Monday, May 7

Commute Tracker Comparison

At Least Tryparkingit Supports Its Site
I’ve kept a log of my bike commuting since May, 2008. Four years ago last weekend. It has come in handy for purposes of spotting trends and also in helping me keep up with bike maintenance. I keep it in an Excel format that was derived from the “tryparkingit.com” website that is maintained by the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

On a number of occasions in the past, I’ve noted that the site has some shortcomings, such as here. Other posters have been less generous. However, the site does work consistently – like ALWAYS – and it has saved every bit of data I’ve ever input into it. Right now, it is one of two commute log sites listed in my sidebar. I’d LOVE it if my loyal reader has others to suggest. You see, I’m going to go back to listing only a single site. I pick the one others love to berate. Follow on to see why.

Partly just to “try something different,” I began keeping a duplicate log of bike commuting on the “Cateye World Commute” site at worldcommute.com in January 2011. It had the advantage of being to easily accommodate daily changes in commute distance as well as other, non-commute trips. While it had a bunch of “carbon reduction” stuff that is pretty meaningless, so does the “tryparkingit” site. My initiation into dual recordkeeping was noted here.

Having used both sites nearly daily for well over a year, I’ve had enough time to make a recommendation to my loyal reader. Rather than a recommendation, I’ll instead say what I plan to do, and why.

In short, I plan to continue using the “tryparkingit” site and discontinue using the Cateye site. While the Cateye site has more flexibility and better site sophistication, it doesn’t do what I need a commute site to be able to do. As far as I can tell, it won’t tell me what I put into it beyond a couple of weeks’ worth. What’s more, despite repeated inquiries to find out if I simply misunderstood, the site failed to do what it promised – to respond to inquiries. Ever. It doesn’t have any support for the user that I can determine, while the NCTCOG site has EXCELLENT and prompt support. I have made three inquiries to that site, and each was answered within the same day. THAT is service that is pretty unusual on a community site.

Promises Made, Promises  Broken with Cateye
For comparison, I attach screen shots of recent communications with Cateye. I'm not sure this will help those of you who do not live or commute around North Texas, but in my book, “Promises Made, Promises Kept” counts a lot more than pretty graphics.

Like All My Previous Inquiries, this One Failed to Achieve any Response
SO, as I leave the Cateye “Worldcommute” site behind, are there recommendations for another to take its place as a contender to the wonderfully supported “tryparkingit?”

8 comments:

Opus the Poet said...

have you tried BikeJournal.com? Can be used for whatever purpose you want, training log or commute journal or like I do just a general miles tracker since I use my bike for getting everywhere.

Steve A said...

I will look into BikeJournal. I'm not sure why, but I only track commute miles. Perhaps it'd be different if I did ranonneurs.

John Romeo Alpha said...

I once worked at a company that had a web site with an email address to contact for help. Since there was no dedicated web help team, the email sort of went to everyone, and no one paid much attention unless it was a WEBSITE IS DOWN!!! email. When we went to a web based form, the WEBSITE IS DOWN emails decreased significantly, which was considered a great improvement in stability by the higher-ups, who didn't consider how hard it would be to submit a web-based help form if the web site was down. Problem solved!

cafiend said...

I have a stack of small notebooks that started out as my training diaries for racing and ended up as my daily log of physical activities, most of which consist of bike commuting. The books are dated so I can open the one I want and compare data as desired. Batteries not included. Pet dinosaur optional.

Chandra said...

Hi Steve,
I am intrigued by the fact that you did not get prompt responses from Cateye, a big name in cycle computers! And, what's the point of that tool, if it won't tell you what you put into it beyond a few weeks worth!

I don't track my mileage in categories, but for doing that, the program you use seems to a nice application. I use Garmin's software for keeping track of my mileage. It permits me to create categories (walking, running, cycling, etc) and permits drag-and-drop of activities into their respective categories. I like this feature. Needless to say, this is better than my old notebook/EXCEL solution :)

Paz :)

Steve A said...

Chandra, I inquired at least three times. I suspect Cateye vended this site out to some outfit that doesn't monitor the feedback link.

The inability for long term tracking is a FATAL flaw of the site IMO. Unlike you, I don't keep track of total mileage, only of the major category - commuting. It also happens to be the simplest category for me to track.

Ham said...

It seems to me that you are looking for this: Try Parkin, I like to be of assistance ;-)

I am sure you don't need this definition

Steve A said...

Ham, Dr Atkins would NOT be amused!

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