I love maps, I work with GIS-like applications nearly every day, and I’ve always been fascinated by GPS, but never quite enough to spend the money to buy one. This weekend I got an email from one of the Sunday riders, and it’s launched these semi-related interests from passive to full-on geek/gadget/cycling gear fetish in under 10 seconds.
At present I have a simple bicycle computer that tracks my speed and distance, and a simple heart rate monitor that logs my level of effort. After my rides, I manually enter these data in a spreadsheet of my own creation. I’d always been satisfied with this arrangement, until I saw the grass on the other side of the fence, and is it ever green!
Randy has got a Garmin Forerunner 301. Check out the integration MotionBased has achieved with this thing — all I’d have to do is buy a GPS, place it on my bike or my person, and ride like I normally do, and instead of capturing two separate but related data and entering them manually in to my spreadsheet, I connect the GPS to my personal computer and the results magically show up a webpage where everyone can see how hard I’ve been working, or how aggresively I’ve been slacking! Brilliant! If I haven’t caved in and bought one by then, this thing is DEFINITELY tops on my Christmas list.
Updated 2006-03-14 17:18:
I’ve been doing some research on these units. There are some concerns about battery life on a long ride, but a MotionBased employee has a good DIY solution that looks small enough for the bike. There are also commercial solutions available, but that’s not nearly as interesting.
I also don’t know whether I would want to get heart rate data and cadence from one of these units. I already have heart rate data from my Polar HRM; would I care enough about it to pay an extra $100 to track the heart rate and cadence over time, or would just the course and tracking features of the GPS be good enough when augmented with the average and max heart rate data from my current HRM?