Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Voices In Your Head Say "Ride Faster"

Hearing voices when you ride? It might not necessarily be a sign of severe mental illness IF you have the new "smart" goggles from Oakley - the Radar Pace.

Unlike other "smart" goggles we've been seeing, like the Recon Jet . . .

or the Garmin Varia Vision . . .

. . . both of which put a tiny "heads-up" display into the user's field of vision, the Radar Pace uses built-in earbuds for an audio coaching experience.

They're kind of like the Oakley Thumps, which had a built-in MP3 player - only now they connect to a smart phone and, with the help of a special training app, act like a personal training coach, pumping performance data into the user's ears. Sounds great, doesn't it? 

Being curious about what this coaching might sound like, I checked out the video for a simulation and was wholly underwhelmed (as opposed to being "whelmed," which is an actual word, albeit an uncommon one). The female voice doesn't sound terrifically different in tone or quality from the voice of the iPhone's Siri.

Whoever she is, she wants to be "your new workout partner."

"OK, Radar, what's my workout plan for today?"
"We're riding 20 miles, climbing 1,800 feet."
"How's my power?"
"Your power is 320 watts."
Yes, apparently, the female-voiced workout partner is called "Radar."

Early version of the Radar Pace. They've made a lot of progress in reducing the size of the earpieces.
The Radar Pace glasses must be aimed at triathletes (of course they are), as the video shows a multi-sport workout. With the help from the smart phone app, they apparently track performance data, and also give words of encouragement:

"Nice job balancing your effort on this hill."
"How's my pace, Radar?"
"Your current pace is 7' 32" per mile, which is juusst right."
The female voiced Radar (she really needs a better name) isn't just your new training partner - she also wants to be your motivator . . .

and your coach . . .

But it seems to me that if they really want to motivate, Oakley should make them sound more like Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket.
"Dig in, you worthless puke maggot! Your watts are for S#!t !"
I doubt many retrogrouches are all that intent on coaching goggles, but you can watch the video here if want some coaching giggles:



  1. It's no smarter than a trainer who screams in your face.

    "Radar" was a character on MASH, set in the Korean War. That series lasted about three times as long as the actual war. I wonder how long this "Radar" is going to be around.

    1. Does this Radar dramatically pause,

      And then say "choppers" ?

  2. So ... is the industry standard position that it is now SAFE to ride with headphones? What about localities in which it is only legal to ride with one earpiece? Does half of the audio portion detach?

    1. I've always argued it's better to NOT use headphones while riding. Laws about it probably vary by state. I'd also be wary of using a heads up display, as I don't like anything to take my attention away from the road and other vehicles. Basically, I think all of these "smart" goggles are really not so smart.

    2. I agree on the headphones. Especially since one my favorite thing about bicycles is that they are silencious.

      As for the head up display if it replace my speedometer on my stem it can be a benefit: no need to take your sight off the road.

      And to have seen the one in the car of a friend save him from a collision with a wild boar at night it can add to your safety. Okay, the one in the car was coupled with a heat camera so its not really the same.

      Not that i actually will buy a pair of glass with head up display tough...especially since i have a tendency to break them. :(

  3. Utterly unrelated to bikes, but?

    Whelmed, meet gruntled. As in, the opposite of disgruntled. I assume with over, and under, that whelmed is a state of balance, didn't google it, yet.

    Legit word, drop it into conversation, and watch the puzzled smiles spread......