Garmin Fit (Yet Another Cycling App!)

I’ve moved to yet another iPhone app for cycling.  In my defence, Garmin has the best GPS (in general) and support and a free and comprehensive website, viz. Garmin Connect.

What to buy

I couldn’t quite spring for $399 for a Garmin 510 bundle:

  • I’d just bought a bike and spent all of my money;
  • I bought a DuoTrap integrated cadence and speed sensor for it;
  • A conventional speed and cadence sensor won’t fit on my MTB, probably;
  • I have a lovely Suunto M2 HRM, but it is ANT, which is not compatible with ANT+;
  • I really only wanted to interface a HR belt to my iPhone.

As luck (or design) would have it, the Garmin ANT+ iPhone adapter will not work with Strava or MapMyRide.  Forget interoperability!  I could buy a compatible adapter and belt from the Internet, but I wanted one that was locally supported.

Garmin Fit App

So, I bought the Garmin Fit app.  It happily detected my ANT+ Adapter (in fact, the iPhone switches to the Garmin Fit app when the adapter is plugged in), the DuoTrap and the HR belt.  The interface is simple and attractive and the display pages, while not configurable, are at least logically arranged:

  1. Map, time, distance and music controls;
  2. Time, distance, speed, calories;
  3. Heart Rate, Average HR, Cadence, Average Cadence;
  4. Power, 3s Power, Average Power; Lap Power;
  5. Max Power

Activities seem to be limited to Running, Cycling, Walking and Other, but that is only the simple app interface.  Once the activity is synced to the Garmin Connect website there’s many more options and sub-categories to choose from.  Changing location from Outdoors to Indoors will switch off GPS, which is useful for recording heart rate while on a stationary bike or cross-trainer.  Sensors are detected very quickly.

Garmin Connect

The matching website presents a lot of data.  If you have a cadence sensor the website will show the number of pedal strokes you did.  The analysis features compare similar rides that you have ridden; there’s no segments posted by others to compare to.  So I export each ride as a TCX file to upload to Strava for sharing.

I’ll write more about the website in a future post, including how to upload data from a Tanita scale.

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