Just for Giggles: Road Bike Position Video Analysis

The Story Behind the Story

As a former competitive Nordic skier and Biathlete, I grew accustomed over many years to video evaluations, the content ranging from both classic and skating technique to shooting position and technique. Under the watchful eye of a qualified coach, I learnt a lot about my visible strengths and apparent weaknesses throughout the duration of the competitive ski season.

Often, in early season on-snow junior/master XC camps, my coach would put together a funny video of unintentional mistakes and epic crashes made by athletes over the long weekend. Everything from inadvertently planting an uber-expensive carbon fibre pole between skating skis, leading to the infamous face-plant in the snow and frequent whining and crying over a broken pole, to horrific blowouts on technical downhill turns. The most famous of those downhill crashes is subject material for another post.

Sometimes, just to aggravate or irritate my coach, I would literally fly through the camera field of view, double poling like a madman. The subsequent video would just show a colourful blurred image blasting across the video screen. Thus, my nickname, “the Flash” stuck with me on the domestic racing circuit of western Canada.

My acquired knowledge from video tape analysis for Cross Country Skiing and Biathlon led me to start video analyzing my road bike and time trial bike position and pedalling technique while on a trainer or out on the road, especially while hill climbing and sprinting.

In some ways, this analysis has proven to be far more helpful than paying a bike shop an exorbitant sum of money for something similar.

The Problem

As I grow older, my flexibility over the cycling season often changes for the worse (very tight hamstrings and lower back muscles). I find that comparative before and after video analysis, while on a trainer, can clearly reveal those weaknesses in pedalling inefficiency and upper body overcompensation. Tight hamstrings, butt muscles, and lower back muscles often lead to pretty weird knee alignment in multiple planes over the entire pedal stroke. Left without some form of correction for muscle tightness and possible shoe/cleat/pedal alignment readjustments (including subtle saddle height adjustments, saddle fore/aft positioning, and stem adjustments), this problem of obvious improper pedalling mechanics inevitably leads to knee pain, calf/achilles tendon injuries, and SI joint inflammation and dysfunction sometime in the cycling season. None of us are perfectly symmetrical, thus, I tend to suffer from problems with my slightly longer and stronger left leg than my right. Paradoxically, the SI joint inflammation and discomfort that I experience is predominantly on my right side.

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Video analysis of bike position and pedalling efficiency (BCR; out-of-saddle climbing position) ©2017 Bruce Kraus. All rights reserved.

The Solution

I have developed a much more sophisticated approach to video analysis than when I first started out. In the early days I used a DV tape-based camera with questionable video quality under poor natural or artificial lighting. Today I use a multi-camera setup utilizing a Garmin Virb Elite (1080P) in conjunction with a Panasonic G6 (1080P) with a Zoom lens set to the same field of view as the fixed lens in the Garmin. Normally I use at least a two video light setup indoors (much clearer video and no shadows).

In this particular video, I did not use any external video lighting because I find the lighting runs just too hot for an hour long training session. A good warm-up of at least 20 minutes is essential to providing a clear indication of true body position pedalling mechanics.

The approximately one-hour long video was edited in DaVinci Resolve on a MacBook Air, the end result is a comparatively short clip demonstrating both my body position(s) and pedalling efficiency in a multi-camera viewing environment. The edited clip is then evaluated on my iPad utilizing the various measurement tools of Dartfish Express, a sport video analysis app. All training metrics including power, speed, distance, cadence, and heart rate are recorded simultaneously on my relatively ancient iBike Pro head unit and within the VirtualTraining app on my iPad mini.

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Dartfish Express for iOS

As you can see, the lighting in the video is sub-optimal, but still useful for evaluation. Shooting at a wide angle in 1080P allows me to crop in and output at 720P for further analysis in Dartfish. I made the error of securing my rear wheel too tight on the trainer (a big no-no on a carbon fibre framed bike) and was having trouble shifting my rear derailleur while in the big chainring in front. My normal cruising cadence of 90-105 rpm (on average) is a little slower in the video due to pushing a pretty big gear. For those in the know, I utilize a narrower handlebar (42mm) for better aerodynamics in a rather upright and relaxed position suitable for longer distance cycling like Century rides. You might notice from the back viewpoint, my relatively wide shoulders are rolled in somewhat, possibly accounting for more-than-usual upper body fatigue and sternum and collarbone pain on rides longer than 2-3 hours. For enhanced breathing (worse aerodynamics) I could easily use a 44cm or 46cm bar and a slightly longer stem. Unlike the tendency of many Pro Tour riders, small frames and stupid-long slammed stems are not for me – that simply affects bike handling and comfort in a negative way.

A Comical Side

The video itself is rather comical, especially for the uninitiated, all decked out in my Old School (circa 1970’s) cotton handkerchief headband and modern black-framed funky glasses. The black kit (t-shirt and cycling shorts) does work well though, providing a stark contrast against freshly painted white walls. Our former family room/rumpus room had recently been renovated, devoid of normal furniture and pictures on the walls.

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Toyota Helix Bruiser

Ok, that’s just weird. Toyota builds a full-size replica truck to commemorate Tamiya’s 1980’s 1:10 scale, radio-controlled, Toyota Bruiser 4×4 pick-up.

tamiyablog

We save a lot of money spending money we don’t got…

The Consumer, Stompin Tom Connors.

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Good Intentions: Walter E. Williams

Walter Williams critiques The War on Poverty, Schooling and more. However, rather than considering the intentions surrounding certain programs, Williams analyzes the success of the programs according to results, and leaves us wondering, are Free Markets preferable in combating America’s hardships?

If you are a teacher in a public or private school, even a professor in a public or private college or university, especially in the US, I would like to hear from you. What is your take on this story, originally aired on PBS in 1985?

As for me, I find the story fascinating and very helpful in understanding what has occurred in the educational systems of our southern neighbour, the US.

Politics do, indeed, play a huge part in our lives, from childhood through adulthood.

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The Distortion of Sound

“The last two decades have seen a striking decline in the quality of sound and listening experience. Compressed music, MP3s and streaming, have diminished the quality and flattened the emotion. Marketing gimmicks and convenience now take the place of excellence. The Distortion of Sound is an eye-opening exposé of the current state of sound starring Linkin Park, Slash, Quincy Jones and more. This documentary will open your ears and inspire you to reach for richer, more soul-stirring musical experiences.”

Presented by Harman

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An excellent exposé of the continuing degradation of sound. For the audiophile amongst us. If you love quality music, this is a must see!

Click on the link to choose between a trailer or a short 20 minute length production. 

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A Hidden Nightmare: Online Subscription Services

Deception
Courtesy of a company that wants my personal information in exchange for free artwork. No thank you 😉

If you are like me, you have probably bought into the online subscription services scheme at one point or another. After all, subscription services are easy to sign up to and even easier to utilize. But, when it comes to extracting oneself and our hard earned money back from these same service providers – now that’s a nightmare!

The idea of renting something that I will never own does not appeal to me at all. Someone else is always getting the choice piece of the pie here, and it is NOT the consumer. Granted, even if a person purchases a hard-copy of software, the licence agreement is usually pretty draconian and one-sided. But, at least one has a little wiggle room in the practical application of that license.

For example, as a long term purchaser of Adobe Creative Suite stand-alone product license(s), I believed I was getting at least some value for the extraordinary prices I paid ($1700+ for creative software??). Needless to say, I ended my long-term marriage with Adobe around the CS4 days and have not looked back. Later, when Adobe went full-tilt into subscription services, I simply thumbed my nose at them, and turned to open source (free) software. My own private server(s) and open source software has heightened my sense of self-satisfaction.

I am no longer being robbed by corporate software pirates.

Yes, major corporations steal code from each other (and others), and then litigate themselves to death over it.

But, don’t you dare “steal” software from these drunken pirates of corporate greed and mayhem.

The same can be said of Apple Inc. It is easy to sign up for iCloud services, Apple Music services, and so forth. Apple will gladly take your credit card information and you will have instant results. The hard part is clawing back your data and hard-earned dollars from Apple when you decide to cancel those services. My massive photo and video collection took forever to download from Apple’s servers on a super-duper lightning speed internet connection. I am still waiting for the gigabytes upon gigabytes of data neatly stored in my Documents folder to download from Apple as I write.

I want to step off Apple’s colossal data spaceship – but the angry Steve Jobs-clones won’t even let me even cancel my subscription. Doh!

Don’t get me started on Netflix subscriptions.

Oh, the mother of all horror! Netflix customer service…the nemesis of all that is good and right! 😉

Let’s talk Google for a minute here. Have you ever tried to disappear online? You know what I mean – scrub everything and anything concerning your personhood online.

Forget about that idea – Google’s services are so twisted into the DNA of the internet and your personal devices that any attempt to extract yourself from that convoluted mess is nearly impossible.

My suggestion is to do exactly the opposite of scrubbing. Flood the inter-webs with so much personal info (true and false) that even the I SPY BOYS cannot see the forest for the trees. 

If you think that individuals are safe online from the prying eyes of criminals and governments alike, you are sadly mistaken.

The notion that “if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear” is incredibly naive.

Alas, you can figure that one out for yourself.

Outside of major data-retrieval annoyances, and gouging our wallets, online subscription services put consumers at huge privacy risks. There is no such thing as a “safe” transaction of any sort online.

It is simply a numbers game – sooner or later your credit card and your personal information is going to be compromised online.

Again, you can figure that one out on your own. 🙂

p.s. I love you ROON, but you are not getting one cent from me after my trial(s) run out.

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Yesterday: The Beatles

Beatles-singles-yesterday

Yesterday is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney), and first released on the album Help! in the United Kingdom in August 1965.

Wikipedia

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Which band, and their music, has had the most influence in my life? The answer to that question is simple – The Beatles.

On February 9th, 1964, The Beatles, with their Edwardian suits and mop top haircuts, made their first American television appearance—LIVE—on The Ed Sullivan Show.

A rather strange fact is that I actually remember the aforementioned Ed Sullivan show. I could not have been more than five years old, but I do remember watching the Beatles on a Black & White TV that had a rather insane channel switch. Little did I understand back then how much the Beatles would influence my life with their music. As a teenager and young adult I experienced a revival of some of their oldies amongst my friends and peers – the Beatles were once again ultimately cool.

I never grow tired of listening to the Beatles, especially their early music, and possess almost their entire discography in electronic form. Roon has made that entire Beatles catalogue that much more enjoyable 🙂

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