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5 Random Things I Did This Weekend

After spending last weekend down in the South of France, we were back home this weekend, and here’s what we were up to!

1) Unboxing new gizmos

While there were many gizmos and gadgets that arrived over the past week (such as the Polar M600 and Suunto Spartan Ultra), they didn’t all come in one box.  No, many boxes.  So by time I got to the weekend I was still playing catch-up a bit.

One such product in the pile was the Tigra Trio:

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The product is an optical HR sensor strap that utilizes the Valencell optical HR sensor technology.  But more than that, it can also transmit cycling cadence as well as running cadence.  Essentially, it’s a combo HR sensor and cadence sensor.

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Unfortunately it doesn’t broadcast on ANT+, which means you’ve lost the vast majority of the cycling realm that would have bought such a combo cycling cadence + HR sensor.  But, I was able to pair it up with the Suunto Spartan Ultra, which I’ll talk about briefly later on.

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Btw, totally random trivia for you: Their intro video as seen on the homepage of their site, was apparently shot directly in front of the DCR Studio here in Paris on the quai (0:15 marker to 0:19 marker).  Obviously I doubt that they knew that at the time, but I did a solid double-take when I saw it tonight.  It’s the same spot where I shoot most of my YouTube videos.  In fact, the very spot she’s running in the below shot is where I shot the intro/ending of this YouTube video about GPS accuracy on the Suunto Sparta Ultra.

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In watching through, the entire video is shot in various spots around Paris, much of it pretty close to the Studio.  Small world!

2) A foodie afternoon

Saturday afternoon we decided to go out for a bit of a wander.  We started by going pretty far…the building next door.

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A new patisserie (A. Lacroix Patissier) specializing in over the top French patisseries was having their opening day, and we decided to drop in.  We’d been watching the build out over the past few months, after an insurance company moved out of the space.  The particular space is stunningly beautiful and in an amazing location.  We had poked around a little bit at what it might cost (toying with the idea of a café of sorts) when we first saw it go on the market, but it got snapped up incredibly quick.  Apparently a number of entities bid on it, including some major brands.

So we were ecstatic upon walking in to find it’s family owned by a French trained pastry chef, his American business-focused wife, and their little boy.  All of which were present. It’s great to have both more family owned businesses in the area, but also just ones that you can chat for hours about the ‘joys’ of starting and running a business (or two) in France.

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In any case – the pastries were fantastic, and I suspect with it being like 4-6 seconds from our front doorstep, we’ll be there often.

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Afterwards, we headed up Boulevard Saint-Germain a ways to another American-owned small business, Treize, which is one of our favorite stops for brunch.

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The owner is from Charleston, but has been here 20+ years.  So it’s sorta a blend of stylish food from ‘The South’ and France.  More than that, the place is just over the top friendly.

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Somehow we ended up staying there 3+ hours, basically closing down the joint.  Cake may have been involved. Lots of cake.

3) Riding up the cobbles

Saturday evening after returning from our food wanderings, I grabbed my road bike and headed out.  I was interested in getting in a more detailed ride with both the Suunto Spartan Ultra and Polar M600, but also even just continuing to build out my Edge 820 test data for that upcoming review.

And of course, to test out the Tigra optical HR sensor.  So I paired that to the Spartan Ultra as both a HR sensor and to provide cadence data.  Below is the first position I tried.

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Now for the first portion of the ride I was getting wonky readings with the Tigra.  So I ended up moving it up my leg a bit more and changing the position.  That seemed to solve the readings and bring it inline with the HRM-TRI.  However oddly, the Spartan didn’t record the HR data that was displayed. :-/  The next day, I’d go even higher up my leg.  You can wear it on your arm, but then you don’t get cycling cadence.

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I finished up the ride as the sun set, another beautiful summer evening.

4) More summer riding…and auto shifting

Sunday afternoon Julio and I decided some more riding was in order.  This time I’d switch it over to my Cervelo P3C triathlon bike, as that has Di2 on it.  And I needed an electronic shifting bike (either Di2 or SRAM eTAP) in order to try out this next product, which was the long-awaited variant of the automated bike shifting device  I tested a few summers back.

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It’s called ProShift, and it’ll automatically shift your bike for you, based on various parameters.  The most common being what is effectively an optimized shift profile for you.  You do nothing more than ride, and it figures out shifting based on your demands in real-time.  Sorry the below pic is crappy, I didn’t take my DSLR on the ride, but will for my upcoming dedicated post on it.

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I’ll be circling back with a far more detailed post in the next 7-10 days on it and how it works.

Meanwhile, Julio and I spent a bit over 2 hours just wandering up along the river to a giant lake used for rowing, before concluding the ride back home.

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It was a nice warm day, and just a great afternoon to be out in the sun pedaling.

5) Wrapping up the weekend

After returning home and cleaning up, The Girl and I and the baby and Lucy all headed down to the Quai to meet Julio and family for some river-side eating enjoyment.

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These pop-up restaurants open around May each year, and wrap up in late September, and occupy the vast majority of the quai along the river.  Tons of options, and many of them very good food.

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It’s been notable to watch the huge shift in security in the past two weeks, a bit after the Nice attacks, especially along the river.  The police (and specialized military) presence is leaps and bounds above what it’s ever been here, but especially near the river.  While it’s unfortunate to see it come to this, it’s also deep enough that there’s little concern on our part in living here and going out and enjoying the city.  It’s also kinda comforting to know a 4-6 person well-armed military unit is sitting directly across the street from the Cake Studio & DCR Cave.  Thus reducing any loiterers to zero.

Oh, right, the food was great!  I had some pork ribs.

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And afterwards The Girl and I walked the two miles back home along the river.  Can’t beat warm summer nights!

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28 Comments

  1. Laurens Bloem

    And if anyone asks if you’re in home detention, you can now go “no, that’s my Tigra fitness device”

    • William B.

      Maybe this is some sports tech “Criminal Chic” we just haven’t realised we wanted yet!

      I thought my Scosche maybe me look like I was tagged but atleast I can wear that on my upper arm so less dodgy looking!

      I am not sure if they have thought about that but with a rival as brilliant as the Scosche you don’t want to have a negative image associated with your product before you’ve even got going. It may be great tech but if people feel too self conscious to use it then it will undoubtedly fail.

      Got to love a run along the Seine on a Sunday morning when the road is closed.

  2. Ken * Swimnbike

    Ray,

    Thanks for sharing You and the Girls’ La dolce Vita in Paris.
    Paris summers, Work-outs, fantastic food and summer night strolls.
    Sounds fantastic…

    Enjoy and keep sharing

  3. Ian Marchant

    Looking at all that, I have no idea how you managed to get out on the bike afterwards!

  4. Mike Campana

    Hi Ray,

    Looks like a fun weekend! The HR monitor in your post got me thinking, what it they were able to put a HR monitor in a glove at the wrist area? Functional use and sooooo much more comfortable. Just a crazy idea. LOL!

    -MIke

    • It could be something down the road, but I suspect the challenge is that it’d really only be used a portion of the year (meaning, you might not wear gloves in summer). And if you did wear gloves in summer, I suspect the best area to read that HR would be the fingertips, which many summer-focused cycling gloves wouldn’t have. :-/

  5. DaveG

    Would a device like the Viiiiva HR monitor be able to bridge the ANT+ gap on the Tigra? A bit redundant of course, but for the cash strapped….

  6. Jeff

    It’s also kinda comforting to know a 4-6 person well-armed military unit is sitting directly across the street from the Cake Studio & DCR Cave. Thus reducing any loiterers to zero.

    I noticed that too. You are walking down some random French Street and suddenly a group of 4 camo dressed soldiers fully kitted out. Kind of disconcerting the first time it happens.

    • Yeah. The camo soldiers have actually been in Paris since around 2006-2007, though, always in groups of three, and usually pretty sparingly. One set around the Eiffel Tower, another around the Louvre, one near Notre Dame, and one up near the Arc. That’s about it.

      But in the last month or so they’ve upped it to groups of four now for the roving units. And those are separate from the stationary units, which guard every drivable entrance to the river within the periphique (though, only after lunch).

  7. Chuck

    Hi Ray: The video for the Trio sport 3 in 1 sensor says it’s best to wear it on the inside of the lower leg not the outside as you did. Maybe better blood flow on the inner leg?

    Cheers,

    • Yeah, I tried moving it more towards the inside (though the instructions say the outside is fine, as showed in the picture). The next day I put it totally on the inside. Seemed better, but alas the Suunto unit didn’t record for some reason. :-/

    • Stuart Miles

      If it’s anything like the Scosche I’ve never been able to get reliable readings whilst running with it on my upper arm and my Garmin on the opposite wrist.

  8. James

    Great write up. Always amazed at how much you fit into a weekend, I think your Saturday and Sundays have more hours than mine :p

  9. JimL

    Is the pros gift using data from Xert to set those parameters?

  10. Scott E

    Ah yes, the ProShift, that should be a good read. Hopefully there has been good development taking place, and we’re talking about a reasonable price point in a final product. Worth a go if less than a power meter.

  11. Ingo

    Re Tigra, I’d have been interested if this would at least have significantly increased the 8h battery life from the Scosche Rhythm+ but it’s got only the same battery life so it’s basically just a mock-off – except for the cadence maybe… but most people owning a more recent running watch or cycling computer likely already have cadence so who is going to need the Tigra, really?

    • I’m kinda trying to figure it out. I’m having issues between it and the Suunto and it turning off, so I’m going to switch to another unit to record today (just the Wahoo app I think), to get a baseline and figure out who’s fault it is.

      I think without the dual, it’s overpriced though. If it was $79, dual, and with cadence – that’d be super cool (and maybe a bit smaller, it’s kinda large compared to the Scosche).

    • MattS

      I think Ray is about to find out the value of the cadence on the leg. When you are running with a stroller the watch based cadence can get messed up depending on which hand is pushing at the moment. With my cadence coming from the Garmin heart rate strap it’s ok, but when I’ve run without the strap (as Ray does with his optical straps) the cadence will most likely be inconsistent.

      I’m looking forward to “really real world” test results in the coming years as the new testing partner gets involved.

    • Hmm, good point – hadn’t thought of that.

      Now…if only they had enabled ANT+ on it…sigh.

  12. Auto shifting can leave you difficult situations in case it fails.
    As experienced by Bas Diederen during IM Maastricht 2015. While riding up the “Cauberg”, a well known “mountain” in The Netherlands. The shifting failed because a battery detached, leaving him in the big gears.

    link to youtube.com

    • Note that auto-shifting is different than electronic shifting. Totally different ball-game.

      Also note that on all electronic shifting systems, when the battery dies, it moves to the smallest cog automatically (to avoid exactly this).

      If a battery on an electronic shifting system actually falls off…then IMHO (having used them all), it’s because of user error: Poor mechanical maintenance or installation. Simple as that.

  13. andi

    Man, how can you eat all this wonderful stuff and don’t get fat!

    Amazing!

  14. Jorge Marques

    Hi Ray
    Did you used Tigra with Garmin edge 820, did it work well? Heart frequency and cadence with real values? For owners with more that one bike is it a good choice the combination? What’s you opinion?
    Thanks in advance
    Jorge

  15. Gordon Judd

    Hi Ray – did you ever finish testing the Tigra? I am interested to know if it is a reliable heartrate monitor.

  16. Hi Ray,

    Just a question: Did you pair up the TIGRA successfully with the Spartan ? Which software version did you have on it? I am with the latest 1.1.30 and it does pair up, but shows 30 or 150bpm all the time, no change in HR. I tried paring it up with V800, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S7, Concept2, but only the Ipad Air IOS10 what shows heart rate moving around correctly.

    The LED lights of your tigra are flickering all the time ? Mine ARE ! They don’t give a constant light like for instance the MIO ALPHA 2 .