So you bought a Garmin. You’ve got OS maps included too cos it seemed like the right thing to do, now what do you do?
Ride around bike parks and trail centres recording your rides and putting them up on Strava of course…
Well, there’s a lot more you can and should be doing. But first, here’s one of my crushes from the 90s – the delicious Louise Wener and her band Sleeper with “What Do I Do Now?” You see what I did there?
Yes of course you can store your rides on Strava, compete with your mates, chase KOMs and other kudos from your followers, but you don’t need a bike computer for that.
A decent bike computer (I have a Garmin Edge 800) offers you so much more so lets have a look at some of the interesting features on my Garmin and how I use them.
Sounds obvious but its great to see where you are, especially if you are lost. This is not very applicable if you are at a trail centre, but if you have gone exploring the countryside its vital!
Find the Lap feature and use it! Its great for recording lap times if you are sessioning a section of trail for instance. Set the Lap Auto function to location mode and it will automatically start a new lap every time you pass your start location. When you load your ride to Strava or Garmin Connect you will be able to see the laps recorded for your statistical pleasure.
I occasionally lead rides for a club, I am planning on some of my own guided rides and also I like to know how far I’m going sometimes. The laps on my Garmin can also be set manually and its useful to hit the LAP reset button at land marks or turnings along a route. When you view the route back, want to ride it again or want to provide some guidance to a friend or contact asking for directions – again your Strava or Garmin Connect account will have recorded the “laps”. This time you can clearly see its 1.5km to the right turn, 400m to that big tree, 2.1km to the bit that goes down hill and 700m until you reach the road. Or something like that.
Keeping on track
Got a route from a friend or downloaded a GPX from the internet? Upload to your Garmin and it will guide you by way of a coloured line on your map. Amazing! No but seriously I have used this feature a few times when in unfamiliar territory and its been very useful.
There are all sorts of features such as heart rate monitoring, cadence measuring and virtual partner training where you can set pace for a ride and see if you can keep up or beat it.
All the while your Garmin is recording where you are, how far you’ve gone, how quickly you got there, how much you have climbed, what the time is, what the temperature is, your max speed, average speed etc etc
All you have to do is figure what data is most important to you while riding and set the display to show this cross as few or as many screens as you like.
My Garmin has been on practically every ride I’ve done in the last 5 years and still proves to be one of the most reliable pieces of technology I have ever bought.
Go and see which one takes your fancy over on Amazon.