# Cycling data via Mathematica

Modern cycling trainers show a video and correlate resistance with what’s being shown on screen. You can “ride” a stage of the Tour de France and it will be tougher as you ride up steeper hills. Zwift has created virtual courses that cyclists from around the world can ride simultaneously, interacting with each other. It records detailed information about your virtual progress in a .FIT file, along with your heart rate, cadence, and other data from third party monitors you may be using.

Using fitparse, I created software that converts these into a format that Mathematica can understand, and using Mathematica, it is possible to break down the data a million ways. A few graphical examples are shown below.

The topography of an evening’s ride in Zwift’s Watopia as decoded by Mathematica

Velocity on the course, roughly the inverse of changes in elevation except where there are sprints

My heart rate as measured by a Wahoo heart rate monitor

# an old motto

Last year I noticed at auction a membership certificate for the Harvard Bicycle Club dated October 12th 1883. This was, I presume the predecessor of the current Harvard University Cycling Association, for which I raced when I was young and fit.

The Harvard Cycling Team was a big deal in the years between 1879 and about 1900, and their appearance at races in New York City were regularly covered by the New York Times.

The motto of the Harvard Bicycle Club appears on the red seal affixed to the certificate. It reads

“Mobilitate viget, viresque, acquirit eundo.”
Which is from the Aenid, and can be roughly translated as

“In freedom of movement lies her power, and she gathers strength with her going.”

# A line of bicycles at work this morning

The building in which I work requires bicycles to use the freight elevator during business hours. I have been following this rule for several months. Today, I arrived later than usual and for the first time found a line.

There was a fixed gear, a beater, a Brompton folding bike, a hardtail mountain bike with slicks. None of it casual, though. These were all bikes that saw a lot of use.