Polar CS500 Bike Computer

Polar CS 500 Bike Computer Set up ExperienceI have been reading about biking computers lately and wanted to upgrade what I have so I could monitor and record my heart rate. This will give me a better idea of what cardio zone I am training in thus allowing me to start to tune my training better. I did a lot of research and opted for the Polar CS500 because of the features, functionality and profile. It has speed, cadence and heart rate sensors with the option of a power meter which I want to add at some point whether a polar or another type. But, that is later. Right now this is a good start. The write up was good and I liked the idea that it has wireless downloading of your rides to the Polar Trainer online software. I also liked the flat profile and the idea that you can scroll through screens with a rocker motion, meaning you can push down right or left and it moves through the screens vs. the traditional side buttons on some models like my old one which I found hard to change screens when riding.

I did the set up myself with the help of my wife. It was pretty straight forward and the problems we did have were easy to figure out from the Polar installation videos that they have on their site. All and all pretty painless.

We will see how it works and I will post a review as I log some miles and learn how to use it.

Giro Ionos Road Bike Helmet Review

Giro Ionos Road Bike Helmet white silverI originally bought Giro black helmet back when I started riding earlier this year. Given the heat I decided to get a new helmet in all white. I read around more about helmets and Giro appears to be on the best in the business. I went to their website, read about them all and decided on the Ionos model is white/silver. What I’ve learned about helmets as a result of researching buying a new one is that the more expensive models allow more air to flow through the helmet as a result of more advanced materials that are used in the construction. Thus you get a lighter helmet where they can allow less material to get the same protection which in turn allows more air flow and in theory lets your head breath better. Important stuff when riding in the heat that is for sure.

I searched around on prices and the best I could find was on Amazon. I checked with my local bike shop and told them what the price I found was, told them if they could get close I would buy from them because I could rather support the local guys if I could. Shop would not budge and was at least $50 more, so I rolled with Amazon. I have worn it a few times and it’s made a big difference, not only is it a lot cooler, but it is also lighter and has a little better fit. It is an upgraded model from my first one. So far pretty happy with the fit and weight.


Mavic Ksyrium SL Wheels

I’ve been talking to the guys on my group ride and reading some things online. Road bikers say there are a few items at the top of the list if you want to upgrade your bike for performance. At the top of the list is a good set of wheels, apparently they can make all the difference in the world. Other items are tires, they have all sorts of variations, but a good set can roll a lot easier. Then of course there is the bike frame itself. A stiffer lighter frame allows the energy you produce to go right into the peddles and to your wheel. The lighter part of it is less weight you have to power over the course of your ride.

I’m starting the upgrade process with wheels. There is a lot of debate on buying used road/ road racing wheels. You never know what you are going to get, have they been crashed, how many miles do they “really” have on them etc… Well, given the price of a good set of wheels, I am shooting for a used pair and will take my chances. Lucky for me I found a pair of used Mavic Ksyrium SL wheels with under 200 miles on them. The Bike Doctor in Easton is putting them. Soooo, I was thinking, if I ride for fun and fitness, shouldn’t I make it harder on myself and keep the old wheels so I work harder? Bike industry marketing at it’s finest says, “No way, get the cool tech stuff or you’re just not cool” ….but hey, I will be faster, I hope 🙂

What I Learned When Buying My First Road Bike

When I first set a budget when setting out to buy my first road bike I figured I would just set a price and go from there. My target was $1,800. From everything I read I could get a decent starter bike in that price range. So I set out and as I already posted found the Jamis Ventura Elite. It came in right around that price with tax. Great, goal accomplished, I hit my target budget…….wrong. Here is what I did not account for because I did not know what I did not know.

For a road bike you need clip in peddles, they are the best option to maximize your effort. Fine, I added them, I landed a set of Looks in the mid price range, translated a little over $100. If you get clip in peddles you need biking shoes. Biking shoes come in as many varieties as bikes and in as many price ranges. I knew nothing about bike shoes so I opted for a beginner pair. Translated a beginner pair of Specialized, hit the cash register for about $125. You need water when you bike and thus you need water bottles, OK ones $5 each, you need at least two on your bike and maybe an extra, ding ding $15. You need a way to carry your water bottles on your bike, translate that to water bottle holders. Get cheap ones for $9.99 and they will be heavy and add a lot of weight, if you do not care plan on $20, if you care, which did, plan on getting carbon fiber and paying at least $45…each! I got mine on Amazon because they were the best price I could find. The ones I found were the lightest out there called Topeak Carbon Fiber Waterbottle Cage, $90.

Having fun yet? It’s not over.

Then you need riding shorts and a few jerseys. I took the advice from everyone and bought the best I could afford, sitting on your butt on a small seat for hours will remind you that the bitterness of a sore ass will remain long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten. $100/pair for good riding shorts, at least that much, more for bibs which apparently the pro or experienced riders use. I opted for regular shorts to start. Another $200.

Biking jerseys I learned as like fashion clothing. With out going into it too much, plan on paying at least $50 jersey if you find them on sale. I found mine on Amazon at OK prices.

If you want to log your miles and cadence which apparently is a good idea, you need a computer. I got a cheap one to start that does not do your heart rate, but does miles and cadence. $79.

Gloves, you can not ride with out gloves, your hands will get sore, so I am told. At least $20 for a starter pair, I got two $40

Helmet. For me not an option not to get. Given I figure I will only get one head I bought the best I could afford, a Giro. $150. There are better ones that are apparently lighter, too hard for me to tell if they protect you any more then others, but it’s all about weight in this sport I am learning.

Bike light. I tend to try to be as safe as possible. I used to ride a Harley and learned real quick how cars can not see things on two wheels on the road. I opted for a blinking right for the rear seat. $15

Bike pump. You need a decent one that has a guage. I got a Specialized, $45.

Tire repair kit. You need a spare bike tube, multi tool, manual compack bike pump and CO2 cartridges with the attachment so you can get it on your tube stem.   Then a bag to carry it all. Or you can carry it in your back pocket of your shirt, I opted to start with a pouch for the back of my seat. Let’s call it $25 all in depending on the type of portable pump you get, they come in all shapes sizes and price ranges.

Socks. I did not have any low cut socks so I bought cycling socks. A few bucks a piece, you can probably get decent ones at Target if you wanted, I went for the “cool” look.

I’m not going to add up, but you get the idea of the other stuff you are going to need if you get into road biking. Don’t do what I did buy a bike that fits your budget number, figure in this stuff, subtract it from your budget and then you will have an idea of the price range of the bike you can afford.

Jamis Ventura Elite Road Ready

Jamis Ventura Elite BikePicked up my new Jamis Ventura Elite road bike from the Bike Doctor in Easton, MD tonight. Paul and his staff did a great job getting my fit right and all set up… now all we need is this rain to get out of here and I’m hitting the open road.