I’ve had a Garmin 800 since Christmas. It is kind of fun. But, I’m trying to decide if it adds to my enjoyment of the sport. I definitely like having a speedometer on my bicycle. I got one of the very first Avocet units before they became public for the masses. Since then, I’ve always ridden with something on my handlebars telling me my speed and distance.
The Garmin does more. It tells you how much climbing you’ve done, the current and average temperature and lots of other fun things. And when you get done with your ride, you can download the information and look at it at Strava, Garmin Connect, and probably other places I don’t know about. Garmin provides absolutely the worse user manuals for anything electronic I’ve ever owed. I don’t know if they expect you to go onto the internet to figure out their products, but they have completely missed the boat trying to provide any kind of usable information in the box.
There are a few problems doing all this. For one, it’s a hassle. I’ve got a lot of stuff to do all day and remembering to take the Garmin off my handlebars and plug it in to recharge it is something that hasn’t become habit yet. And the thing runs out of charge way too quickly. Max a couple days on one charge. I don’t know how many times I go out for a ride and the Garmin is out of juice.
Second, it’s a hassle. Plugging the Garmin in and downloading the information doesn’t take that long, but it is something that I have virtually no interest in. I did the ride, I know what I did. I could see how much I climbed and what my average speed was and everything else that it records when I was on the ride, so I don’t feel the need to go and look at it again.
Third, it is frustrating when the thing doesn’t turn off after the ride and your bike keeps moving. I’m probably missing something in Strava or Garmin Connect, but I don’t see a way to edit the rides to remove extra movement. Strava has this part of it’s deal that they compare your times and speeds to other people that have downloaded their rides. So there are all these segments that riders have created and everyone that rides that segment has his ride compared to others. The problem is that anytime anyone drives the segment with their bike on the car, with their Garmin on, it screws up the segment for everyone.
And when you don’t turn your Garmin completely off after the ride, with the auto start function on, your ride just continues. So then, something that I think might be mildly interesting at the end of the year, your total mileage for the year, is completely wrong. Strava needs a way to be able to erase the extra part of the ride that wasn’t riding. Like I said, maybe it’s there, but I just haven’t spent anytime looking for it. But, I’ve already miss a ton of rides because the Garmin wasn’t charged at the start, so my yearly number is just wrong from the start.
This all makes me wonder if I really want to get a power meter also? I am a numbers guy and I can see the many benefits to be able to download your power numbers, especially in races. But it all detracts from what I really enjoy about the sport, the simplicity of it. Racing bikes isn’t simple anymore. I’m not sure complicating it more is in my best interests.
A fun fact – The Oreo cookie is 100 years old today. Who would have thought?