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Heart rate monitor use and recommendations?

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Heart rate monitor use and recommendations?

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Old 10-11-08, 04:49 AM
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redfishpaddler
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Heart rate monitor use and recommendations?

I am getting back to road biking after many years. In the past I always used cadence as a guide on my cyclocomputer. Is it worthwhile to purchase a computer with a HRM?

I will be picking up my Spec. Roubaix Expert Triple in the next week or so, and would like to start out with a computer on board. Am thinking that having HRM available will be of help in training, as well as monitoring. For those who use an HRM, have you found it useful and why?

And, any particular recommendations? Am looking at a Polar and Garmin 305 Edge.
Many thanks,
Bob
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Old 10-11-08, 05:29 AM
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Quite a few takes on HRM's but my view is that I use it to bring myself up to pace- Too often I find myself below working level so will be slower than I could be and I am not working the body as efficiently as I could be to retain the fitmess that I used to have. Also use it so that I do not overdo it on rides so that I can finish the rides with just enough energy to ward off the hints that the grass needs cutting- and it also tells me that I should not have tackled that last hill that hard.

As to warning me that I am about to have a heart attack or the Heart has just stopped- Don't think it will do that, but as a training aid to keep me within my Heart rate parameters It works well.

So Computer- Cadence monitor and Heart monitor. Expensive but look at the Garmon Edge 305. Took me years to get one- and it is far better than anything else I have ever used.
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Old 10-11-08, 06:30 AM
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I have a cheap Polar wristwatch HRM. I strap it on the bars over a piece of pipe insulation foam.

I use it mostly to pace myself on longer rides and on steeper hill climbs. I use it on most of my faster paced rides.
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Old 10-11-08, 06:45 AM
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I have a Cateye computer that does cadence, speed, et cetera and an older Polar A5 HRM, and I use them just as Stapfam described, to get up into a suitable training zone and stay above that threshold, and not to overdo it. One sign of overdoing it is gasping like a drowning man, but for most of my riding (got a bunch of fat to burn!!!) I don't really want to go that high if I don't have to. If I do I have a longer recovery.
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Old 10-11-08, 07:57 AM
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Faced with the same decision last week. Opted for a Polar wrist wacth and a Flight Deck 'puter mainly because I almost kill myself checking what gear I'm in and I liked the big display. Don't need the HR feature all the time as I'm not training for any thing- just having fun, but figured it was worth it just to measure progress occaisionally.

Don
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Old 10-11-08, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by molarface View Post
Faced with the same decision last week. Opted for a Polar wrist wacth and a Flight Deck 'puter mainly because I almost kill myself checking what gear I'm in and I liked the big display. Don't need the HR feature all the time as I'm not training for any thing- just having fun, but figured it was worth it just to measure progress occaisionally.

Don
Unless you go for an all combined "Super" Computer- Decide what you want from the Heart Monitor. If all you want is to see the Heart rate- get a cheap one- anyone. If you want it to be downloadable- See the %of max-See the max HR at points on the ride-ETC- then do think about the Garmin. "Super" HRM's cost as much as the Garmin that also does lots of other things.
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Old 10-11-08, 05:07 PM
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I've had a couple of cheap HRMs and they were more trouble than they are worth. If you can afford it, it's worth buying a good quality computer that does the lot - for what it's worth, I use Polar.

I tried all the 'working in zones' carryon and stuff like that, but it didn't really work for me, but that's because I'm not into serious training anyway.

The big benefit for me was gaining an understanding of what my body is actually doing. You'll get a lot of people say you don't need a HRM and to just 'read your body', but I found that while I thought I was good at that, I really didn't havea clue. Judging heart rate by 'breathing' etc is the purest guess work. Using a HRM however, will refine your reading of your body and that's why I think it's worth buying a good one to start with (it saves all that waste of money on cheapies) ... but only if you can afford it - they aren't essential, just useful.

I now ride bikes with the HRM and bikes without it. I prefer to have it on the bike where practical - it's too easy to find yourself working a lot harder than you think you are, but regardless of that, you still have to get to the end of the ride and it doesn't really matter if you arrive ready to fight or like a limp pile of over cooked noodles.

HRM - a very useful monitoring tool but like everything else in your tool kit, it's useless if you don't use it.

Richard
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Old 10-11-08, 05:10 PM
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I just use my HRM as a guide to be sure I am on tract.
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Old 10-11-08, 05:25 PM
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I've used an HRM for about the last year and it is a great way of monitoring your workout. Had a Cateye computer, too. Did most of my riding based on HR and cadence in order to get in the type of workout that I wanted.

Just a week ago picked up the Garmin 305. In a word - fantastic! It helpful to see how your workout is distrubted across HR zones, how you're reacting to hills, weather, everything. I did an interval workout today. The chart of my HR was very interesting. It showed clearly that my first 2 intervals were definitely the strongest. A rapid spike up and pretty quick recovery. The others started to flatten out.

Get an HRM. It really helped me alot. If you're looking at springing for a decent HRM and a decent bike computer, then I suggest the Garmin 305.
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Old 10-11-08, 06:21 PM
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An HRM is handy if you want to organise your training. To do that you want
a training schedule of some sort. Of course that raises the question of what you
are training for...

A training program should be designed for you specifically. A coach is an easy way to get one. Then there are the coaching services. If you are patient, you can learn how to design a program, and then construct one. That's trickier than you might think, humans aren't famous for being objective.
However, you can cobble together a crude program that will help.

If you are a fitness rider, then any cheap HRM will do.
I use a SI Fit 3. This is an old and discontinued one that I got quite cheap.
Performance Bike has a Fit 7 for $40 plus a discount. I like it because it's easy to set it to beep if you go above OR below your training zone. These have been sitting in a warehouse for years and will prob need a new battery.

If you want something that has sophisticated features, I suggest taking some time and researching carefully. You can read the old posts here.

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0147.htm
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Old 10-11-08, 07:37 PM
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Dear Mr. Late,
Very good advice. I also am just a "Fitness Rider" I like riding but there is no place to ride here with out some SOB running over me. So I just ride in a circle for 30 minutes but I enjoy being out and doing it. The back of the 2 mile circle is in elephant grass and I keep waiting for a Tiger to jump out and have me for lunch.
So my old low tect HRM is fine with a very old Cateye.
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Old 10-12-08, 07:41 AM
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I have a Blackburn Neuro 6.0 cylcometer with HRM and altimeter.

I used the HRM extensively to train earlier this year for a cycling trip to the Rockies. As a lifelong lowlander/flatlander, I credit it with my being able climb Mt. Evans, 14,130 ft.

Around town since then, I use it for three things.
  1. Training now for speed instead of altitude
  2. Keep my recovery rides at an easy recovery pace (I have a hard time staying slow and easy.)
  3. Using it to monitor my hydration. This has become my most important use of the HRM. Due to medication, I have a hard time telling the difference between thirsty and dry mouth, and tend to ignore it. As the blood thickens due to dehydration, the HR rises by ten points or more. If my HR is high for no apparent reason, I know I have to drink, drink, drink. Once I get hydrated properly, I can ride so much easier. Looking back, I think that all my "bad" days must nave been dehydration-related. Of course, the risk of heart-attack and stroke rise with dehydration, but it's pedaling ease and performance that are the most immediate results.

I don't wear it for every ride--particularly not commuting and grocery-getting--but I do wear it for most rides over 20 miles.
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Old 10-13-08, 07:10 AM
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Many thanks to all....

Thanks all....
I ended up purchasing a Blackburn Neuro 6.0....has all the features I want. Don't need a gps as I have an iPhone that does the trick. Went for my first ride yesterday with my new bike....was GREAT!

Am looking forward to learning how to use the HRM as suggested.
Bob
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Old 10-13-08, 05:17 PM
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I hope you like your Neuro as much as I like mine.

I just installed the second-bike kit on my other bike. Now I can use the one unit on either bike. Works great.
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Old 10-13-08, 05:57 PM
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Case in point:

No lectures today - I'm supposed to be at home studying. Yeah. Right. I dropped the lad at school and then drove on down to the local yacht club. Left the car in the car park and took my Jamis for half an hour along the beach front, turned around and rode back again.

When commuting, I'm on a heavy bike with a heavy load (usually over 10kg ) and I'm working to stay out from under cars ... and usually running late. I tend to push things a bit when commuting.
The same when I take the Jamis over my 1 hour loop - it's up hill and down dale and I push along pretty hard.

For me, having read the literature and then looked carefully at what my body's been telling me for the last two years (usually that I'm nuts and would I please STOP), I've worked out that I go anaerobic when my heart rate gets into the 150's and I can ride all day if I keep it in the 130's. On the '1hr loop', I tend to average in the high 150's and do a good 'limp rag' impersonation when I get home.

This ride, I wanted to be a bit easier on the old body, to burn a bit of fat, to get the brain working in the hope that I actually do some of that study I promise myself for every tuesday, so I planned to keep the heart rate in the 130 range.

Here's where the HRM is useful. People will tell you that you don't need them and that you can read your own effort. Well, that's true ... up to a point. About all I faced while riding north, was the usual 'I wanna go faster' thoughts, easy enough to cope with. At the turn around, I realised why I'd been riding so quickly - I'd had a tail wind and was now facing a head wind all the way back. The thing about head winds is that you seem to be peddling like blazes and going nowhere, so the temptation is work harder rather than just gear down and ride slower. In no time, the old heart rate was rising steadily. On a 'go as hard as you like ride', this wouldn't be a problem but on this ride, I really did want to just take it quietly because I'm on a bike most days and rarely take it easy - the HRM made monitoring my effort a lot easier.

The thing about reading your body is that, apart from being a very inaccurate way of doing things, by the time you realise you're working too hard, you've been doing it for quite a bit. Further, once you get into the 'go harder' mode, it's difficult to drop back into a 'go easy' mode.

So yes, I could have left the HRM at home and being a sensible wombat **pause for hysterical laughter**, I could have had a quite enjoyable and relaxing ride without it. However, having the HRM on board just made it easier to monitor what I was doing.

It's not often I 'ride to the HRM', most times it's just another fascinating number to keep the brain cells occupied, but today I did. It's a useful tool to have, but it's only a tool.

And now I'm going to turn to the mysteries of MARC records ... or maybe surf a few more cycling threads.

Richard
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Old 10-13-08, 09:59 PM
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Also think alot of Blackburn computers. Use the older model 5.0 w/hrm.

The most usful thing a HRM can do for you is when you are near the top of a really steep climb, check the reading and it will motivate you to get to the top before either the HRM blows up or you do.
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Old 10-13-08, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
Also think alot of Blackburn computers. Use the older model 5.0 w/hrm.

The most usful thing a HRM can do for you is when you are near the top of a really steep climb, check the reading and it will motivate you to get to the top before either the HRM blows up or you do.
I love the hysterical beeping as the HRM tries to tell you that you're about to explode.

The batteries in mine started to get a little flat which sent the wee beastie into frantic beeps of horror as my heart rate magically leapt into the mid 200s. Fresh batteries cured it but ...

Richard
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Old 10-14-08, 05:12 PM
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I exercise every day for 2 to 3 hours on a bike.
The 2 hour exercise is on a resistance trainer with Cateye Astrale 8 computer which gives cadence and speed. I use a Polar HRM. Trainer exercise is excellent to do interval training. I go all out for three miles and then go off the bike for a minute or two. It is interesting to see the HR go up to the 140's and drop below 100. The cadence is above 100 RPM and I am trying to get higher for longer time period.
------------------------------------
Biking for 3 hours is on a trail. I do that without HRM and go just as fast as I am comfortable with. A few times I used a HRM only to find that I never reach HR 140. There are too many diversions such as cross roads, curves, rough road, weather and other bikers.
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