Saturday, 23 February 2013

Ashridge Slapton Circuit

Today has been cold with snow flurries, but I decided to venture out on my road bike and test my new Garmin watch. My heart rate seemed to vary from around 120 to 145 bpm depending on whether I was climbing hills, which seems about right. I cycled over Ashridge up the quite steep Tom's Hill, then over towards Whipsnade and back via Slapton and Ivinghoe. A trip of around 22 miles. I soon warmed up, although my feet were pretty cold at the end, despite my winter shoes and wool socks. I'm looking into getting some neoprene overshoes that fit both my summer and winter shoes, to replace my worn ones.
Route and stats here

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hadrian's Wall

We had a great 5 days up in the NE and Yorks and were lucky with the weather. It was warm and sunny almost all of the time. I tried out my Garmin Forerunner 110 watch on a 9 mile walk
And on a short run when I got home. I was surprised that my heart rate initially went up to around 170 when running, but settled at about 140.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Navigating and Tracking

I haven't been doing that much cycling lately because of the weather, although today is mild and sunny so I cycled to work. I've done an hour or so at weekends and been to the gym and spinning too. I've been doing a bit of planning for our Land's End trip and have bought an Ultimate Addons iPhone 5 case and mount pictured for £20 which works well. It's only water resistant as for some reason the hinged side of the case is material rather than plastic. The mount is quick release so I can switch it between bikes easily.

I've been testing out a few apps either this morning or when walking. Here are some comments:
  • The free "navfree" SatNav app stores maps and StreetView photos on your phone (using up 500Mb) works well - and you can hear the directions ok and unlike other cycling apps such as MapMyRide or Sustrans you get a 3D view with the map oriented in the direction of travel. Also the map is very clear and can be seen without reading glasses! 
  • MapMyRide provides basic maps but does not seem to move the map as you travel along (unless I've not discovered this setting) and they always point north. The advantage of MapMyRide is you can follow pre-planned routes and record tracks.
  • Sustrans works better from a navigation point of you and you can download good quality maps showing individual buildings and the map moves as you cycle - although are always oriented north.
  • GarminFit is another simple  tracking app, but you can only see the maps afterwards!
I probably won't be using a digital map that much on long rides - as I tend to just remember the towns and villages to go through and follow the road signs, but it's nice to have these aids if you need them.

I'm also getting a Garmin Forerunner 110 GPS watch with a heart monitor for my birthday to use mainly for running. My wife and I said we might do a half marathon with our niece in Sept. I'll probably use this for road bike trips for a bit, mainly to give some info on heart rate etc - but its main use will be for running. My heart rate tends to be quite slow at rest (50-60 bpm) and goes up to around 140 bpm after about 15 mins of running, which is about 85% of my max recommended heart rate for my age (based on 220-57). I want to train safely for running so the monitor should be useful. Also you can upload your details from the watch to the Garmin Connect site to see your route and stats. I doubt if I'll take the watch to Land's End as the battery only stays charged for 8 hours when tracking, and I'll be able to track with my phone anyway.

We're off on a walking holiday to Hadrian's Wall for a few days so I might test out my new watch and apps.