Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A little art and science from the saddle

Just like a cowboy riding into the sunset
Art presents itself in everyday life all the time; often it is just a matter of looking for it. However, some days art unmistakably engulfs you. Today was such a day as we ventured to pick up the last of our CSA fruit. While on this errand, our girl and I took a detour to make the most of the light of this seasonally shortened day. We have ridden this particular route many times in varying weather, but there is always something new to see. As a reward for taking the long road home, the few minutes preceding the sunset intensified the visual distinction of the features of trees and plants, and the colors of every pebble and fallen leaf were much more rich and vibrant.
Mastering the windswept look
Science is the inseparable companion of art, but instead of discussing how polarized light might have contributed to the phenomena of the sunset we experienced, I'm thinking of a more applied subject. During the ride, I took the opportunity to further test the route tracking ability of my Garmin FR210 GPS watch.

The well-calibrated Cateye cyclecomputer on the Big Dummy and the FR210 registered nearly the exact same distance, with the Cateye logging 4.50 miles to the FR210's 4.49 miles, a difference of about 0.2%. Quite excellent agreement, considering the difference in measurement techniques between a rolling mechanical wheel and consumer-type GPS, rated to be accurate to within about 10 meters. The instant speed feature of the FR210 also seemed to agree with the speed displayed on the Cateye, although there was apparently about a second or so of lag time with the GPS when pedaled speed changed. Not a big deal for me.
Garmin FR210 faithfully interpreting satellite signals to register a blazing 8.24mph
I also used the heart rate monitor to gather data, although I'm not yet sure what to do with HRM data that are not generated as a result of a workout. Any physical activity, not just that which is structured can be beneficial, so it will be interesting to see in which zone this flavor of transportation-related physical activity falls. However, as this blog is ostensibly about the art and science of Daddying from the saddle of a Big Dummy, and not so much about data dissection, I digress. Without further ado, I present the following image evocative of the former.
Glowing in the fading light of day

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