Hot Summer Morning on the Texas Trail

Hot Summer Morning

Today I decided to beat the heat and get on the bike trail early in the morning. I was on my bike by 8am and actually enjoyed relatively cooler weather even though by the time I was reaching my house – at 9:40 – the temperature had risen significantly 

lesson learned – in the Texas summer – head out as early as possible – I know this is no rocket science but still needed to be reiterated

on the positive side – while on the trail I encountered plenty of wild life – a coyote and a roadrunner 

the coyote did not spend but a minute looking at me, turned around and ran back into the woods…I was too large for his liking.  

The roadrunner as usually just walked importantly along the trail until it decided to chase something in the brush and disappeared 

unfortunately I could not take pictures of any of them – too short of a encounter, but here is a pic from the trail anyway.

Texas hill country

Texas Hill Country Trail

 

Biking in Texas – Spring Views

Biking in Texas

The mountain biking season in Texas goes through its ups and downs.  There are months when it is cold and wet, I know somewhat counterintuitive statement about this state where draughts are more common than rains, but trust me it does rain here and it does get cold….The same temperature that causes New Englanders to break out the shorts and flip-flops, makes folks in Texas claim a cold spell is upon us.  

While our weekends lately have been very busy with family related happenings – we were able to sneak in a bike ride here and there (late on Sunday – almost evening – after coming back to town).  The weather and scenery of the Texas bike trails were beautiful.  

The photos below make me feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to get on a mountain bike and cruise through the wilderness, calm and nature of the bike trails in the Hill Country…. What a great experience….!

Winter: Mountain Biking in January

Winter

I enjoy living in Austin – why?  Because we can go mountain biking pretty much year round, even in the winter.  I know Colorado, Utah among several states offer really spectacular rides….BUT just in the late spring, summer and early fall.  The rest of the time, the weather is so cold that mountain biking becomes a difficult task.

This weekend, we took advantage of the bright sunshine and had a great ride in the green belt in our neighborhood.

Here are some photos to show you what winter bike ride should be ūüôā  Enjoy!

Texas Austin Barton Creek Greenbelt

Austin Texas Barton Creek Greenbelt

And then there was the sunset – as we biked home…. Beautiful – isn’t it…

Texas Austin Sunset

Health Apps for iPhone

What is New in the Area of Health Apps for iPhone

Well, I have always been a believer that the iPhone offers a very versatile platform for tracking your exercise, your biking, walking, running…etc health related endeavors we all have.  As you know from this blog postings – I tried the Apple Watch and was rather frustrated with its lack of good repeatable measurements.  At the same time the iPhone has been relatively solid performer with a slew of applications – e.g. (in no particular order):

Earlier last week during the holidays, I decided to figure out how I can aggregate all the apps tracking information via the Apple Health application – why?  because I wanted to track all my walking, jogging, biking, hiking exercise as an aggregate.

Apple iPhone Health App

Apple iPhone Aggregation point

Apple iPhone

Next level of detail

So I tried to accomplish that.  Took me a while to figure out what applications actually interface with the Apple Health app.  

Well, turns out all of the apps have gaps in their ability to synch up with the main Health app

So I am using Argus, Bike+(b+), MountainBike-Pro, and Under Armor Record – all of these applications have the ability to measure relatively accurately the distance, steps, calories, miles of walking, hiking, biking,  BUT – there is the big disappointment – they all have gaps in their ability to interface, synch and feed into the iPhone Health app.

Here is the summary of what I have found so far:

Under Armor Record

The Under Armor Dashboard

 

Under Armor’s Record is the application which allows you to capture your Hiking, Walking and Biking exercise – but when I tried to synch up and connect the app with iPhone Health – I was able to, the apps connected – but I was only able to get the walking results into the Health app.

Why?

I could not tell…!

I tried all sort of options – but NO luck with getting the biking info into the aggregation app.

 

Under-Armor-Record

Dashboard for a ride on Under-Armor-Record

Here is the information from the Under Armor Record application – it properly captured the exercise info but no luck getting it into the Health App

The other issue that i found, although I would say that is a smaller issue as it only relates to how calories are counted.

The Under Armor Record captured my biking distance and calories at a much lower level vs what both Argus and MountainBike Pro recorded.

Again – no big deal as it just means one of them is more accurate – who knows.

 

Here are the other two (Argus, MountainBike Pro):

Argus Mountain Bike

Summary of a ride on Argus Mountain Bike

MountainBike Pro

Summary of a ride with MountainBike Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, net-net, Argus injected the information of calories into the Health App, Under Armor Record injected the Walking data, and the actual Cycling info from all three Apps (Argus, MountainBike Pro, Under Armor Record) never made it in…!  Very frustrating.  Next few days I will try Bike+(b+) to see if it will feed into the Health App – it is supposed to….!  I want to find the way to get all my excise data / results into one place….and I will find a way  to do it.

Will report on my progress in the next posting…

Christmas Bike Ride in the Texas Hill Country

Christmas Bike Ride

Austin continues to amaze me…!  Why?  Well, today is the day after Christmas, it is December 26th, however the weather was beautiful – warm, sunny, a perfect day for a great bike ride in the Texas Hill Country.

Texas Austin Warm Weather As you can see from my iPhone Weather App, today was a very warm, sunny, and overall a great day, unusual even for Austin in December….!

Having said that, we are not complaining ūüôā

Instead, we put on the biking gear, pumped up the mountain bike tires and off we went into the green belt in West Austin.

It was almost too warm….

You can see some great pics from the bike ride below.  I took photos of the winter landscape, the Barton Creek, the trails in the Green Belt and the dormant trees which even in this state are quite something… Well, enough said – take a look at the photos and let us know how you like them… Happy Holidays!

 

Texas September Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking in the Texas Fall

Well, we are thinking about the Fall.  Even-though, according to official records and if according to the recognized norm, the Fall is still several days away.  Nevertheless the Texas mountain biking scene is picking up steam.

There are new bike shops sprouting around the city — that tells you about the growing popularity of biking in this great city and State;

Then there are the great flowers and views along the bike trails,   Here is a sampling of those views as captured by my trusted iPhone:

Texas Wild Flowers Texas-Austin Strange dogs,

something that looks like a wild version of the morning glory

These flowers were all over along the bike trail along Barton Creek

 

 

 

Texas Beauty Berry

Very interesting and colorful plant….Interesting to see

 

 

 

Here is the collage of the some of the photos – for a quick view – then later on the blog post I will get some of the individual photos showing so you can appreciate the rich ecosystem of Texas in the late summer — especially this year — rather than getting a burnt outdoors this year we have tons of rain and as a result the fields are green and there are tons of wild flowers.

texas Collors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USA AUSTIN BARTON CREEK TRAILSo one thing to remember though – you absolutely have to enjoy the great outdoors but you also have to remember, the summer is still in full swing here and temperatures are high – i.e. carry plenty of water on your ride…. Take a look at the photo below – that is you environment!

Bike Highways – Mega Cities Investing in Bicycle Infrastructure

Bike Highways

Over the last century or so, the world and its cities have spent trilions of dollars on automotive related highways.  The interstate highway system in the US or the autobahns in Germany are example of engineering greatness Рcreating efficient and very convenient (for cars and trucks) roadway system.

Now we have examples of significant investment going into biking infrastructure in big metro areas.

  • Paris: investing approximately $164M to build a 28-30 mile highway for bicycles;
  • Atlanta: pledging to invest $1B over the next 25 years into biking and walking infrastructure in order to make the city more liveable

The Paris plan is being described in the article by CityLab and per that article hopefully it will get completed.¬†¬† From personal experience – Paris desperately needs the bicycles as the congestion in the city is pretty bad.¬† I remember spending hours stuck in traffic trying to leave the city on the way to near by towns and then come back in the evening…

Atlanta is no different — yes, it needs the plan and its results…Here is more on it

Well, check them out and encourage your local communities to do the same…

Beat Jet-lag – Shanghai to Bike Trail in 24 Hours

Beat Jet-lag

How to beat jet-lag? ¬†Well folks I firmly believe that biking is a cure to it all – yes, to JET-LAG…at least…Last night I flew into Austin (landed at ABIA around 9:40pm) after a 10-day trip to China. ¬†Mind you air travel has become easier over the years – a trip that used to take me 27-30 hours leaving home in Austin and getting to my destination in one of the major metro areas in China or doing the reverse, is now taking about 7-8 hours less. ¬†The reasons for that are many – one of them are the increase in direct flights between various points in the US and China leveraging the new fuel efficient Boeing 787-Dreamliner.

Dallas-Boeing-Dreamliner-B787¬†The plane is able to move a large number of passengers very efficiently and with relatively good comfort even in the dreaded “Economy” class…

As a result, I left Shanghai Pudong airport on a late afternoon flight bound for DFW and by 4:30pm on that same Saturday (Oh, the wonders of time zones — I left Shanghai and landed in Dallas what it seems only a few minutes later vs. the actual 14 hour flight). ¬† Even after American airlines managed to screw up my connecting flight to Austin due to the lack of a 3rd flight attendant, I was able to switch to another Austin bound flight at a later time and finally by 9:40pm landed in Austin.

My first action upon landing was to promise myself that Sunday morning will be taken by a bike ride on my Trek X-Caliber – the intent to beat jet lag as quickly as possible.

Barton-Creek-West-TrailAnd that is what I did РI was on the bike on the trail by 8am Рprobably should have come out earlier given the heat and humidity of Texas at this time of the year but better late then never I guess;   The trail seemed tougher than usual Рwhy?  because after 10-days of hopping from city to city, business meetings and all, I was out of shape!

Nevertheless I huffed and I puffed but I made the 11-mile trek in 1-hour and 15 minutes and along the way as usual, saw tons of interesting blooming flowers and the countless number of cactus…. The trek is tiring but the beauty of Texas nature is well worth the effort. ¬†After the urban jungle of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Suzhou – the Texas single track trail is a welcome escape…. Here are some more photos from the ride this morning…

Beat Jet-Lag Texas-Biking-TrailsBeat Jet-Lag Texas-Trails-Flowers

 

 

Texas Mountain Bike Trails in April

Gallery

This gallery contains 6 photos.

This winter and spring have both been fairly unpredictable and actually not cold. ¬†As a result both the trails and the actual biking conditions have been rather pleasant if not a bit muddy. Yesterday, we had the opportunity to hit … Continue reading