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Cyclists are generating ride data, but what to do with it?

Published August 29, 2017

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Riders are generating data on Strava and COBI or riding with smart connected devices like See.Sense and Garmin, but data is collected in many different ways and stored in various locations.

One of the questions posed at the Smarter Cycling Conference, sponsored by the European Cyclists Federation (ECF) and held Tuesday before Eurobike opened, was to figure out if there is a way to harmonize this ride data and make it available to all.

Riders could take advantage of seeing how other cyclists commute to work and try new routes themselves, and municipalities could look at ride data to tailor cycling infrastructure to assist how cyclists already ride. And cars, trucks and other road users could use live ride data to safely mix with cyclists on the road.

James Gleave, managing director of Transport Futures, which facilitated a session entitled “Smart Integration for the User”, believes the problem is that there are a lot of companies collecting ride data, but there are few standards for data collection and there is no forum for consolidating the data for everyone's use.

“Everything about a connected cyclist is all online in the cloud. But what is being done with it?” Gleave asked.

“Cyclists want to know where other cyclists prefer to ride, but we have to address ownership of the ride data. A rider should own their ride data,” added Tom Acland, co-founder of COBI, an e-bike operating system. Acland hopes to see more openness about where this data is going and how it is used.

And ride data is not just being sent to the cloud. Veliso is a new-to-market company that will be releasing cyclist assistance technology similar to what high-end motorcycles offer. Company CEO Patrick Keating hopes to shortly release automatic braking, a “brake-by-wire” system, and automatic tire pressure adjustment based on both road conditions and the cyclist’s riding data. 

Many in the cycling community want to hammer out standards for the way data is collected on bicycles and where it goes — and what kind of data should be collected and how to share this data among cyclists and motorists. The issues of standardization will come to a head as next year's Intelligent Transport System (ITS) World Congress meets in Copenhagen, Denmark. 

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