Sunday, January 31, 2010

Training Toys

I've been really unmotivated this winter. The idea of sitting in the basement pedaling my bike on the hamster wheel listening to sci-fi podcasts makes me snuggle under the covers. I just cannot seem to find the will power to get on the bike.
One of the issues is that the cycle computer on the bike is broken and I cannot watch my speed or cadence. I've got no way to challenge myself if I don't have any data.
So I decided to get a new computer. I wanted to get one with both cadence and heart rate. I also wanted one that would be easy to switch to my primary bike in the spring. The last feature I wanted was that it read speed from the rear wheel because the front wheel doesn't move in the trainer.
To get features I wanted, I was looking at dropping a minimum of two bills. Cat Eye makes a nice unit. Garmin also makes a new unit that does everything, but it costs about three bills. The advantage of the Garmin is that it keeps the history over time. You can watch your progress.
While I was doing research at REI one of the sales people suggested a Forerunner. They are a GPS enabled wrist computer that does heart rate, cadence, and speed from the rear wheel. They also store history. The big advantage over a bike computer is that you can use them for more than just biking. For example, I can use it when doing training walks with H.
There are a bunch of models ranging from two to four bills. I chose the cheapest model. It had all the features I needed. The biggest differences were size, auto synching with a computer, and the calorie computation algorithm. The unit is a big red brick. It must be plugged into the computer with a USB cord. The newer models use a heart rate based calorie computation algorithm.
After a week of using it, I like it. It definitely makes riding the bike more interesting. I can watch the speed and my heart rate. I can also set up different work outs.
For the most part it is accurate. The cadence meter drops out every now and then, but that isn't too big a deal. It's not like I am training for a serious event. I used it on a walk and the pace monitoring occasionally spiked.
Despite the minor glitches, the data is fun. Being able to track my progress keeps things interesting.
It is a little sad that I need a toy to keep me motivated, but such is life in the modern plugged in world. What is important is that I'm back in the saddle.

1 comment:

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