Monday, 14 May 2012

Garmin Edge 200 Bike GPS Review

So, would I buy one?

Not really sure, it has so many good points but just a couple of shortcomings...

The Garmin Edge 200 is an entry level GPS based bike computer. Is the same size as one of those little magnet computers that die after a couple of years, but its so much better.

It attaches to the bike using Garmin's standard bike mounts which are held on with sturdy rubber bands. An excellent stable system. Comes with 2 mounts.

It uses those GPS satellites to work out where you are (so you don't need a magnet) and tracks where you've been to work out how far you have gone. It will also tell you how long you've been riding, your average speed, how fast you are going, and a seemingly random number purporting to be how many calories you've used since you started.

It logs where you have been and allows you to download your rides via usb to your PC or Mac into Garmin Connect. It has a micro USB connector on the back covered with a rubber flap to keep the muck out. It also charges via USB, either from the supplied USB wall socket or from a computer (cable supplied too).

The internal lithium ion battery is supposed to last for 17 hours. The longest ride I have done was 7hrs following a course and the battery was at 56%, which would work out about 16hrs til death. After checking with someone who rides mega long routes they got down to 18% on a 9 and a half hour ride, that would give a maximum of 12hrs.

The unit has a backlight for checking where you are when you get dropped by your mates in the deep dark woods, and need to find a way out.

The best feature is the unit allows you to download courses onto it. Courses are like routes (without waypoints). You can either make the courses on JustGoRide, which integrates seamlessly with the unit, or on the Garmin Connect website. The unit is then connected to your PC or Mac and the course is injected into it. I found that JustGoRide is great for off-road course creation and Garmin Connect for road routes.

I've used the Edge 200 alone to navigate courses up to 100 miles. I had no problems with getting where I wanted to go, and back. When in course mode it automatically zooms in and out of the course depending how fast you're going. You only have the course black line to follow though, there is no base map on the unit and you can't load any on. This would be an issue if there was a road/trail closed on your course, you would have to use something else to get back on track.

Another great use for the course function is you can log a route and convert that log to a course. This course will contain the speed and position of you on that route. You can then race yourself around that course. This is an excellent feature if you are training for a lap race like Mountain Mayhem or Sleepless in the Saddle. You can ride a similar route and try to improve your time over consecutive laps. The unit tells you whether you are ahead or behind your previous lap. This is great for motivation.

The unit keeps a track of all your rides and you can view the rides by Longest Ride, Fastest Ride and a total Odometer.

The Edge 200 is fully waterproof and mud proof. It's got 4 easy to push button on the side which work well even with gloves on.

So what's wrong with it?

Well, not much.

No clock! Sounds like a small thing (and it is) but the unit has a clock on the start up screen, but once you start riding it disappears and you can't get it back, on any of the screens.

(Edit) I've finally discovered that if you hold the bottom left pages button it takes you to the 'home' screen which has got the clock on it!!!

There is no way to connect a heart rate monitor or cadence sensor to the Edge 200. With the other Edge models you can connect a heart rate monitors and cadence sensors to log your heart rate and cadence stuff. This is not available on the 200. If you are big into zones this might mean you have to upgrade to the 500.

No user adjustments to the screens on the 200. Not sure if this is a big deal, as it is easy to scroll through the info pages while you are riding, but it's nice to change things to just how you like them sometimes.

So, would I or wouldn't I...

The choice for me would be between the Edge 200 or the Edge 500. A quick shopping search has the Edge 200 for £104 posted and the Edge 500 for £200 with the heart rate monitor and cadence sensor. That's a big jump in price for the heart rate, cadence and adjustable screens.

I think I probably will.

Maybe you should too?

Friday, 11 May 2012

School Night Belvoir Bivvy

It's always sweeter when you have to wait for something.

Last Thursday was supposed to be our first bivvy of the year. The weather forecast was looking bad and it turned out just as predicted. It poured down all night and we decided to bail.

So postpone for a week and see what happens.

The forecast was iffy for this Thursday night, but this time it improved and #bivvygo was called at lunch time with a clear overnight forecast.

Maybe this should be a regular start to the Bivvy calender. First Thursday in May will be the Belvoir Bivvy!

Four of us assembled at my house for the canal ride to Stathern near Belvoir Castle. 20 miles, all flat and a cracking pub at the end. We even had a tailwind.

Me, Simon, Lady Alex (non-bivvy), Adam (bivvy virgin)

 A gentle ride to The Red Lion Inn at Stathern (posh) followed by 3 Four Pint Jugs of Ale, chips and chat.

 Thoroughly lubricated we made our way up to the bivvy spot on the ridge above Stathern. First found with Kate a few years back. Whisky and Almanac followed camp setup, with a little star gazing at the incredibly clear night. It didn't take me long to fall asleep.

 I briefly caught the sunrise at about five, then back to sleep until six. The leaf litter mattress was particularly comfy this time.

Breakfast was coffee from the trusty alcohol stove with maple and pecan pastries in the warm morning sun.

Mud and a headwind greeted us for the ride back, but life is sweet when you wake up to this...

Monday, 12 March 2012

An Imperial 100

An off hand comment I saw set me off on this one.

'A century is a definitely a tick in the box for any cyclist'

A couple of months ago I did a big road ride on a Monday.  61 miles ish, so I thought maybe this could be expanded to 'tick the box'

A few extra points on Garmin Connect and I had a route (magic bit of software that).  Being my first century, and not really a road rider I chose a nice flat route.

So at 8 this morning off I went.  Taking it nice and steady, just keep going I thought, and if you hit a problem you can cut it short.

Misty, no proper views.  Still I was riding when most other people were at work.

25 done, 50 done, 65 is when it really started to hurt.  ITB's again - but what could I do? 35 miles from home - just keep going, it's not going to kill me.

And it didn't.

True they are sore now, but they'll settle down.

Had coffee in Grantham and took it steady getting back.  The old Peugeot fixie was great, no problems.  The last 20 miles seemed to take forever.

Sorry there are not pictures by the way, they're all in my head.

Ticked that box - what next?

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Speedy Strelley Night Ride With Added Mayhem

Andrew was recruited on Sundays club ride.  A fast rider with lights who lives local, he'll be fine.

I caught Lady Alex on the way to the Tower.

Tummy full of pancakes.

Andrew found the Tower and Simon there.

Adam picked Pete up on the way, Troll Bridge rendezvous .

The trails were far better than expected.  Compacted from recent rain but with a fast dry topping.

6 riders and fast.  Bike talk, Geek talk and Mayhem talk.

Team JustGoRide?

Monday, 20 February 2012

A Rare Club Ride

Stuff and 'ting mean that I don't get out on sunday club rides very often.

A perfect storm last week meant a rare club ride with NATS on Sunday from Bakewell.

20 riders in bright sunshine set off.  I got chatting to a new chap on another 69'er called Paul.  He was riding an old skool Maverick frame and fork.  Unfortunately his ride lasted less than 15 mins due to lightweight jockey wheel failure.  He had to turn back and limp all the way back to Ambergate.

He didn't even make it to the newly reopened Headstone Tunnel on the Monsal Trail which we did in both directions on the figure of 8 ride.

The ride had some big hills in it.  Especially the road climb out of Cressbrook - only just managed it on the 36-15 gear.

An anticlockwise circuit of Millers Dale ended with an extreme descent back to the tunnel.

Back past the cars for another loop.  This time through Bakewell and up and over into Chatsworth.  It was like being on safari chasing huge herds of deer across the grassy savanna of the estate.

One last climb through Edensor (after the standard conversation about the village relocation) and back to the cars for 'special' sticky ginger cake made by Alex

Thanks must go to (nearly) always jolly ride leader Simon 

Sun, cake and great company.  Maybe I'll be on another club ride soon... maybe

Monday, 6 February 2012

Extreme Snow Ride

Bike riding Monday again and after the weekend's snow it was always going to be interesting.

I was planning a 45 mile route with Kate, meeting at the North and heading back round to home, picking some choice singletrack on the way.

The snow put an end to those plans (and thank god it did!)

Kate's car was stuck and train was selected as preferred transport choice.

09:30 meet was passed due to train congestion - a 10am start from the station, and we were immediately struggling with the snow/slush/ice just along the side of the canal.  The trail conditions changed with every pedal stroke, sometimes ice was good, sometimes bad.  Sometimes snow was a faster option than slush, sometimes not.

The whole ride was a core strength session. Balance, balance whoa!

We chatted of family, jobs, courses, running, riding and racing.

Pie and mash and coffee at Kimberley was very civilised.

Back on the bike through smells of fresh bread and back over the motorway - 'poor buggers driving in that' - they'd probably say the same of us.

Over mince pie stile and into off camber tunnel.

More whooping and whaling.  More laughing and giggling.

Back into the old favourite railway singletrack.  Every hill seemed like the hardest hill ever.  Grind, grind, grind, spin, spin, spin.

Talk of tea and cake in town.

Caught up some more over cake.

A ride I would usually expect to do in 3hrs turned into a five and a half hour monster ride.

Front wheel mileage 30, rear wheel mileage at least 60.

Monday, 16 January 2012

A Long Ride and A New Phone

With the leave year coming to an end in March I usually need to get rid of some leave before I loose it.  The most effective way of doing this is to plan some Riding Mondays.  These free me from the office and give me a full day to go and play.

When I was thinking what to do this Riding Monday I had a scan around the local roads and decided to combine a long (for me) road ride with a trip to The Apple Store in Leicester to return a slightly dodgy iPhone cable to see if I could blag a new one.  This would also allow a lunch in Nandos and coffee and cake somewhere else.

I used Garmin connect to plan the route as it plans the route along roads and it could be downloaded into the Garmin Edge 200 for road testing.  59 miles round trip.  Big for me but should be fine with a lunch stop.

Bike sorted and Rocket Pocket filled, it was a cold start. Numb hands after 10 mins in -4. Loads of sunshine and quaint Thomas the Tank Engine villages. Cows, tractors and the roads to myself

The soundtrack was mostly Woman's Hour podcasts I had missed.

I sailed over congested dual carriageways. Gridlocked by black ice.

Leicester appeared after a couple of hours with knackered potholed roads and confusing one way systems. A shock to the system.

Bike locked and messages sent. To the Apple Store so the could check out the phone. New phone and cable in hand straight to Nandos for lunch. Excellent service all round!

Back home the long way past all the stilton making villages.

62 miles total on the Peugout (here+here). It is a nice comfy old bike.

Two weeks until Riding Monday comes around again. Where next?