Friday, August 14, 2009

Stuff : Garmin 605

Over the past few months I've been able to make a number of nice upgrades/improvements which have helped me enjoy cycling more and more.

One of the problems I had here was going out on club rides, going to really pretty and interesting places and then, when Linda asked if I had a nice time, I would invariably say yes, and how beautiful it was and how New Jersey is quite nice really, and then Linda would say, " ... and where did you go?" ...

No idea.

Now, a very few years ago, if anyone had said that we would be using Global Positioning System devices on our bicycles, I might have said, "Oh, really???", in a state of incredulity. Like, who needs that?

Nevertheless, that day is here and it's turned out to be a good one for my cycling.

I chose the Garmin 605. There is a more sophisticated version, the Garmin 705, with heart-rate monitor, cadence and a couple of other facilities, but I really didn't want the training aids. As long as I can eventually get up a hill and cycle 60+ miles at a stretch I'm just glad to be alive. I'm not aiming to get a medal at London 2012.

I use the Garmin on two tasks; to record individual bike rides and to plan and way-mark new routes.

I use a website called to record and plan routes, either by uploading completed journeys or compiling new journeys and downloading route data to the Garmin and using it to give directions en route.

There are a number of settings which enable you to view various information such as speed, trip, duration, etc, as well as display a map of where you are. If using the Garmin as a route planner, it gives directions - Turn right onto ThisOrThat Road in 200ft - as well as a highlighted map. And I've only recently noticed this, but the screen automatically zooms according to how much detail the route requires; a five mile stretch to the next route node and you see 5 miles of road on the screen. Approaching a complicated series of turns and the screen zooms in ... neat.

All in all it's a great addition to the enjoyment of cycling for me.

Just one gripe; it seems rather mean of Garmin to expect people who buy a $500+ device to cough up another $100 or so for the detailed North American road map - plus $100/year updates!