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January 2017 Product Picks: Pearl Izumi, Versus, Epic Ride Weather, Skingrowsback, and more

by Matt Wikstrom

January 10, 2017

In this month’s edition of Product Picks, Australian tech editor Matt Wikstrom takes a look at some gloves from Pearl Izumi, socks from Versus, a backpack with modular contents from Skin Grows Back, tubular tape from Effetto Mariposa, and a novel weather forecast app from Epic Ride Weather while David Rome shares his thoughts on a new electric pump from Fumpa.


Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:

Epic Ride Weather

by Matt Wikstrom

Epic Ride Weather is an app that provides weather forecasts for cyclists. Drawing on the power of the Dark Sky API and its “hyperlocal weather information”, Epic Ride Weather transcends a general weather forecast by providing personalised predictions based on the rider’s chosen route and expected travel time.

Epic Ride Weather takes the route information from Strava, MapMyRide, Ride with GPS, Runkeeper or a GPX file, and once the user nominates a start time, the app depicts changes in temperature, probability of rainfall, and windspeed for the duration of the ride. It also displays wind direction on a map of the route so that the rider can see where they can expect to battle a headwind and enjoy a tailwind.

Epic Ride Weather is available to suit iOS and Android-equipped phones and tablets. The app is free to download and is supplied with 100 forecasts. Since one forecast is used for every 10 minutes of a ride, that’s enough for ~15 one-hour rides before users will have to purchase more forecasts, which are available in packets of 10,000 with a six-month expiry for AUD$5.99/US$5.49.

Our take:

Epic Ride Weather is an easy app to use so long as the user has a library of routes ready to access via Strava, MapMyRide, Ride with GPS or Runkeeper. In the absence of such files, there is no easy way to get a forecast.

Getting a weather forecast starts with making a route selection from your library of rides in Strava, Ride with GPS or Runkeeper.

Getting a weather forecast starts with making a route selection from your library of rides in Strava, Ride with GPS or Runkeeper.

I tested the Epic Ride Weather using my Strava account. Once I provided my username and password, I had access to all of my rides. Selecting a route was simply a matter of scrolling through the list and nominating a start time (“now” is the default option) and the app quickly prepared its predictions for temperature, wind and rain.

The forecasts were easy to read and understand. In fact, the whole process was so simple that I quickly burned through the first 100 forecasts investigating different routes and a variety of start times.

On this point, it’s worth remembering that Dark Sky’s predictions become more accurate with the immediacy of the forecast. Thus, consulting Epic Ride Weather the night before the ride will provide some indication of the weather to expect, but going back to the app 15 minutes before throwing a leg over the bike will provide a much clearer forecast.

Once a route has been selected, the user nominates a day and time for the forecast.

Once a route has been selected, the user nominates a day and time for the forecast.

I put Epic Ride Weather to the test on the west coast of Australia at a time of the year (summer) when the weather is highly predictable, so it didn’t have a lot to offer me in terms of helping me prepare for a ride. Nevertheless, I found predictions for the wind speed and direction to be quite handy.

Interestingly, Australia is not one of the countries included in Dark Sky’s forecasts, which might explain why Epic Ride Weather’s temperature forecasts didn’t quite marry up with measurements provided by the local Bureau of Meteorology. Dark Sky is endeavouring to improve its international forecasts, but for now, Epic Ride Weather appears most accurate for cyclists in the USA. and UK.

As for a ride that didn’t exist in my Strava collection, I had to spend time creating a route first. I’ve done this a few times using Strava, Garmin Connect and MapMyRide, and while it’s reasonably straightforward, it’s quite time-consuming. As such, there’s no quick-and-dirty way to get a forecast when weighing up the options for the day, or, when out on the road exploring new areas.

Every forecast includes predictions for the temperature, rainfall (or precipitation) and wind speed.

Every forecast includes predictions for the temperature, rainfall (or precipitation) and wind speed.

By contrast, riders that use a set route for regular bunch ride or need an up-to-the-minute forecast for a race/event are likely to find Epic Ride Weather invaluable. Similarly, I can see it being very handy for cyclists visiting an unfamiliar region or country provided they have the time to find or create a route for their ride.

All told, software developer David Green has done a fine job in creating Epic Ride Weather. That he is continuing to update and expand the capabilities of the app is an encouraging sign too. The interface may look a little spare, lacking much in the way of decoration, but the app is very easy to navigate, leaving the user to concentrate on the forecasts. And while there is a fee for every forecast, it has to be counted as a very minor expense to enjoy a personal weather forecast.

Wind direction is also shown on a map for the ride so it can be easily visualised.

Wind direction is also shown on a map for the ride so it can be easily visualised.

Price: Free with 100 forecasts; 10,000 forecasts, AUD$5.99/US$5.49
www.epicrideweather.com


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