This device has transformed my rides, gives you more data than you can shake a stick at. It’s a remarkable piece of kit just larger than two bike computers that tells you when, where ,how hard, how high, and if your going in the right direction.
Now I’m still pondering on how to write up this page as it is a fairly steep learning curve to get the best out this remarkable device. I’ll leave the navigation features until the end as you need to know the difference between Tracks, Courses, and Routes.
You will need a computer with a USB port to transfer data between the two, you don’t need any fancy mapping software to start with and the whole point of my purchase was to NOT carry a map. I just want to ride, have a great day out and log the ride while I’m at it.
Once you played around with the settings and set the thing up with bike and your personal details the next step is to get out there and do something. Just press the start button and it says “timer started” and go and do your stuff. Once you have finished press the button again and that’s about it. Connect the Edge up to your computer when you get home and upload your data into the Training Centre.
The Training Centre software that comes with the Edge looks fairly basic ( it is ) but it NOT navigation software. It is designed to log your rides, show very basic maps of what you’ve been up to and create Courses from your ride logs. You can program waypoints that use the basic icons built into the Edge. Turn left, turn right, Food, summit, etc it works quite well. Once you have some riding history you will be able to save logged rides as courses. Courses also support the virtual partner which is you on a good day.
If your wanting OS colour maps this is not the device for you but the Do Course function will provide you with a easy way of following a previously ridden logged route. It supports the direction and information icons. It is important not to confuse Courses with Routes.
Routes on the Garmin Edge series can only support 100 waypoints, this is VERY important. Navigating a Route on a Garmin Edge can be a very rewarding experience.
You haven’t had to ride this route, just program it in using route planning software. Which can be FREE, more importantly it is better than the purchased Ordnance Survey route planning based software.
If you only go away from this site with one piece of useful information let it be this.
” A 1:50,000 Ordnance survey map does not support street or roadnames.”
As a cyclist you need this information, your routes will be planned by others that either know where they are or know the road names and the area from years of experience.
If you receive a ride or route that mentions roadnames your OS based route planning software is next to useless believe me I’ve been there. Far better is the Google maps based free programs out there that actually work with real life routes that you will receive.
I’ve had flak off various people on forums out there decrying the Edge as poor for navigation etc. They are all looking for Latitude/ Longitude solutions because they are also walkers and use a map and probably an eTrex. I won’t decry the other Garmin products but they are aimed at a different segment of leisure user. I.E no heartrate, cadence, gradient, laps etc.
There are a number of free mapping programs out there but the one I am using is the Marengo one, this is similar to other Google maps based programs but with one difference. The ability to name your waypoints rather than just sequentially number them. Eg 1 LT would mean waypoint 1 Left Turn. Once you have selected navigate route as you approach the waypoint the Edge will bleep at you and give you a 10 second countdown as the display changes to indicate there is a left turn coming up.
On a ride with two of us using both the Edge 205 and Edge 305 when we rode side by side the units both bleeped at the same time as the turns came up. We don’t get lost anymore and even if we did make a wrong turning you’d be able to see if you could get back on course by going into map mode and reducing the scale.
One of the most useful features of the Edge that goes unnoticed until you are told about it or stumble across it is the backlight. Once you’ve pressed it once it will come on automatically as you approach your next waypoint while navigating a Route. The last audax I rode finished in the dark and this feature was a godsend at the end of 126 miles.
Marengo exports the route in the GPX format. To transfer the route into the Edge 205/305 I use GPSBABEL and that’s it. Select Navigation, then the route, then Navigate. One last thing enjoy your ride.
If you’ve got an important ride coming up it is best to clear all your routes and history from your Edge as you don’t want to navigate the wrong route.
I’m going to start a page on the Discovery Channel Rider Steve Cummins Training Ride Route that appeared in Cycling Weekly. My ride is posted on MotionBased and I’ll be perfecting the route over the next couple of rides of it.
If your doing events which is basically an organised ride then this is the device for you.
I hope the above has whetted your appetite but there is another feature that blows the mind when you start using it: Gradient. The price of the Garmin Edge 305 is worth it for this feature alone. It measures and displays gradient in real time, not when you get back from the ride but as you are actually riding the hill or slope. As long as you are logging the ride by having pressed the start button this feature will come up on the display. If I’m riding with a group or a few friends I’ll shout out the gradient as it comes up. Once it gets to the 20% mark (1 in 5) I tend to forget about telling everybody how steep it is and stick to the riding. As far as I know the Garmin Edge 205 does not feature this feature.
11 May 2007 This is starting to become a very popular area of the site and I’m looking for some comments, just because it’s under a page headings doesn’t mean you can’t post a comment. Post under Anon if you want. I’m thinking of doing a step by step guide to planning, downloading and riding a route into a Garmin Edge 205/305 but there is not much point if there is no demand.
Martyns new site well worth a visit and a subscription. Now only £5 a year.
Thanks for the comment Martyn, your software has really transformed the way I ride.
This page now gets 750 (19June07) (1000 Aug 07) views a month which makes it the second most popular page of the site. It is also a page that people actually read. The new page is great to use as the magnified box in the bottom right corner makes putting waypoints in a breeze.
18 Aug 07 There are a couple of important developments that may include a page re-write. The first is that All the Garmin products don’t support OS maps. The maps that they support on the higher end devices are their own maps. Garmins format is vector mapping.The Ordnance Survey raster method that the other computer based planers use do not integrate with Garmin devices well at all. You can’t upload your digital OS maps onto your Garmin.
The problem is that their environment is PC and towards a greater extent the recently mobile Windows/phone based devices. They have failed to realise that those that use the products like the Edge 205/305 are not interested in these formats, they just want to follow a ROUTE or a COURSE non of which they support. It looks great in a magazine with a compressed Ordnance Survey map but as they store their routes as Waypoints (of which you have 100) the fact that you have 13000 bread crumbs is neither here nor there.
The other problem with commercial mapping software is sharing your route, in a nutshell you can’t. Unless you all use the same software the only way of sharing routes is the GPX format. They seem to suffer GPS devices rather than embrace them. Not many walkers or cyclists carry a laptop around with them. GPS enabled phones that support Windows Mobile seems to be their only way into the walking/cycling market. At the moment it’s really only for sitting at home with and dreaming. It is useful to cross reference the Google Maps based sites like Marengo as they do have some limitations. You only get to find these out on a ride.
So in conclusion if your thinking of buying a Garmin device and you require maps your going to be better off with the Garmin digital map products. If your looking for Ordnance Survey (or USDem) stick with paper maps. This needs to be factored into your purchase decision.
As you can see on these two screenshots there is a significant difference when you use one of the Garmin maps in the TrainingCentre. With a Garmin map loaded you could actually plot a Course in the TrainingCentre. With just the Base Map loaded it is a futile exercise that just leads to a lot of frustration.
I’ve seen Edge 205,s for around £70 on Ebay so you could be out there doing all this for not a great deal of money considering the technology.
In the UK I’ve only found one digital mapping software company that supports Garmin Edge 205/305 Courses and that is Tracklogs. The Anquet software does not support Edge 305 Courses.The Anquet software also converts trackpoints into waypoints which is the last thing you want with an Edge.It does support all the other Garmin GPS,s. In Anquet,s favour though it does support the PocketPC devices which is where I first started. Expensive to drop and poor battery life caused me to give up PocketPCs as a stopgap solution until the Edge.
More on Tracklogs when I’ve had a good play but initial impressions are favourable.
Not too expensive for the CD of Wales that I bought.
I’m planning to do a further Tutorial on Courses as there are such a lot of you visiting the Route planning tutorial. Until you know the difference between the two a device like the Edge is little more than an expensive cycling computer.
One section I haven’t covered is the Training section as I don’t use it that much except to do a Course. Once you start riding with a group your not going to get much chance to use it.
Updated 6 Dec07 with Basemap thumbnails and spell checked, I didn’t realise there were so many errors in the page.
Update 18 Nov 08 Recieved a comment from Mark with this www.Bikehike.co.uk link. A good site that combines Google and Ordnance Survey maps on the same page.