen any irregularities during the ride, and the power output felt about right. Of course, my time was fairly limited.
We soon transitioned from paths to desolate roads. The surface was smooth, and the cars non-existent. Seriously, not a single car passed us on the way out.
Below, my escorts. Well, no, not in that way. More like riding partners. Great guys, and fun to ride with and have a chat with.
We eventually cleared the trees and worked our way onto a little road that would ultimately be surrounded on both sides by water. I’d point out that the wind turbines are there for a reason. And, they were definitely spinning a bit this day.
Our turnaround point would be the end of the road, well, in the summer anyway. This time of year a short 20-minute ferry ride takes you to an island where you can continue with the awesome riding. In the winter, it becomes an ice road.
It’s here that we swapped head units and I went with the V650 for the ride back. We got it all paired up to the pedals and calibrated.
Now, as I noted up above, the V650 was a bit rougher than the V800 when it came to power. Everything else was great, but power I was running into some sort of bug. Which, is I suppose why it’s still about 60 days away from power meter support there, versus the V800’s at less than half of that.
The ride would clock in at about 60 minutes on the dot, 30 minutes each way. In true Finnish style, we wrapped up the day at the sauna inside the office:
A perfect way to end the day, and to wrap-up my trip to Northern Finland. Thanks again to the guys for the great riding, as well as to the larger Polar crew for letting me come up and poke and prod around the place for the day.
With that, thanks for reading! If you want to check out all my other ‘Behind the Scenes’ posts, they can all be found here. Enjoy!
You probably stumbled upon here looking for a review of a sports gadget. If you’re trying to decide which unit to buy – check out my in-depth reviews section. Some reviews are over 60 pages long when printed out, with hundreds of photos! I aim to leave no stone unturned.
I travel a fair bit, both for work and for fun. Here’s a bunch of random trip reports and daily trip-logs that I’ve put together and posted. I’ve sorted it all by world geography, in an attempt to make it easy to figure out where I’ve been.
The most common question I receive outside of the “what’s the best GPS watch for me” variant, are photography-esq based. So in efforts to combat the amount of emails I need to sort through on a daily basis, I’ve complied this “My Photography Gear” post for your curious minds! It’s a nice break from the day to day sports-tech talk, and I hope you get something out of it!
Many readers stumble into my website in search of information on the latest and greatest sports tech products. But at the end of the day, you might just be wondering “What does Ray use when not testing new products?”. So here is the most up to date list of products I like and fit the bill for me and my training needs best! DC Rainmaker 2021 swim, bike, run, and general gear list. But wait, are you a female and feel like these things might not apply to you? If that’s the case (but certainly not saying my choices aren’t good for women), and you just want to see a different gear junkies “picks”, check out The Girl’s Gear Guide too.