Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Sat Nav on a bike - How to get lost part 1

In my post on the tandem ride (A long way for a bacon sandwich), I mentioned that Mart's Shimano Flight Deck had given up the will to live. I actually never really got on with it very well even when it was working. I found it fiddly and counter intuitive to use.

Anyway, for Martin, a bike ride without statistics to analyse is a true state of misery. A living hell. I'd initially suggested the Garmin Edge 500 to him. It didn't take him long to track down a model with a higher number that did more things and gave him more information on routes, altitude, cadence, heart rate and God knows what else.

So the Garmin Edge 705 has arrived.

Our first outing with it started out well. A route was loaded onto the machine and it beeped its advance warnings at us as junctions approached. The map and on screen instructions were clear and easy to follow. I made a mental note not to spend too long staring at the screen at 30mph!!

About half way into our 40 mile route I glanced at the screen and saw that we appeared to have strayed off our route (highlighted in purple). At first we assumed that, travelling at fairly high speeds with the wind in our ears, I had missed an instruction to take a turn.

Getting back on to our route proved to be more difficult than it should have been, with the Garmin issuing some peculiar instructions and I began to feel some disappointment with the GPS. (I think I might have suggested taking it off the handlebars and throwing it over a hedge, using language that can't be repeated on here.) We eventually turned the machine off and headed back home without the help of a satellite orbiting the planet hundreds of miles above our heads.

Once home, Mart checked out the details of the route that he'd loaded onto the machine and saw that a route planning error had caused the malfunction and thankfully not a problem with the machine. Mart's wife, Su, had either touched or looked at the Garmin in the wrong way prior to our ride so we were able to place the blame fairly and squarely on her.

Anyway, I will report on the next (hopefully more successful) outing with the Garmin.

(Notice the missing handlebar tape - we had to take the tape off to remove the wiring from the Flight Deck to the Ultegra shifters).

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