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ARTICLE: Why some amateur athletes are giving up on smartwatches

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ARTICLE: Why some amateur athletes are giving up on smartwatches

Old 01-11-24, 04:22 PM
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I track it all because I'm a physiologist and a physician and data is (are?) my life. However, the main benefit of all the numbers, since I started running with a Polar watch back in the 90s, has been to help me calibrate my perceptions of internal states and degrees of effort. I think I could drop the gizmos and self-coach about as well at this point.
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Old 01-13-24, 09:33 PM
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Reject modernity, embrace tradition: me with an automatic/mechanical watch.
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Old 01-14-24, 01:37 PM
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I never understood why anyone would ride with a watch, gets all sweaty and terrible tan lines, and then you anyway should have the bike computer and HR strap for more accurate readings.
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Old 01-14-24, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
I never understood why anyone would ride with a watch, gets all sweaty and terrible tan lines, and then you anyway should have the bike computer and HR strap for more accurate readings.
Anyone with young kids knows the most important info that must always be displayed isn't power, or speed, or HR; it's time of day, so you know when to turn around and head back. If you're late and your kid is standing on the sidewalk waiting you may never get another chance to ride. That's why you display the time on the head unit and also carry a watch with an alarm. It's a belt-and-suspenders thing.
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Old 01-14-24, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
I never understood why anyone would ride with a watch, gets all sweaty and terrible tan lines, and then you anyway should have the bike computer and HR strap for more accurate readings.
For me:

* text messages
* directions if I get lost
* tells the time
* emergency contact due to a fall
* Mrs tm can track my location
* can make the phone call of shame
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Old 01-14-24, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
For me:

* text messages
* directions if I get lost
* tells the time
* emergency contact due to a fall
* Mrs tm can track my location
* can make the phone call of shame
Do you not need a phone for the watch to do most of that and if not, do you not bring a phone?
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Old 01-14-24, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
Anyone with young kids knows the most important info that must always be displayed isn't power, or speed, or HR; it's time of day, so you know when to turn around and head back. If you're late and your kid is standing on the sidewalk waiting you may never get another chance to ride. That's why you display the time on the head unit and also carry a watch with an alarm. It's a belt-and-suspenders thing.
So what did parents do before the invention of smart watches?
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Old 01-14-24, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
For me:

* text messages
* directions if I get lost
* tells the time
* emergency contact due to a fall
* Mrs tm can track my location
* can make the phone call of shame
Originally Posted by ZHVelo
Do you not need a phone for the watch to do most of that and if not, do you not bring a phone?
My watch (Apple Watch 9 with cellular) will do all those things without a connected phone.
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Old 01-14-24, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Black wallnut
All of Bike Forums seems to be full of folks that are averse to anything pertaining to training or tracked improvement. Those types seem to be compelled for whatever reasons known only to themselves to interject into every topic that has to do with actual or perceived improvement. As if we GAF about their lack of motivation. As if they believe to be in some way superior because they are over the whole improvement or training aspects of cycling..

Well that's a whole lotta assumptions as to how "those types" live their life .


Do you mean the rascals, the trouble makers, throw a monkey wrench into your verbal spokes type ? Sure, BF is also full of rascals, and I can't deny that I play one at times too . Calling out "those types" is also playing a rascal ! Very good ! Who but a fellow rascal can identify one ?


Back to the topic, I read the article. It doesn't surprise me that some people realize their dependence on such devices have become burdens, addictions, dependencies, you name it. It's no different than keeping track of anything, and it's nothing new. The form has changed, but the demand on ones attention has not. I grew up in family obsessed with bodily image/weight and food/nutrition, this was before the idea of personal computer. It was was no different than today, the idea of improving, which infers of course that you're flawed/incomplete/inadequate to begin with. So there's no winning that game. No matter how you think you improve, it's never enough to satisfy the idea of being flawed, every bit of "success" is met with another failure to prove. It's self-defeating. Every move is met with a greater counter move. It's a game you can't win. The only "win/cure" is in seeing this.


I like to ride fast at times, as a form of play. Cycling is inherently playful, as is Life Itself. Gadgets can be part of the play, just don't take them so seriously as having any ability of themselves to affect your life whatsoever. The computer I'm writing this on is a gadget. It as no say to who or what I Be. It's a prop, a means to the play, of itself ... dust in the wind.
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Old 01-14-24, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
So what did parents do before the invention of smart watches?
Well, we rode with a dumb watch, and turned around earlier instead of playing brinkmanship. I guess some guys didn't care about picking up their kids on time, but I tried never to be a dick and today my kids seem either to enjoy spending time with me or else they do a good job of faking it, which is almost as good. Though the youngest is still in high school so the jury isn't fully out yet on that.
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Old 01-14-24, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Mtracer
I used a FitBit for about a year some years ago. Basically, it did little for me except provide some info on sleep patterns. But FitBits were very unreliable at that time, maybe still are if they even still exist. Had more than one warranty replacement.
I use a Garmin bike computer religiously, and really enjoy the numbers and playing with data. I dont train but do target miles and hours per week, as well as have some power goals on most rides. But sometimes these goals are to hold the power below a certain level. Not always to push to some target.
I was an early adopter to fitbit step tracking. My first fitbit was a fitbit One it was very accurate for step counting. My second was a fitbit Surge that was excellent for sleep tracking but was the most God awful looking thing to wear. I use an Apple Watch these days to just make it easy to see that I am consistently moving and getting consistent activity every day. I don't know why I ever gave a damn about sleep tracking.

But as far as the article. My Garmin bike computer is mostly a shiny toy that I use during rides and my Forerunner is the same for my runs.

But my running and cycling are I guess more amateurish that many amateurs. If I was younger and had time to train I expect I would heavily rely on my tech. These days, with my job, a small business and grandchildren, I don't have the time to keep a training schedule and am lucky to find time to ride as much as I would like.

And I may be a cynic, but I got the feel that the article used a lot of AI in its writing.
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Old 01-14-24, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
Well, we rode with a dumb watch, and turned around earlier instead of playing brinkmanship. I guess some guys didn't care about picking up their kids on time, but I tried never to be a dick and today my kids seem either to enjoy spending time with me or else they do a good job of faking it, which is almost as good. Though the youngest is still in high school so the jury isn't fully out yet on that.
If I was late to pick up my kid, they kept her overnight and charged us USD 750 an hour. Woe betide if you forgot those fresh clothes in the a.m.
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Old 01-14-24, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha
If I was late to pick up my kid, they kept her overnight and charged us USD 750 an hour. Woe betide if you forgot those fresh clothes in the a.m.
Sounds expensive but it pales compared to the years of psychotherapy from the overnight in The Box.
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Old 01-14-24, 09:00 PM
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Yes, you need a phone BT porting notifications, etc…. when I mt bike, my phone is in my CamelBak, so the watch will buzz and show a text message to view later, watch also sends HR to my 1040, so I can see how hard I am working. If my Hammerhead battery goes south, I can still GPS track with the watch.I like and use my Instinct, it was worth the money. If I do a lot of kayaking, the solar charge bonus has seen 42 days of battery life.
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Old 01-15-24, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
My watch (Apple Watch 9 with cellular) will do all those things without a connected phone.
Will do, but do you still take the phone with you on rides or not?

If not I can see the merit of a smartwatch. Still wouldn't take one given the sweat/tanline issue, but I can see why someone would.
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Old 01-15-24, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
Will do, but do you still take the phone with you on rides or not?

If not I can see the merit of a smartwatch. Still wouldn't take one given the sweat/tanline issue, but I can see why someone would.
I am curious: what tan lines do you find acceptable? Probably a question which I will regret asking, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
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Old 01-15-24, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RChung
Well, we rode with a dumb watch, and turned around earlier instead of playing brinkmanship. I guess some guys didn't care about picking up their kids on time, but I tried never to be a dick and today my kids seem either to enjoy spending time with me or else they do a good job of faking it, which is almost as good. Though the youngest is still in high school so the jury isn't fully out yet on that.
Fair enough. As likely obvious, I have no kids.
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Old 01-15-24, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
Will do, but do you still take the phone with you on rides or not?
I take the phone with me sometimes, but I'm fine leaving it home. A couple of things I can't do with my watch:
  1. take photos
  2. pre-order at Starbucks

I remembered one more thing I can do with just my watch -- make contactless payments:

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Old 01-15-24, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
I am curious: what tan lines do you find acceptable? Probably a question which I will regret asking, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Based on clothes, not some random white line on the arm from a watch I don't really need. I also don't ride with gloves for the same reason. It just looks weird to me, with clothes, like say your legs there is a pretty clear boundary and it's normal. But that's just my preference, not saying this is a rule every cyclist should follow.
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Old 01-15-24, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
Based on clothes, not some random white line on the arm from a watch I don't really need. I also don't ride with gloves for the same reason. It just looks weird to me, with clothes, like say your legs there is a pretty clear boundary and it's normal. But that's just my preference, not saying this is a rule every cyclist should follow.
With you, regarding personal choice. Where do you stand regarding socks? Taller is in lately; in fact, the UCI just clarified its policy and combined with the trend towards longer shorts stopping just above the knee, it can make for a strange look at the beach.
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Old 01-16-24, 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Atlas Shrugged
With you, regarding personal choice. Where do you stand regarding socks? Taller is in lately; in fact, the UCI just clarified its policy and combined with the trend towards longer shorts stopping just above the knee, it can make for a strange look at the beach.
Don't really have a strong opinion on socks. Maybe because on long hot sunny days I just use short socks.
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Old 01-16-24, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ZHVelo
Don't really have a strong opinion on socks. Maybe because on long hot sunny days I just use short socks.
My racing team designed compression socks that are slightly longer and thicker. They feel great on but are hot in warmer weather. I have the racing, thin higher socks. I have to glue the top of the socks to my leg otherwise they fall down - a pain in the ass. I like the very short socks that cover the foot in the shoe for hot weather and sometimes for kicks, I ride without socks - tan line management.
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Old 01-16-24, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
I have to glue the top of the socks to my leg otherwise they fall down - a pain in the ass.
I've never used adhesives to attach anything to my body, and I don't know what you are using, but there are some adhesive strips and glues for things like toupees and strapless gowns that I suppose may be good for this.
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Old 01-16-24, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck M
I've never used adhesives to attach anything to my body, and I don't know what you are using, but there are some adhesive strips and glues for things like toupees and strapless gowns that I suppose may be good for this.
I use the glue designed for this purpose to be applied to the skin that easily washes off and is used by coaches and trainers.

Let's get the discussion back to watches.

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Old 01-16-24, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
My racing team designed compression socks that are slightly longer and thicker. They feel great on but are hot in warmer weather. I have the racing, thin higher socks. I have to glue the top of the socks to my leg otherwise they fall down - a pain in the ass. I like the very short socks that cover the foot in the shoe for hot weather and sometimes for kicks, I ride without socks - tan line management.
So it is true, Chris and Jesse talking about this is actually legit? I thought it was mental they are discussing socks falling down. I wonder how hard it can be to make socks that stay up. What glue do you use and doesn't the sweat remove it over time?
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