Advantages Many many functions, training centre info
Disadvantages Info overload, price, rubbish standard map
My other half is what you'd call a keen cyclist - he cycles about 25 miles a day commuting to work, and frequently goes on weekend training rides too. He's got a couple of cycle computers that show things like the time, distance, speed, and similar, but had been hankering after a Garmin cycle computer to replace them ever since he found out about them! Finally, he took the plunge and shelled out £250 on the Garmin Edge 305 with cadence and heart rate monitor (cadence is RPM for your feet while pedalling, by the way).It arrived a couple of weeks ago and after playing with it for a short while was promptly installed on one of his bikes. The 305 does absolutely tons of different stuff, and to be honest to me seemed to measure more things than you could possibly ever want to know about your riding speed and style. Heart rate monitor, cadence sensor, distance measured by GPS, altitude measured by a built-in barometer, calories burned, and so on (and on).
Anyway, he's used it pretty much every day since it got here, including 3 separate loops of his "weekend" 8.5 mile local hilly loop. Once you've ridden a particular course once, you can set the Edge to ride the same loop against yourself using your completed course time as a target. It's motivating to ride against yourself, and you can either have a ride profile view showing a black blob for your position and a grey blob for your "opponent", a map of the route showing your position and your opponent's, or a data readout giving you the distance you are ahead or behind yourself. I went out for a short ride with him, and spent the ride home being told how much behind or ahead we were of the out-going ride...so I suppose it could get annoying!You can upload all the data from the cycle computer onto your computer when you get home, and the software that comes with it can be used to create more graphs of things than you'd know what to do with. For example, you can show your heart rate compared to the hill you were cycling up at the time, or your heart rate compared to any other bit of recorded data for that matter. Your heart rate is measured via the chest strap that comes with the Edge, which you need to wear while cycling if you want to record this data. You can also show your cadence varied against the gradient you were climbing. You can also compare any of those features between different rides, to compare your speed at particular points over the same route on different rides to see how you're improving.
There's a route planning tool that you can use on the computer too - Neil used it to plan our joint ride out to the library about 1.5 miles away (even though we both knew the way perfectly well already). The route wasn't planned using the software that came with the gadget, but using another programme (available here, if you're interested: http://www.bradculberson.com/cc/map.html) with more accurate mapping information - this uses Google Maps, a lot more detailed than the standard Garmin map included with the package, which only seems to feature major roads.
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