GPS as Bicycle Computer

This morning I went on my first ride with the Garmin Edge 305. It collects cadence, speed, heart rate, and position, and saves them for upload and analysis on the computer after you’re done exercising. So far I’m pleased with it. I’ve been waffling for years on getting GPS, and also on getting a bicycle computer with a cadence sensor. It was nice to be able to kill two birds with one stone with the Edge 305.

The unit it surprisingly small. It’s about the same size as my Motorola flip phone, and feels a lot lighter. The display is easy to read in all light conditions, including bright sunlight. The data it collects is also quite spiffy as displayed on MotionBased, though I suspect I’m also going to want to also save a copy of the raw data locally so I can mess with it myself. I bet you could do some interesting analysis in a pretty app using Core Data and and maybe Core Image.

I have only two minor complaints, and am hopeful both of them could be addressed in a software update. First, and more importantly, the unit doesn’t provide the capability to inspect current position, or the position of a waypoint, so there’s no way to pinpoint your location on a paper map using this bicycle computer. Seems like that would be an easy thing to add, especially since the Forerunner units appear to have this ability, and the software for these seems nearly identical. Second, and this is just a minor quibble from my years of using Cateye bicycle computers and being used to their features, I like my current speed display to have a little arrow showing whether I’m above or below my average pace. This unit has the ability to display both average and current speed, but that’s a little bit more than I want to see when I’m riding; I just want to know if I’m off the pace.

When I’ve used the Edge 305 for a while, I’ll try some of the more advanced features, like uploading a previously-ridden route to race against myself.

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