Posts Tagged ‘Wiggle’

The main thing I don’t like about the Garmin Edge 810

November 7, 2013

I can tell you exactly when I began to dislike the Garmin 810: it was as I took the left-hand turn that leads you towards Hampton Court Bridge, and the treacherous thing froze. It did exactly the same thing the following week and the next (each time I was following the course of my regular training ride), then it stopped picking up both the speed/cadence and heart rate sensors. A hard reset didn’t work, so back to Wiggle it went. And behold! A new one was delivered to me which, two months later, hasn’t had any of its predecessor’s conniptions. Bless you, Wiggle, and your staggering profits which allow you to mail me a replacement package worth £430, no questions asked.

Whenever I tell someone I have an 810, three things invariably happen. Firstly, seasoned Garministas are mildly amazed that you don’t need to attach it to a computer because it will upload your ride as soon as you finish, thanks to the magic of Bluetooth and an app on your phone. Secondly, they scoff at my enthusiasm for enjoying the company of the virtual partner, which tracks your progress on a saved course against a previous attempt. And thirdly, they’re not at all impressed when I tell them the live tracking facility, which is also linked to my phone, allowed Jen to follow my progress as I cycled up some mountains in France as part of the Challenge Vercors. Giving your wife or partner details of your location in real time is not, apparently, a very good idea.

Even though I’ve now got an 810 that works, there’s still a lot I don’t like about the thing. It doesn’t show up on my MacBook’s desktop when I plug it in, and it takes ages to eject. Setting up the screen configurations, or ‘training pages’ as they are clumsily known, is a fiddly business. Irritatingly, the app can’t be activated if my phone is locked (although it could before I updated to iOS 7). And although I’ve made a lot of tweaks to the set-up, I can’t for the life of me remember how I did them – such is the counter-intuitiveness of the user interface.

I think Garmins should be like iPhones: simple devices that anyone can pick up and use. Instead, the options open to you are buried amid a stack of headings and pages. I had never used a Garmin before, so I was surprised at how low-tech they appear: the jerky animations, the primitive icons, the bleepy eight-bit fanfare whenever you finish a ride. Perhaps Garmin isn’t inclined to drastically improve the design of their devices because, in the world of sports-orientated satnav, it is practically the only player in the game.

But the main thing I don’t like about the 810 is what it says about me. I’m dreaming of a time when Google Glass takes all the visual information crammed on that plastic pebble a foot below my face and puts it in front of me, which is where it should be. I’m hoping that the tracking facility is improved so I can see, without having to fish my phone out of my pocket and check my email while riding, when people I know are riding in the same vicinity as me. Neither of these wishes even occurred to me before I clicked “buy” on Wiggle. Now I am, essentially, excessively annoyed about living in the present when I should really be grateful that little devices such as the 810 have replaced bulky, laminated maps taking up space in our jersey pockets, and helped reduce the endless stops and self-inflicted misdirections. They’re a turn for the better.

Advertisements

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #11

August 5, 2011

5 DOWN 5,000 green bottles
Cycling does funny things to colours. Yellow is generally the colour of cowardice, but in the two-wheeled world it’s the hue of a hero’s vestment. Similarly, green means young or inexperienced, which is in stark contrast to the status of elder statesmen Robbie McEwen, 39, and 38-year-old Stuart O’Grady, who are both reportedly on the verge of signing for the seemingly inappropriately-named GreenEDGE (and, by the way, if no sarky blogger has dubbed the incipient Australian team GreyEDGE yet, then The DYNAMITE! Files would like to be the first to do so). But there can be no doubt what the same colour indicates to the good people of Wiggle and Gatorade: following the traditional marketing definition, “green” means producing lots of plastic rubbish nobody really wants or needs and shamelessly attaching it to an eco-friendly endeavour, which is what the two companies did in a prominent double-page ad in Cycling Weekly. Apparently you can own one of 5,000 specially-created bottles if you buy some of the aforementioned energy drink from the online retailer, but they “support” the Sky Rainforest Rescue project so that’s OK. Slightly muddled thinking there, but what do you expect? If you read the first sentence of the blurb below the jerseys, they also seem to think that the Tour de France is still going on…

4 UP Keepcup
On the subject of green issues, Keepcup plopped into the recycling bin of The DYNAMITE! Files’ consciousness this week. “We love bikes,” boast the Australian makers of the reusable coffee receptacle, pointing to their ingeniously designed delivery bicycles. Hopefully, then, the bike-loving caffeinistas will eventually get round to designing a version of the Keepcup that actually bloody fits in a bottle cage, instead of being jammed awkwardly at the top (as pictured above). One slight bump and you might experience what accident investigators might call a latte/tarmac interface. Messy.

3 DOWN Cycling Active
It’s been a week of intriguing questions. Will Sky now have Mark Cavendish on its roster next season? Has Christian Vande Velde ever got lost while riding the Tour de France? And how many miles can you cycle in an hour? The last poser was tweeted by Cycling Active magazine on Tuesday, and – you’d never guess – the answer appears to be that the number varies according to the person, the terrain and the weather. CA’s next possible request to its readership: tell us your favourite length for a piece of string. Or vote for your top temperature.

2 UP powerBIKE
They cannot fight it. At some point, every average wannabe-pro will surrender to the distant thud of David Guetta luring them to their local gym. And it is here, among the baggy shorts, sweatbands and non-wicking fabrics, that they shall face their most daunting challenge: prove you are superior to your fellow spin class attendees by wearing the dorkiest outfit in the room. With his shades and his aero helmet, the chap pictured above is clearly the King of the Spinners – but he is also taking gym snobbishness to teeth-clenchingly unbearable levels by recreating the experience of riding a cobbled Classic. The pedalling version of the now-ubiquitous Power Plate can recreate the juddering sensations one might usually associate with the Muur or the Koppenberg, and the makers claim you get a better workout than an ordinary spin bike because the rider’s muscles are working to counteract the vibrations. Which may be true, although a shonky, second-hand aluminium Ribble and a crappy road surface would be a more cost-effective way of doing the same job as a powerBIKE (RRP: £2,995).

1 UP Bare heads
Fantastic news for the helmet-averse: a poll of 1,427 doctors in the British Medical Journal has revealed that most medics do not want to see crash lids made compulsory as they fear it would put people off cycling. Natasha Austin, 24, of Maida Vale, concurs in the vox pops at the end of the London Evening Standard‘s story: “I don’t wear a helmet and I use Boris bikes. If it were compulsory I might cycle less because then you would have to carry it around.” Now, as one of the few remaining impartial media outlets on the World Wide Whinge, The DYNAMITE! Files wishes to avoid getting into the thorny issue of compulsory helmet usage. But Natasha, sweetheart, a helmet weighs less than the keys in your pocket, and you could always strap it to your bag. You also have to walk to get to your Boris bike, and you may be unable to park it at your destination, which means you are experiencing more hassle on a regular basis than most cyclists do. So don’t think of it is a helmet – treat it as your own personal Crown of Indifference, a proud symbol of how nonplussed you are by minor inconveniences, and wear/carry it with pride.