Saturday, 28 July 2018

Lezyne Macro GPS review

After 6 years of trusted reliable service, I've finally decided to give my Garmin Edge 200 the boot and update to a new GPS cycle computer.

Why? The Garmin still works and records the data I need.

  • It has no connectivity, so I need to connect to a computer to upload rides.
  • The USB cover fell out several years ago, and the port itself is feeling slack, so possibly only a matter of time before it pulls out.
  • The USB itself is a fairly old mini-USB and those leads aren't as common as I found recently when I wanted to upload a ride and could not locate a cable
  • The Garmin doesn't give me notifications or texts on the device, and the phone is a huge brick when tied to the handlebars. I often get texts on the ride home from work telling me to divert which I don;t see until I get home which kinda defeats the object.

I was tempted by the Garmin 25 which does all I need, but has a silly specific cradle rather than a standard micro-USB lead. The new garmin 130 fits the bill but is north of £150.
Various people have recommended Wahoo Elemnt computers, but again they're north of what I wanted to pay.

The Lezyne GPS devices are keenly priced and do all that I want. There are a few models and Lezyne have a good comparision chart here.

Cos I'm an old bugger now, with dodgy eyesight I quickly ruled out the micro range as too small so it boiled down to a Macro or a Super GPS. The Super adds Glonass (russian GPS), a barometric altimeter, and ANT+ all for an extra £30 or so. It does have Bluetooth so will connect to phones and HRs (I have one so may have a play again). Lezyne do BT speed and cadence sensors too if that floats yer boat.

A bit of shopping and a Macro GPS was soon winging it's way from Germany (ahh, the benefits of being in a single market). With delivery it was still cheaper than buying from UK.

It's about the same size as the old Edge 200, but a bit deeper, and a slightly more functional industrial design. It's not very aero, but then I'm not.

It's a GPS cycle computer so it does all you would expect with no surprises. It records speed, distance, time, elevation. If you have the sensors connected it will show all that info too. It'll upload to Strava cos doesn't everything now?

The startup status screen has GPS signal, and other info like battery life for both Lezyne and phone. It will also pull in similar data from Shimano Di2 and other sensors if you have them

Unlike the garmin which has a set 4 fields with the bottom one rotating, the Lezyne has a max of 5 data pages, each with a selection of layouts offering up to 8 items per page to satisfy the hardcore data geeks. It can auto scroll through the pages.

After only a couple of rides, I'm still playing with all of that, but I've already found I don't like the auto-scroll, and have distilled down to 3 pages


  • A page mimicking the Garmin layout (speed, distance, elapsed time, avg speed)
  • A second page with additional data (clock, temperature, ascent, and calories burnt) 
  • A third page with most data on a single page (Elapsed time, speed, distance, avg speed and temp)

The lezyne has some other cool stuff as well such as email and text notifications, and will display when a call comes in. It would be great if the unit could have an option to flash or similar rather than just display, but that's just me

It uses the bluetooth via the phone to auto-upload to Strava if you have the feature enabled as soon as you save the ride. You'll then have to go in to strava and rename the ride and flag as a commute etc if you need to. It will display live strava segments if you're competitive that way (which I am not) and chase KOMs like video game high scores, but you'll need a Strava Premium for that. It doesn't do it for cheapskates on the free plan. All of this also depends on the phone having internet connectivity via wireless or mobile data

There's a companion phone app (Lezyne Ally, and website ). You can create routes in either, or if you have routes in Strava or other platforms you can export as TCX and import in. There is a tease of a menu for direct strava route import but it's still "coming soon". You can then instruct the head unit to follow the route via the app.

Another cool thing the app can do is live navigation. It allows you to select a destination via a search or tapping the screen. It will then route sat nav style on the head unit giving you detailed directions rather than just a breadcrumb like Garmins. I'm not sure what mapping back end they're using but the generated routes do seem to be bike specific so that's good

There is also a live tracking feature, where you specify email contacts and when you start a ride it will automatically squirt off an email with a link for live tracking you when you start a ride. Which is nice

Included in the box is a micro-USB cable. There's also a standard mount for fitting to bars or stem with O rings. Additional bar and forward mounts can be purchased. Sadly the mounting is not compatible with Garmins, which is a shame. A standardised mount across brands would be very useful.

Whilst we're mentioning micro-USB the device's port has a rubber cover, that has a lip on each side to keep it in place, which is a lot better than the edge's press in and hope effort (although that's an old design now). I found it was so snug it was fiddle getting cable to plugin to charge.

As hinted above, Lezyne do seem to be active in adding new software features to the devices and the website and app.

The Macro GPS (and the other Lezyne units) offer a wealth of features that are useful to commuting and transport focused cyclists as well as for the more sport orientated KOM chasers. And for the features they are dirt cheap compared to the competition.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

What no one tells you when you start cycling to work

This my take on 11 things no one tells you about cycle commuting.  There's lots to be honest. Cycle commuting is great. Just do whats comfortable for you.
This was inspired by this pile of horse droppings

1. It's brilliant even when the weather's a bit crap

In the UK we deal with a wide variety of weather. Most of the time it's great to cycle in, and even when it isnt the feeling of beating the elements when you reach the end is uplifting. Actual weather that is bad enough to leave the bike behind isn't all that frequent.

2. Most drivers are actually ok.

Yea it's true. Some drivers are complete bellends but most do pass safely and will often wave you across crossing points, especially when they're queueing. Not a given, so keep alert and don't take anything for granted

3. Explore route options. You may find a nicer one

When you drive to work all roads look busy and intimidating to cycle on and unless you're a nutter or adrenaline junkie they are. It is often possible to find  relatively direct and quiet alternative safe routes to cycle though. You may need to be creative with the odd link though.

4. Cycling is a sociable activity

Smile and say hello to the other cyclists you pass. If you're both going the same way start chatting. Most will chat back and the miles will fly by. You'll meet some fascinating thoughtful people who you'd never meet driving.

5. Second breakfasts and lunches

Cycling to work doesn't save money. What you save on fares or fuel you'll spend on a bacon buttie or a second lunch cos you've scoffed your sandwiches by 10am

6. Cycling is me time.

Cycling to work and back is great me time. Some use it to listen to music or podcasts etc. Some enjoy the whoosh of the tyres on tarmac. Some enjoy the closeness to nature and some just to de-stress. It's your time. Enjoy it your way

7. Ebikes are not cheating

Contrary to what some say ebikes are not cheating. They open the door for a lot to cycle who otherwise couldn't. They can be a gateway drug and once you've tried electric you may not go back.

8. Sod it, it's ok to take the car sometimes

Don't feel guilty about waking up the odd  morning and deciding to use the car cos you feel tired or a bit under the weather. Frankly no one will judge or care but you, and you will later on when you come around.

9.Bells can be quite rude. Talk to people

Although the tutty old dears may complain no one uses bells, few actually like them. Shout a cheery greeting from a distance. As you pass thank them. If the have a dog say hello to it, or mention what a nice/wet day it is.

10. Strava is not evil

People put Strava down or think it's only for athletes and nobs. You may not be the greatest cyclist, but hey We're all doing it to get fitter and healthier. Strava's best feature is the segments as they break the ride into lots of mini rides. That tough ride where the legs felt heavy often ends up having some quick segment times. Just don't let it rule you and check times after the ride

11. It's addictive

Get into the habit and after a few weeks you quickly find that riding to work becomes addictive, and you miss it when you skip it.