sun, 28-feb-2016, 09:22


I’ve been brewing beer since the early 90s, and since those days the number of hops available to homebrewers has gone from a handfull of varieties (Northern Brewer, Goldings, Fuggle, Willamette, Cluster) to well over a hundred. Whenever I go to my local brewing store I’m bewildered by the large variety of hops, most of which I’ve never heard of. I’m also not all that fond of super-citrusy hops like Cascade or it’s variants, so it is a challenge to find flavor and aroma hops that aren’t citrusy among the several dozen new varieties on display.

Most of the hops at the store are Yakima Chief – Hop Union branded, and they’ve got a great web site that lists all their varieties and has information about each hop. As convenient as a website can be, I’d rather have the data in a database where I can search and organize it myself. Since the data is all on the website, we can use a web scraping library to grab it and format it however we like.

One note: websites change all the time, so whenever the structure of a site changes, the code to grab the data will need to be updated. I originally wrote the code for this post a couple weeks ago, scraping data from the Hop Union web site. This morning, that site had been replaced with an entirely different Yakima Chief – Hop Union site and I had to completely rewrite the code.


I’m using the rvest package from Hadley Wickham and RStudio to do the work of pulling the data from each page. In the Python world, Beautiful Soup would be the library I’d use, but there’s a fair amount of data manipulation needed here and I felt like dplyr would be easier.


First, load all the libraries we need.

library(rvest)       # scraping data from the web
library(dplyr)       # manipulation, filtering, grouping into tables
library(stringr)     # string functions
library(tidyr)       # creating columns from rows
library(RPostgreSQL) # dump final result to a PostgreSQL database

Next, we retrieve the data from the main page that has all the varieties listed on it, and extract the list of links to each hop. In the code below, we read the entire document into a variable, hop_varieties using the read_html function.

Once we’ve got the web page, we need to find the HTML nodes that contain links to the page for each individual hop. To do that, we use html_nodes(), passing a CSS selector to the function. In this case, we’re looking for a tags that have a class of card__name. I figured this out by looking at the raw source code from the page using my web browser’s inspection tools. If you right-click on what looks like a link on the page, one of the options in the pop-up menu is “inspect”, and when you choose that, it will show you the HTML for the element you clicked on. It can take a few tries to find the proper combination of tag, class, attribute or id to uniquely identify the things you want.

The YCH site is pretty well organized, so this isn’t too difficult. Once we’ve got the nodes, we extract the links by retrieving the href attribute from each one with html_attr().

hop_varieties <- read_html("")

hop_page_links <- hop_varieties %>%
    html_nodes("a.card__name") %>%

Now we have a list of links to all the varieties on the page. It turns out that they made a mistake when they transitioned to the new site and the links all have the wrong host ( We can fix that by applying replacing the host in all the links.

fixed_links <- sapply(hop_page_links,
                     FUN=function(x) sub('',
                                         '', x)) %>%

Each page will need to be loaded, the relevant information extracted, and the data formatted into a suitable data structure. I think a data frame is the best format for this, where each row in the data frame represents the data for a single hop and each column is a piece of information from the web page.

First we write a function the retrieves the data for a single hop and returns a one-row data frame with that data. Most of the data is pretty simple, with a single value for each hop. Name, description, type of hop, etc. Where it gets more complicated is the each hop can have more than one aroma category, and the statistics for each hop vary from one to the next. What we’ve done here is combine the aromas together into a single string, using the at symbol (@) to separate the parts. Since it’s unlikely that symbol will appear in the data, we can split it back apart later. We do the same thing for the other parameters, creating an @-delimited string for the items, and their values.

get_hop_stats <- function(p) {
    hop_page <- read_html(p)

    hop_name <- hop_page %>%
        html_nodes('h1[itemprop="name"]') %>%

    type <- hop_page %>%
        html_nodes('div.hop-profile__data div[itemprop="additionalProperty"]') %>%
    type <- (str_split(type, ' '))[[1]][2]

    region <- hop_page %>%
        html_nodes('div.hop-profile__data h5') %>%

    description <- hop_page %>%
        html_nodes('div.hop-profile__profile p[itemprop="description"]') %>%

    aroma_profiles <- hop_page %>%
        html_nodes('div.hop-profile__profile h3.headline a[itemprop="category"]') %>%

    aroma_profiles <- sapply(aroma_profiles,
                             FUN=function(x) sub(',$', '', x)) %>%
        as.vector() %>%

    composition_keys <- hop_page %>%
        html_nodes('div.hop-composition__item') %>%

    composition_keys <- sapply(composition_keys,
                                   tolower(gsub('[ -]', '_', x))) %>%
        as.vector() %>%

    composition_values <- hop_page %>%
        html_nodes('div.hop-composition__value') %>%
        html_text() %>%

    hop <- data.frame('hop'=hop_name, 'type'=type, 'region'=region,


With a function that takes a URL as input, and returns a single-row data frame, we use a common idiom in R to combine everything together. The inner-most lapply function will run the function on each of the fixed variety links, and each single-row data frame will then be combined together using rbind within

all_hops <-,
                    lapply(fixed_links, get_hop_stats)) %>% tbl_df() %>%
    arrange(hop) %>%

At this stage we’ve retrieved all the data from the website, but some of it has been encoded in a less that useful format.

Data tidying

To tidy the data, we want to extract only a few of the item / value pairs of data from the data frame, alpha acid, beta acid, co-humulone and total oil. We also need to remove carriage returns from the description and remove the aroma column.

We split the keys and values back apart again using the @ symbol used earlier to combine them, then use unnest to create duplicate columns with each of the key / value pairs in them. spread pivots these up into columns such that the end result has one row per hop with the relevant composition values as columns in the tidy data set.

hops <- all_hops %>%
    arrange(hop) %>%
    mutate(description=gsub('\\r', '', description),
           keys=str_split(composition_keys, "@"),
           values=str_split(composition_values, "@")) %>%
    unnest(keys, values) %>%
    spread(keys, values) %>%
    select(id, hop, type, region, alpha_acid, beta_acid, co_humulone, total_oil, description)

kable(hops %>% select(id, hop, type, region, alpha_acid) %>% head())
id hop type region alpha_acid
1 Admiral Bittering United Kingdom 13 - 16%
2 Ahtanum™ Aroma Pacific Northwest 3.5 - 6.5%
3 Amarillo® Aroma Pacific Northwest 7 - 11%
4 Aramis Aroma France 7.9 - 8.3%
5 Aurora Dual Slovenia 7 - 9.5%
6 Bitter Gold Dual Pacific Northwest 12 - 14.5%

For the aromas we have a one to many relationship where each hop has one or more aroma categories associated. We could fully normalize this by created an aroma table and a join table that connects hop and aroma, but this data is simple enough that I just created the join table itself. We’re using the same str_split / unnest method we used before, except that in this case we don't want to turn those into columns, we want a separate row for each hop × aroma combination.

hops_aromas <- all_hops %>%
    select(id, hop, aroma_profiles) %>%
    mutate(aroma=str_split(aroma_profiles, "@")) %>%
    unnest(aroma) %>%
    select(id, hop, aroma)

Saving and exporting

Finally, we save the data and export it into a PostgreSQL database.

save(list=c("hops", "hops_aromas"),

beer <- src_postgres(host="", dbname="beer",
                     port=5434, user="cswingle")

dbWriteTable(beer$con, "ych_hops", hops %>% data.frame(), row.names=FALSE)
dbWriteTable(beer$con, "ych_hops_aromas", hops_aromas %>% data.frame(), row.names=FALSE)


I created a view in the database that combines all the aroma categories into a Postgres array type using this query. I also use a pair of regular expressions to convert the alpha acid string into a Postgres numrange.

CREATE VIEW ych_basic_hop_data AS
SELECT, ych_hops.hop, array_agg(aroma) AS aromas, type,
        regexp_replace(alpha_acid, '([0-9.]+).*', E'\\1')::numeric,
        regexp_replace(alpha_acid, '.*- ([0-9.]+)%', E'\\1')::numeric,
        '[]') AS alpha_acid_percent, description
FROM ych_hops
    INNER JOIN ych_hops_aromas USING(id)
GROUP BY, ych_hops.hop, type, alpha_acid, description

With this, we can, for example, find US aroma hops that are spicy, but without citrus using the ANY() and ALL() array functions.

SELECT hop, region, type, aromas, alpha_acid_percent
FROM ych_basic_hop_data
WHERE type = 'Aroma' AND region = 'Pacific Northwest' AND 'Spicy' = ANY(aromas)
AND 'Citrus' != ALL(aromas) ORDER BY alpha_acid_percent;

     hop    |      region       | type  |            aromas            | alpha_acid_percent
  Crystal   | Pacific Northwest | Aroma | {Floral,Spicy}               | [3,6]
  Hallertau | Pacific Northwest | Aroma | {Floral,Spicy,Herbal}        | [3.5,6.5]
  Tettnang  | Pacific Northwest | Aroma | {Earthy,Floral,Spicy,Herbal} | [4,6]
  Mt. Hood  | Pacific Northwest | Aroma | {Spicy,Herbal}               | [4,6.5]
  Santiam   | Pacific Northwest | Aroma | {Floral,Spicy,Herbal}        | [6,8.5]
  Ultra     | Pacific Northwest | Aroma | {Floral,Spicy}               | [9.2,9.7]


The RMarkdown version of this post, including the code can be downloaded from GitHub:

sun, 14-feb-2016, 10:02

Since the middle of 2010 we’ve been monitoring the level of Goldstream Creek for the National Weather Service by measuring the distance from the top of our bridge to the surface of the water or ice. In 2012 the Creek flooded and washed the bridge downstream. We eventually raised the bridge logs back up onto the banks and resumed our measurements.

This winter the Creek had been relatively quiet, with the level hovering around eight feet below the bridge. But last Friday, we awoke to more than four feet of water over the ice, and since then it's continued to rise. This morning’s reading had the ice only 3.17 feet below the surface of the bridge.


Overflow within a few feet of the bridge

Water also entered the far side of the slough, and is making it’s way around the loop, melting the snow covering the old surface. Even as the main channel stops rising and freezes, water moves closer to the dog yard from the slough.


Water entering the slough

One of my longer commutes to work involves riding east on the Goldstream Valley trails, crossing the Creek by Ballaine Road, then riding back toward the house on the north side of the Creek. From there, I can cross Goldstream Creek again where the trail at the end of Miller Hill Road and the Miller Hill Extension trail meet, and ride the trails the rest of the way to work. That crossing is also covered with several feet of water and ice.


Trail crossing at the end of Miller Hill

Yesterday one of my neighbors sent email with the subject line, “Are we doomed?,” so I took a look at the heigh data from past years. The plot below shows the height of the Creek, as measured from the surface of the bridge (click on the plot to view or download a PDF, R code used to generate the plot appears at the bottom of this post).

The orange region is the region where the Creek is flowing; between my reporting of 0% ice in spring and 100% ice-covered in fall. The data gap in July 2014 was due to the flood washing the bridge downstream. Because the bridge isn’t in the same location, the height measurements before and after the flood aren’t completely comparable, but I don’t have the data for the difference in elevation between the old and new bridge locations, so this is the best we’ve got.


Creek heights by year

The light blue line across all the plots shows the current height of the Creek (3.17 feet) for all years of data. 2012 is probably the closest year to our current situation where the Creek rose to around five feet below the bridge in early January. But really nothing is completely comparable to the situation we’re in right now. Breakup won’t come for another two or three months, and in most years, the Creek rises several feet between February and breakup.

Time will tell, of course, but here’s why I’m not too worried about it. There’s another bridge crossing several miles downstream, and last Friday there was no water on the surface, and the Creek was easily ten feet below the banks. That means that there is a lot of space within the banks of the Creek downstream that can absorb the melting water as breakup happens. I also think that there is a lot of liquid water trapped beneath the ice on the surface in our neighborhood and that water is likely to slowly drain out downstream, leaving a lot of empty space below the surface ice that can accommodate further overflow as the winter progresses. In past years of walking on the Creek I’ve come across huge areas where the top layer of ice dropped as much as six feet when the water underneath drained away. I’m hoping that this happens here, with a lot of the subsurface water draining downstream.

The Creek is always reminding us of how little we really understand what’s going on and how even a small amount of flowing water can become a huge force when that water accumulates more rapidly than the Creek can handle it. Never a dull moment!



wxcoder <- read_csv("data/wxcoder.csv", na=c("-9999"))
feb_2016_incomplete <- read_csv("data/2016_02_incomplete.csv",

wxcoder <- rbind(wxcoder, feb_2016_incomplete)

wxcoder <- wxcoder %>%
   transmute(dte=as.Date(ymd(DATE)), tmin_f=TN, tmax_f=TX, tobs_f=TA,
             prcp_in=ifelse(PP=='T', 0.005, as.numeric(PP)),
             snow_in=ifelse(SF=='T', 0.05, as.numeric(SF)),
             snwd_in=SD, below_bridge_ft=HG,

creek <- wxcoder %>% filter(dte>as.Date(ymd("2010-05-27")))

creek_w_year <- creek %>%

ice_free_date <- creek_w_year %>%
   group_by(year) %>%
   filter(ice_cover_pct==0) %>%
   summarize(ice_free_dte=min(dte), ice_free_doy=min(doy))

ice_covered_date <- creek_w_year %>%
   group_by(year) %>%
   filter(ice_cover_pct==100, doy>182) %>%
   summarize(ice_covered_dte=min(dte), ice_covered_doy=min(doy))

flowing_creek_dates <- ice_free_date %>%
   inner_join(ice_covered_date, by="year") %>%
   mutate(ymin=Inf, ymax=-Inf)

latest_obs <- creek_w_year %>%
   mutate(rank=rank(desc(dte))) %>%

current_height_df <- data.frame(
      year=c(2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016),

q <- ggplot(data=creek_w_year %>% filter(year>2010),
            aes(x=doy, y=below_bridge_ft)) +
   theme_bw() +
   geom_rect(data=flowing_creek_dates %>% filter(year>2010),
             aes(xmin=ice_free_doy, xmax=ice_covered_doy, ymin=ymin, ymax=ymax),
             fill="darkorange", alpha=0.4,
             inherit.aes=FALSE) +
   # geom_point(size=0.5) +
   geom_line() +
              colour="darkcyan", alpha=0.4) +
                      labels=c("Jan", "Feb", "Mar", "Apr",
                               "May", "Jun", "Jul", "Aug",
                               "Sep", "Oct", "Nov", "Dec",
                               "Jan")) +
   scale_y_reverse(name="Creek height, feet below bridge",
                   breaks=pretty_breaks(n=5)) +
   facet_wrap(~ year, ncol=1)

width <- 16
height <- 16
rescale <- 0.75
    width=width*rescale, height=height*rescale)
    width=width*rescale, height=height*rescale)
mon, 21-dec-2015, 16:58


While riding to work this morning I figured out a way to disentangle the effects of trail quality and physical conditioning (both of which improve over the season) from temperature, which also tends to increase throughout the season. As you recall in my previous post, I found that days into the season (winter day of year) and minimum temperature were both negatively related with fat bike energy consumption. But because those variables are also related to each other, we can’t make statements about them individually.

But what if we look at pairs of trips that are within two days of each other and look at the difference in temperature between those trips and the difference in energy consumption? We’ll only pair trips going the same direction (to or from work), and we’ll restrict the pairings to two days or less. That eliminates seasonality from the data because we’re always comparing two trips from the same few days.


For this analysis, I’m using SQL to filter the data because I’m better at window functions and filtering in SQL than R. Here’s the code to grab the data from the database. (The CSV file and RMarkdown script is on my GitHub repo for this analysis). The trick here is to categorize trips as being to work (“north”) or from work (“south”) and then include this field in the partition statement of the window function so I’m only getting the next trip that matches direction.


exercise_db <- src_postgres(host="", dbname="exercise_data")

diffs <- tbl(exercise_db,
   "WITH all_to_work AS (
      SELECT *,
            CASE WHEN extract(hour from start_time) < 11
                 THEN 'north' ELSE 'south' END AS direction
      FROM track_stats
      WHERE type = 'Fat Biking'
            AND miles between 4 and 4.3
   ), with_next AS (
      SELECT track_id, start_time, direction, kcal, miles, min_temp,
            lead(direction) OVER w AS next_direction,
            lead(start_time) OVER w AS next_start_time,
            lead(kcal) OVER w AS next_kcal,
            lead(miles) OVER w AS next_miles,
            lead(min_temp) OVER w AS next_min_temp
      FROM all_to_work
      WINDOW w AS (PARTITION BY direction ORDER BY start_time)
   SELECT start_time, next_start_time, direction,
      min_temp, next_min_temp,
      kcal / miles AS kcal_per_mile,
      next_kcal / next_miles as next_kcal_per_mile,
      next_min_temp - min_temp AS temp_diff,
      (next_kcal / next_miles) - (kcal / miles) AS kcal_per_mile_diff
   FROM with_next
   WHERE next_start_time - start_time < '60 hours'
   ORDER BY start_time")) %>% collect()

write.csv(diffs, file="fat_biking_trip_diffs.csv", quote=TRUE,
start time next start time temp diff kcal / mile diff
2013-12-03 06:21:49 2013-12-05 06:31:54 3.0 -13.843866
2013-12-03 15:41:48 2013-12-05 15:24:10 3.7 -8.823329
2013-12-05 06:31:54 2013-12-06 06:39:04 23.4 -22.510564
2013-12-05 15:24:10 2013-12-06 16:38:31 13.6 -5.505662
2013-12-09 06:41:07 2013-12-11 06:15:32 -27.7 -10.227048
2013-12-09 13:44:59 2013-12-11 16:00:11 -25.4 -1.034789

Out of a total of 123 trips, 70 took place within 2 days of each other. We still don’t have a measure of trail quality, so pairs where the trail is smooth and hard one day and covered with fresh snow the next won’t be particularly good data points.

Let’s look at a plot of the data.

s = ggplot(data=diffs,
         aes(x=temp_diff, y=kcal_per_mile_diff)) +
   geom_point() +
   geom_smooth(method="lm", se=FALSE) +
   scale_x_continuous(name="Temperature difference between paired trips (degrees F)",
                     breaks=pretty_breaks(n=10)) +
   scale_y_continuous(name="Energy consumption difference (kcal / mile)",
                     breaks=pretty_breaks(n=10)) +
   theme_bw() +
   ggtitle("Paired fat bike trips to and from work within 2 days of each other")


This shows that when the temperature difference between two paired trips is negative (the second trip is colder than the first), additional energy is required for the second (colder) trip. This matches the pattern we saw in my earlier post where minimum temperature and winter day of year were negatively associated with energy consumption. But because we’ve used differences to remove seasonal effects, we can actually determine how large of an effect temperature has.

There are quite a few outliers here. Those that are in the region with very little difference in temperature are likey due to snowfall changing the trail conditions from one trip to the next. I’m not sure why there is so much scatter among the points on the left side of the graph, but I don’t see any particular pattern among those points that might explain the higher than normal variation, and we don’t see the same variation in the points with a large positive difference in temperature, so I think this is just normal variation in the data not explained by temperature.


Here’s the linear regression results for this data.

summary(lm(data=diffs, kcal_per_mile_diff ~ temp_diff))
## Call:
## lm(formula = kcal_per_mile_diff ~ temp_diff, data = diffs)
## Residuals:
##     Min      1Q  Median      3Q     Max
## -40.839  -4.584  -0.169   3.740  47.063
## Coefficients:
##             Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
## (Intercept)  -2.1696     1.5253  -1.422    0.159
## temp_diff    -0.7778     0.1434  -5.424 8.37e-07 ***
## ---
## Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1
## Residual standard error: 12.76 on 68 degrees of freedom
## Multiple R-squared:  0.302,  Adjusted R-squared:  0.2917
## F-statistic: 29.42 on 1 and 68 DF,  p-value: 8.367e-07

The model and coefficient are both highly signficant, and as we might expect, the intercept in the model is not significantly different from zero (if there wasn’t a difference in temperature between two trips there shouldn’t be a difference in energy consumption either, on average). Temperature alone explains 30% of the variation in energy consumption, and the coefficient tells us the scale of the effect: each degree drop in temperature results in an increase in energy consumption of 0.78 kcalories per mile. So for a 4 mile commute like mine, the difference between a trip at 10°F vs −20°F is an additional 93 kilocalories (30 × 0.7778 × 4 = 93.34) on the colder trip. That might not sound like much in the context of the calories in food (93 kilocalories is about the energy in a large orange or a light beer), but my average energy consumption across all fat bike trips to and from work is 377 kilocalories so 93 represents a large portion of the total.

tags: R  temperature  exercise  fat bike 
sun, 20-dec-2015, 15:16


I’ve had a fat bike since late November 2013, mostly using it to commute the 4.1 miles to and from work on the Goldstream Valley trail system. I used to classic ski exclusively, but that’s not particularly pleasant once the temperatures are below 0°F because I can’t keep my hands and feet warm enough, and the amount of glide you get on skis declines as the temperature goes down.

However, it’s also true that fat biking gets much harder the colder it gets. I think this is partly due to biking while wearing lots of extra layers, but also because of increased friction between the large tires and tubes in a fat bike. In this post I will look at how temperature and other variables affect the performance of a fat bike (and it’s rider).

The code and data for this post is available on GitHub.


I log all my commutes (and other exercise) using the RunKeeper app, which uses the phone’s GPS to keep track of distance and speed, and connects to my heart rate monitor to track heart rate. I had been using a Polar HR chest strap, but after about a year it became flaky and I replaced it with a Scosche Rhythm+ arm band monitor. The data from RunKeeper is exported into GPX files, which I process and insert into a PostgreSQL database.

From the heart rate data, I estimate energy consumption (in kilocalories, or what appears on food labels as calories) using a formula from Keytel LR, et al. 2005, which I talk about in this blog post.

Let’s take a look at the data:


fat_bike <- read.csv("fat_bike.csv", stringsAsFactors=FALSE, header=TRUE) %>%
    tbl_df() %>%
    mutate(start_time=ymd_hms(start_time, tz="US/Alaska"))

start_time miles time hours mph hr kcal min_temp max_temp
2013-11-27 06:22:13 4.17 0:35:11 0.59 7.12 157.8 518.4 -1.1 1.0
2013-11-27 15:27:01 4.11 0:35:49 0.60 6.89 156.0 513.6 1.1 2.2
2013-12-01 12:29:27 4.79 0:55:08 0.92 5.21 172.6 951.5 -25.9 -23.9
2013-12-03 06:21:49 4.19 0:39:16 0.65 6.40 148.4 526.8 -4.6 -2.1
2013-12-03 15:41:48 4.22 0:30:56 0.52 8.19 154.6 434.5 6.0 7.9
2013-12-05 06:31:54 4.14 0:32:14 0.54 7.71 155.8 463.2 -1.6 2.9

There are a few things we need to do to the raw data before analyzing it. First, we want to restrict the data to just my commutes to and from work, and we want to categorize them as being one or the other. That way we can analyze trips to ABR and home separately, and we’ll reduce the variation within each analysis. If we were to analyze all fat biking trips together, we’d be lumping short and long trips, as well as those with a different proportion of hills or more challenging conditions. To get just trips to and from work, I’m restricting the distance to trips between 4.0 and 4.3 miles, and only those activities where there were two of them in a single day (to work and home from work). To categorize them into commutes to work and home, I filter based on the time of day.

I’m also calculating energy per mile, and adding a “winter day of year” variable (wdoy), which is a measure of how far into the winter season the trip took place. We can’t just use day of year because that starts over on January 1st, so we subtract the number of days between January and May from the date and get day of year from that. Finally, we split the data into trips to work and home.

I’m also excluding the really early season data from 2015 because the trail was in really poor condition.

fat_bike_commute <- fat_bike %>%
    filter(miles>4, miles<4.3) %>%
    mutate(direction=ifelse(hour(start_time)<10, 'north', 'south'),
           date=as.Date(start_time, tz='US/Alaska'),
           kcal_per_mile=kcal/miles) %>%
    group_by(date) %>%
    mutate(n=n()) %>%
    ungroup() %>%

to_abr <- fat_bike_commute %>% filter(direction=='north',
to_home <- fat_bike_commute %>% filter(direction=='south',
kable(head(to_home %>% select(-date, -kcal, -n)))
start_time miles time hours mph hr min_temp max_temp direction wdoy kcal_per_mile
2013-11-27 15:27:01 4.11 0:35:49 0.60 6.89 156.0 1.1 2.2 south 211 124.96350
2013-12-03 15:41:48 4.22 0:30:56 0.52 8.19 154.6 6.0 7.9 south 217 102.96209
2013-12-05 15:24:10 4.18 0:29:07 0.49 8.60 150.7 9.7 12.0 south 219 94.13876
2013-12-06 16:38:31 4.17 0:26:04 0.43 9.60 154.3 23.3 24.7 south 220 88.63309
2013-12-09 13:44:59 4.11 0:32:06 0.54 7.69 161.3 27.5 28.5 south 223 119.19708
2013-12-11 16:00:11 4.19 0:33:48 0.56 7.44 157.6 2.1 4.5 south 225 118.16229


Here a plot of the data. We’re plotting all trips with winter day of year on the x-axis and energy per mile on the y-axis. The color of the points indicates the minimum temperature and the straight line shows the trend of the relationship.

s <- ggplot(data=fat_bike_commute %>% filter(wdoy>210), aes(x=wdoy, y=kcal_per_mile, colour=min_temp)) +
    geom_smooth(method="lm", se=FALSE, colour=mnsl("10B 7/10", fix=TRUE)) +
    geom_point(size=3) +
                       breaks=c(215, 246, 277, 305, 336),
                       labels=c('1-Dec', '1-Jan', '1-Feb', '1-Mar', '1-Apr')) +
    scale_y_continuous(name="Energy (kcal)", breaks=pretty_breaks(n=10)) +
    scale_colour_continuous(low=mnsl("7.5B 5/12", fix=TRUE), high=mnsl("7.5R 5/12", fix=TRUE),
                            guide=guide_colourbar(title="Min temp (°F)", reverse=FALSE, barheight=8)) +
    ggtitle("All fat bike trips") +

Across all trips, we can see that as the winter progresses, I consume less energy per mile. This is hopefully because my physical condition improves the more I ride, and also because the trail conditions also improve as the snow pack develops and the trail gets harder with use. You can also see a pattern in the color of the dots, with the bluer (and colder) points near the top and the warmer temperature trips near the bottom.

Let’s look at the temperature relationship:

s <- ggplot(data=fat_bike_commute %>% filter(wdoy>210), aes(x=min_temp, y=kcal_per_mile, colour=wdoy)) +
    geom_smooth(method="lm", se=FALSE, colour=mnsl("10B 7/10", fix=TRUE)) +
    geom_point(size=3) +
    scale_x_continuous(name="Minimum temperature (degrees F)", breaks=pretty_breaks(n=10)) +
    scale_y_continuous(name="Energy (kcal)", breaks=pretty_breaks(n=10)) +
    scale_colour_continuous(low=mnsl("7.5PB 2/12", fix=TRUE), high=mnsl("7.5PB 8/12", fix=TRUE),
                            breaks=c(215, 246, 277, 305, 336),
                            labels=c('1-Dec', '1-Jan', '1-Feb', '1-Mar', '1-Apr'),
                            guide=guide_colourbar(title=NULL, reverse=TRUE, barheight=8)) +
    ggtitle("All fat bike trips") +

A similar pattern. As the temperature drops, it takes more energy to go the same distance. And the color of the points also shows the relationship from the earlier plot where trips taken later in the season require less energy.

There is also be a correlation between winter day of year and temperature. Since the winter fat biking season essentially begins in December, it tends to warm up throughout.


The relationship between winter day of year and temperature means that we’ve got multicollinearity in any model that includes both of them. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t include them, nor that the significance or predictive power of the model is reduced. All it means is that we can’t use the individual regression coefficients to make predictions.

Here are the linear models for trips to work, and home:

to_abr_lm <- lm(data=to_abr, kcal_per_mile ~ min_temp + wdoy)
## Call:
## lm(formula = kcal_per_mile ~ min_temp + wdoy, data = to_abr)
## Residuals:
##     Min      1Q  Median      3Q     Max
## -27.845  -6.964  -3.186   3.609  53.697
## Coefficients:
##              Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
## (Intercept) 170.81359   15.54834  10.986 1.07e-14 ***
## min_temp     -0.45694    0.18368  -2.488   0.0164 *
## wdoy         -0.29974    0.05913  -5.069 6.36e-06 ***
## ---
## Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1
## Residual standard error: 15.9 on 48 degrees of freedom
## Multiple R-squared:  0.4069, Adjusted R-squared:  0.3822
## F-statistic: 16.46 on 2 and 48 DF,  p-value: 3.595e-06
to_home_lm <- lm(data=to_home, kcal_per_mile ~ min_temp + wdoy)
## Call:
## lm(formula = kcal_per_mile ~ min_temp + wdoy, data = to_home)
## Residuals:
##     Min      1Q  Median      3Q     Max
## -21.615 -10.200  -1.068   3.741  39.005
## Coefficients:
##              Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
## (Intercept) 144.16615   18.55826   7.768 4.94e-10 ***
## min_temp     -0.47659    0.16466  -2.894  0.00570 **
## wdoy         -0.20581    0.07502  -2.743  0.00852 **
## ---
## Signif. codes:  0 '***' 0.001 '**' 0.01 '*' 0.05 '.' 0.1 ' ' 1
## Residual standard error: 13.49 on 48 degrees of freedom
## Multiple R-squared:  0.5637, Adjusted R-squared:  0.5455
## F-statistic: 31.01 on 2 and 48 DF,  p-value: 2.261e-09

The models confirm what we saw in the plots. Both regression coefficients are negative, which means that as the temperature rises (and as the winter goes on) I consume less energy per mile. The models themselves are significant as are the coefficients, although less so in the trips to work. The amount of variation in kcal/mile explained by minimum temperature and winter day of year is 41% for trips to work and 56% for trips home.

What accounts for the rest of the variation? My guess is that trail conditions are the missing factor here; specifically fresh snow, or a trail churned up by snowmachiners. I think that’s also why the results are better on trips home than to work. On days when we get snow overnight, I am almost certainly riding on an pristine snow-covered trail, but by the time I leave work, the trail will be smoother and harder due to all the traffic it’s seen over the course of the day.


We didn’t really find anything surprising here: it is significantly harder to ride a fat bike when it’s colder. Because of conditioning, improved trail conditions, as well as the tendency for warmer weather later in the season, it also gets easier to ride as the winter goes on.

tags: R  temperature  exercise  fat bike 
sat, 30-may-2015, 09:21


Often when I’m watching Major League Baseball games a player will come up to bat or pitch and I’ll comment “former Oakland Athletic” and the player’s name. It seems like there’s always one or two players on the roster of every team that used to be an Athletic.

Let’s find out. We’ll use the Retrosheet database again, this time using the roster lists from 1990 through 2014 and comparing it against the 40-man rosters of current teams. That data will have to be scraped off the web, since Retrosheet data doesn’t exist for the current season and rosters change frequently during the season.


As usual, I’ll use R for the analysis, and rmarkdown to produce this post.


We’re using plyr and dplyr for most of the data manipulation and rvest to grab the 40-man rosters for each team from the MLB website. Setting stringsAsFactors to false prevents various base R packages from converting everything to factors. We're not doing any statistics with this data, so factors aren't necessary and make comparisons and joins between data frames more difficult.

Players by team for previous years

Load the roster data:

retrosheet_db <- src_postgres(host="localhost", port=5438,
                              dbname="retrosheet", user="cswingley")

rosters <- tbl(retrosheet_db, "rosters")

all_recent_players <-
     rosters %>%
     filter(year>1989) %>%
     collect() %>%
     mutate(player=paste(first_name, last_name),
            team=team_id) %>%
     select(player, team, year)

save(all_recent_players, file="all_recent_players.rdata", compress="gzip")

The Retrosheet database lives in PostgreSQL on my computer, but one of the advantages of using dplyr for retrieval is it would be easy to change the source statement to connect to another sort of database (SQLite, MySQL, etc.) and the rest of the commands would be the same.

We only grab data since 1990 and we combine the first and last names into a single field because that’s how player names are listed on the 40-man roster pages on the web.

Now we filter the list down to Oakland Athletic players, combine the rows for each Oakland player, summarizing the years they played for the A’s into a single column.

oakland_players <- all_recent_players %>%
    filter(team=='OAK') %>%
    group_by(player) %>%
    summarise(years=paste(year, collapse=', '))

Here’s what that looks like:

player years
A.J. Griffin 2012, 2013
A.J. Hinch 1998, 1999, 2000
Aaron Cunningham 2008, 2009
Aaron Harang 2002, 2003
Aaron Small 1996, 1997, 1998
Adam Dunn 2014
... ...

Current 40-man rosters

Major League Baseball has the 40-man rosters for each team on their site. In order to extract them, we create a list of the team identifiers (oak, sf, etc.), then loop over this list, grabbing the team name and all the player names. We also set up lists for the team names (“Athletics”, “Giants”, etc.) so we can replace the short identifiers with real names later.

teams=c("ana", "ari", "atl", "bal", "bos", "cws", "chc", "cin", "cle", "col",
        "det", "mia", "hou", "kc", "la", "mil", "min", "nyy", "nym", "oak",
        "phi", "pit", "sd", "sea", "sf", "stl", "tb", "tex", "tor", "was")

team_names = c("Angels", "Diamondbacks", "Braves", "Orioles", "Red Sox",
               "White Sox", "Cubs", "Reds", "Indians", "Rockies", "Tigers",
               "Marlins", "Astros", "Royals", "Dodgers", "Brewers", "Twins",
               "Yankees", "Mets", "Athletics", "Phillies", "Pirates",
               "Padres", "Mariners", "Giants", "Cardinals", "Rays", "Rangers",
               "Blue Jays", "Nationals")

get_players <- function(team) {
    # reads the 40-man roster data for a team, returns a data frame

    roster_html <- html(paste("",

    players <- roster_html %>%
        html_nodes("#roster_40_man a") %>%

    data.frame(team=team, player=players)

current_rosters <- ldply(teams, get_players)

save(current_rosters, file="current_rosters.rdata", compress="gzip")

Here’s what that data looks like:

team player
ana Jose Alvarez
ana Cam Bedrosian
ana Andrew Heaney
ana Jeremy McBryde
ana Mike Morin
ana Vinnie Pestano
... ...

Combine the data

To find out how many players on each Major League team used to play for the A’s we combine the former A’s players with the current rosters using player name. This may not be perfect due to differences in spelling (accented characters being the most likely issue), but the results look pretty good.

roster_with_oakland_time <- current_rosters %>%
    left_join(oakland_players, by="player") %>%

team player years
ana Huston Street 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
ana Grant Green 2013
ana Collin Cowgill 2012
ari Brad Ziegler 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
ari Cliff Pennington 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
atl Trevor Cahill 2009, 2010, 2011
... ... ...

You can see from this table (just the first six rows of the results) that the Angels have three players that were Athletics.

Let’s do the math and find out how many former A’s are on each team’s roster.

n_former_players_by_team <-
    roster_with_oakland_time %>%
        group_by(team) %>%
        arrange(player) %>%
                  players=paste(player, collapse=", ")) %>%
        arrange(desc(number_of_players)) %>%
        inner_join(data.frame(team=teams, team_name=team_names),
                   by="team") %>%
        select(team_name, number_of_players, players)

names(n_former_players_by_team) <- c('Team', 'Number',
                                     'Former Oakland Athletics')
      align=c('l', 'r', 'r'))
Team Number Former Oakland Athletics
Athletics 22 A.J. Griffin, Andy Parrino, Billy Burns, Coco Crisp, Craig Gentry, Dan Otero, Drew Pomeranz, Eric O'Flaherty, Eric Sogard, Evan Scribner, Fernando Abad, Fernando Rodriguez, Jarrod Parker, Jesse Chavez, Josh Reddick, Nate Freiman, Ryan Cook, Sam Fuld, Scott Kazmir, Sean Doolittle, Sonny Gray, Stephen Vogt
Astros 5 Chris Carter, Dan Straily, Jed Lowrie, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek
Braves 4 Jim Johnson, Jonny Gomes, Josh Outman, Trevor Cahill
Rangers 4 Adam Rosales, Colby Lewis, Kyle Blanks, Michael Choice
Angels 3 Collin Cowgill, Grant Green, Huston Street
Cubs 3 Chris Denorfia, Jason Hammel, Jon Lester
Dodgers 3 Alberto Callaspo, Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson
Mets 3 Anthony Recker, Bartolo Colon, Jerry Blevins
Yankees 3 Chris Young, Gregorio Petit, Stephen Drew
Rays 3 David DeJesus, Erasmo Ramirez, John Jaso
Diamondbacks 2 Brad Ziegler, Cliff Pennington
Indians 2 Brandon Moss, Nick Swisher
White Sox 2 Geovany Soto, Jeff Samardzija
Tigers 2 Rajai Davis, Yoenis Cespedes
Royals 2 Chris Young, Joe Blanton
Marlins 2 Dan Haren, Vin Mazzaro
Padres 2 Derek Norris, Tyson Ross
Giants 2 Santiago Casilla, Tim Hudson
Nationals 2 Gio Gonzalez, Michael Taylor
Red Sox 1 Craig Breslow
Rockies 1 Carlos Gonzalez
Brewers 1 Shane Peterson
Twins 1 Kurt Suzuki
Phillies 1 Aaron Harang
Mariners 1 Seth Smith
Cardinals 1 Matt Holliday
Blue Jays 1 Josh Donaldson

Pretty cool. I do notice one problem: there are actually two Chris Young’s playing in baseball today. Chris Young the outfielder played for the A’s in 2013 and now plays for the Yankees. There’s also a pitcher named Chris Young who shows up on our list as a former A’s player who now plays for the Royals. This Chris Young never actually played for the A’s. The Retrosheet roster data includes which hand (left and/or right) a player bats and throws with, and it’s possible this could be used with the MLB 40-man roster data to eliminate incorrect joins like this, but even with that enhancement, we still have the problem that we’re joining on things that aren’t guaranteed to uniquely identify a player. That’s the nature of attempting to combine data from different sources.

One other interesting thing. I kept the A’s in the list because the number of former A’s currently playing for the A’s is a measure of how much turnover there is within an organization. Of the 40 players on the current A’s roster, only 22 of them have ever played for the A’s. That means that 18 came from other teams or are promotions from the minors that haven’t played for any Major League teams yet.

All teams

Teams with players on other teams

Now that we’ve looked at how many A’s players have played for other teams, let’s see how the number of players playing for other teams is related to team. My gut feeling is that the A’s will be at the top of this list as a small market, low budget team who is forced to turn players over regularly in order to try and stay competitive.

We already have the data for this, but need to manipulate it in a different way to get the result.

teams <- c("ANA", "ARI", "ATL", "BAL", "BOS", "CAL", "CHA", "CHN", "CIN",
           "CLE", "COL", "DET", "FLO", "HOU", "KCA", "LAN", "MIA", "MIL",
           "MIN", "MON", "NYA", "NYN", "OAK", "PHI", "PIT", "SDN", "SEA",
           "SFN", "SLN", "TBA", "TEX", "TOR", "WAS")

team_names <- c("Angels", "Diamondbacks", "Braves", "Orioles", "Red Sox",
                "Angels", "White Sox", "Cubs", "Reds", "Indians", "Rockies",
                "Tigers", "Marlins", "Astros", "Royals", "Dodgers", "Marlins",
                "Brewers", "Twins", "Expos", "Yankees", "Mets", "Athletics",
                "Phillies", "Pirates", "Padres", "Mariners", "Giants",
                "Cardinals", "Rays", "Rangers", "Blue Jays", "Nationals")

players_on_other_teams <- all_recent_players %>%
    group_by(player, team) %>%
    summarise(years=paste(year, collapse=", ")) %>%
    inner_join(current_rosters, by="player") %>%
    mutate(current_team=team.y, former_team=team.x) %>%
    select(player, current_team, former_team, years) %>%
    inner_join(data.frame(former_team=teams, former_team_name=team_names),
                by="former_team") %>%
    group_by(former_team_name, current_team) %>%
    summarise(n=n()) %>%
    group_by(former_team_name) %>%
    arrange(desc(n)) %>%
    mutate(rank=row_number()) %>%
    filter(rank!=1) %>%
    summarise(n=sum(n)) %>%

This is a pretty complicated set of operations. The main trick (and possible flaw in the analysis) is to get a list similar to the one we got for the A’s earlier, and eliminate the first row (the number of players on a team who played for that same team in the past) before counting the total players who have played for other teams. It would probably be better to eliminate that case using team name, but the team codes vary between Retrosheet and the MLB roster data.

Here are the results:

names(players_on_other_teams) <- c('Former Team', 'Number of players')

Former Team Number of players
Athletics 57
Padres 57
Marlins 56
Rangers 55
Diamondbacks 51
Braves 50
Yankees 50
Angels 49
Red Sox 47
Pirates 46
Royals 44
Dodgers 43
Mariners 42
Rockies 42
Cubs 40
Tigers 40
Astros 38
Blue Jays 38
Rays 38
White Sox 38
Indians 35
Mets 35
Twins 33
Cardinals 31
Nationals 31
Orioles 31
Reds 28
Brewers 26
Phillies 25
Giants 24
Expos 4

The A’s are indeed on the top of the list, but surprisingly, the Padres are also at the top. I had no idea the Padres had so much turnover. At the bottom of the list are teams like the Giants and Phillies that have been on recent winning streaks and aren’t trading their players to other teams.

Current players on the same team

We can look at the reverse situation: how many players on the current roster played for that same team in past years. Instead of removing the current × former team combination with the highest number, we include only that combination, which is almost certainly the combination where the former and current team is the same.

players_on_same_team <- all_recent_players %>%
    group_by(player, team) %>%
    summarise(years=paste(year, collapse=", ")) %>%
    inner_join(current_rosters, by="player") %>%
    mutate(current_team=team.y, former_team=team.x) %>%
    select(player, current_team, former_team, years) %>%
    inner_join(data.frame(former_team=teams, former_team_name=team_names),
                by="former_team") %>%
    group_by(former_team_name, current_team) %>%
    summarise(n=n()) %>%
    group_by(former_team_name) %>%
    arrange(desc(n)) %>%
    mutate(rank=row_number()) %>%
           former_team_name!="Expos") %>%
    summarise(n=sum(n)) %>%

names(players_on_same_team) <- c('Team', 'Number of players')

Team Number of players
Rangers 31
Rockies 31
Twins 30
Giants 29
Indians 29
Cardinals 28
Mets 28
Orioles 28
Tigers 28
Brewers 27
Diamondbacks 27
Mariners 27
Phillies 27
Reds 26
Royals 26
Angels 25
Astros 25
Cubs 25
Nationals 25
Pirates 25
Rays 25
Red Sox 24
Blue Jays 23
Athletics 22
Marlins 22
Padres 22
Yankees 22
Dodgers 21
White Sox 20
Braves 13

The A’s are near the bottom of this list, along with other teams that have been retooling because of a lack of recent success such as the Yankees and Dodgers. You would think there would be an inverse relationship between this table and the previous one (if a lot of your former players are currently playing on other teams they’re not playing on your team), but this isn’t always the case. The White Sox, for example, only have 20 players on their roster that were Sox in the past, and there aren’t very many of them playing on other teams either. Their current roster must have been developed from their own farm system or international signings, rather than by exchanging players with other teams.

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