Monday, March 7, 2011

Riding with the Garmin Edge 500 Pt.I

Allrighty then, here's the scoops on the Garmin 500.
Okay, not really the scoops for it's been out for sometime now and there's a whole bunch of info out there in Neverneverland.
So here's my impressions, from your normal every other day cyclist.
First of all, set up is pretty easy.
The hardware part, you can find here.
The there's also a whole bunch of mounting options, the one in the box involves some o-ring rubber band thingys that work pretty well.
Okay, so you turn the thing on.
It searches the heavens for satellites in geosynchronous Earth orbit.
Then there's a bunch of info you need to input like age, weight, height etc.
Seems it wants to get personal.
First screen:

Sort of.
I mean what you want on that screen is totally up to you.
You can set up the screen to display up to eight items from a list of thirty eight.
Thirty eight!
I ain't kidding and neither is Garmin fooling around.
Of course nineteen of those things have to do with heart rate and power(as in watts or KJs), but still, that's an impressive list.
So there on my first screen I got the important stuff: speed, cadence, HR, time and distance.
Not enough?
Screen two and three:

All that stuff amounts to: average speed, time(real time), average cadence, elevation, percent grade, heading(compass), max speed and temp.
That's a lot o'stuff!
I'm not sure I even want to know all of that!
Well, okay, it's there, so it's there.
If you know what I mean.
Careful though, the more stuff you add, the smaller the data sections get. Better to separate them onto different screens.
At least it's better that way for me.
Speed and distance is taken off the wheel sensor first, but you don't even need that to get started. The unit will take speed readings from the GPS if the wheel sensor fails.
Distance is hit and miss, depending on the accuracy of the satellites, which you can check on too; measured in +/- feet.
Right now, my unit says ten feet, which is not exactly mil. spec, but good enough.
Since this is my third computer, I'm fairly familiar with the distances on my route and I'd say it was pretty much spot on.
Don't forget to measure and set your wheel diameter, it makes a difference!
One of the things I really really like about this thing is the Auto Pause/Start feature.
Coming to a stop or taking a break doesn't involve pausing anything by hand, which I had to do with my old Polar HRM. Getting started is hands off too, the unit gives you audible beeps when sleeping and waking up.
Thank you Garmin!
Okay, it is a bit strange at first, for it'll start and stop like immediately when you stop, and start immediately once you start moving.
Like in three seconds or three feet.
All the stuff on screen one works well. I'm still getting used to the configuration, looking for where stuff is, and I may change some of it around as my eyeballs are sort of used to looking there instead of here. I'll probably think about it and change some stuff up tonight.
The other neat thing is that the unit will give you basic info, even when it's not logging any data.
Meaning I can still get speed and cadence even if the unit is not tracking time or distance.
More on that later.
The unit takes a while to power up with all that signal searching and all, about a minute or so.
In my two hour ride, I used up about ten percent of the juice; Garmin says about eighteen hours on a full charge.
I have read some stuff about the HRM reducing that time in half.
Putting the ten percent back on the unit took maybe ten minutes via USB port.
It also comes with one of them universal plug thingys so you can charge it well, universally.
Okay Mr. Flat Tire, all that stuff is good and all, but just what makes this thing so special?I'm glad you asked!
Part II coming up.

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