How much tech can you put into cycling?

In just a few days time I’m planning to do a cycle ride for charity. It’s in aid of the the Douglas Macmillan Hospice. I have a grand total of £0 in sponsorship on my JustGiving page. I’m dedicating it and doing it in memory of my father. Some of the longer-term readers may remember this post which I added when my father passed away. He was at Stafford Hospital at the height of the scandals and the continual news and revelations don’t exactly bring back happy memories.

In June I’m also taking a small trip from London to Paris. This is in aid of Edwards Trust. Both charities are equally deserving, so if you can help, please do.

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This whole thing isn’t something I’ve done before. I started riding a bike, which is something I’ve not done since my teenage years, just a few months ago. Riding in the dark, the cold, the rain and coming home with your legs throbbing isn’t always fun.

So how does this all relate to Coolsmartphone? Well, just recently I asked GoPro if I could review one of their cameras in order to document the cycling adventures. They responded, but weren’t keen, and told me to contact their distributors here in the UK to arrange a review. After doing that, no-one responded.

Luckily the people at Garmin had emailed me at about the same time and offered this on loan, the Garmin Virb. I’ll have a full review of this very soon, but took the camera out on Sunday for a test run.
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Now, I should mention that the lovely Garmin press people didn’t send me an attachment to fit it to my bike helmet, and attempting to fit it to my handlebars resulted in a really wobbly recording. So, thanks to the saviour of DIY’ers everywhere – cable tie – I managed to rig it to my helmet that way.

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The camera does full 1080p HD video recording and has a 16 megapixel lens with a bucket load of settings (including anti-shake) and it’ll record up to 3 hours at 1080p. I whacked in a 64GB memory card and had it running during my horribly wet Sunday morning jaunt. The resulting video is very decent indeed, although the rain on the lens was unavoidable. Here’s a little taster of some of the terrain I’ll be facing on my charity rides in the next week or two..

Next up is this thing, and I’ve really taken a punt with this one. It’s a GSM tracker from the boys at dx.com. The Mini A8 will, according to the very minimal details, send you a rough location (based on triangulation of network masts) when you send a text message to it. Whether it’ll work is another thing, but I’m going to give it a spin, and hopefully you guys can follow my progress to Paris by sending a text message to it.

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Last of all, Strava. I’ve tried pretty much all the other fitness trackers but, sorry, Strava just nails it every time. A quick application, a fantastic support team and a brilliant website. I run it on an old Android which, using one of the waterproof cases I reviewed earlier, keeps track of my speed, location and height even when I’m pedalling through that insane rain I showed on the YouTube video up top.

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Now of course, I’m open to suggestions here. If I’ve missed something that you think I should be using, do give me a yell in the comments below! I’d love to mention it here too.