Magellan Cyclo 505–First Report

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Why the Expense?

For all of the reasons I outlined in a previous post, I’ve tried to find a GPS cycling computer with maps that will serve to keep track of my rides and help me keep from getting lost when riding country roads as well as when riding a geographically convenient maze of offroad trails, gravel roads, and overgrown tracks.  To recap, as opposed to the Iphone, such a unit requires no purchase of a data-plan subscription; It’s a one-time purchase.  I first tried a Magellan Explorist 710 with built-in camera, topo maps, city maps, etc.  The used unit I purchased was unhandy for use as a cycling computer and also had a weird power-off fault when connected to a Mac or PC.  I wound up sending it back for refund.

Features, Features – Some I Like, Some I Don’t Care About

After a while, during which time I haphazardly read up on Garmin and Magellan cycling specific GPS units, I decided the Garmin units were stupid-expensive.  I decided I would get a Magellan Cyclo 315 unit when I could get a good deal on one and was waiting until I felt I could reasonably justify the expense before buying.  Bike Tires Direct, however, offered a deal on the more expensive Cyclo 505 that beat even the cheapest price I could at the time find on the Cyclo 315.  As to features, those I liked that the Explorist 730 and both Cyclo models have in common were pre-loaded maps, the ability to add other maps, and IPX7 water-resistance.  A feature the 505 has that I wasn’t sure about is WiFi connectivity.

Some of the features the Cyclo 505 has that I could not possibly care less about are Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and the means therewith to control the telephones musical play list; Shimano Di2 shift information or compatibility, power meter connectivity, heart-rate sensor connectivity, or speed/cadence connectivity.  The unit’s basic GPS speedometer capability is fine with me.  So, the unit I got was the basic 505 without all the extra sensors and whatnots I didn’t want to be bothered with.  Remember, the only reason I bought the 505 is because it was cheaper than the 315.

A Day Late!

BTD shipped the unit UPS-ground, and it arrived a day later than originally forecast.  The UPS website reported arrival time had to be recalculated.  I think some doofus misplaced my order in a Kentucky or Ohio redistribution point.  Here’s what was in the box:

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Cyclo-505-Box-Contents-1

Cyclo-505-Box-Contents-2

The manual says to charge the unit before starting it up, but I monkeyed around with it, anyway.  It fired right up after a few seconds – Magellan splash screen, then black screen for two seconds, then another status screen that shows what appears to be a wheel with holes in it spinning to indicate the device is loading the OS, then the main screen with options.  The options are all pretty self-explanatory.  I entered the home address, also set up a couple of profiles.  If you haven’t got all those sensors that are compatible with the unit, turn off the functions in profile-edit or you’ll get a blinking rebus at the top of the screen in line with display of time and other indicators.  I connected the unit wirelessly to my home network without trouble.

Profiles are categorized by type of riding or type of bicycle – City Bike, Mountain Bike, Racing Bike.  Because I don’t race, I’ve set up both my Miyata 610 and my Jamis Supernova under the City Bike Category and, obviously, my Bridgestone MB-4 is a Mountain Bike.  The profiles allow for manual input of wheel diameter, or the GPS profile setup subroutine uses (probably) mathematics and code to “automatically” obtain wheel diameter information.  Either that, or the “Automatic” option simply discards the wheel diameter variable.  Who knows, eh?  Profile setup also requires entry of sex, DOB, weight, and weight of bicycle.

Should be Both/And, not Either/Or

This is pretty unlike the Abvio Cyclemeter program I ran on my Iphone (which, for the most part, I liked better than the program running on the Magellan GPS unit).  Cyclemeter allows you to set up routes and to enter bicycle data.  Whether type of riding, however, like road bike, city bike, or mountain bike, is part of the route calculations and seems to have more to do with reckoning calories burned and whether sensed movement counts (because sometimes, on a mountain bike, you might have to ride very slowly, for example) than to do with the bicycle, itself.  Magellan would probably score bonus points if they worked with Abvio to produce a Cyclo operating system using the Magellan maps and GPS unit rather than online maps, as with the Iphone application.

This should be an obvious development strategy – like Reeses marketing a peanut butter and chocolate candy – “You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!  No, you got your chocolate on my peanut butter!”  I’d be willing to let them experiment on my GPS unit.  What you’d have, then, would be a GPS unit functional for paddling, running, cycling, automobile, and routing that would allow one to better track performance per route or daily commute time, etc.

Handlebar Mounts

When I rode with my Iphone using Cyclemeter, I always kept the phone in a pocket or seat bag to keep it out of the weather, and because the battery saving screen mode I used was such that I couldn’t see the display the couple of times I mounted the phone on handlebars.  I figured out the primary bar-mount (not the version held on with zip-ties) on the Jamis (my el-cheapo, Craigslist cyclocross bike).  For my first few rides, I mounted the Cyclo 505 over the stem, but for longer rides have mounted it out front, on the left side of the bar, for better visibility when riding.  The close-up of the unit with dimmed screen is a rotated crop from the picture of the Supernova laid over on its non-drive-side in the driveway.  Dimmed and from a distance, the dashboard’s touchscreen buttons are visible.

Cyclo-505-on-JamisCyclo 505 Distant Screen

Jamis-Cyclo,-Etc

Magellan includes one zip-tie handlebar mount that offers two against-the-bar soft foam shim options.  When I first tried mounting it on the Bridgestone, I put the one of the zipties through the wrong hole on the upper, hard-plastic, mounting googin.  So, I wound up having to use white, instead of the Magellan provided black, zip ties to secure the mount.  Magellan only provides one of these zip-tie mounts in the box with the Cyclo unit.  If you’re like me and have so many bikes your wife complains about them, you’ll need to get another.  They’re blessedly expensive – about $17, and can be ordered from Amazon.  I bought one for mounting the unit on the Miyata 610.  The only bike I’ve got with bars thick enough for the “outfront” mount is the Jamis.  Miyata and Bridgestone, 34 and 26 years old, respectively, have bars the tubing of which is of narrower diameter.

Cyclo-505-Bridgestone-MB-4-CockpitCyclo-505-on-Bridgestone-MB-4

When I get around to snapping a few pictures of the Cyclo on the Miyata 610, I’ll replace this sentence with them.

Using the Cyclo 505

The strange circular mount takes some getting used to, but typically twists into place without problem.  I do recommend you not power on the unit until it’s on the bike because the sensitive touch screen will beep or honk (really, a buzz or a “heenk”) at you if your palm presses against it during attachment.

Since getting the Cyclo 505 unit, I’ve taken it on maybe nine rides, incorporating into usual unplanned riding happenstance regimin – quick after work neighborhood rides, riding to another county to pick up my car from the mechanic’s garage, riding on a rainy day with my son using a trailer bike attached to the Bridgestone, a 17-mile trek through rough terrain, broken roads, muddy rutted tracks, gravel, and so forth.  Annoying to me is the multiplicity of confirmation screens – Do you want to record?  Are you sure you want to power off?

Ten rides, as of today.  Last Saturday, I took the unit offroad while riding my Jamis Supernova Dura Ace Craigslist wonder-cyclocross bike through a maze of disused military camp roads that’ve pretty well degraded to vestigially paved tracks, mud and gravel roads, etc.  Regarding the Supernova, I was able to ride that bike anywhere I’ve been able to ride my Bridgestone MB-4.  It’s one stout bike and likely worth what I paid for it, even though I had severe buyer’s remorse early on.

The Cyclo 505 performed well; it was only when I trusted my own somewhat flawed directional sense, knowingly traveling due south but mistaken about where on the reservation that would take me, that I got lost.  I came out of the woods after crashing the bike in a deeper-than-it-looked silty bottomed stream, to a highway I was familiar with but wasn’t expecting to find there.  Using the Cyclo 505, I was able to find my way back to the trail after a couple of highway miles making use of a previously unknown dirt and gravel road.  The out-front mount held the device securely through it all, and the GPS unit withstood bumps, brief immersion, crash, etc.

Does a bike man poop in the woods?  Sometimes, but not that day.  Outdoor urination?  Well, yes, and that afforded me the opportunity to snap a couple of pictures of the Magellan Cyclo 505 on the Jamis.

Jamis-Rough-Ride-Break

The following day, last Sunday, however, while on a ride with my son on a rainy afternoon with temperatures in the low fifties, the Cyclo 505’s screen froze when moving between map screen and the navigation function’s main data screen.  According to the manual, the fix for this is to turn the machine off and then back on again.  It took me about four tenths of a mile to try this because it was only later that I read the manual’s “Troubleshooting” section.  I found that the device returned me to the recorded ride having saved all the data it had acquired before the freeze.  Because I missed part of the ride, though, the saved ride drew a straight line between the point where it froze and the point where I restarted the unit.  Dunno why this happened, but it made me want to send the Cyclo back until I read the manual and figured it must be a known flaw with fix.

So far, I don’t think the Magellan Cyclo 505 is worth anything near full-retail and recommend the reader wait until a factory refurb can be purchased at a fraction of a new unit’s price, or that the reader wait until a new unit can be had for >$100 off retail.  I don’t feel ripped off, but the screen-freeze bothers me.

Facebook Folk Religion

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This usually amounts to little more than the common chain-letter variant – “Like this (memey-image or pious-sounding statement) and repost it on your page if (you love Jesus, you’re committed to whatever holy cause this memey-image-statement-thing purports to represent, this sentiment speaks to your heart, etc.).”  I regularly ignore that kind of crap in the same way I used to ignore actual chain-letters.  None of that has anything to do with Christian faith; it has everything to do with some human being’s attempt exercise influence over others or to conduct a social experiment.  This same kind of bogus religiousity is probably also foisted by the same kind of jack-genius upon practitioners of any or all known false religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Wiccan.  Shoot, probably even practitioners of un-religions like Yoga and the various martial arts are also subjected to this kind of thing.

Congregational Facebook Page

Our congregation has a Facebook page where we post notices, sometimes a few photos, weekly worship service bulletins.  You have to ask to join it.  As one of a half-dozen or so group admins, I either approve or disapprove join-requests.  I routinely reject requests from accounts like “Jasmine-the-half-naked-Hottie”; sometimes the other admins approve requests and I don’t take note of who they are.  Our group has maybe five members who have had no in-person contact with our congregation, but whose profiles appear to indicate some doctrinal variables in common with our own.  No problem.  People all over the world listen to our Sermon Audio recordings.  Typically, the folks who aren’t or haven’t been part of or had contact with our real-world congregation don’t really post anything; I’m not sure what having joined the group means to them, but they’re not usually a disruptive subset.

Last Thursday, one of these online group-members, whose name I didn’t recognize at all (but whose “middle name” indicated he wants people to believe he is like G.Gordon Liddy or is or has been a federal employee or agent), posted what I would characterize as a devotionalistic harangue.  It consisted of about 15 or 20 statements from scripture that, on their face, appeared to have similar import.  At the bottom of this New Testament partial-verse mash-up was the question,.”Who do you know?”  Below the question was a picture of a big hand in space really close to and pointing right at a pretty green and blue Earth.  That picture was a link to the poster’s own Facebook page.

What I know, after 41 or 42 years a Christian, having participated in numerous online bulletin boards Christian and otherwise, is a troll (in the congregation or online) seeking to drive traffic to his own site and/or amass followers when I see one.  So, in a comment below the guy’s post, I called him out and told him I’d delete his post after I got home from work.  My wife, who saw my comments, thought them unduly harsh.  I deleted them later that day with the guy’s post, so I can’t reproduce them here.  My remarks were maybe a little more sarcastic than was warranted.

The real import of my remarks was that, as a congregation, we didn’t know the guy, but we do know the Scripture, and have no need for someone we don’t know to preach to or question us.  My thinking was simply this:  We didn’t invite this fellow to preach to our congregation in the real world knowing nothing about him, his doctrinal stance, or his character, so what standing could he possibly have to preach to us online?

Hobson’s Choice

I remember when, in the mid-1990s, I attended a Southern Baptist seminary in the South, I first heard other students and professors complain that the culture wasn’t listening to them and did not recognize their individual or collective authority to speak into the lives of people completely unknown to them.  They were shocked that their message did not vouchsafe them entry into the minds and lives of their targeted audiences.  They also expressed dismay that more and more people in the United States felt competent to make their own choices vis-à-vis religious matters.  I thought their attitude silly; I thought a lot of what they had to say had very little to do with Christianity as revealed in the Scriptures of both Old and New Testaments.  I didn’t listen to them, either.  Still don’t, for the most part.

When I got home, Thursday afternoon, my wife said the troll had responded to my comment.  This fellow posted some very creative, alliterative name-calling, complained that I obviously know nothing of Christian love (I actually do know nothing of what passes for pious Christian sentiment, but I don’t really think that’s love, anyway), told me that he knows the Scriptures, too, as evidenced by the many partial verses he used in his initial post, that he was a member of 72 (yes, 72) Facebook groups, and had never been accused of trolling.  He went on and on.  He did call me pompous and paranoid.

My wife said that sometimes I do seem pompous and paranoid.  Pompous?  Maybe a little, sometimes.  Paranoid?  I usually manage to keep the madness at bay.  I’m cautious in my own way.  But I am completely unwilling to accede to the demand that I unquestioningly accept, endorse, and permit the self-serving posts of a troll.  And I completely reject the idea that my exercise of discernment and choice is incompatible with Christian love, mercy, saving contact with the Living God in Christ, and so forth.

A Birthday, Visitors, A Comprehensive Exam

A Busy Weekend

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I agreed to host a family visiting our congregation last weekend.  After having said we’d do it, I thought, “Ah, isn’t that the weekend I’ve got my comp?” as well as, “that’s Mom’s birthday, too.”  Because I’m naturally too absent-minded to focus on rearranging things that can’t really be rearranged, anyway, I carried on with the plan, which was really no plan beyond not fighting with happenstance.

Comprehensive Examination

My graduate studies program requires that the candidate for a master’s level degree pass the National Board for Certified Counselors comprehensive certification examination.  A few months ago, I ordered the prep book from the organization after having taken a sample exam online.  The online test questions were really easy.  When the book arrived, I glanced at it.  Over the past month or two, the names Vygotsky and Kohlberg came to mind again and again.  Last Friday night, which was the night before the test, I reviewed some material about both Vygotsky and Kohlberg, took the practice examination (which was included in the study guide I’d purchased) and scored the instrument.  My score was not stellar.  I was weak on the theories of both Super and Roe, so I looked them up and reviewed them.  Around 2:00 am, I went to bed.

Saturday morning, I awoke between five and six, breakfasted, showered, dressed and drove over to my friend Theodore’s house, arriving there around eight.  Theodore’s got a Ph.D., has taught numerous university courses online, holds a couple of positions with a local school board, and had agreed to proctor the online examination for me.  I greeted him and his family, we drank coffee, ate cinnamon rolls, and talked for a bit before I took the test.  Anyway, I correctly answered a sufficient number of the 160 test items (among the 160, questions on the theories of Vygotsky, Kohlberg, Super and Roe) to warrant a passing grade.  My relief was immense.

The Gibello Family

The Gibello family arrived at our house during the early afternoon, last Saturday; they arrived with a mini-van and a small travel trailer.  We didn’t know what to expect, and neither did they.  Years ago, as part of another congregation, we had a good experience hosting a missionary couple who were (and did) travel to Australia to help found a Reformed theological seminary there.  We hoped this experience would be similarly good.

Turns out we had a great time.  The children played together pretty well (although our son, a couple of years older than their son, was way too bossy at times), we enjoyed cutting up with the Gibellos, who are normal people with intact senses of humor and good insight.  Whenever I encounter anyone, what I hope for is to find someone who is:  1) Oriented to reality; 2) Competent or working to develop competence; and 3) A person of general good will.  Usually, if the people I meet hit two out of three, that’s pretty good.  The Gibellos hit the mark three out of three times.  That’s better than good.

Caleb and I didn’t get to take a bike ride Saturday, but he’ll be taking the Razesa when they come back through Tennessee in May.  My friend, Eric Thompson, bought the bike at Ciclos Madrid in about 1985 when he was serving as a missionary in Spain, so it seems fitting that Caleb Gibello should get the bike as he’s preparing to travel to Papua New Guinea to serve as an itinerant missionary to people in remote villages there.  I doubt he’ll be able to take the bike to PNP, but he’ll have something economical to monkey around with on home visits.

My wife and I have decided to help support our new friends with a little money each month.

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Mom’s Birthday

Mom said she was feeling pretty bad Saturday when we invited her over to the house for supper with the Gibellos and to celebrate her birthday.  We finally did get to see her on St. Patrick’s Day – she invited us over to her house to share the traditional corned-beef and cabbage meal she makes annually.  We had a good visit and gave her a present; took some leftovers home, too.  I ate the last of them Thursday night.

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