The upper-most left drawer of my desk contains a very sacred item. It's my cycling logbook and I reach for it after every ride. The blue binder is getting a bit bulky, as I've been keeping track of various details since 2001. Besides noting which bike I pedaled and with whom, I also write down the day's weather conditions and add any highlights — the good, the bad, and the ugly — that might be worth referencing in the future.
Furthermore, I jot down very elementary computer-supplied statistics that, if nothing else, provide a sort of gauge as to the ups and downs of my fitness level. I basically stick with four different readings and, as I said, it's nothing fancy: total time of ride, average miles per hour during ride, maximum speed, and total mileage. There's way more information to be had — like heart rate, elevation gain, calories burned, etc., which I sometimes utilize on century rides — but mostly I like to keep things simple.
That being said, none of my so-called off-road bikes carried a computer, so I needed to do something to fix the situation. Also, my preference was to purchase just one gadget that could be switched over to any of the four two-wheeled machines I was using — the Specialized Crux cyclocross/gravel bike, the Trek Fuel mountain bike, the Trek 920 adventure bike, and the Specialized Fatboy fat bike.
The remedy for ending my dilemma was to obtain a Garmin Edge 130 GPS cycling computer. Yes, when paired with a smartphone, it has all the bells and whistles that anyone could hopefully ask for, even providing my ride location at any given moment. But, again, I generally stick with the basic functions.
I might also add there is another feature this Garmin offered that — until I got the hang of how it operated — exhibited some pretty bizarre behavior.
Just picture this. I'm in my upstairs "man cave" attempting to figure out this latest gizmo to join my bicycle paraphernalia. Being clueless — even after reading the manual — and randomly pushing buttons, all of a sudden this cycling computer wanted to know if I wished to remotely connect with my front light, which is attached to the top of my bike helmet. I panicked and pressed "yes," when I really wanted to indicate "no." On goes the light, and when I tried to turn it off, it kept coming back on.
Wait, it gets worse. On top of my dresser, there is a small box containing bicycle accessories. Among the odds and ends are two spare front lights. Don't ask me how, but after pushing more buttons on that darn Garmin, those other lights also started blinking. And I hadn't even touched them. It was like I was trying to break out of prison; lights flashing everywhere. I was beginning to really hate this new toy.
Anyway, after regaining my composure and willing myself not to be beaten by this expensive contraption, I somehow managed to re-establish all the settings on my Edge 130, and — finally — I actually know how to use it. In fact, I'm even utilizing it on my Trek Domane road bike, since that bike's Bontrager computer decided to stop working properly.
Despite my shortcomings when it comes to cycling computers, they do add value to one's biking experience. Stay safe!
'Thought for the day'
"If the constellations had been named in the twentieth century, I suppose we would see bicycles." — Carl Sagan
From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)