Posts Tagged ‘HRM’

Me and heart rate straps are over. I’m glad I got that off my chest

January 13, 2015

I had a stroke of luck at Christmas. Jen didn’t know what to get me and I honestly couldn’t think of anything I wanted, but by chance I remembered a recent contribution I had made to a thread on the London Dynamo forum about the tendency of Garmin’s heart rate straps to give up the ghost. Two of the buggers have died on me, and I suggested to my fellow afflicted ‘Mos that a Mio Link Heart Rate Band, as recommended on Twitter by Pretorius Bikes’ very own Mike Miach, might be a smart alternative. So, in a spirit of inquisitiveness and practicality, that’s what I asked Jen to get me.

And, my goodness, I’m very pleased that she did. I have experienced a sense of liberation that is surely similar to the burning of a bra. My chest is no longer enclasped: the Mio band sits above the wristbone on my left arm and detects my pulse. It’s as easy as putting on a watch, and never again will I have to go through the hassle of partially undressing in a bleary-eyed state after forgetting to strap up before putting on a baselayer and bibs. (Oh come on – we’ve all done it, haven’t we? No? Right, just me, then.)

The actual unit sits in the middle of a rubber strap. Press the button at the lower end of the unit and after a few seconds a light will flash in time with your heartbeat. Get your Garmin to detect its presence and bosh – you’re ready to go. The blinking light changes colour as your heart beats faster (blue is the lowest, red the highest) which I suppose is useful for runners or anyone else not staring at numbers on a little screen while they train. I just like looking at the electronic blinking because it makes my arm look a bit like a robot’s.

During three long rides the Mio band has stopped transmitting only once, and that was easily remedied by using the traditional, centuries-old IT solution of turning it off and on again. Powering up is simple: pop the unit from the strap and slip it onto a little charging tray which magnetizes the device into place.

It is, all in all, a very clever little gadget – although I reserve the right to lose my rag when I inevitably mislay the recharger and render the band as useless as my old, defunct Garmin ones.

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Running out of timepieces

December 14, 2011

I know what you’re thinking; I will always know what you’re thinking. Because, in cycling, you are constantly thinking of the same thing. You are thinking about time: how long you have to wait until your next ride, the time it will take you to get there and, later, how many hours or minutes you have left before you pedal back to normal life. Anticipating, measuring, gauging – these are the songs, time is their pulse, and not so long ago, there was a common instrument they were played out on: the heart rate monitor, a watch that was always with you.

You secured it to your bike when you were riding and you strapped it to your wrist when you weren’t. You were never free of time, and you liked it that way. A glimpse of another fat little timepiece shackled to someone else’s wrist signaled a similar personal history. I don’t spot as many of these watches now, and they could soon be obsolete. But I’ve still got one; a button has fallen off, the display has gone blank a few times and the model I own has been discontinued, so I could end up replacing it with a small black box that isn’t a watch but also tells me where I am, even though my phone can do much the same thing. And I’d be able to show others, through the magic of uploading, where I’ve been riding and how fast or slow I’ve been. Routes drawn on a map, a username… I will have created another virtual representation of myself, another partial disguise. But I will have lost a physical symbol of my mind’s processes: the watch.