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  1. #1
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    To Garmin or Not to Garmin?

    I've been reading the "Love the Garmin 305" thread and find myself in a bit of a conflict.

    With the lower price and rebate, the 305 is now coming into range where I could justify the purchase. I like the idea of having a good training tool at an affordable price.

    On the other hand, I got into cycling for the simple joy of heading out the door, hopping on my bike and feeling the wind fluttering through my one or two remaining wisps of hair. From what I can see, the time one can spend fussing with a deluge of data seems to be dizzyingly daunting. (How's that for alliteration?). I want to spend most of my time enjoying my ride and not analyizing it.

    Can you use and enjoy the Garmin without becoming owned by all that data?
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

  2. #2
    King of the molehills bcoppola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
    On the other hand, I got into cycling for the simple joy of heading out the door, hopping on my bike and feeling the wind fluttering through my one or two remaining wisps of hair. From what I can see, the time one can spend fussing with a deluge of data seems to be dizzyingly daunting. (How's that for alliteration?). I want to spend most of my time enjoying my ride and not analyizing it.
    There's your aptly alliterative answer right there. Unless you want to get into serious Training-with-a-capital-T.

    For further consideration, here's a nugget from Lennard Zinn, Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance:

    ...if you start using your computer to tell you whether you have ridden "far enough", "fast enough", "hard enough", or "correctly"...you may want to reconsider...It can be an insidious feature of a cyling computer that what started as a fun way to monitor yourself becomes a way you can beat yourself up.
    '04 Giant OCR2|'87 Schwinn World Sport F/G conversion (6,129)|'92 Trek 820 MTB|'85 Schwinn Super LeTour
    "People who spend most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles." - Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman

  3. #3
    Senior Member gear's Avatar
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    I don't have the 305, I have the etrex legend which has a moving map. I can get distance and speed totals from it and I can also find my way home when I get hopelessly lost, which I like to do from time to time. It's useful on trips and car rides too.

  4. #4
    Streetfire HopedaleHills's Avatar
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    Jet,

    I have a Garmin Forerunner 201, sort of a little brother to the 305. I use it mainly for the heart rate function and it is cool to see what grade you are climbing. I've never used any of the real training features like the virtual partner, etc. It's also a nobrainer to move it from bike to bike, unlike a regular computer. I do download into SportTracks because it's an easy way to keep a log, but do I analyze the data, not hardly. So, the answer is YES, you can use one without being data obsessed, at least I can.
    Tim
    Singing Do Wah Ditty, Ditty Dum Ditty Do

  5. #5
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    I am by training a scientist so doing data analysis is what I have been doing most of my life. However, I don't really spend hours analyzing my cycling data weekly or even monthly. The advantage of the garmin is that it collects all of the data and by just spending a few minutes a week downloading it is all there if you want to look at something. No real effort at all is involved like having to nightly write down your mileage and time in a spreadsheet or some other means. When riding I am mainly just looking at HR and cadence and sometimes I do targeted rides like keeping my HR at 80% or 90% max. The ease of use is what I like about it most.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  6. #6
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
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    Just a thought. Price drops and rebates signal a strong possibility there's a new version on the way.
    I'm holding out for longer battery life and a few other features.
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
    Website at curtis.corlew.com —— Bicycle blog at ccorlew.blogspot.com

  7. #7
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
    Can you use and enjoy the Garmin without becoming owned by all that data?
    Become a data junkie? Depenz... itz really up to you.

    I stopped loggin miles/times/elevation gain/Kcals in March. I'm no longer interested to know whether I've ridden 6K or 8K or 10k+ miles, or Ft gained, or Kcals expended.
    I still ride every day with a HRM and a bike computer and all the info I need to know IS collected on that ride. I look at it, reflect on it relative to myself and what I expected, then ignore the implications of 'running totals'.
    I'm a bit more viseral than just numbers. I relate much more to how hard it was/felt to punch over the top of a climb or finish that 70 miler or hold the wheel of those young guys on the Sunday Hammerfest.

    Garmin? seems like a kool tool. Me get one? not in the foreseeable future. Not that I don;t like the info, but I'm pretty MAXed on 'things' and really don't have the attention to load on one more diversion from life.
    mmm... prolly a good cycling thread there - "Cycling THINGS and how do YOU handle it/them?"

  8. #8
    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
    I want to spend most of my time enjoying my ride and not analyizing it.

    Can you use and enjoy the Garmin without becoming owned by all that data?

    You can, but then why bother getting one? If you simply want to know your speed, distance & HR while riding, there are much cheaper ways to do so. If you keep a log, it is much easier to upload the data from the Garmin than manualy enter it in a log (computer or paper). If you like to improvise routes, it's nice to be able to look back & see where you went. I enjoy reviewing the data, maps etc, but its not iindispensable & it doesn't pedal for you.

    Dan
    1974 Stella 10 Speed
    2006 Trek Pilot 1.2

    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
    Bertrand Russell

  9. #9
    Senior Member piper_chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chinarider View Post
    You can, but then why bother getting one? If you simply want to know your speed, distance & HR while riding, there are much cheaper ways to do so. If you keep a log, it is much easier to upload the data from the Garmin than manualy enter it in a log (computer or paper)...
    Dan
    I'm thinking of getting one of these and I'm curious whether it's really easier? Right now the only things I track are how far I went, average speed, and the route (I have a number of ones I defined). Logging these is a simple matter of entering a few numbers on a spreadsheet. I wear a heart rate monitor, but only to keep myself in the appropriate range. If I switch to a Garmin I'm going to have to bring it to the computer, hook it up, start up some software and then do the download. Is it going to be worth the effort?

  10. #10
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by piper_chuck View Post
    I'm thinking of getting one of these and I'm curious whether it's really easier? Right now the only things I track are how far I went, average speed, and the route (I have a number of ones I defined). Logging these is a simple matter of entering a few numbers on a spreadsheet. I wear a heart rate monitor, but only to keep myself in the appropriate range. If I switch to a Garmin I'm going to have to bring it to the computer, hook it up, start up some software and then do the download. Is it going to be worth the effort?
    It depends on where you log things. Clearly you have to boot up your computer but you need to do that to post on this forum anyway. If you use Motionbase then you just plug in the USB and use the client to upload. If you use Training Center or SportTracks then you have to start that application to download.

    Note though that you can download a week or more of history in one shot so there is no need to do this daily.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  11. #11
    Senior Member rodrigaj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jet Travis View Post
    On the other hand, I got into cycling for the simple joy of heading out the door, hopping on my bike and feeling the wind fluttering through my one or two remaining wisps of hair. From what I can see, the time one can spend fussing with a deluge of data seems to be dizzyingly daunting. (How's that for alliteration?). I want to spend most of my time enjoying my ride and not analyizing it.

    Can you use and enjoy the Garmin without becoming owned by all that data?
    I don't think you should get one.

    I have owned one for a week and love it, but I have specific training goals and like to do unsupported centuries.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by piper_chuck View Post
    I'm thinking of getting one of these and I'm curious whether it's really easier? Right now the only things I track are how far I went, average speed, and the route (I have a number of ones I defined). Logging these is a simple matter of entering a few numbers on a spreadsheet. I wear a heart rate monitor, but only to keep myself in the appropriate range. If I switch to a Garmin I'm going to have to bring it to the computer, hook it up, start up some software and then do the download. Is it going to be worth the effort?
    Easier? I can't say. I had been using the Cateye Astrale 8 with Cadence as well as wearing a separate HRM. Entering my data after every ride was pretty easy. With the Garmin, uploading data to a computer is nice, but I still also add my usual data to my spreadsheet. If you don't wish to bother with computer uploads you can also just review the data directly on the Garmin by going into the history mode and selecting a specific ride. With that all of the data and averages comes up and you can just transfer it by hand to any spreadsheet you have. I must say though that part of the Garmin's appeal and cost is the computer upload.

    For just recreational rides it is fun but not a neccessity. I use mine for all of my rides. On some of the recreational rides out in the country I get curious as to the elevation change, grade etc. so it is fun to have along. For my exercise rides which I take during the week the data becomes very important. This morning for the first time I used the course feature and rode against myself from a previous ride. I must say that it kept me pushing myself as the ride I had recorded was one of my faster rides on my exercise loop. That little icon kept catching up to me and pissing me off. I did beat it and in doing so turned in a good solid ride at a quick pace for me.

  13. #13
    Happy Rider
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    Jet, I love mine and I'm not obsessed by the numbers. I like the HRM, % grade, elevation gain and cadence. Being as I'm familiar w/most of my routes, it's interesting to correlate cadence and heart rate to the hills. On funny thing is my HR always spikes on the days that damn red dog tries to bite me. You can look at the charts my Garmin shows and see the days the dog was out---but I'm going to get her REAL soon.
    Bike to live, live to eat!!

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I use a computer and occasionally a heart monitor. I also have one bike that has a computer that measures cadence. I do not know why but since I handed over the reins of the computers at work to others- I cannot be bothered with Electronic Gizmo's. Heart momitor caused me a problem last year so I didn't bother sorting or repairing. Computer sensors get knocked off the bike or the batteries go flat and I ride without a computer. Think for me it would be the same with a Garmin. I would follow the Readings for a few months- Log all my rides and when a problem came up It would stay in the bike shed. Only thing it might be usefull on is to get the Road dept. to correct all the signs on the hills. I would be able to prove that the Signed 10% hill is really a 25% by half way up.

    Now do I want a Garmin- Most definitely-----But do I need one-Don't think so.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    I never had a computer at all until I got my Garmin Edge 305 in January.

    It definitely changed my cycling from something free to something a little more organized and regimented, albeit self-regimented.

    I started doing serious heart rate training and the heart rate monitor is essential for that. The route tracking and elevation tracking of the GPS/altimeter combination are really a plus. I really enjoy rehashing a ride, keeping a weblog of all my rides for comparison purposes, or especially showing a friend the ride using the simulation feature. But you pay for all of this in a loss of freedom.

    One day recently I rode without it. At first I felt naked. Then I felt free, unfettered. Kept my eyes 100% on the road, not darting down to the #'s on the computer.

    So your questions are good, and my answer is no you can't really ride with a Garmin without somehow being wedded to the technology and the data. Make your choice and live with it.

  16. #16
    Senior Member SaiKaiTai's Avatar
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    I've been going back and forth with this as well.

    On one hand, it is an undeniably COOL device and I certainly am not "cool device" adverse.

    It also would give me grade info which I am almost pathologically interested in.

    On the other hand, it would give me all the functions that my current computer -and Polar HRM- does.
    And, combined, they're a lot less than a 305 PLUS I already have them (and have them installed)
    Not to mention, I change my current computer's battery about once a year and have as yet to change my Polar's battery.

    I'm not that interested in keeping a log. I ride to ride and I push myself enough (or take it easy enough) as is, based on how I feel and how hard my previous ride was. Would I get more benefit from a more systematic approach? Undoubtedly. Am I getting benefit, anyway? Well, anything's bette than just sitting on the sofa plus I can see it and feel it so, yeah.

    So, I have no idea if you should get one any more than I know if I should.
    Maybe when they get cheaper.
    '13 Felt Z3 - '08 Jamis Aurora Elite - ('07 Giant OCR C2)

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