The Favorite Pedometer I Don’t Wear

My convictions around active transportation aren’t hypothetical, they’re also personal and pragmatic. I make a point to walk 10,000 steps or bike 10 miles every day (or some combination thereof) to help control both my blood pressure and blood sugar – and most days I get closer to 15,000/15.

And because I’m engineer at heart, I measure. Tracking my bicycle miles is simple enough, a small computer with a sensor on my front wheel logs my miles with no action required on my part.

Tracking steps takes a little more intention. I used to where a pedometer, but that meant I had to remember to put it on in the morning, and to take it off (or at least reset it) when I used my bike – pedaling results in meaningless numbers. A hassle.

Recently, I’ve ditched my pedometer in favor of a simpler solution – an app. Moves – an iPhone app (free) sits in my pocket (since I’m never without my phone) and keeps track of my movements. It can tell when I’m walking, cycling or using a vehicle and gives me a running total every day.


One less device to complicate my life!


4 Responses to The Favorite Pedometer I Don’t Wear

  1. Andrew Seger
    April 8, 2013 at 5:26 am Link

    How accurate is the walk vs bike vs vehicle count? Seems like an easy technological fix to distracted driving if we simply made smartphones stop working while in a vehicle, with some sort of public transit option. Pay your fare electronically on a bus or train and it works again?

  2. Chris Smith
    April 8, 2013 at 7:17 am Link

    Andrew, I believe the technology you’re asking for exists, but I don’t think it’s in this app. It seems to do a lot of ‘after the fact’ computation to get to the numbers. It’s “accurate enough” for my purposes, but I notice it can vary from my bicycle computer by a couple of miles a day.

  3. Jay R.
    April 8, 2013 at 10:08 am Link

    I have GPS apps that work well for both biking and walking, but they’re incredibly unhelpful as a pedometer. Among other things, I use my Fitbit to keep track of all my daily movement, not just the extended unidirectional trips that are necessary for a not-always-on application to gather any data.

    If they were to make the app always-on it would be more accurate, but I would seriously worry about battery life on the devices.

    Overall, I’ll stick with using two different things – my pedometer for daily movement, and my GPS (Cyclemeter) for cycling, or it I want to track extended walks/hiking.

  4. Chris Smith
    April 8, 2013 at 10:12 am Link

    I do find myself charging my phone more often since I started using Moves. But I like not having the extra device (pedometer, fitbit, etc.)

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