First ride with the Garmin Edge 500

First of all, I want to start off saying I absolutely love having the Edge. It mounts easily with two o-rings. I had a problem in the past with finding space on the bars because I had to mount my 310XT to the inner section of my grip tape. Due to this, I lose some vital hand room. Now I have the Edge, I can mount it to my stem. The display is taking a bit of getting used to. Apparently I am still thinking of the 310XT display when I ride. I did decide that I have to move a few portions of the display around.

On the main display, I have ride time along the top, speed in the second row, distance and heart rate on the third, and cadence along with grade percentage on the bottom row.

My current display layout:
My Garmin Edge 500

As I was riding, I noticed patterns where my eyes would look. There is some information that I really rely on when I ride. You see, sometimes I find my mind drifting, so I occasionally look down at the computer to make sure I am really pushing as hard as I want to. So speed is the first thing I look at. After I look at my speed, I check my cadence to make sure I am not dropping too low. Having a cargo bike and commuting, sometimes I get stuck in the whole “take it easy” mindset. Due to this, I have to remind myself that I am doing a workout, not riding to the store.

After that, I check my heart rate. The heart rate can be ignored for the most part. I tend to analyze my perceived exertion level more than heart rate. I can easily push harder than my max and actually hold it for a decent amount of time. To me, heart rate is nothing more than a reference point. If I plan on doing a long ride like the BP MS 150, I use the heart rate just as a reminder that I do not wish to burn myself out too quickly. On a training ride, if it is a hard day, I use it to help keep me in the top percentage of my heart rate. If it is a recovery ride, where I am taking it easy, I use it to make sure I don’t push too hard (as a reminder).

So after my ride yesterday, I quickly found out that my eyes were having to move around too much. If I were racing, I could have easily crashed into the back of a person who hit the brakes. I found I had to search for my information instead of it being able to be read easily.

Changes are in order. I have to group my vital information closer together. I am going to move the grade percentage to the second page. Seriously, I live in southeast Texas. We do not have enough hills out here to require my keeping the grade display on the main page. I will change it for the next ride to the following:

1) Speed
2) Cadence
3) Heart Rate
4) Distance / Time of Day

I really do not need to know my total ride time. I very rarely adhere to a schedule when I go riding. I tend to have more of a distance in mind than a time window. So just having the time of day on there would be enough. I could use that to remind me that I do have other things to do and to not spend all day riding (which can easily happen).

Some people overlook display layout. Think about it, if you are driving a car, would you like having to look towards the glove compartment to check your speed, then to the gear selector to check fuel, rear view mirror to check engine RPM, and your arm rest to check your engine temperature? It really does not make sense. You would be spending too much time looking away from what you need to pay attention to.

Small things like tweaking a display can reduce the time looking away from the task at hand. This is really crucial to mountain bikers. If you spend too much time looking away, you may look up to find a rock, tree, or drop off right in front of you. Either one of those could end your ride in a not-so-pleasant way.

Every cyclist needs to figure out what information is crucial to them and adjust their displays accordingly. It not only helps make your looking at the data more efficient, it also helps make you a safer rider.

Ride on my friends.

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About TrekRiderMark

I like to ride bicycles and stay fit. I am also a professional photographer and artist. I dabble a bit in web design and as a graphic artist.
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