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.

Saint Valentine’s Day Ride

We had family in from out of state for the weekend.  I bought my wife an Amazon Fire TV box as a Valentine’s Day gift.  The gift of entertainment is one that keeps giving, I guess.  Our Samsung Smart TV lost its ability to connect to our network a long time ago, possibly due to a little kid beating on a Wii game to get bowling pins to fall over, or something like that.

Saturday morning we went to our son’s children’s league basketball game (he scored several goals – he’s good at sports even though my wife and I dislike team sports).  We all went to breakfast/lunch afterwards and over ate.  In the early afternoon, my father-in-law, son, and I went for a bike ride in the neighborhood.  At a nearby middle school, we watched kids practicing softball – my son was fascinated by the catching, throwing, and batting drills. 

After we got home, my son and father-in-law played catch and my son practiced batting in the back yard.  I built a fire outside and made my son a cup of hot chocolate.  Temperatures were in the low fifties and it was a windy day. 

In the late afternoon, I got to take a solo bike ride.  I’m out of shape and probably rode no more than 12 or so miles, but a lot of that was against a strong headwind.  Here in Stepford, there’s a lake by the country club that’s probably spring-fed and impounded by an earthen dam.  I rode out to it, walked my bike through the gate that prevents passage of motor vehicles and down a fairly treacherous and rocky roadbed.  Where it flattened out I got back on the bike and rode to the dam, then through the narrow space between another gate and steel fencepost, then across the dam to the other side.

Once across the dam, I noticed a path off to the right and rode over there.  It descends along where the water that escapes the dam forms a stream with falls, and the path leads to the bottom of the dam in back.  I took some pictures there with my new Optio W30.  Riding back across the dam to the neighborhoods to finish my ride, I crashed into that steel fencepost and banged up my shoulder and knee a little, but was not much hurt.  Then I finished my ride.

Supernova-&-WaterfallWinter-WoodsWooded-Trail

Winter Ride

Green-Bridge-&-Super-Nova

Last Saturday, I was the only one to show up for the local bike club’s Winter Standing Ride.  The ride is so named, I think, because it falls on the same Saturday each December.  The season’s still Fall, though, isn’t it?  I drove to the meeting place, arriving about on time, and waited until about a quarter past the hour during which time I talked about cycling with a couple who’d parked next to my car and started asking questions about the bike, about the club, about cycling.

I realized that I’d left my water bottles at the house, on the floor of the garage beside the stand where I keep my bike.  The day was cool, but I’d worn enough layers to keep me warm and, anyway, my alpha-class mutant power is sweating.  With that in mind, I set out against an annoying 10-15 mph headwind and rode out to a nearby college campus – maybe seven miles distant.  On a long, straight stretch of country road, the side-winds once or twice threatened my control of the bike’s forward motion.  That’s a down-side to riding a lightweight, modern frame; I never would have been blown the least bit off course riding the Miyata 610, a bike that’s almost 30 pounds fully rigged.

At the school, I stopped in at the Baptist Student Union – seeing lights on and cars out front – to use the bathroom and get a drink of water from the tap.  Turns out a congregation was in there having a Christmas party.  They kindly allowed me to use the bathroom and gave me a bottle of iced water from their cooler.  I was glad I’d worn a pair of windpants over my indecent-around-non-riders, anatomy disclosing thermal tights.

I halved my ride’s distance due to lack of much to drink; the 8 or 16 ounce bottle I’d been given didn’t last long.  On the way back, I stopped and visited a good friend and my amazing mom.  The horse picture I snapped at my friend’s house.  His wife home-schools their many offspring, and I guess used the rebus painted on the back of an out-building to teach equine anatomy.  I rode over the bridge pictured on a greenway near where I’d parked my car.

Parts-of-a-Horse-&-Super-Nova

Drive sides in – bike and horse

Thanksgiving Day Ride 2014

Supernova-Frisbee-Golf-Tee

With two days off mid-week, I got a couple of rides in.  Yesterday afternoon, I rode through some of the local neighborhoods.  After running a couple of errands this morning, in the cold and damp, I put the local frisbee-golf course to better purpose than that designated for it by the City of Stepford.  Open fields and muddy, wooded tracks made a pretty good cyclocross course, as did some disused “Outdoor Classroom” nature trails.  Here’re two shots of the Origin8 Gary 2 handlebars on the Super Nova:

Gary-2-Bars-SideviewGary-2-Supernova-Bow

Then I rode through some of the city’s worst neighborhoods to get to Old Pixley Highway.  I turned left on J.C.Penny road; where it meets Bronze Bather Falls Road, though, instead of riding on down to the Falls, I turned left.  At the top of the hill, I stopped at the No Ethanol gas station and ate a Larabar.  Then, I rode the few miles back to the house in time to shower and change for Thanksgiving Day meal with the extended family.

No-Ethanol

While riding though the uneven terrain of open fields, as well as on twisting, muddy, rutted trails of the frisbee-golf course, my bike’s Continental Tour Ride tires handled and held up superbly.  Mud tends to cake up on the tires either side of the raised center strip.  The tires didn’t skid or slide at all on the muddy trails, in the leaves, over broken branches and slick wooden bridges.  On damp pavement, the tires also handled extremely well.  So far, so good, for the 2007 Jamis Super Nova rain and winter bike.  Below are a couple of pictures showing the manner in which mud cakes up on the Continental Tour Ride tires:

Continental-Tour-Ride-Apres-Mud-2Continental-Tour-Ride-Apres-Mud-1Continental-Tour-Ride-Apres-Mud

Back in the Saddle

Offroad-2

Well, how did I get here?

It’s been awhile

since I’ve had time to do more than ride around the neighborhood in the evenings.  Maybe “Back In The Saddle” is overstating, but riding more than 3.3 miles at a time feels significant.  Yesterday, I got in about 70 minutes riding at an exertion level I’d characterize as high, then about 30 minutes of moderate effort and 15 minutes of easy pedaling.  Today, I rode about 61 minutes.  My average mph today was just under 16; yesterday’s, just over 15.  These averages are on a par with my speeds on the Miyata 610 when I am in pretty good condition, but I was riding the Jamis Supernova.

Today probably marks 50 to 60 miles with the Origin8 Gary2 handlebars; the 7th or 8th time I’ve ridden the Continental Tour Ride tires.  They feel like crap.  They feel heavy and slow on pavement, so I was surprised that my average speeds were as high as they were.  Yesterday’s ride included about two-and-a-half miles of unplanned offroad and dirt road riding, so I feel pretty good about that overall average of 15.03.

Truth is, I felt a little like crap yesterday, too.  Fat, heavy, sluggish after two or three weeks of no-time-to-ride and Halloween candy.  Oh yeah, and a beard, too.  For November, I’m growing a beard.  It’s got a date with Norelco or my barber come December, but for now, I’m letting it grow.  No one can really see you when you’re wearing a beard, just like no one can really see you when you’re wearing cycling kit and helmet.  Just one more generic cyclist on the road, unrecognizable as an individual.  So I felt okay about wearing cycling togs and going for a ride.

Today, I felt less like crap, and rode faster, too.  This time, the ride was pavement-only.

Thoughts About Riding a Lightweight Bike

Compared to the Miyata 610, which probably weighs close to 30 pounds rigged with saddlebag, rack, and water-bottle, the 2007 Jamis Supernova feels super-light at maybe 20 pounds?  More weight with the Continental Tour Ride tires, though.  Still, carbon seatstays, carbon fork, carbon seatpost, carbon headset spacers, triple-butted aluminum frame, aluminum handlebars – the bike feels flimsy.  It gets blown around a good deal in side winds, and feels like it may have trouble powering through a headwind.  Still, it’s only the side-winds that have so far been a problem to handle.

Today's Offroad Segment

Origin8 Gary2 Handlebars

Yesterday, on a dirt road, now degraded to little more than a dirt path, I hit a patch of broken cinderblock and stone at about 12 or 13 miles per hour.  The building materials had been used at one time to fill in a shallow ditch running through a treeline.  I didn’t see it until I was upon it and too late to brake so just pedaled across the jagged, uneven surface.  Thought I would for sure come to grief, but the bike withstood the abuse and I didn’t break stride.  You can see the place in the image above – it’s at the point I entered the trees just before the sharp left turn.

The Gary2 bars’ angle at the bar ends feels a little like I’m witching for water with the front fork and wheel instead of steering.  What that means is they feel a little squirrely on pavement.  When I hit that unexpected rough patch yesterday, though, they were rock-solid stable.  They are great offroad handlebars, much better than I thought they would be given their reputation as knock-offs of the On One Midge which is, itself, a knock-off of the Salsa Woodchipper, which, according to the Internet collective mind, owes much to the WTB Mountain Drops.

Up until the point marked as Mile 14, I knew exactly where I was headed.  The rest of that ride through the scrubby woods was just guesswork.  The Continental Tour Ride tires never once lost their grip, in fact, the bike as configured, was a joy to ride offroad across fields and on dirt roads.  What I’m having trouble getting used to are the bike’s on-road characteristics, but it shows promise.

Here are some more photos from yesterday’s ride – click on them for bigger images:

Jamis-Supernova-Burning-Bush-BSUBurnt-Down-BarnBurned Barn & Building

Cinderblock-DerelictOpen-Gate-Not-Posted

Offroad-1Dry-Creek-CrossingBack-to-Pavement