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Saturday, 22 October 2011

Garmin Edge 800 and Tacx Booster

DSCF1558 Today, it's a slight case of needing to read the manual. Or it would have been if there had been one included.

I've been using one of those Garmin units on my bike for quite a long time. It has that ANT+ wireless telemetry and reads out speeds, cadence, heart rate, calories and my route. I originally just tapped in a few basic setup instructions, clipped it and a couple of sensors to the bike and was in business. There's even little guy riding another virtual bike to act as a pacemaker on the display.

Then, a few days ago I decided to start some preparation for the colder and potentially slippery weather. Time to pump the tyres on the metal bike with lights, mudguards and the other paraphernalia.

It got me thinking that I could hook the summer bike to one of those turbo trainer things in the now reclaimed garage space.

So I connected together the two or three components of a Tacx Booster, which is a kind of magnetic turbo unit with about ten settings (of which I am only capable of using 1-2-3 only at the moment.)

I'd left the Garmin on the bike and it seemed quite happy to function statically although the route map admittedly looked a bit strange. That's when I noticed the workouts menu. It lets me build little training regimes into the Garmin. Along the lines of 'pedal till heart-rate =x. Then pedal in range x for 100 calories. Then pedal at cadence x for y minutes. etc."

I'd never really noticed these menus before and so spent a few minutes making up some test scripts.

Then to test it on the bike. It all worked fine. The sensors would tell me if I was going too slow or too fast (yeah right!) and after each step was complete the Garmin would switch to the next one automatically.

Pretty good and with the display scrolling around there was enough going on to prevent boredom whilst pedalling. The main difference compared with road was the ability to set a constant pace in a suitable 'Zone' and then pretty much stick to it, which is quite difficult on roads with hills, traffic and so on.

I know I'll prefer being out on the road, but this little setup with the turbo trainer and some basic telemetry can be quite fun.

And back to the manual. The small print in the box said the big manual was available on-line where it also explains how to use another feature - the training centre, which turns out to be quick way to set up training programmes and review their results.

Next plan is to charge up the spare iPod for 'garage use'.

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