Monday, May 19, 2008

A whole lot of Cyclo-Computers.

I haven't had a computer on my bike for quite some time.

I've been looking for one of those old-timey ones that runs off a belt on the front hub, or one that has the little pokey thing on the spoke that turns a gear-like mech. that eventually rolls over little numbers that are mounted on the very bottom of your fork.
That's all I really need usually. A little guesstimate on the mileage.

But I haven't found one.
None of the bike shops have one in the bottom of a bin, and I haven't tired eBay or anything else.

But in the process of putting on the Cooper's Race I really needed/wanted a computer on my mtb so I could get the mileages of the various sections and loops for the racers.
And we've been doing some Saturday Death Marches and although our guesstimates for elevation gains are pretty close, ~1-2 gajillion feet, I really wanted to get the error correction factor down a bit.

Off to find some systems!

I had lots of old cycle-computers. All over the place in fact.
Some upstairs w/ those Festina watch boxes that I had won in 1998, along w/ a few of the clapped out Oakley prescription glasses, some other various cases, a couple Polar HR Monitors and the XT w/ the wireless speed setup, and just other crap.
And of course I had a few boxes of various Avenir computers as well as my original CateEye Micro, one Sachs, and a couple Avocet systems including... the early 1990's Avocet 50 that I won down at Massanutten so many years ago.
So I there them all downstairs on a piece of cardboard so I could start picking out the good from the bad and see what kind of monster I could come up w/-

Can you see them all?
There's quite a few.

Now to rifle through and see which ones were going to best serve me.
First I picked the Avocet 50, replete w/ splatter paint job that was so pervasive in the early 90's.
Man what a beaut!
And while I was at it, I might as well see why I haven't used that Polar XT, seems like a gem as well.
And what's wrong w/ the Vertech?
And these Cannondale wireless jobbies sure do look nice and spiffy.
Had to go running around for some replacement batteries too, cause all the systems I tried were stone cold dead.
Avocet 50 & 45, up and cooking w/ gas.
Avocet Vertech, a bit flakey, showing 153° F and an altitude of 51360 ft!
Polar XT and wireless transmitter, one of the darn side buttons is really hard to press in and is also cracked. Now I remember why I ditched this high-end piece of crap.
Cannondale something-something wireless, works well and I also found some really old Avenir wireless transmitters that actually work w/ the Cannondale!
and I think that's all I tried at first.

So I got the 50 up and cooking and mounted on my spiffy System SIx.
It seemed state of the art again.

Then I did the Appalachian Spring Spectacular Bonus Ride (ASS Bonus) and some kid had one of them-there fancy GPS cycle-computer-thingys.
So I made fun of him during the ride as was to be expected.
But then the next day he sent out a link, of our actual ride(!), overlaid on google-maps(!) and my tech-radar went wacky.
It was very impressive and so neat.
I'll try and find the link.
Found it!-

Well I had some data too, and I didn't need no silly GPS thingy.
I just had to figure out how to put them on the bikes and collate.

Gotta go to work, so you'll have to wait for the end of the story, or the rest, or just whatever there is.
Let's see if this thing is going to let me save & publish this gem.
Well Jay's not answering or responding, so I'll just keep on typing and such.
Maybe take some more snappies.

He must have dropped his cell into the comode again.
Oh well. It's a crappy day anyway.

Listening to Giles, Giles & Fripp.
Brondesbury Tapes. Before they morphed (kind of)into King Crimson.
This collection is better than The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp, but both offer a little look of pre-Fripptronics and what-not.

Putting the various units on the various bikes brought about some issues. Issues that reminded me of why I had stopped using computers on bikes a while back.

I hate wires.
Differerent types of wheel magnets.
The Avocet is probably the most accurate, but it has to be wired, it won't work on a few of my "fancy" hubs w/o a bunch of zip ties and crap, and there ain't no easy or hard way to get it on a Lefty.
So that strikes hard on being able to get elevation gain for MTB stuff.
The Vertech is flakey and resets if I hit a bump or Robbie L. drops it. I think I am going to send it back to Avocet and get it back running cause it is kind of neat, even though the wrist strap is made for going over a ski jacket.

So I look at my wireless options.
Unless I'm running my Ridgty fork or get a fancy computer mount for the Lefty, I can't use the standard transmitters.
And they don't have enough range to mount on the rear.
I tried mounting the Polar XT on the rear and then holding or strapping the main unit on the seat post, but that's just stupid. I will try and not be stupid. Or less so at least.

So I start "researching" these new fangled GPS thingies... Oh where will this road lead me?
I remember that Jimmy's unit had the transmitter on the rear and doubled rather slickly as the cadence transmitter as well. A bonus for well designed new shite.
In reading some of the reviews, seems like some folks had issues w/ battery life and other setup issues, then of course some folks had no problems and thought they were the slickest thing since the freewheel.
That was for the Garmin Edge 305.
The Edge 605 and 705 are potentially slicker, but also forthright, much more expensive, as they are colour, have the ability to intergrate w/ some of the power-meter systems and have the ability to have maps on the unit, so you could do routes without really knowing where you are, or how to get there, just put your head down and follow.
But they are stupid $$$ and you have to buy the maps (!). Too much for this poor bike racer.

Betsy was still away at the Tour of the Gila at this time. I was letting her know of some of my concerns and "intents" (rather vaguely...).
I had plenty of time to do more "research", hand wringing, and other time wasting activities.
And I still had a race to put on the following week!
And I really wanted to win that car.

So by hook, crook, and some fangling I got an Edge 305.
Big surprise right?

But it sure is cool in a lot of ways.
Pretty customizable in display and other ways.
Not terribly inconvenient to switch from bike to bike, just two zip ties for the transmitter and they give you two main unit mounts.
I have one mount on the race MTB and one on the SS road machine.
I'm good w/ an awl so I reuse zip ties and haven't wounded myself too badly just yet!

The only problem that I'm having, and it was a little evident on that very first link that Jimmy sent out, is that the various web based options, or (Garmin associate) both produce elevation gain numbers that differ from the number that the unit gives at the end of a ride, or the number that is in the Garmin Training Center program.

This is a pain and makes us all here a little unhappy and frustrated.
We have our top men on it and I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of it in no time.

Here's some links for your viewing pleasure-
Coops Race
Camp Muffly Loop
UHS Short Track, 3 Laps
Tour de Lake Race
Morning Commute
Afternoon Commute soon to be
Coops Race
Camp Muffly
UHS Short Track
Tour de Lake Race
Morning Commute
Afternoon Commute

Fun. :)