ANT+ commissaire tool

  • Sumo

OK, here’s my cycling race idea for anyone interested (Garmin, power-meter manufacturers?): an ANT+ tool to aid the job of running a bike race, or any bike event.

Criterium du Dauphine Libere stage 1 - 2012This photo (from a Cyclingtips page) shows a common way of communicating with riders in a race: blackboard and chalk. The information might be the time gap the leading group has to those following, though any useful information could be jotted down.

My idea is to use the modern fancy cycling computers to communicate important information directly to riders.

Many bike computers (like mine, a Garmin 510) can be programmed to have many different data screens. The rider can program what they want to see (before riding!) and swipe to find the most relevant page (while riding).

Importantly, heaps of these computers use the same radio communication system, ANT+. This connects a range of data devices: speed sensor, cadence sensor, heart rate monitor, power meter, etc.

I reckon there’s a place to design a device to communicate with riders. The devices could travel on the yellow motorbike, in the car of the commissaire (cycling referee), or in team cars. Or it could be fixed to a set point, like the start-finish line of a circuit race. Then, when riders come into range, they get direct updates relevant to the current race situation.

This can help them race – they know the time gap between leaders and main field. It could also help safety – commissaires could notify about dangerous conditions, race neutralisation, distance to feed zone, etc. I guess it could also be useful for non-race rides too: mass participation rides like Amy’s Gran Fondo, or the Great Victorian Bike Ride.

This would not replace other communication, because not all people have the appropriate bike computer, but would supplement what already happens.

Just an idea. Knock down its silliness, or take it and run with it – I just wanted to suggest it!