My Week in Training – Week 33

Date Kms Time Type Avg Speed (KPH) Links
Mon, 15th Aug 2011 84 2:53:15 Road 29.0 Strava – Garmin
Wed, 17th Aug 2011 76 2:43:39 Road 28.1 Strava Garmin
Fri, 19th Aug 2011 76 2:48:52 Road 27.3 Strava Garmin
Sat, 20th Aug 2011 40 1:22:11 Road 28.9 Strava Garmin

On Monday, I took it nice and easy. I also took the oportunity to test the new wheels, the Miche Reflex Wheelset, which I’d bought the previous day from Evans Cycles for £121. For the price, they are really good. I took the Fondriest out and so, can only compare them to my Mavic Carbonne SLs. They are definitely less twitchy in a cross wind although, they don’t have that gyroscopic effect of the Mavics, or the road noise effect. The Miche are slightly heavier than the Mavics and not as fast but then, the Mavics are 6 times the price of the Miche. All in all, I am very pleased with them and and look forward to using them in France. Continue reading

One week to go!

Nearly there, just one week to go (Until I leave for the Vendée, that is).

I’m slowly getting all the kit together. There’s only been one slight problem which has been resolved thanks to Zyro.co.uk, the importers of Altura panniers. A little while ago, I bought a Altura bar bag with the intention of using it on this trip. The trouble is that I no longer have the receipt and have never used it until now. It comes complete with a Map Flap which is sealed by the use of velcro strips which have come away from the plastic pocket. A quick phone call to them and they have very kindly agreed to put a new one in the post for me, at no charge. So, thanks again Zyro.co.uk. Continue reading

My Week in Training – Week 32

Date Kms Time Type Avg Speed (KPH) Links
Tue, 9th Aug 2011 84 2:48:08 Road 29.7 Strava – Garmin
Thu, 11th Aug 2011 40 1:28:33 Road 26.6 Strava Garmin
Sat, 13th Aug 2011 84 2:46:45 Road 30.2 Strava Garmin

207kms this week. I must admit that this week has been a bit busy, hence just 3 rides, with just 10 days left for my Big Ride. Continue reading

My progress so far – 18th June 2011

Firstly, here are the numbers:

  • 2 weeks to go to the start of the 2011 Tour de France.
  • 10 weeks to go to my Tour de France or Bust trip.
  • 2873 miles cycled so far this year.
  • All 21 stages mapped for GPS (available for download).
  • Accommodation booked and confirmed for the first 11 days of the trip.
  • £88.00 collected for Help for Heroes (My target is £1000) Continue reading

HTC Desire HD v. HTC Desire

During a previous post, I had instilled the virtues of the HTC Desire smartphone as one of my gadgets of choice for my upcoming Road Trip in September 2011, when I’ll be cycling the 3471km route of the 2011 Tour de France. I have since upgraded my smartphone to the Desire’s bigger brother, the HTC Desire HD.

Although it is a step up with some quite obvious improvements, there are also some let downs. I doubt if these let-downs will affect owners coming straight into the Android platform, but anyone upgrading from the original HTC Desire will, I think, probably feel the same way.

HTC Desire HHD

HTC Desire HD

Continue reading

My Smartphone – the HTC Desire

During my upcoming Road Trip in September 2011, I’ll be cycling the 3471km route of the 2011 Tour de France, without a team car or any other assistance. During what some might consider a Mad Adventure, I’ll be reliant on a few pieces of technology, one of which will be my smartphone, the HTC Desire.

To be more precise, I would consider the current run of Smartphones as small Internet enabled touchscreen computers with the ability to make and receive phone calls. When I say Smartphones, I’m talking about the Iphones and the ones using Google’s Android operating system, such as the HTC Desire.

HTC Desire

HTC Desire

Continue reading

Garmin Edge 305 GPS – It might be old but it’s still good

During my Tour de France road trip, I intent to put up a blog post on a daily basis. These posts will include video and statistics from that day’s ride using my Garmin GPS unit.

Garmin Edge 305 (with HR and Cadence accessories)

Garmin Edge 305 (with HR and Cadence accessories)

In 2007, I bought a Garmin Edge 305 GPS. This was one of the cycle specific units. It’s no longer made but you can still get it from various cycle shops for about £180 or from Ebay for around £100. The 305 just plots your journey; It doesn’t have maps. If you want maps and a colour display, you’ll have to go for the Edge 605 and above, but you will have to pay more. The Edge 605 is £230 and the 705 is £315. There is a flagship touchscreen Edge 800 in the pipeline but that’s not yet available in the UK.

Even though the Edge 305 is getting on a bit, it is still a very commendable unit with the following features:

  • Virtual Partner® – lets you race a virtual competitor over a specified distance and speed.
  • Courses – lets you race against a previously recorded workout, so you can compare your current and past performances over the same ride.
  • Auto Pause® – pauses the timer when you slow down or stop and resumes when you speed up again, so you can focus on your ride.
  • Auto Lap® – automatically starts a new lap each time you pass a specified location or travel a preset distance.

The standard display is fully configurable with as much or as little information as you require.

Edge 305 display

Edge 305 display

Not only can you upload your completed rides onto your computer using the software provided but you can also upload them to the Garmin Connect website. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get a map with your route plotted onto it. You’ll also get loads of statistics and graphs of your speed and the elevation of your ride as well as your Heart Rate and/or cadence, should you have either of these two add-ons. Once done, you can share your ride with friends in a number of ways such as Twitter, Email or Facebook.

The Virtual Partner® and Courses are great training aids. If you have a particular course which you do regularly, you can convert the data from any ride on that course and ride against it using the Virtual Partner®. Now, when you ride that course, you will get a graphical representation of where you are, on the course, compared to where you were on the course when the ride was taken. I do hope this makes sense.

Virtual Partner display

Virtual Partner display

You can also pre-plan routes using sites such as http://ridewithgps.com/ and transfer that data to the Edge 305. That way, even though you don’t have maps, you do have a line to follow which hopefully will prevent you from getting lost. This is particularly useful when taking part in events such as the Evans Cycles Ride-it events as Evans publish the route as a downloadable GPS file for you to transfer to your Garmin GPS unit prior to the ride, negating the need to follow a map.

Route display

Route display

Uploading routes is exactly how I plan to use it when I come to ride the route. At the moment, although the start and finish towns are known, the actual route each stage will take won’t be published until June 2011. When they are published, I will plot each stage using http://ridewithgps.com/ and transfer them to the Edge 305. On the morning of each stage, I will then load that stage’s course and follow it. As I ride, not only will I get the usual information such as Speed, Distance travelled, Heart Rate, Elevation etc. but It will also tell me the distance and estimated time to the finish. I will still take maps for the interest of knowing exactly where I am but I won’t need to refer to a map at every junction to make sure I’m going the right way. Don’t you just love technology!!!

Even though this unit is no longer made, it is still supported by Garmin. Last year, my unit developed a fault. I sent it back to Garmin and, as it was out of warranty, they just charged me a flat fee of £65 in return for a brand new unit.

So there you go, you can go cheap and get a whole bag of features at the same time.