Riding with the Edge

I guess the title of this post should be “Riding with the Edge.” I’m talking about the Garmin Edge 305. It is the cyclometer that has replaced my old combination cyclometer and heart rate monitor.

The device is really quite neat. It combines a cycling computer with a heart rate monitor and GPS. All you have to do is snap it on your bike, acquire the satellites, and start riding. No wires or magnets needed. Of course, I got the 305 which has a cadence meter. You have a wireless device near your rear wheel that measures the revolutions of your wheel and pedals. Still, there are no wires and the look is very clean.

What I like: I like the ability to have all my functions on one device. It allows me to have one less thing to worry about. The mount is solid and I’m not concerned about it falling off like my last heart rate monitor!

I also enjoy all the data it gives. One thing my last HRM monitor did not do was tell me my max heart rate during a ride. I would have to keep an eye on it to get a sense of what it was. Now, I just hook the device to my computer (MAC or PC) and it will upload all kinds of info to either the desktop software or a number of online data recording sites. Currently, I am using MotionBased.com.

Obviously, the biggest change with this device is the fact that it is GPS enabled. This means that when I ride, all the coordinates of that ride get stored in the Edge. When this data is transferred to my computer, it can be overlaid on Google maps and other GPS mapping software. I’m still learning how to make the most of this, but it is fun to play with.

Rather than spending all my time now on the neat features, I’ll start adding some as I ride. Unfortunately, that could be at least a week. Had to go to the doctor and he says that because of a procedure I had done, I will have to stay off the bike for at least a week.

What I don’t like: Granted, I don’t know everything about the device yet, but there are really two things that pop out to me right away. One, the device does not appear to store the total miles ridden. It does have a history of your rides, but you have to clear those out at some point. Unless you are faithful uploading the data, you could lose your total seat time on the bike. So far I’ve logged 219 miles with the Edge. That brings my total on my Allez to 2912 since August 2006. I had figured I would hit 3000 before August 2007, and it is looking like that will be easy!

Two, one of the things I thought would be really cool is the ability of the Edge to record elevation. The device has both GPS and a barometric altimeter. This is supposed to mean that you get extra accurate elevation readings for your ride. Not so. I have not had a ride yet where the altimeter didn’t go crazy on me. Fortunately, Motionbased.com has the elevation readings for most of the world. So, they will use the coordinates from the device and match it with their maps in order to correct the problem. Obviously, I’m not the only person with this issue.

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About Jonathan Pait

Jonathan started riding mountain bikes in the early 1990s. After discovering the ride can start at the end of his driveway, he moved to the road in 2006. Little did he know that first pedal stroke would lead him on an adventure that has become much larger than the bicycle.