I was rocking along “[no longer so] fat, [yet still] dumb, and [terminally] happy” with my running program when my friend Don Bynum, an old high school buddy (and I do mean “old” since although we were born the same day, he is a full three hours older), responded to my inquiry about finding a used bike.
“Hell, I have one I’ll give you” said he. And thus the Peugeot Triathlon
came to have a home in my garage. We think it is a vintage late 70’s to early 80’s at the most. It is one of the versions made in France (later made in the U.S.). That was back in the summer of 2010 and I wrote about one of the first rides then, at “The wheel was truly an amazing invention.”
By the time September, then October and finally November had drifted by under my wheels I saw a tremendous ad at Performance Bicycle and in early December
found myself on a 2010 Scattante R-570 (Performance’s house brand, reportedly made by Fuji). At the time of this writing (3/16/2011) I have 803 miles on her.
I had never ridden with clipless pedals before (only the toe baskets on the Peugeot) and, frankly, was a bit concerned about it. Many riders had told me stories of pulling up to a stop and not getting unclipped, and I had personally witnessed one of those unintended dismounts.
So, with the clipless pedals and those weird shoes you often see, I clipped in and pedaled away. I purchased a mountain-biking style of shoe with recessed cleats so that walking is a bit easier. I have identical clips on my mountain bike so my shoes work for both. So far so good and I have not (knocking on wooden head now) done the dreaded ignominious get-off.
Some folks say I am a gadget nut. Not at all true: I merely appreciate having the right tool for the right job! Thus the bike has the Garmin Forerunner FR-305 “sport watch” mounted along with the Garmin Oregon 400t fullsize GPS. The FR-305 is the main performance monitoring device giving me a constant readout of heart rate and pedal cadence while the 400t has maps, both street and topo, and gives me a quick look at total miles, average speeds both total and while moving, time stopped, and if necessary also provides navigation just as with a GPS in your vehicle.
The heart rate comes from a chest strap while pedal cadence comes from the sensor mounted on the frame. Both the heart and cadence devices transmit a signal wirelessly to both the FR-305 and the 400t. While the 400t (which is designed principally as a geocaching GPS) does not record heart rate and cadence, it does read both and gives me another place to check in real time.
The latest addition (March 2011) is the aero bar. It is nice to be able to change posture by getting down with elbows on the pads and gripping the bar to steer, but it sure takes getting used to.
The pressure comes off of the hands, wrists and shoulders at the expense of really craning the neck to be able to look up and see the road ahead — and that’s a good thing to do! I see riders on the bars for long portions of a ride but for me it is pretty temporary. Both the FR-305 and 400t Garmins are mounted on the aerobar which makes a nice “cockpit.”
Now with the aerobar I have a place to hang some of the goodies for better access and visibility. Bottom center is the Garmin Oregon GPS, in front of that is the Oregon Scientific video camera, and the Garmin Forerunner FR305 hangs off to the right. The mounting “system” consists of 1/2″ pvc, nylon zip ties and a copious quantity of black electrical tape. Just to the lower left of the GPS you see the headlight peeking out. In the “mod3” of this system it will get a perch to the left on the pvc mount, opposite the Forerunner. That should enhance it’s function.
The next goodies are lights. Lot’s of lights. Two of the Planet Bike SuperFlash on the rear and the Cateye up front. Everything strobes and I’m told that from the rear I look like an emergency vehicle going down the road. Good!
That’s the equipment. Then there is the software. The Garmin FR-305 comes with the Garmin Training Center (GTC) program and there is Garmin Connect on the web. GTC is ok, and the price is right. And Garmin Connect is an ok place to upload your rides and runs.
But I have struck on a combination of two other routes to data analysis, logging, and sharing. The first is the SportTracks program and the second is the GPSies web site for uploading routes and rides.
About SportTracks: After sending out one of my analytical reports to some fellow riders, my friend John asked where all that “stuff” comes from. It is a combination of the Garmin Fr-305 ($148 delivered from Amazon … an older model but more than sufficient), and SportTracks. There is an in-depth review of it and then a pretty complete web site for SportTracks which is the software that digests and regurgitates more than you ever wanted to know. There is also a very active user community of forums.
On the ST site is a nice overview of features. But the real power of ST comes from the plug-ins which extend what the program does natively. Some useful, some just fun, some with overwhelming amounts of data output.
The other tool which is fun for sharing rides or runs is the GPSies site. That logo says “Tracks for vagabonds.” Not only can you upload your rides or runs, with photos, but you can locate rides and runs as well by searching geographic areas. You can see a catalog of my tracks. One of the more interesting rides has been the 2011 “birthday ride” that Don Bynum and I did on our mutual birthdays. That ride has been written up in the blog elsewhere.