Episode 11 - Shane Miller

 

  

 

In this episode, we talk to Shane Miller, an avid cyclist and industry expert in training metric measurement with power meters, GPS tracking units, and indoor cycling technology with Ergometers.  

Shane also has extensive experience and knowledge of bike racing and training from amateur to professional level. He maintains a highly successful YouTube channel and is a podcast panelist with Zwiftcast.

 

In this episode we cover:

  • The story behind why he calls himself the GPLama
  • How he started his YouTube Channel and what inspired him to talk about the convergence of his passion for technology and love for cycling
  • The Garmin Varia Radar, how it has amazed and surprised him and why he rates it a 15/10
  • His experience of going this year to Euro Bike, the world’s biggest bike show
  • The experiences and titles Shane has received and what else he would like to chase in cycling
  • Cycle cross in Australia
  • The process of how he maps out his videos on YouTube
  • Examples of what he does in his YouTube videos
  • Zwift indoor trainings, why he loves it and a few stories about their bunch rides
  • His interaction on his social media platforms

 

Links:

 

Transcript:

 

FELICITY:

I have here today, Shane Miller who is a solution architect in IT at enterprise level around cybersecurity and network digital communication security having worked with some of Australia's largest companies around network security and service optimisation, as well as a senior network security engineer. Shane is also an avid cyclist, so with his IT experience, he's also an industry expert in training metric measurement with power metres, GPS tracking units, etcetera, and indoor cycling technology with ergometres at both hardware and software. Shane has extensive experience and knowledge of bike racing and training from amateur to professional level, along with a highly successful YouTube channel and is a podcast panelist with Zwiftcast.

Welcome, Shane.

SHANE:

Good morning, Felicity. How are you?

FELICITY:

I'm great, thank you. Great to have you here today.

SHANE:

Thank you.

FELICITY:

You call yourself the GPLama. Tell us about that. Where did that come from?

SHANE:

That's, I think, always the very first question I'm always asked, about the GPLama. It confuses everybody and myself sometimes as well. It's from probably back in 1993 or '94 in high school, so I'm showing my age now. It was a misheard song lyric. We're in class one day and playing up like we always do and somebody had some rock and roll music or heavy metal going in his headphones, and he started yelling out what I thought was, "God spit llama. God spit llama." I'm like what was god spit llama? And I said, "Hey, Tyson. What song are you listening to? What's this god spit llama thing?" And he said, "What are you talking about? It's something else." And I'm like, okay, and it just sort of stuck with me. I'm like, what does that mean? Was there a deeper meaning to that or what did I hear?

I think it was almost a day, we had to start choosing our usernames for our internet services which was just recently hooked up. I'm like, "What do I ..." And they're like, "You're got to choose a unique username for the internet like we always do. Don't just choose your normal name." Blah, blah, blah, "Use something interesting." I'm like, "Well, GPLama." I've typed it in, and it wasn't already taken. We all know the issue when there's something taken online, you become SMiller0539. I was like, "I don't want that." So I got GPLama. That was me. From there on, it stuck, and then people have shortened that to either GP or Lama and the Lama has really, really stuck. Now, llama with double L, even though I only spell it with one. And then the whole alpaca thing took off around here, and alpacas are becoming very, very popular. People riding bikes always go out and see llamas and alpacas. They're kind of cool. The name stuck. Yeah. So that's the origin of GPLama.

FELICITY:

Well, that's great. Well, it's a great identity for you, and I think it's quite unique so it's really good. It does stand out. You're..

SHANE:

It works well.

FELICITY:

Yeah, it does. You're like the Wikipedia of cycling with your YouTube channel covering a variety of topics from product reviews, practical tips and tricks on how to set things up such as with Zwift on a budget, indoor cycling explained, etcetera, plus so much more. I think that cycling evania and utopia for the cycling fraternity indeed. You do reports and reviews with ergo indoor trainers on brands such as Wahoo, Tacx, Elite, Cyclops, PowerTap, CompuTrainer, etcetera, and plus power metres such as Stages, SRM, Quarq, 4iii, I hope I've said that right, Garmin, Pioneer, InfoCrank and PowerTap. You also do a lot with Zwift. Let's talk about that. How did you get into doing that? And is that such a ... you're such a techy person that you're fascinated with how things work and what performs the best.

SHANE:

Yeah, for sure. I could talk all day on this, and I think, because I absolutely love it. I hope the passion comes through. With as you've said at the start of the show there, my background in technology, there's a lot of crossover with that. With how all this new technology works. So we've all heard the word ANT+. So what is ANT+? Just sort of happens through the air, but then Bluetooth, that comes along as well.

So a lot of my work in security and IT was around Bluetooth and Bluetooth security. I was across how that all works. My passion for cycling, which has always been there for years and years, really crosses over into how this Bluetooth technology works. How best to hook it up, and I was the one who was always sort of knowing how it works. I was barging in and getting things hooked up for people, like you do in IT. You know, you fix mum's VCR or ... Actually, I'm showing my age there aren't I? You set the time on the oven. You set the time whenever the daylight savings change. So I was just sort of the IT guy. There was a convergence of both of those worlds which really blew me away.

I've been blogging since 2005 because the races we do around here ... Actually, you don't live too far away from a place Balliang.

FELICITY:

That's right.

SHANE:

We were told, "Oh, there's a race out at Balliang. Just meet at the Balliang Hall." That was pretty much the word on the street. We had emails. The Balliang ... no one really knew what ... There wasn't any Google Maps around. We didn't know how to get to Balliang. So we were driving there one day. I found it on a map using the Melways, which is an old paper based map. Driving there, this is gonna be a long story..

FELICITY:

Not Google Maps.

SHANE:

No, no Google Maps at the time. All these cars were going the wrong way with bikes on the roof, and everyone had a really bad time trying to find Balliang. I'm like, "You know what? We need a website to talk about where these races are, where the maps are, and put up a little map." So I started pretty much showing people that, alright, here's the race. Here's Balliang, and here's how to get there. Oh, by the way, here's what happened at the race, and here's a few results.

For a few years, I was doing that for the local racing scene. I always looked at the photographs that people were putting up. This was before social media as well. It just opened up ... I wanted to help people understand where they could find racing, how they could get to it, what it was all about. That then turned into, "Oh by the way, I've got a power metre this week. Hey, this is ... how cool? This one's a power metre. Check this out."

It just took on from there. So it became technology reviews and discussions online that I was talking about. Forums inside are taking off. Bicycle Victoria had a good forum, but I was on there, well with the username GPLama. So you'll probably see that archived away, and then Facebook came along, which really opened up everything and social media.

Then from there, I just found that video is probably the easiest way to communicate some really complex topics because I could tell you that Bluetooth FTMS hooks up via this and that or ANT+, and you're like, "What is that?" But if I show you, like oh no, you just do this and this and this, and they're the steps you repeat in person yourself, sometimes videos can communicate the most complex things really easily. So I've moved towards video in the last two years, and now everybody having mobile phones and video devices, really taken off.

So it's just progression of things have really lined up along the way. There's always new things to talk about. No end of content for me to talk about.

FELICITY:

That's right, and there's always, you know, people get stuck on how to set things up. For instance, I know what you're saying. I agree. I love watching a video on telling me, even if it's just something to do with the laptop, you know? I'm learning it just makes it so much more rewarding, actually, when it works and you've got it working rather than being frustrated, especially with your techy stuff. It is frustrating, and it can be frustrating for people when it's not working. So it's handy that they've got you as a resource to check it out, and then learn how to use it or work it properly.

SHANE:

Yeah, and the difference there with YouTube is, because it's just sort of myself and a camera, I've got a couple of cameras around, I just switch it on, and I run through it as anybody would at home. A lot of marketing materials and advertisements, you know, the pretty guy, the pretty girl, always sunshine, everything always works. The customer experience, and we all know this, it's never like that. We unbox something, and something falls on the floor. We're like, "What does this part do? Where does this part go?" We've all built Ikea furniture. We know what that's like.

FELICITY:

Definitely. Three hours later.

SHANE:

Exactly. I give the user the experience that they'll get, chopped up into little short timeframe of here's what are to expect if you're to open a box and pull all the parts out. This is what this does. People go, "Oh, right." Even in that, a lot of people give feedback to me. They're like, "Oh, by the way, you didn't realise that little part did that." I'm like, "Wow, that's brilliant. That's a whole video in itself." So it's very community based, and it's just people being familiar with products that can be very intimidating, especially all this new technology that's coming along. Sometimes hooking our phone up to our car and now headphones, and it's all just a bit too much sometimes. So if I can demystify that easily via video, I'll do that, and YouTube is global. It's all around the world, which is brilliant.

FELICITY:

And sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I noticed with Google Maps, sometimes it talks to me. It tells me where to go, and sometimes it doesn't. I can't work that out for the life of me.

SHANE:

Technology sometimes doesn't go all our way.

FELICITY:

No, that's right.

SHANE:

It diverted me around some traffic the other day using the Waze app. I love using Waze. It will tell me real-time traffic, but it didn't quite realise there was roadworks that had blocked an entry to a freeway. So 10 kilometres later, I was in Melbourne half an hour later. Sometimes it just doesn't quite work. When it does, it's brilliant.

FELICITY:

That's right.

SHANE:

I found a few gem little products that are just game changers. So it's been great.

FELICITY:

That's great. Well tell us about that. What's surprised you lately?

SHANE:

Well power metres and heart rate monitors, they're all sort of solve problems I think. The way I look at a power metre is like, does it work? Yes. That's pretty much it. And indoor trainers, there's a few little things here and there, but one thing I found a couple weeks ago, and I wish I had have found this earlier, it's a little ... If people know the Garmin Varia radar, it's a little light that sits on the back of your bike. The version two of that's just recently been released. Now, it's just a bike light, but it also can tell you when a car is approaching from behind.

FELICITY:

Cool.

SHANE:

Now I've known about this for a while, and again, I look at the marketing myself and go, "Yeah, it's not going to be that useful. Nah, I'm fine. I'm a cyclist. I keep left all the time." In Australia, we keep left. Not right. Yeah.

FELICITY:

That's right.

SHANE:

The new one came out which was a little sleek looking device, couple hundred dollars. I thought, I'll try one of these out to see what it's about. New technology. It connects via ANT+ to set up a little light network on your bike. It will, it beeps when there's a car behind you. It tells you there's a car approaching, and how fast, and how many cars there are. I'm like, "Really? Is it that smart? Is it gonna work?" A lot of the time we're told it's gonna work. You know? What the marketing does, but the actual experience never really matches the marketing. Again, I never really lost that weight when I got that new bike. I never got that suntan. You know, it never really goes the same way as what you see on the ads.

This little Varia radar was better. Absolutely better, and I was ... People saw this in my video that I did. I rode for probably two kilometres with it. I stopped on the side of the road and just shook my head and went, "Wow. Watch this." And I'm talking to the camera, and I'm like, "There's a motorbike coming." Zoom. "There's a car behind that." Zoom. And it had on the little screen there, and I ... It just blew me away how brilliant it was, and it just worked.

This day in age, being safe on the road, sharing the road with others, riding around here in Ballarat, long, big open roads, the drivers aren't too bad. It's not a horror story. There's definitely, there's no war on the roads, but there's always room to be a little more courteous on both sides. And this allows people to be more informed that there's something coming, and they can keep both hands on the bars or maybe keep a little further left. Or even just give the car a wave. If a truck is coming past, I'll always turn and look and give the truckie a wave, just to be more courteous. But this little device allowed me to know that something's coming along. It blew me away. So if you haven't seen the video, I'll send you the link. Put a link in the show notes to that one.

FELICITY:

Yeah. Definitely.

SHANE:

Brilliant little device, and it will literally be a lifesaver for some people. I have no question about that. It'll just keep people safe and more informed on the roads. So they're the products that just give me goosebumps when I find them, and that I want to scream from the treetops, everybody just check this out. I'm not selling them. It doesn't worry me if you buy them. I'm not getting any kickback. I just found something that is just brilliant, and that's what I seek. That's what I seek. So I look at hundreds of products a year, and sometimes you find one that's that good.

FELICITY:

And anything that gives a cyclist more awareness, I think that's fantastic. That can only be a good thing. So you'd rate that 11 out of 10, I'm guessing?

SHANE:

Oh, 15. At least 15.

FELICITY:

Yeah.

SHANE:

And I say in my video, I was riding around here, Lake Wendouree and Ballarat, one of my favourite places in the world. It's a six kilometre lake, and there's always people riding and running and things like that. My stress levels on the bike ... I call it ... it's anxiety. I got to look behind me. I've gotta make sure I'm safe and doing the right thing. Cycling is dangerous. It's a dangerous sport, and we don't have a lot of protection around us. My anxiety level dropped from probably seven or so, down to about a four. I just felt more assured that if I look down and it's green, most likely there's no car behind me. If a car goes past ... You can hear one car approaching, but you'll never hear two because you'll only ever hear one car. So you can look on the screen and go, "Oh, there's one behind that too. Okay. Cool. I know that's coming. That's past, and now we're safe and clear." I've never seen anything that changes my riding so much, and I've looked at a lot of tech.

FELICITY:

Yeah, and it might indicate not to drink. You sort of take your vision off the road a little bit. You know, get your water bottle. So you might think, oh no a car is coming. I'll do that after the car is passed by, and just little things like can increase, improve..

SHANE:

Absolutely. If there's a pothole on the road, you'll try and bunny hop it rather than go around the wide way. It just ... I mean, we'll always do head checks. It doesn't replace a head check just to be double sure if you want to be safe, but on my ride that I did, I did one 40 kilometre ride, as soon as I got home I was still in kit. I still had my shoes on. I jumped online and ordered another one for my wife. Straight away.

FELICITY:

Yeah, that's fantastic.

SHANE:

And I've not done that for any other product or anything that I've looked at. Although I do buy her other stuff that I've got because it's pretty cool. Indoor trainers are awesome.

FELICITY:

Well it's a bit hard in your role not to be buying. Like candy all the time, I'm guessing because you do have to test it after all.

SHANE:

Yeah. That's what I enjoy doing. It's really riding, really putting the k's on. Yeah, having a real good chat about it.

FELICITY:

Yeah. So you're going over to EUROBIKE. Tell us about that. What do you do over there?

SHANE:

EUROBIKE's an interesting one. This'll be my third time over to EUROBIKE. EUROBIKE is the world's biggest bike show, and I've been to smaller bike shows. Bike shows really don't ... it's all just ... I've walked into one in Melbourne a few years back, and it's just marketing, marketing, marketing. Buy this. It'll make you faster. Buy this. It'll make you lighter, skinnier, quicker. I'm like, "But what's the experience? Does it make me happier on a bike? Does it make me really go fast? What's the real stuff?" So EUROBIKE looks a bit of that, and the first year I was there, I was sort of like, "Nah. Okay." I sort of met everyone.

The second time I went there, I was meeting with everyone, and you schedule meetings. I'm like, this is business. Okay. I fit in here. This is where I belong. Talking to all these people. The funny thing is, with EUROBIKE, it's a bike show, and on social media, you'll see all these shiny bikes, all the new product. It's the world's biggest meeting room. Every exhibitor has a small little booth out the back, or in the case of Colnago, you have an upstairs section with air conditioning and a coffee machine and leather couches. They go overboard there. They really look after their clientele, but it's all just meetings and a bit of eye candy as well.

So it's just catching up with everybody, and FaceTime is absolutely brilliant. With the internet these days, with discussing things online. We do teleconferencing. When you meet with somebody, and you can throw in a joke and they get it, especially with cross borders with communication. A lot of meeting with non-English speaking countries, and especially being an Aussie. Sometimes I speak too quick. When I say something, they don't quite get. In person, it's much better to explain.

FELICITY:

Yeah, that's right. You can always do a bit of sign language if they can't understand you.

SHANE:

Exactly, and everyone's friends over coffee. So it's all good.

FELICITY:

Well, you know, with the techy side now, you've got the translation on your phone. So I guess you could have the translation app and..

SHANE:

See there's a video in itself. Can I .. and using this technology. So if you're out cycling somewhere and need to ask for directions..

FELICITY:

That's right.

SHANE:

There you go. There's another video.

FELICITY:

That's right.

SHANE:

Always having to talk about technology.

FELICITY:

Absolutely. So what sort of event inspires you now, Shane? Since you've raised so much with 15 National Age Group Championship titles, 29 State Age Group titles, and a top 10 at the Elite National Time Trial Masterships, not many. Plus being voted Cycling Victoria Masters of the year, both in 2012 and 2014. Is there something in particular that you haven't done, and you'd like to participate in?

SHANE:

That's a big list. I like that one. That's..

FELICITY:

Yeah. I'd be impressed with that.

SHANE:

That's kind of funny, I'm known as the guy on YouTube now, whereas I used to be known as the guy who chases time trials every week and chases championships, which I loved for years and years. I think I've ticked all boxes in cycling that I ever set out to achieve. Beyond my ... I never thought I'd be standing on the top of the podium for anything. I was pretty mediocre at sport. Never really kicked the footy much. Played a little bit. Played a bit of backyard cricket. That's about it, but cycling is where I just, it just worked for me. It just suited the gene lottery that I was given I guess. And did okay with power and really focused on the technical side of things.

So yeah, cycling wise, I think I have to go back to my two yellow jerseys at Tour of Bright. I've raced Masters one, two, three, which was when it was Age Group at Masters, and won the yellow jersey in 2012. Then they switched it to Masters Age Group Grades, and then I went and won A grade two years later. If I didn't have those two yellow jerseys, I'd still be chasing those. That's our little Tour de France here in Victoria for the club cyclists. You have a time trial, you have a longer stage, but then you have an epic mountain stage with 30 k's of climbing at the end up Mt. Hawthorn.

It’s everyone, "Are you doing Bright this year?" It's just known as Bright. "You doing Bright?" And everyone trains. Everyone loses weight for it. Having those in the cupboard, I'm good. I'm good for cycling. I've done everything I need to do, I think, with those two. The National Championships are brilliant. I've got the stripes as well. So I'm entitled to wear little Masters stripes forever, and no one can ever take those away.

FELICITY:

That's right.

SHANE:

Which, achieving something like that, if anyone can set out a goal and achieve that, it's just awesome. So I've got those jerseys here. You'll see those in a few videos.

FELICITY:

Yeah, I have seen them.

SHANE:

But as for what to chase now, that's the hard part. That's the hard part. I'm looking at a few of these gravel races people are enjoying. Which means I have to go buy another bike, but I'm okay with that. I think everyone needs another bike, don't they?

FELICITY:

Absolutely.

SHANE:

Everyone's stuff looks pretty cool. Being from the country, being a country boy, always riding along long, open ... You'd be the same. You ride along these long, open roads, but sometimes you look to the left or the right, and there's a switch back up a dirt road. You're like, "Oh, I wish that was paved. I wish I could ride down the road bike." But these gravel bikes allow you to do that. They've got sort of this semi-slick tire that you can actually ride out to these roads with, and then take a left or a right and rip up these climbs. Here in Ballarat, we have the Goldfields Trails with all the old..

FELICITY:

Okay. Yeah.

SHANE:

There's things everywhere, and it's not as technical as mountain bike because as a time trialist and a roadie, my technical skills are limited to bunches, not trees and holes and jumps.

FELICITY:

Yeah, that's right. Yeah.

SHANE:

So gravel for me is more like a time trial. So I'm looking into getting into gravel stuff.

FELICITY:

And I think mountain biking is way more technical than road riding. So it's good if there's something in between because to me, it's sort of one extreme to the other.

SHANE:

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, for sure. Well time trials, and there's a ... right where I was sitting here, we've had a few national championships held on the Avenue of Honour which is probably 50 metres away out the window here. That road is almost dead straight. So the competition for that is to put your head down and follow the white line. That's it. That's as technical as it gets. And put the brakes on to turn around, and then do it again coming home. That's all the race involves which is a lot of fun because it involves all the technical side of more power, better aero, visiting wind tunnels, skinsuit technologies. Everything like that. That's heaps of fun, but yeah, the gravel side of things. There's a little bit of that, but you've got to watch out for a few little bumps and a few little traction issues. You gotta keep the gravel side down. How do they call it? The rubber side down on the gravel. Yeah.

FELICITY:

Switch it up a bit.

SHANE:

Yeah. Exactly. I think people have done that. Cyclocross here in Victoria, even Australia alone, cyclocross has been huge. It's really good to see. We've been to a few races in cyclocross just to watch and take the camera down. Everyone's having fun whether you're in first place, last place, or even if you're not racing. Everyone's either got a beer ... even in the races I've seen beer hand ups. I've never seen that in a cycling race before. I think we'd get fined and disqualified in a road race if someone handed us a beer.

FELICITY:

Absolutely.

SHANE:

Cyclocross people are having fun.

FELICITY:

Yeah.

SHANE:

And sharing that experience, and that's in parallel with what I do with tech as well. So having fun, I wanna share that experience.

FELICITY:

Yeah. A bit more laid back.

SHANE:

Yeah.

FELICITY:

Nice.

SHANE:

That's where I got my eye on for now, but we'll see. We'll see.

FELICITY:

Sounds fun. I'm sure that will filter through your videos at some stage no doubt.

SHANE:

Yeah, you'll see it. I'm sure they'll be some gravel rash there, and a few good crashes caught on GoPro.

FELICITY:

Well I hope not. Tell us about the process of YouTube for you. I know that that's quite ... There's more work to it than what seems 'cause we just see the end product. So yeah, I'd love to hear a bit more about the background of how you map it out to present the detail that you do to us to make available. How do you structure that?

SHANE:

Very good question. It's something you ... If I had known how much work it was, I probably would reconsider my career choices. But again, it's about the process, and I do love the process. Much like time trial training. People say time trials are a bit weird. It's all about being in the zone and in pain. You're like really? You enjoy that? But it's about the process, and much like with cycle training, all you see at the end is, if you see Peter Sagan win a race, Chris Froome win a race, these superstars, even at the amateur level. The guy who wins A grade or bigger, or C grade on the weekend, you see just that tip of the iceberg, but the work they've had to put in was just so much more.

So relating that back to YouTube, what you see is the result of what I do is a four minute video, a three minute video, I really don't put any time constraints on. I've got an idea or a message or a product, and I'll just talk about it until I'm done. I think the smallest videos I've done are 30 seconds, maybe for a Zwift tip. It's like, "Have you checked this out on Zwift? You can do this and this." That's really awkward to say, or a 27 minute video which was a new indoor spin bike which was a smart ergometer of sort of smart biking bike with ANT+ and Bluetooth. That was 27 minutes the other day. So that was quite a longer one.

But with those videos, it's a process of, first of all, coming up with the idea or the topic or the product. Researching that. Is it interesting? Is it something I'm truly interested in? Because to be honest, if it's a new set of shoes, if they're not shoes that I'll be wearing, that's hard for to talk about them. If they're shoes I'm wearing because they're better, more comfortable, they're an upgrade, they're lighter ... So I've got to pick the subject, pick the item, acquire that. Either if I can get a media sample from the company, that's awesome. Doesn't cost me anything, or if not, I'll just go buy it off the shelf.

I've got a set of Vector 3 pedals here which cost me $1,500. Again, 'cause they're the pedals that I've been using. So finding it, acquiring it, learning about it. In my videos, and here's a secret, most of my videos I'll get the manual out of the box and throw the manual away. That's just a little thing that I do because who reads the manual? No one reads the manual.

FELICITY:

I'm not a manual girl. No.

SHANE:

Exactly. So in my videos a bit of a theme is, here's the manual. I throw it away. I've already read the manual. I've already read it. I'm across it. I don't say that in the videos though. Usually online there's always the manuals anyway. So I'm sort of across how this thing works. How to put something together. So I throw the manual away, go through it. I'll set the concept up. I'll use the product for maybe a day or two, maybe a few months depending on what product it is and how long I've got it for. Then we have to start thinking about the dialogue. How do I present this? Do I have to tell people? If it's a set of pedals, people know what pedals are, but if it's a new device, like the radar on the car, the other day I sort of started talking about that up to the camera, I'm like, hang on. I've got to back up a little bit. People, this is a bike light, and it detects cars. And I put up a little animation showing exactly how it did that because that's what I needed when I didn't know about these things.

So this conversation to explain it is longer than the videos themselves, but..

FELICITY:

It's quite creative, isn't it? Really because you're thinking all the time. When you're talking about that example about the video, and then seeing the cars. And then what you could do to show people. It's exciting because you're actually being creative all the time, aren't you? Thinking how can present this better.

SHANE:

That's the process, and back to the radar, I was saying in my head, "How can I show people on video?" This is what I've got to think before I even start shooting. How do I show people that there's a car coming behind me, but it also goes past me because if I just show the car ... So I had two cameras on the bike. I did picture in picture, and I'm standing there. I'm like, "Watch this." So I've got three videos on the screen at once with picture in picture. You can do that with editing software, and I love that process. You can see a car sail past me, and see the little identifier on the Garmin head unit, or the little device, showing me where the car is. And you can see it go past.

Just last night I released a video on some sunglasses and putting a laser pointer through some sunglasses and the different optics and how it reflects. I can't ... How do I show that? So I've come up with a creative way of doing that. So using green screen has been fantastic behind me. I can pretty much embed myself in a website. I can have the website loaded behind me. Do I use a green screen? What data do I present? A lot of the videos that I have that have a structure, it's an intro. It's a specifications. It's a setting up or building, and then analysis at the end. So they've got a bit of structure to them, but it's a big process.

Pretty much every video is a day or two days of full time work. Even then, there's a lot of failures behind the scenes. Sometimes a microphone won't work or the shutter didn't quite set up right. You know, even with recording a podcast, if left channel doesn't work, or right channel doesn't work, you're like, "Oh, I've got to fix all that." There's all these technical things, but I love the process. And sometimes the result has been brilliant.

One of the best ones I've done with Garmin pedals actually, I strapped a GoPro onto my heel and faced it forward to show people how a pedal flexed and operated when you clipped in and when you pedal the bike.

FELICITY:

Oh, wow. Who would have thought of that? You did.

SHANE:

Sometimes you have to risk it. I'm like, okay fine. Jump on this or it crashes onto the ground, this is a GoPro, but I'll risk it for the shot. So I've taped my shoe up with a GoPro underneath. I hit go on the camera, and the footage came out like you've never, ever seen a crank work before. When you look at a pedal, you're not quite sure how a pedal works. You can look down and see your legs spinning around, but when you see that at a fixed point, and you see your crank moving and the pedal remains stationary, it's a perspective that no one's ever seen. So if I can come up with a creative way like that, it works really well. So I'm always having fun thinking of ideas like that. What can I do next? How can I show something in a unique way? Or exaggerate what companies actually claim? So I've got a little ... Let me reach over and grab that now.

Here's a little ... Even though we're talking on screen here, but there's a little bike computer I'm holding up. The company declared that was absolutely waterproof. I'm like, well how do we test absolute waterproof. I put it in a bath, and I just happened to have a protein blender for protein drinks. I thought, here we go. I've turned it on, I've paired it to my heart rate, I've dropped the computer into the blender. It's only a slow spinning one. I'm mixing up a little tornado of a blender, and I stopped. And it was still reading my heart rate under the water. I'm like, "Well, I'm not gonna be riding through any blenders. So there's a good test."

Afterward, the company were like, "What did you do that for?"

FELICITY:

And then they love you because you actually have tested it, but hopefully you're not giving any whackers any ideas out there that actually might do something ridiculous.

SHANE:

So that's not quite an extreme sports of reviewing. The other read more recently was the ... a new Stages power metre said they did six times more distance in how far ... because there was a few dropout issues with signal strength and things. You know when you batteries go a little flatter, and it doesn't quite reach the distance. I said, "Six times more strength.” I’m like, “Well how do I test? How can I ride a bike with my Garmin or my Wahoo head unit six metres away? How does that work?"

So I got a really long extended pole, tacked it to the front of my bike, and rode around like a jousting stick. So I rode around the block with about a two or three metre pole on the front of my bike with my Garmin out the other end of that. And it read the signal fine. So that worked pretty well. I've got to cut in a scene of two people jousting medieval style while I was riding along as well. So I have fun with the videos. You gotta have a bit of fun.

FELICITY:

Does your wife have to do a bit of propping for you with that kind of stuff sometimes? Yeah.

SHANE:

She's the dynamic camera holder every now and then.

FELICITY:

Yes. That's right.

SHANE:

And I do get a lot of the, "This is a really, really silly idea." I'm like, "Just think about if it works."

FELICITY:

Well she wouldn't get bored. It's like, “What's he up to now?” You know? “What's he got me doing now?”

SHANE:

There's always something happening for sure. Yeah. It's always fun.

FELICITY:

That's right. You're also ... Tell us about you're a podcast panelist with Zwiftcast. So I'd love to hear more about that and also Zwift. What do you do with them exactly?

SHANE:

I ride Zwift a lot. I ride Zwift a lot. It's my number one thing. I bought a smart trainer very early on. 2014 I bought my very first kicker, smart trainer which was one of the, I guess it's probably the next gen from CompuTrainer onwards of these indoor trainers that are interactive. So you ride up a hill, it gets harder. You ride down a hill, it gets easier. And that just fascinated me. It's Bluetooth and ANT+ and all the things it's connected. I'm like, "I knew the potential of what this device could do." I'm like, "We're gonna be able to race our friends with this somehow." I didn't quite know how, and then Zwift came along and did exactly that from day one.

I've loaded Zwift. I've hooked the Wahoo kicker up to Zwift. My Wahoo kicker is number 66. So it was one of the earlier models. I was an early adopter. I was selling it. I'm like, the software just doesn't, there's nothing that livens this thing up. Zwift came along, and then I was riding along this virtual world. And then the hill kicked in. I'm like, whoa. That got harder. Hang on, I have to change gears. Okay. Rode down a hill, it got easier. And then my friend jumped on, and we race all the time. Dr. Stephen Lane, he's done a few of my videos. He's a coach of a few pros, and he's into riding bikes as passionately as I am.

I was drafting him, and then I sprinted to the town sign. I won. And he sprinted me to the next sign, and he won. I'm like, "Okay. Let's do a time trial around this thing." He was at home on his kicker. I was at home on my kicker. This software just brought the experience to life. I stepped off then, that session, and I've done thousands and thousands of indoor sessions with Coach Troy or CTS Training, a few Sufferfests as well. I've gone and done the night one. All of those are very, they're great training, and they've got me a number of championship wins. They work really well, but when you train at home, you turn the fan off, you turn the music off, everything's quiet. That's it. There was no upload to Strava. There was no kudos given. There was no chatter online. It was just like, okay. It was a bit of a chore, I guess it became.

Whereas now riding indoors, it's a social experience. Even though from home here in the Lama lab, I'll ride on now, and they'll be three or four people giving me thumbs up. Saying well done. Seeing people chatting. People wanting to race. And then when you finish, you ride up to Strava, and people comment on your ride or your effort or how you've done on the race results. It's changed everything. It just changed the landscape entirely. So I'm just riding Zwift all the time. It's just so easy. It's convenient for time, and Ballarat at this time of year, it was below zero degrees celsius this morning. So I won’t go outside.

FELICITY:

That's freezing.

SHANE:

Because I ride it all the time, and I'm just across it. Again, this technology I'm tinkering with it, I'm pushing boundaries with it. I just share that experience. A lot of people are like, "Oh, I've got this new product. Does it work with Zwift?" I'm like, "Yeah, sure it does, but make sure you set it to this or this or here's what this option does." There's always something to talk about with Zwift and online. Again, it all just sort of lines up. My background in technology, and it works over the internet which is bread and butter that I've come from and where all my real qualifications are. And making sure that all works, and there's a lot of people on it. We have over 300 up to 450 people joining our Wednesday night bunch right here in Australia on Zwift from home.

FELICITY:

Wow. That's amazing. I think indoor training probably, from my perspective anyway, is the hardest. I think you have to be quite disciplined to do it, but learning about that, you can then schedule, like you're saying, every Wednesday night, that you have that ride. That's fantastic because then it actually does make you feel part of something, doesn't it? Like you're joining a group of people, and like you say, you can interact. So it is actually quite social. You kind of can have that banter going along like you do in a bunch ride anyway or at the café afterwards. So that's great. It makes it a lot more inclusive, I think.

SHANE:

Yeah, well this week it's, as you say, it's just like a bunch ride banter in the hump day ride, 7:00 on a Wednesday. We're riding along. There was a little group chat going on, and the topic got to pineapple on pavlova. Everyone got really hungry riding along. Here we are doing 200 watts, it’s a good tempo ride before the last lap, which is always a race. And we're talking about pavlova, and you put chopped peppermint on top or are you more of a passion fruit pavlova. It's the same kind of banter you'd have out on the road with your mates just talking. And all the non-Aussies didn't get we're talking about pav.

FELICITY:

Yeah. Yeah, that's right. What the hell's that?

SHANE:

What's pav?

FELICITY:

And nothing like food, you know, being cyclers. We all love our food. So that's hysterical that..

SHANE:

I think it was bit of sugar as well. All was about sugar. It was probably half way into the ride. Everyone's like, "Oh, it's late Wednesday night. We're a bit hungry now."

FELICITY:

Yeah. That's right.

SHANE:

And so, my experience of the bunch ride last week, my memory of that was having banter. Having talking about pavlova, and I'm like, "Oh, yeah. I might get a pav this week and make one for the family or something." I mean that's all come from indoor training. It's a whole new concept, and a whole new experience. Someone did post up on the Zwift Oz Facebook group, which is about 5,000 plus people strong now. Just people on Facebook who want to talk about Zwift. She's put up there, "That was my first hump day ride on Wednesday, and I was told all about what it was like." She goes, "That was an amazing experience." 'Cause only I got to hang on for say, half the ride, but the challenge was then, there's always someone to ride with. So someone would drop off the bunch just like out in the real world.

And then the question came up, "Well what was your answer for the pav? Did you like pineapple on pav or not?" It continues on offline as well. It's brilliant fun.

FELICITY:

Yeah, so you mentioned comments there, and I noticed that you've got quite a few comments on your various social media platforms. Does that take much to interact? Is it hard to discern who you respond to? Because it must be, you know, as you become, have a bigger following, you can't really reply to everyone, can you? I wouldn't have thought time wise. It means you could be on your phone the whole time just replying to people.

SHANE:

I am, and I do. I try to. If someone's taken the time to either watch my content and ... because I'm not selling anything, I'm just asking for someone's attention just to watch what I'm up to if that's what they're interested in. So if someone's taken the time to watch that and have a query about that, I'll try and take the time to respond. A lot of the time, I can't act on behalf of the companies that I'm ... So for example, the Garmin pedals. If I can answer a question, I can, but a lot of times I'll refer to companies through the official channels and support.

Also, I'll give them a tip on how to provide better information to the support teams because I've been in IT support for years, and I know what it's like to have a ticket come through saying, this is broken. Fix. I mean, but if I can help people, okay. I've got this problem, and you reproduce it. Here's what you need to provide, and they'll be able to provide you an answer.

Across the board, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, I'm pretty much a bit of a help desk, I guess. A semi help desk which I like doing because it makes me understand the technology more, and also understand the problems people are having with technology. Zwift especially because it's so open, you can use whatever bike you want, whatever trainer you want. Windows or Mac or iPad or iPhone. There's so many combinations that people sometimes struggle with, is this gonna work with this and this? And I'm happy to help them out with that. It's also a bit of fun seeing people figure it out as well, and you can see it click.

The other day someone was asking at one of the bike stores, I was over in Adelaide, they were doing an indoor trainer show. So I went over there and was talking to people about indoor trainers and the videos and things, and somebody's walked up and said, "Well how does this connect to the television because this is a bike? How does that all work?" And I said, "Well it's got the ANT+ that we're using today." Still a bit of confusion there. And I said, "Oh, it can go Bluetooth." And he's like, "Awe. So like my phone to the car?" I'm like, "Yep. Spot on." And then from there he's gone, "Alright, I'll pair this to that," and he had ... As soon as that click went with Bluetooth, that's how it connected. Now he's empowered with knowing how it works. He can now then go and tell his friends how it works or if they have trouble with it. Really cool to spread that, and that's what really works on YouTube and replying people to clarify things. Everyone upskills. It's really cool.

FELICITY:

And it works for everyone. It works for your audience. It keeps you stimulated and engaged, and it also works for the product. They must be really grateful that they've got someone who's such a great resource that supports them as well. So it's actually a really good triangle, isn't it?

SHANE:

Everyone wins.

FELICITY:

That's right.

SHANE:

It's kind of cool. And a little side effect of being here in Australia, we're the opposite time zone to everywhere.

FELICITY:

Yeah.

SHANE:

Middle of the day here is the middle of the night everywhere else. Doesn't quite work like that, but Europe and the US. So a lot of the time someone's like, "I've just hooked this up, and it's the middle of the night. I'm not gonna get support yet if they don't have follow the sun." But I'll jump online, and sometimes it'll be the middle of the day. And I can fire back sometimes just like one word or two sentences, and then bang. People can just jump on and ride and get them online. And they're forever thankful, as am I when I ask a question of anybody that I've had interactions with.

Someone the other day referred me to go get the Google Mesh Wi-Fi at home. Now I've just got a router and modem set up and the Wi-Fi from broadband. It just kind of worked, but I wasn't too happy with it. Somebody said to me out of the blue, they're like, "Go get yourself Google Mesh. It'll cover your whole house." And I'm like, "Okay. I'll take your word for it." I went and got it. It's brilliant. I was on the other side of the fence for his recommendation. So I totally understand where I come from, but reading the comments it also allows me to refine or clarify or just better what I do.

FELICITY:

Tweak it.

SHANE:

Exactly. So I speak too fast. I'm an Aussie so I'll mispronounce a lot of things. There's a lot of assumptions made because once you're at a certain level of knowledge, you assume everyone else is there as well. And people keep me in check with that. It's really good. It's really helped me. Even though I'm helping everybody else, it's a secret. Everyone is helping me. They really are.

FELICITY:

Yeah. So you've got to use the kiss principal: keep it simple stupid.

SHANE:

Absolutely. Yeah.

FELICITY:

Fantastic. Well I'd really like to thank you for spending time with us today, Shane. It's been really wonderful to hear about what you're up to and quite exciting really because you're so passionate. You can really feel that energy, so I love that about you. All the best over at EUROBIKE, and I'll look forward to seeing you more on YouTube now that I know what you're up to more. If I become more techy, I know where to go. You can follow Shane on Twitter, @GPLama. Also on Insta, ShaneMiller-GPLama, or YouTube, ShaneMiller-GPLama. And Strava. And your blog is gplama.blogspot.com. So you're pretty much on every platform. Yeah. Yeah.

SHANE:

If you type in that to Google, you'll find me everywhere.

FELICITY:

Absolutely. Yeah I did find that, and that's great 'cause you're across it. And you're a personality in the cycling industry so it's fun to watch your videos and listen to your vibey take on things.

SHANE:

Yeah. It's fun to do, and it's not stopping anytime soon because there's always cool stuff just around the corner. And EUROBIKE, a little bit of inside info, there's a lot of cool stuff coming from EUROBIKE this year, and especially with what I do. It's gonna be big.

FELICITY:

Excellent. Well we might have to do another interview and get a post EUROBIKE interview from you to see what you loved over there and what's coming up.

SHANE:

More than happy to. Look forward to it.

FELICITY:

Thank you Shane.

SHANE:

Cheers. Thank you so much.

FELICITY:

Thanks for listening to the ‘All Torque’ podcast, we’d love it if you would leave us a rating and review on iTunes. This helps us to deliver content you want to hear about.  Please take a moment to share it with your friends and family on Instagram and Facebook. I'm Felicity Dales. See you next episode for another story of inspiration and motivation on the ‘All Torque’ podcast.

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