The other day, I wrote the story Google hop aboard the Tour de France with HTC. It was a little lacking in information from Google, so here’s a little more detail, plus instructions on where you can go to download all the software and track your own training program.
To recap, the HTC-Columbia team are, via information from their SRM bike computer, and information from the HTC Legend mobile phone the riders are all carrying, trackable in real-time during the Tour de France. That’s their location on a satellite map and the , plus their current speed, heart rate, power and cadence.
This mash-up of devices, software and data was developed by cycling enthusiasts at Google, in their ‘20% time’. Google 20% time is the where engineers get to spend one day a week working on projects that aren’t necessarily in their job descriptions. The real driver on this project for the Tour de France was Dylan Casey. He is a Product Manager at Google, but before that he was a professional cyclist, a member of Team US Postal Service, led at the time Dylan was there by cycling legend Lance Armstrong. Casey was also a member of the US cycling team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Back to now, and the Tour de France. The information is collected from the bike computer and HTC Legend phone, and using a modified version of the My Tracks on the phone, sent to the Google servers and served up at http://www.google.com/mytrackstour for you to get a real insight into what the riders are doing as you watch the race.
I must admit that given the highly aerodynamic and weight-conscious sport that cycling is, I’m surprised that the team members are carrying an actual HTC Legend. The HTC Legend only weighs 126 grams, but that’s 126 more grams that they would usually carry. It speaks volumes about the need for sponsorship in what is an expensive operation, running a professional cycling team. In this case aerodynamically everything is OK, the HTC Legend is held in a case attached underneath the saddle.
Track your own exercise
This technology is not only for the HTC-Columbia cycling team. Armed with an phone running Android 2.1 operating system, the My Tracks app on the phone, and Google Earth version 5.2, you too could be tracking your training program, be it cycling, hiking, road runs, orienteering and more.
If you want to track the HTC team on the Tour de France, or track your own excercise, here are the download locations: