Magellan Cyclo 505–First Report

Gary-2-Cyclo-505

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:

Cyclo-505-Box

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.

What’s Going On

A Friend Died in December

Not somebody I’d ever actually met, but someone with whom I’d corresponded frequently over the years, Rodford Simon Barratt.  We’d both contributed to the online forum at www.foldingkayaks.org – Rodford had an Alpaca Pack Raft and, if I remember this right, another folding kayak.  We and another forum member had collaborated on a ridiculous thread about trains, Chattanooga, dancing, The Great Powers, espionage, and so forth that got about 250,000 views before the forum’s owner made its sub-forum viewable only by registered users.  Rodford was a professional dancer on stage and in film; he went online with Men Who Danced, and for some reason included me in the mailing list.  Oddly enough, since childhood and like the Rex Harrison character in The Honey Pot, I’ve wished I was graceful enough to dance well and acrobatically.  Rodford additionally started other online groups – Paddler’s Liberation Front which morphed from a blog to a Facebook group, and another for inline skaters.  Rodford and I exchanged emails about fatherhood, athleticism through the lifespan, numerology (about which I think he published two or three small volumes), waterways of England, dance, bicycling, and other subjects of interest to us both.  I wish I’d had the chance to meet the man in person.  He died in late December 2015 and I learned of his passing in January 2016.  One of Rodford’s friends reported that he died at home of heart failure while exercising – not a bad way to go.  I’ve felt a little depressed since learning of my unmet friend’s death.  He was somebody I liked.

In April of last year, another friend died, but I haven’t wanted to write about it.

I Haven’t Felt Much Like Writing

Probably related to my depressed feelings about Rodford’s death, my annoying holiday illnesses and injury, and sometimes trying workplace, I haven’t felt much like writing so far this year.  I’ve been spending most of my energies in the workplace and with family.

I Haven’t Been Spending Much Time Using Facebook

Controversies and conversations I could join, memes to mock, statuses to comment, and I’ve mostly abstained; don’t recall the last time I updated my own Facebook status.  I do recall changing my profile picture to the Alternative Universe Good-At-Being-Evil Dr. Doofenshmertz.  I have a school-aged son and a Netflix subscription – we watch a lot of Phineas and Ferb together.  It’s probably the best kid’s TV show you can watch with a First Grader.  I like the Alternative Universe Doofenshmertz because he’s a competent evil professional.  In the event I ever go badly off the rails, I’d continue to shoot for competence even though the empire I envision ruling would be a lot more interesting than Doofenshmertz’s.

Since writing this post, I have updated my Facebook status.

WWJD

While driving to work on a Tuesday or Wednesday, a couple of weeks ago, I saw a bumpersticker on the back of a truck and noted the word, Jesus, on it.  I thought it would say something about Real Men loving Jesus or something similar.  For some reason, though, I looked at the sticker and read it.  It’s vulgar and irreligious message cracked me up; in fact, I laughed out loud intermittently over the next couple of minutes.  On audio CD in the car, however, I’d been listening to Matthew’s gospel and it had got to the second chapter – the part about Herod having the male children, age two and under, in Bethlehem slaughtered to ensure that he who had been called by the Magi “The King of the Jews” would never arise to threaten his reign.  The juxtaposition in my mind of vulgar humor over against the seriousness of the incarnation of deity gave me pause.  Instead of making a long blog post about all of this, I talked about it with friends at our congregation’s Wednesday evening meeting.  I’m finding that I’ve been interacting more this year with people face to face than electronically; it seems fitting to me.

Done with Iphone

I ditched my wireless telephony carrier data-plan to save some money – turns out I’ll save over $300 per year switching back to the provider’s 99-cent flip phone.  I’m wasting a lot less time now that I’m not carrying around a tiny, Internet-connected computer with me.  The change has resulted in decreased photographic effort, although the new cell-phone does have a camera.  Things I miss about the Iphone?  Alvio Cyclemeter, camera function (Iphone takes better pictures than the flip-phone and files are easier to transfer), ability to waste time with Facebook and email, weather reports when the power’s out at home, easy to manage reminders, calendar, contacts from any computer.

I bought another Pentax Optio W30 to replace the one I gave my son when he was four years-old and has since that time knocked about enough that shutter speed and a couple of other features are no longer what they once were when I bought it as NOS.  The factory refurb I got for about $44 will now accompany me on my adventures in the real world.  My Jamis bike came with a Planet Bike cycling computer, but I hate it.  I’m planning to get a Magellan Cyclo 315 to keep track of my mileage and to keep me from getting bad lost in Tennessee hills and Midwestern farmland.  Because  I don’t care about all that heart-rate-and-cadence-monitor hokum, I’ll get the base-model.  It should be compatible with some of the Magellan topo maps that came with the Explorist 710 I got (used) to try out as an all-in-one cycling computer, GPS, and camera.  I found the 710 unsuitable for my purposes and, because the unit I bought was defective, I sent it back.

The one-time expense approach to cycling and photography appeals more to me than the data-plan subscription approach necessitated by the Iphone.  My Iphone 4 now sits in a desk drawer sans recharge.  I think it’ll stay there for a long time.

Interesting Workplace

This semester, I’m doing an internship in the locked psychiatric ward where I did my practicum placement last semester.  I’ve pretty much gotten over my fear of the features or manifestations of mental illness.  A large number of our patients are very old, so I am also learning about the dementing process and various types of dementia.  I’m tired by the time I get home in the early evening; my coworkers tell me this is normal.  The work is largely enjoyable, and I like both patients and coworkers.

Upper Body Strength

Since I’ve had less time for cycling than previously, I’ve been trying to improve upper body strength with pull-ups, push-ups, dumb-bells, medicine ball, and so forth.  My hope is that increasing muscle mass will help burn more fat.  When cycling, here lately, I’ve pedaled with my son so he can get out of the house, too.  We both need to be outside and if I fail to take advantage of this time we have to spend together, we’ll both regret it as we get older.  For Christmas a few years ago, I got an Iron Gym and a couple of weeks ago, I got a Power Press push-up board.  I’ve redoubled my efforts with the Iron Gym and have taken to the Power Press with some intensity.  We’ll see if I start building muscle and shedding fat.

10 Things I Hate About the Iphone

1. It’s not a flip phone.  That bugs me because all of my previous cellular telephones (all three of them since about 2003) have been flip-phones and I’ve gotten used to flipping open the phone to look at the time, like pocket-watch users of my great-grandfather’s generation.

2. The contact pictures you choose for your contacts are obscured by a semi-transparent grid of six or so icons when your contacts telephone to you, which renders the “big profile picture screen” thing mostly useless.

3. When using the device as a telephone, the screen goes black almost immediately, and when you want to terminate a call, you’ve got fumble an instant to activate the screen and hit the “End” button.

4. It’s got a touch screen and the screen smudges easily.  Well, duh, of course it does.  But it’s disgusting to look at and if you’re like me (and you’re probably not) you’ll find yourself wiping it clear more often than you would a pair of glasses.

5. The “silent mode” is counter intuitive – when the red line shows at the switch, it shows red, which I would expect to indicate sound is “on.”  But that’s not the way it works.  When the red line shows, it’s in silent mode.  For about a week, I thought my phone was broken and I kept missing calls.

6. It’s not easy to figure out how to block numbers of unwanted callers.  It is easy to clear missed or recent calls, but that’s all you can do with the line-item edit feature.

7. Although it takes reasonably good pictures out of doors, it’s too easy to cover part of the lens with part of your hand.  I prefer a dedicated camera.

8. Sometimes when I move the Iphone, applications open without my selecting them by touch.  It’s the phone and not my clumsy digits.

9. Fairly often the phone’s internal gyroscope thinks I’ve turned it sideways when I’ve only set it down with a lateral left or right motion, and re-orients the screen.

10. It’s a distraction.  I used to use my cellular telephone only for calls or to know the time with a fair degree of accuracy.  Now I’ve become one of those idiots who’s constantly looking down into his hand to receive information I’d be just as well off waiting several hours to see.

Botched-Self-Portrait