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  1. #1
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    One pedal rev = one FitBit "step"?

    You probably know people who are carrying FitBits or similar, tracking their daily "steps", and joining up in "support groups" to compare steps each day. I now find myself in one of those groups, but am shamed because my daily step total is barely above "sedentary" - about 3,000 steps/day.

    My defense is that the step counter - in my case, an iPhone app - is not counting my daily cycling. Well, I consulted a meters development calculator and am alarmed to see that my bike commute only adds about 3,000 pedal revs, so even if I call each pedal rev a "step" I'm only doing 6,000 steps/day.

    So, my questions:
    - Is it fair to equate one pedal rev to one step?
    - Can I reasonably argue that one pedal rev in 53/21 should count for more than one step? Or should it count for less?
    - Would it be ridiculous to start wearing my iPhone on an ankle pouch to get pedal revs added to my daily count?
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  2. #2
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I'd call it four steps since one pedal stroke might take me more than 20 feet and a left step - right step maybe 5 feet. But you know that effort levels and time spent are different and variable so you can't really equate them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bransom's Avatar
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    I used to wear my (old school clip on) Fitbit clipped to the hem of my bike shorts, on top of my right leg. I found that the calorie burn that Fitbit calculated for whatever steps it thought I was doing was roughly equivalent to entering the ride stats manually. FWIW, I'm slow and my average speed usually falls in the 12-14 mph range.

    Since then, I've gone all bike-geek and have the Fitbit interconnected to Cyclemeter, Strava, and MyFitnessPal. Riding with the Fitbit on my leg now makes me look like Mr. Super Active (the ride gets double counted) so I leave it at home.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    Cycling more properly falls into your 'active minutes' count, probably more meaningful anyway. I had a heart surgery a few years ago, so I use my wife's Charge HR model once in awhile to graph a day's worth of heart rate data. I have a fairly physical job and don't own a car, so my 'steps' are always in the 15,000 range. A fun stat, but the novelty quickly wears off. A bit silly, really.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    I am just getting back into riding after last years accident and found the fitbit to be way off for cycling so I got a Mio fuse and found it tracks the heartrate when tied into map my ride. I am more concerned with max and average heartrate than steps. Mio is way off on steps also other than walking if I go to the gym and do spin class(very poorly) or use the stepper very little of that is recorded but I do get a good read on heart rate. cost of the mio is a little more but it does have a time function.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    One pedal rev = 1 step.
    It depends on your pedaling technique if all your steps are counted. Pedaling squares will get them counted, a smooth motion may have some skips.
    I clip the FitBit on the bottom hem of my bike shorts, with the clip on the outside and the fitbit inside.

    My company wellness plan used to allow only a certain brand of pedometer -- GoZone. That device was easily corroded by sweat and wasn't water-resistant, so they only lasted me a year.
    At one point I tried wearing both the FitBit and the GoZone on the same bikeshorts leg, fastened side by side. The FitBit only recorded 2/3 of the steps that the GoZone did.
    I also took my average cadence and multiplied it by my time on the bike. The GoZone was correct. The FitBit came up very short.
    But when the GoZone died, I didn't replace it and am now using the FitBit. Less steps, but better longevity.

    As far as getting extra credit for high gears - same principle applies when you are climbing stairs, carrying heavy loads - nope.

    I have a long stride walking. On the bike I mash higher gears in low cadence. Low step count for the same exertion. The HRM is a better way to measure active minutes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member CrankyOne's Avatar
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    Using a Fitbit and Garmin/HRM/Powertap there is considerable difference and the difference is much greater the faster you ride. A 25 mile loop at about 18 MPH burned 1100 calories according to Garmin and Powertap, about 400 according to Fitbit.
    "Trying to cure traffic congestion by adding more capacity is like trying to cure obesity by loosening your belt." - ATL Urbanist

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