I’m notoriously a bad map reader. After only living in London for two years and having the luxury of friends who know routes (like I know coffee shops), I’ve never forced myself to learn my .gpx from my .tcx. I much prefer spending time with .jpgs. I also don’t own a heart rate monitor and only recently re-joined Strava after raging against the machine for about six months last year.
I’m a complete GPS amateur (unless we're referring to über).
After missing the kudos gratification emails, I signed back up to Strava at the start of the year but was still missing a GPS device. Every time I looked into buying one, the amount of features and variables confused me and I always ended the online shopping trip with ‘Fuck it, I’ll just use my iPhone’. Product details felt wanky or jargon heavy and customer reviews often seemed over-complicated.
That’s normally the sound you make when you’re excited, something has gone well or you have a break through. This time it was all three. I recently found the Wahoo Elemnt and after spending some time with it on the roads (the roads I previously got lost on), I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Here are the top features that I now wonder how I lived without:
1. WIRELESS ROUTES:
Across the different people I ride with, there’s a wealth of great routes that have already been created. From receiving the .gpx file to following the map in the saddle, the process was so basic even this GPS amateur did it without a user guide. I uploaded the files via Strava labs and, with no wires in sight, all the routes were ready on the Elemnt. I’ve grew up with wifi, but this kind of magic still excites me. I've now got routes from computer to road quicker than I clip in at traffic lights.
2. SIMPLE STRAVA INTERGRATION:
Once I finish a ride, my first worry isn’t about stretching, it’s about strava. I’ve been burnt too many times with file failure and over-reacting in a way only cyclists who have lost data understand. I now get to say ‘Wahoo!’ every time I finish a ride, as the computer speaks to my phone which then speaks to my Strava. A one way conversation I'll never tire of hearing. The ride that shows I’m 6543rd on that segment I thought I smashed, is uploaded in two easy steps.
3. PHONE CALL CONNECTION:
Whilst making my way to the meet point one morning, the Elemnt started buzzing with the word ‘Mum’ across the screen. Albeit novel at first (the surprise of it made me smile), it’s an extremely useful feature. Whether you’re waiting for an important call or knowing who to ignore (soz Mum), you feel more connected without losing the freedom that riding brings.
4. EASY NAVIGATION:
From bulky gloves to sweaty hands, it’s not always easy to navigate GPS computers whilst riding. I often ‘zoom out’, so I can see just how far away from home I actually am. Instead of a touch screen that doesn’t play game with your winter gloves, the Elemnt has two chunky buttons on the side (which I often press, just because I like how they feel).
I’ve tried to be a hero and not read the manual, so there are a lot of features I’m still to organically find. That can often be the best way to learn because you discover what you actually need, not what a ‘product developer’ thinks you should use.
Since my first ‘Wahoo!’ moment, I've found the freedom that I mistakenly thought I already had. No longer do I have to hope my phone battery lasts or make sure I'm with a rider who can tell me when to turn right. I’m armed with my own safety blanket, beautifully mounted in the middle of my handlebars. Only one button away from the next adventure.
After thinking I wasn’t built for the GPS life, I’m finally in my elemnt.
Full details: http://eu.wahoofitness.com/gps-bike-computer-elemnt.html