One more gadget .. (a review)



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Andrew Price

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Some time ago I abandoned the use of the counter of magnetic revolutions and its companion the
counter of heart beats out on the road.

Someone pointed out to me that this sort of deviancy would lead eventually to a single speed fixed
wheel bike and I guess when you start to go squirrelly there is no telling where it all will end

But the lack of a speedo does tend to make you dependant on others for statistics and if you keep a
log or diary its useful to have some objectively collected data.

So I have taken (I confess here to One More Gadget) to sticking an etrex gps in the back jersey
pocket on long rides - likes and dislikes:-

-if used in conjunction with mapping software its ever so interesting to see where you went on a
ride (as opposed to where you thought you went)

- it keeps a log not only of 2 dimensional position but also elevations and its easy to load that
data into a spreadsheet and graph the pain of the climbs - if your ego needs a boost use a smaller
scale on the elevation axis and you look such a hero !

- in rides on unfamiliar territory if you have set waypoints into it (from the mapping software) for
major corners or coffee stops its a considerable aid to navigation and being able to say with
accuracy when you might be somewhere (displays estimated duration to a nominated point or to your
destination and eta)

- if you don't mind cluttering up the real estate on your handlebars (and I need a good reason
because I like the clean look) garmin do a clever handle bar attachment and a backlit display with
big nums displayed so even 40 year olds can read the numbers on the fly - I only do this in really
unfamiliar country (looks a bit like having a cellphone on the bars - what would Fab say ??? )

- it seems to work pretty well left on in a back jersey pocket and consulted only when all other
forms of navigation fail ("wherethefugawee??")

- depending on how you set the display it will tell you almost* all you could ever want to know
(moving average, overall elapsed time on trip, how to backtrack your route, warning of corners You
Really Should Take coming up, overall distance and trip distance et al)

- works equally well in a car (stuck to non obscuring part of windscreen) or kayak or out cross
country skiing or backpacking

- water resistant enough for any weather on a bike

- battery life (2 AA's) not so good (8 hours) if you use the backlight or moving map display a lot

- *doesn't seem to record cadence or calories consumed. I will write to garmin pointing out these
omissions.

Not for all rides but a blessing when touring or trying out a new route - but as always YMMV.

best, Andrew
 
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