National Bike Month: Using mobile tech to enhance my bike-to-work commute

May is National Bike Month and in WA it's focused on commuting to and from work. Of course our Mobile Gadgeteer is using mobile technology to navigate, track, and motivate for his bike commute in May.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

May is National Bike Month and here in Washington State it's been refocused as Bike to Work Month. Strava captured data from biking commuters yesterday and posted an interesting graphic of commuting on bikes around the world.

I pulled out my 1994 Bridgestone XO-3, dusted it off and tuned it up, and hit the awesome paved trails with some mobile gear serving as essential tools to make my bike commutes successful and productive.

My engineering consulting firm has been participating in Bike to Work Month since 2010 and this year has seen an impressive 53 percent participation, 40 out of 76 employees. After almost two weeks, we have already logged more than 2,700 miles and 213 round trips.

My door-to-door bike commute is 39 miles, but I have the option to add in the Sounder commuter train so I am typically biking on a round trip of about 32 miles a day with some of my route spent on the train. In order to capture accurate miles, while also tracking the health benefits of cycling, I have my Garmin Fenix 3 HR strapped to my handlebars with the Garmin HRM-RUN around my chest.

The Galaxy S7 Edge is mounted in another spot on my handlebars. I chose this smartphone due to its water resistance and form factor that fits the mount I purchased on Amazon. As I recently stated, these two mobile devices have helped me achieve mobile nirvana. For the first week, I used the S7 Edge with Google Maps to navigate from various Sounder train stations to my office and home since there are several trails and roads.


Extra points were awarded for wearing a costume on your commute.

Now that I have established my preferred routes, I am using the S7 Edge to capture timelapse videos to share with family and friends. These are turning out great as I often start before sunrise and the videos capture the morning as the sun rises and I make my way from 16 to 39 miles north. The S7 Edge is also available for emergency calls, in case the need arises.

For the past couple of days, I've worn the Samsung Gear S2 3G on my wrist to gather cycling data as I try to see if this smartwatch can serve as my workout device too. Interestingly, I am able to export my cycling data in GPX format directly from S Health. This export functionality is not present when I use the Gear S2 to capture run data, which is one reason I no longer use the Gear S2 for running since I don't want to be locked into the S Health app for run data.

To make sure I am riding safely, I have a bright front light and rear red flashing light mounted to my bike. My helmet also has a flexible mirror attached so I can keep an eye on cars and bikes behind me.

At times, mobile technology can be a distraction. Thanks to the devices I have, and the methods for mounting on my bike, mobile tech has only served to help me pedal faster, keep me on safe routes, and motivated me to improve my health and fitness. How do you use mobile technology for your cycling activities?

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