Nike FuelBand for cycling (theories and experiments)


I hypothesized in my last blog post on this topic (well, inspired by Lance Armstrong’s suggestion) that using the NikeFuel band on your ankle while spinning or cycling will be a more adequate solution and a better indicator of actual activity levels.

Every Wednesday I take a cycling class and the past two weeks were no different.  I decided to track the difference, so i compared the 2 dates for the 1 hour of spin the results were surprisingly accurate in my opinnion.  Spinning with the Fuelband on my wrist (as usual) yield me 822 Fuel points.  This past Wednesday I took the same class, this time with the band around my ankle, and it yield 1620 fuel points.

This my no means is unreasonable for an hour of activity and seems like a result that will be in-line with the overall activity levels I have seen for intense work-outs.

I will certainly wear the band around my ankle when I cycle and/or spin.  In my case it is pretty easy to secure it in place- I attached the 2 extensions that came with my M size band and that is a secure closure.  For those who cannot do that- I suggest possibly giving it a go with the band under a sock (I would hate seeing my band fall off and run over by a truck somewhere on the Palisades Parkway.

Hope this helps! Feel free to ask questions, I will try to answer.


10 responses »

    • I normally ride with a group… the ride is actually along 9W and not the Palisades. There are many cyclists along the way, and the drivers are cautious and courteous to us cyclists.

  1. Just bought mine today – without realising the cycling issue. Pretty disappointing given that 80-90% of my daily exercise comes from cycling to and from work. Thank you for making that comparison and letting your readers know – based on Google search results you’re pretty much the only person in the world who bothered to do that!

    • I am a big fan of the fuel band, while I do a good amount of cycling, I find that for shorter rides (commuting to and from places in the city) leaving it on your wrist works fine. The stopping, shifting and pot holes give me the equivalent amount of point (roughly) that I would have gotten otherwise. For longer rides I put it on my ankle (under a sock if possible, so I don’t lose it), and it keeps track pretty well. Just as a point of reference- about a month ago, I cycled 155 miles (flat, averaging 16.5 mph) I kept the fuel band on my wrist, and got 19k+ points by the end of the day. I am not sure how many points I would have gotten if it was on my ankle though.

  2. As I commented before I think it’s best to keep it on the wrist. They have clearly tuned it for that. IMO it already over estimates fuel for cycling on your wrist compared to relative effort walking/running.


    I also have the GPS watch and heart rate monitor and I wear both when at the gym. Surprise surprise the fuel points my GPS/HRM say I accrue and the fuel band are way out of kilter. They are only loosely connected on the nike site i.e. points I accrue on either device are added onto my total nike fuel (which is irrelevant), but apparently they are not “merged” i.e. when times overlap. And they are not reconciled i.e. your fuelband score is not superseded/replaced by your (more accurate) HRM/GPS watch score.

    An example. I notice that the fuelband seems to award low intensity activity over a long time horizon more than high intensity short duration. So much so you will perhaps also have noticed that when semi active at work you get surprisingly high scores compared to days off spent exercising only! Last week I noticed one run on the running machine netted me 1700 fuel points on GPS/HRM and about 300 on fuelband.

    More annoying is the activity graph would seem to recognise the accordingly increased level of effort, so why did I not get the fuel points? Why are these things out of kilter and could/should they be reconciled?

    I really want Nike to bring out a v2 that can read your heart rate and body temperature. That would be amazing. And while they are at it fix the million of bugs on their web application and don’t dumb it down so much. Like for example you started using the fuelband half way through may, get an accordingly low total month score then that month is included in your average nike+ points? The stats are just moronic if they don’t normalize them properly.

    • When comparing the Fuelband to other more accurate measures (bicycle GPS, heart rate monitor etc.) the results do not line up. I have taken from all of this the fact that the Fuelband is very useful to monitor your level of activity day after day. Seeing if you made personal improvements, challenging yourself and drive yourself further with goal setting. I think that adding more data points in future versions will make this a much more useful tool for athletes (versus a gadget for people that need motivation).

  3. A suggestion:

    I have a double length sweatband which is about 4″ long….. I put this on my ankle and slide the fuelband alongside my ankle. The sweatband is elastic ayes and forms to the shape of the fuelband. Totally secure and in the same upright position it would be if worn on the wrist……

  4. I have been searching the internet for this answer, I have just started cycling as I am preparing to cycle from Vancouver to San Diego, so the lack of accuracy seemed disappointing but the ankle placement sounds pretty spot on. I am from the UK so if anyone is about the West Coast next October watch out for the V2M Ride 🙂
    Thanks for the blog it was awesome!

  5. This really helped me. Thank you. It wasn’t all convoluted like the other people. It was an answer to a question I had, and no hate. Thanks.

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