Cycling Notes Training

Solved: Bluetooth Connectivity Problems with Recent Huawei Smartphones

Since getting my most recent Huawei phone (using Android 6.0 “Marshmallow”), I’ve noticed that automatic syncing of my Garmin Forerunner GPS watch often didn’t happen automatically – even if the Garmin Connect app was open. Typically, restarting the phone would solve the issue, and allow a sync to happen – however next time, it would fail, meaning another restart was necessary. Very annoying! There was not a problem with my older Huawei phone, which was on an older (v4.0) version of Android.

I recently acquired a Beeline smart compass for my bike, and immediately had the same issue. The initial setup was fraught, as it requires a Bluetooth connection, and I was only able to gain one, and pair it through the app, upon restarting my phone. After a few minutes, the connection would drop and, even though it was paired, the Beeline and phone would be unable to find each other.

The problem is due to a bug in the way Huawei’s battery management of its Bluetooth connection to apps, works. A simple configuration change was all that was needed, in order to fix both the Bluetooth connectivity between the Garmin Connect app and my Garmin Forerunner, and between the Beeline app and my Beeline device itself. Once I made the change, I was able to set up Garmin Connect so that it runs in the background, and now I don’t even have to manually open the app in order to sync, after a cycle ride.

The change is surprisingly poorly documented, and also quite hard to find. Indeed it seems to have been specifically hidden away. Essentially, you need to disable Huawei battery management for the app.

The steps you need to do are:

  1. Go to the Settings app.
  2. Choose “Apps & notifications”
  3. Choose “Apps”
  4. Press “Setting” at the bottom.
  5. Press “Special access” under the Advanced section.
  6. Press “Ignore battery optimisation”
  7. Press the “Allowed” dropdown at the top.
  8. Choose “All apps”
  9. Scroll to the app which is experiencing the Bluetooth connection issues. It will probably have “Not allowed” displayed below it.
  10. Select the app concerned.
  11. Choose the “Allow” option and press OK.

That’s it!

Your Beeline, or Garmin Forerunner, should now generally connect without issues. You have to wait a few seconds, and you may sometimes need to toggle off and on the Bluetooth function from your shortcut panel. But you shouldn’t have to restart your phone just to be able to connect your devices.

Cycling Training

Strava – Gamifying the Commute

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 14.01.32

I first tried Strava last year, comparing it to Endomondo, RunKeeper and some others, as a way of quickly pushing maps of long bike rides onto Facebook, rather than just keeping them to myself on Ascent (a standalone Mac application which has ceased development) or Garmin Connect (which wasn’t particularly sociable).

I didn’t use Strava in the end, but I’m a big convert now, because I’ve realised that Strava is not just a running/cycling route recording site, but it’s a fully fledged social network – crucially, one which is large enough to actually function as a proper social network – and best of all, they’ve basically turned London’s street network into a giant game, with “segments”. I first heard of this when a friend, who’s an active Strava user, lamenting that the Tour de France riders had wiped out various segment leaders, en masse, as they zoomed through the streets of London during the third stage of this year’s race, as some were GPS’ing their route as they went.

Segments are sections of a street – typically a long, straight section, or between two sets of slow traffic lights, or from the bottom to the top of a hill – which someone has named and designated as a segment. You then have a public leaderboard of who’s cycled/run the segment, plus your own personal statistics for the segments as well.

Despite recording my recent commutes, and back-loading various GPS’d runs and cycles into Strava, I don’t have many “CRs” (course records) for segments. But I’m pleased to hold on to two – both runs. One is along a windy road near Seven Sisters. The route/segment matching algorithm doesn’t seem to have minded that I cut a big corner near the end, even though it is obvious on the GPS trace, so has given me a comfortable 40 second cushion. The other was a short uphill section of the North Downs Way, part of a leg I ran during the NDW Relay race that my club takes part in every July. Oddly, it was a section where I made a mistake (due to OpenStreetMap inaccuracies), and veered off the route, only to have the others in the relay go past. I corrected quickly and ran hard to regain the lead, and as a useful bonus it’s given me a CR here too.

Anyway, for cycling, I may struggle to get any CRs soon, as most of these on the commute require cycling over 40km/hour, or more for sprints and descents. I’ll need to get lucky with traffic light timings, and late night empty roads. It might also encourage me to run more (which is good) and cycle faster (probably not so good). in any case, it’s made the commute a lot more fun. Thanks Strava!

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 14.00.01

Leisure Orienteering Events Log Training

On Social Race Maps


I’ve been looking for a while for an online service that would post my recent race routes to Facebook, for my friends to see when I’ve been running, orienteering or cycling. This proved to be surprisingly difficult to do, but I have finally found a service that meets my specific requirements, Endomondo.

My requirements are:
* Post a map of my route
* Map to be decent sized, i.e. not tiny unreadable thumbnail.
* Post to only my friends on Facebook, not the whole world there.
* Post the map (not just the stat) if posting on a subsequent day
* Use the correct day of the race, in my Facebook timeline.
* Accept TCX or GPX files that I have downloaded from my Garmin.

I also tried the following, which didn’t work out in various ways:

* MapMyRun – only posts a tiny map:

* RunKeeper – doesn’t post a map if it’s for a previous day:
…also I had a lot of problems with it saying it had posted to Facebook and then the post didn’t go through. Finally, once it did, it insisted on posting it as world-viewable on Facebook – for brand visibility I suppose, but I only want my friends to see my routes!

* Strava – this seems to work well now with Facebook but it was having issues when I tried back in April:

* ViewRanger – like MapMyRun, doesn’t post anything more than a thumbnail on Facebook.

(Thanks to Alan McG et al for helping me with the research into solutions.)


Evolving the Shoe, Evolving the Terrain


I occasionally receive the odd running-related press release, and got an interesting one from Mizuno recently, announcing a couple of new running shoes – the Wave Rider 16 and Wave Inspire 9 – the two being quite similar but with the latter being more of a support shoe and a fraction (10g) heavier.

The shoes look the part as you would expect, and are appropriately vividly coloured and styled – very much the trend these days, and why not – at this time of year, much of the time it’s dark when I’m running, and it makes sense to be as visible as possible.

Anyway I mention the shoes for three reasons.

Firstly I’m impressed that this is the 16th iteration of the Wave Rider shoe. Mizuno clearly know they are on to a good thing – not launching a new brand every year or so, but instead evolving a well known one. The average running shoe only lasts for 3-400 miles so a typical club runner might need to buy a new one twice a year. If the shoe is good, then the club runner will not want to change it for another brand if the old one is no longer available – they might just as easily change the manufacturer altogether, but they would much prefer to stick the name of the shoe that they know – shoes are the critical tool for a runner. So, give them what they want, and take the opportunity to refine it.

But you also need to keep new people discovering the manufacturer and brand, and also update the look to keep it looking new and relevant. So – relaunch it!

The second reason I mention is that I got a rather nice Mizuno freebie – which just happened to be a Wave Rider 15 – during the launch of an unrelated training shoe by them, earlier this year. Like the new shoes here, it wasn’t a subtle shoe – purple and lime green. When added to my red, white and blue running tops, the look is somewhat psychedelic. But it’s a very comfortable shoe and has become my current running shoe of choice. This is partly due to superstition – I started wearing my previous new shoe when I hadn’t fully recovered from an injury, and I put the resulting niggles down to the shoe and not my injury – d’oh. But it’s surprising just how superstitious you can be when it comes to injuries.

Anyway, long story short, I’ve been very pleased with my “v15” Wave Rider the last few months – I even took it to the Venice Street Race in November, although Venice was underwater at the time* so there was not much running involved, and it could well be the v16 that I end up getting next, when the current one wears out – or maybe there will even be a v17 by then? It looks like the Wave Riders will be evolving for a while yet.

The third reason is the that PR came with some photos, of runners running in the shoes, like you would expect. But the locations strongly reminded me of urban orienteering races. None of the running in the photos is taking place on roads, but instead they are along the seafront, through building courtyards, along garden paths – all the places where the best urban orienteering takes places. The campaign’s ad (short video – 30s) even includes the runner ascending some external stairs – very Barbican. You could easily imagine a control in each of these photos. In fact I very nearly doctored the photos to add one in the background. I don’t think Mizuno would have been too impressed at that though.

I’m planning a big urban orienteering race – in fact the second biggest standalone one in the world – next September. It might even be the biggest in the world next year, because the traditional incumbent, Venice, has got cancelled in 2013, after some concerns were raised during this year’s flooded race. Details of the race I’m planning will be up at the end of this month – all I can say for now is that it will have a distinctly watery feel to it. As the planner, I get to pick where the control sites go. And I’ll certainly be aiming to pick ones like the sorts shown in the photos here.

* Resulting in a rather saline shoe now. I’m not sure if it would survive a wash cycle.


OpenStreetMap Orienteering Training

OpenOrienteeringMap is on Attackpoint

Just a quick post for people who use Attackpoint – >a OpenOrienteeringMap (OOM) is on it! More specifically, you can view GPS routes that people have uploaded, using OpenOrienteeringMap as a background.

To do this:
1. Click on the little “globe” icon beside an entry that has a GPS log. Here’s an example from my Venice Street Race run on Sunday.
2. On the map that loads, click on the “OSM” button on the top right.
3. Click on one of the OOM items on the menu that appears just below the OSM button.

(Note, the global version of OOM is used – this one does not update as the OpenStreetMap database updates, but instead on a more occasional schedule.)

The basemap is based on OpenStreetMap data.


Repetitive Running

Here is my GPS tracklog for the middle Sunday afternoon session of the Nike Grid game, running between two phoneboxes in E2. In order to stave off boredom, I tried to vary the route every time. Each leg was 800m-1km long. The bottom left is the Mecca Bingo on Hackney Road and the top right is by the bridge across the Regent’s Canal, just south of Broadway Market.

You can spot where a mini-football game was playing by my different routes through an otherwise unobstructed field. I also witnessed the aftermath of both a cycle accident (top right) and a car accident (top left)… The screenshot is from the Ascent application and includes imagery from Microsoft Virtual Earth.

I did so much running on the Sunday that I gave myself shin splints and so am not going to be doing any running at all for the next few weeks.


Despite my lack of personal success, my team did rather well and we have ended up with a lot of prizes.


Finsbury Parkrun

Screen shot 2009-11-07 at 17.24.27

I made it along to the second Finsbury parkrun this morning, having missed the first due to a trip to France. It takes just over an hour to my “traditional” parkrun location at Bushy Park, so, after an evening out in Camden, the 25 minute cycle to Finsbury Park was definitely a preferred option. It was a cool, crisp morning, quite sunny. The park was surprisingly busy for 9am on a Saturday, with other joggers, BMT clients, cyclists, and children in the playground. There were 38 people for race – as the series has just started, the numbers will probably grow, but it meant I got a top-10 finish today.

The course is two laps of the park, with a meander inwards to the top of the hill, from the northernmost point of the perimeter road, near the end of each loop. The meander starts with a short, sharp (1 in 8) climb up to the top, my km splits (3:51, 4:10, 3:51, 4:11, 4:07) suggest the hill, in the 2nd and 5th kilometres, seemed to take around 15 seconds out of my time each time it was visited. There was another, more gradual hill in the first and fourth km. I finished 7th, in 20:11, but didn’t push hard, so should be able to beat that comfortably in the future. I’m going to try and make it to as many of these ones as possible, in the next few months, unless an even more local one starts!
Screen shot 2009-11-07 at 17.30.08


A New Method for Creating Street Orienteering Maps

This is a poster that I will be presenting at next week’s GISRUK conference in Durham. It is a summary of my Masters dissertation that I wrote last summer. The dissertation itself focused on areas and data in London, however thanks to LivingWithDragons‘ (and others’) excellent data-gathering for OpenStreetMap, Durham is similarly well mapped, so I customised the example map to be Durham itself.

The background, by the way, is a faded greyscale version of the map for much of London, which came from a “Slippy” street orienteering map of the metropolis that I’ve created but never got around to releasing, however it does show the extent of OSM’s London coverage now – pretty impressive.


Click the graphic to see a larger version, but you’ll have to come to Durham yourself to see the original in its A1 glory.


Google Street View London finally here

…and not just London. It covers 25 cities in the UK.

There are some omissions in the coverage of course – e.g. Chancery Lane is a notable missing street. But my home street in Hackney is there, and the imagery extends right out to the edge of the metropolis.

Here’s some fare-dodgers getting booked by the police, outside the main entrance to UCL.

Photo Copyright Google.


Trees on OpenStreetMap

I noticed for the first time yesterday, that individual trees are being stored in OSM, and being rendered on the default OSM/Mapnik map:

The green dots are points tagged with natural=tree, here at City University London.
OSM documentation for the natural=tree tag

This got me thinking – might I be able to build a “proper” orienteering map using entirely OpenStreetMap? Street-O* maps can already be produced with OSM data – this was some work I did last summer, and also am working on – but being able to produce an ISOM** map directly from OSM data is quite appealing. (ISSOM*** might be harder, as this standard requires roads to be shown at their actual width, rather than being linear features with fixed-width cartography.)

Most of the orienteering-specific features, such as pits and earth walls, wouldn’t show on the “public” renders of OSM data – the ‘general maps’, but a customised rendering could show these and have specialised cartography for them. As well as adding these new features, some existing features (e.g. natural=woodland) which are rendered on the general maps could have tags added to indicate the runnability level – orienteering maps have four levels of “greenness” for woods, and sometimes tree canopies are shown in white – this could be inferred from a size tag associated with a natural=tree point, medium being shown as a circle with a 5m circumference, for instance.

Many other features are already on OSM – paths, tracks, minor and major roads, as used in the Street-O maps, and also vegetation types, gates, walls and fences, that would appear in an ISOM/ISSOM based map.

My local park, Victoria Park, could be having a lot more detail added to it soon.

* Street-O: An informal orienteering discipline, run in urban areas with simple maps showing the street and path networks, and little else. Typically A4 at 1:10000
** ISOM: International Specification for Orienteering Maps. “Normal” orienteering races use these maps, which are full colour and very detailed, typically A3-A5 at 1:10000.
*** ISSOM: International Specification for Sprint Orienteering Maps. A much newer specification designed for the increasingly popular urban and sprint races, the map is almost a plan view of the ground, with roads shown at their correct width, sometimes with pavements shown seperately. Typically A3-A4 at 1:4000 or 1:5000.