It’s great to have charts of activity data on Strava and Garmin Connect but there are often times when you want extra capabilities. In particular, it can be useful to compare your efforts at the same event over time or to compare your performance at an event with others who did it with you. Crickles Activity Charts are specially developed for such comparisons. You can find them at charts.crickles.org and they work similarly to the Navigator.
First, choose yourself (or someone else) from the Athlete list and then choose the date range over which you want to search for activities here:
The Date range and other controls work as described on the How to notes for the Navigator. Once you’ve picked an Athlete and a Date range the Activity drop-down will be populated appropriately. Note that activities flagged as private will not appear for selection.
Once you’ve chosen an activity two new fields will appear:
One is a View on Strava link; if you choose this the activity selected will appear in Strava in a new window enabling you to confirm that it’s the one you meant to choose and to see context in Strava. The other new field is a drop down list called Metric showing you what graphable data is available for the activity. In this example you can choose from altitude (which is nearly always there) and is measured in metres, cadence (in RPM), heart rate (in BPM), speed (given as kph) and power (given as watts).
This list changes from activity to activity – for example, watts requires you to have used a power meter.
Once you’ve chosen a metric you can also show how you want it to be charted using the x-axis and the Smooth? controls. For comparisons, the x-axis settings of distance and histogram are typically most helpful.
The Smooth? control is especially useful for power data, which is noisy. It’s also useful for fields such as kmh and heartrate when a comparison is being made.
Note that Smooth? will transform a histogram into a density plot.
To compare activities you simply check the Compare another? box under the first activity. This then causes a second set of controls for Athlete, Date range and Activity to appear. If you want to compare two of your own activities from different days you just select yourself as both the Athlete and the Second athlete.
Here’s an example of my own, comparing a recent 10 mile effort round Regents Park with a similar effort from last summer. The first activity is shown in blue and the second is shown in pink.
Looking at smoothed power shows that my wattage is quite a bit down:
(If you’re familiar with power plots you’ll be struck by how little noise there is on this chart – normally power (viewed on a graph) continually oscillates a lot around what we might imagine to be the true signal.)
Second, we can look at a density plot of heart rate on the same two rides:
This shows that on the more recent ride my heart rate was centred on a 160-165 range whereas last year it was rising to the 170-175 bpm range for much of the ride.
The purpose of this example is not to propose that others should choose to ride at lower heart rate and power but to illustrate how these charts can be used to gain insights on your data. You can equally use the same functionality to compare the speeds of two competitors over the same parcours, or even – by charting altitudes – to compare the barometric/mapping fidelity of two devices.
Although not an app, Crickles Charts work well on an iPhone in the same way as the Navigator, as described here.
Only activities from 1/1/2017 are currently available for these charts – please get in touch if you’d like to select from earlier activities.