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On "Edge" in Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary
Reviews of the Edge 510, 800 and 810


On "Edge" in Victoria: The Garmin Edge 510
Written by Lynda of Victoria, BC

LyndaIt was with no little trepidation that this decidedly non-technical writer agreed to ‘pilot’ the Edge 510 on my commuter bike. Ooooookay, I’ll try it, I said. In fact, I procrastinated at least a couple of weeks, unwilling to prove to myself yet again (and now the world) I am short of neurons in the technical area of my brain. Eventually I realized I was defeating myself before I’d even tried and after all, I had agreed to the task.

“Quick Start” guide in one hand and a glass of wine in the other (believe me, I thought I needed the fortification!), I sat down one evening not too long ago to see if I couldn’t overcome my own misgivings. I was assured that the instruction book would be helpful. Indeed, it has been, and still is.  It took me a couple of reads through and trials to get the Edge 510 mounted, but I succeeded. The process might have been facilitated by a diagram of each part listed; I am highly visual, okay?! Exhausted with these efforts, I packed it in for the evening to revisit the game the next day.
This stage required playing with the Edge to establish satellite connection (easy) and trying out all the functions (ponderous). Love the touch screen. Seemed okay, and I was reaching my stride. Tracking my route will be fun, calories burned – whoot! -  and… gulp… there seemed to be so much this tiny device can do. I thought some of the functions seemed excessive for my self-perceived needs. At any rate, it will take some further ‘playing’. The next step required setting the Edge on my bike and setting out on a ride: tomorrow.

Of course tomorrow always comes. You know the adage, never do today what you can put off until tomorrow?  You guessed it, I coined it. But people were counting on me, so off I went. At the basic levels the Edge was very simple to operate once on the correct screen: RIDE. Push the start button (took me a minute to find it), start pedalling. Note: try not to spend a lot of time looking at it while cycling on urban streets if you value your life. Bearing this in mind, I rode to my first destination, 2.4 km, and stopped to see how the Edge had tracked. Oh! Such glee to see the results: distance, elevation, calories. I carried on with my ride, resolved to analyze the data when I returned.
On return, I noticed I had lost the satellite connection for a while and wondered what that did to my tracking results. Also, after a restart, I wasn’t seeing my speed indicated anymore but a function called “Cals.-Fat” which, discouragingly, remained at “zero”. Hmm, some things to investigate. Being relatively easily frustrated, this is when I would have thrown in the towel, but I find myself strangely attracted to figuring out all its nuances. Back home, I began to see what the Edge can do and know that I will invest the time to investigate all the functions. For us non-technical types, it is an investment in time because it isn’t intuitive, at least not to me, not like falling off a bike, for example (oh, bad pun). All the same, I have committed to do just that and I have to say, I’m pretty stoked!

Several rides on, I’m a commuter remember, so it was only a matter of a couple of days, Edge 510 in action, I am now a committed user. It’s such fun and easy to do all this tracking, not that I don’t still have much to learn! For my weekend rides, I plan to get the heart monitor pads so I can see just how hard I’m working after the killer hill on West Saanich Road; it is important for a 54-year-old ‘wanna-be’ athlete to know these things. The scope for exploration (one can store data for several bikes, multiple routes, for instance) makes the use of the Garmin Edge 510 a real project for me. I’m looking forward to learning about all it can do and given enough time, I’m sure I will. If you are non-technical and want a little project, not too difficult, mind, the Edge 510 will fill the bill and add a terrific dimension to your cycling. For you technical folk, you’ll be up and at it in no time. Ride on!

On "Edge" in Edmonton: The Garmin Edge 800
Written by David of Edmonton, AB

DavidI’m an avid recreational road-cyclist and have been using Garmin’s Edge 800 for the past 2 years. The combination of a great bike computer with Garmin’s GPS navigation system has really made my longer rides fun and entertaining.

My most recent tour ride was a 3 day, 360km loop through the Rockies west of Banff. Day one was a 129km ride from Castle Mountain Junction to Invermere. It begins with an 8km 7% grade climb up Storm Mountain, which in past years I’ve practically gassed myself on with the excitement of starting the ride. This year I set the heart rate and cadence min/max alarms on my 800, and stayed within the pre-set ranges for the climb. I may have been a bit slower on the first climb of the day, but was a lot fresher for the big climbs towards the end! The navigation function came in very handy later on as I was able to program in the address of our hotel in Invermere, B.C., saving me and my tired legs several welcome minutes of painful searching!

Day two was a 100km long, flat ride up the Columbia River valley from Invermere to Golden, which we completed in record time, thanks to a tail-wind and a very strong leader of the peloton!

Day 3 was a super challenging 130km day from Golden to Castle Mountain. It started with a nasty 14km, 6% to 12% grade climb east out of Golden. Once again, the heart rate and cadence alarms were really useful in forcing me to conserve energy on the early climbs. Following a couple of false-summits, the road enters a bunch of new construction which did not show on the map of my 800. (Probably need to update). Towards the end of the day we did a series of sprint races amongst 5 of us for short distances and it was fun to see what our speeds and (in my case) max heart rate profiles look like – not as young as I used to be – at the end of the ride! We were also able to view and accurate elevation profile of each ride day, which explained why my average speed was so much higher on day 2 than on the other two days!

Overall, the Edge 800 is a wonderful piece of technology and I’d recommend it for anyone with a serious interest in cycling, particularly those that are cycling in unfamiliar territory and could use real time navigation.

On "Edge" in Calgary: The Garmin Edge 810
Written by Chris of Calgary, AB

Chris I currently own a Garmin Forerunner 301, and I love it. It has enabled me to track so many aspects of riding and running, but was never really the dream machine for my bike. The Garmin Edge 810 is almost everything you could ever want.

It’s difficult to cover all things I love about this cycle computer so I’ll start with the things it addresses that were on my wish list from the 301. First, the satellite acquiring time is amazing. Often on my 301 I was asking people to wait as my GPS couldn’t find enough satellites. This is never an issue anymore and I rode in fairly heavy cloud and drizzling rain. Second, the touch screen is amazing; I wear full-fingered gloves and never had any issues with navigation as opposed to the button functionality of the 301 that was rather clumsy while riding. The size and resolution of the screen is much better, there is often more clearly displayed information than my cycling brain can meaningfully process. Third while the 301 was limited to Garmin Training Center for analysis when it first came out Garmin Connect is a significant online analysis/riding community improvement, lots of courses to explore and inspire.

Edge 810One wish I always had for my GPS was to include maps so your location actually meant something, in this respect Garmin has gone above and beyond, and yet slightly missed the mark. For training rides the map feature is amazing, functioning similar to that of your car GPS giving you directions. I found this feature really allowed me to explore some routes I had never taken before without worrying about sign watching; it really enabled that exploration of cycling I love (I planned out a couple of routes in the foothills, uploaded to the 810 and had a blast). In the city I tried to use the device for commuting purposes, which worked quite well in showing me exactly where I was and the regular cycle-computer information; however when I used the automated route mapping feature the 810 fell down a little bit. It looks like the device uses the regular Garmin route mapping software and chose some rather challenging (i.e. freeway/very fast/congested) routes *(Ed. note). I would have liked to see something like Google’s cycle mapping feature that takes into account bicycle paths and other designated cycling routes. I did find it very easy to nullify this issue by preplanning my routes using the online Garmin Connect. I could also see the features such as finding a restaurant and navigating a new neighborhood very handy with the way the device is currently set up.

One of my favourite new functions, even if I didn’t use it that much, is the Live Tracking feature. When heading out into the country on a long solo ride it is fantastic that someone at home can just log on to their computer and see where you are at any time during your ride, I like to pretend this is for my wife’s piece of mind, but I secretly enjoy the fact that if it starts to snow in August and wolves are chasing me she can take a look on the map and come and get me (or tell me to suck it up).

All in all a fantastic advancement from 5 years ago, definitely worth investing in for a cycling enthusiast; and indispensible for those who need a training analysis tool.

* The newly announced Edge Touring and Touring Plus will eliviate this problem


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