The Airnimal Has Landed

Well it arrived, a beautiful yellow dream machine. It came flat packed but I managed to keep singing throughout my frustrating attempts to put it together. Really it shouldn’t have been that hard, I’m just rather unfamiliar with all the road bike components – never heard of a Ring-go star.


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Anyway, I better stop calling her it and introduce you, she’s called Peryl and she has taken to living in my bath. Either I’m going to get pretty smelly or we’ll have to get over our inhibitions quickly and start showering together.

I took her out for a ride today and I’m pleased to say we got on well. Its going to be a bit of an adjustment for me, moving from my hybrid cannondale designed with comfort and more comfort in mind. The new Airnimal Chameleon Ultegra Ultra is very much more hardcore. Light, fast, sexy, although that is not how I feel after sitting on the saddle for an hour.

I really need to up the ante on the diet front again. I am not designed for sitting on a knife edge and the new bent forward, aerodynamic seating position brings my knees perilously close to my tits (which are certainly not my most aerodynamic feature).

The wheel size turns out to be fine, much better than the Brompton style wheel. It handles like a big bike and isn’t too jittery on the steering. Not quite sure about powering myself out of the saddle yet but I think my fears are because the bike is so light (and I’m not) rather than because of her diminutive size.

Not sure how the speed compares yet, it feels fast, my throat was burning in under a mile so I must have been going for it. I will try and rig up the polar S725 tonight and then I can tell for sure.

Pro Cycling on the Internet

I’m absolutely determined not to let the Tour De France whizz by without me noticing again this year. Its likely that it will be Lance Armstrongs final attempt and I would like to see him race at least once.
Anyway I’ve just read up on the new ProTour rules which threatens to make the professional scene a lot more exciting and understandable for the novice – so now I just need to find a channel I can watch it all on.
Well thankfully the hguys at cycling tv have sorted that out and it looks like the cover every race I could want to see – check them out at

Possible Solution to Speed and Cadence Issues

I still have the ongoing problem with the intermittent response from both the speed and the cadence sensor. As my new bike is turning up next week I need to get it sorted out as a matter of urgency.
I don’t want anything to get in the way of some serious training so I have done a bit of research and it looks like this might be a useful tip.

To increase the transmission range on the S510/S520/S710/S710i/S720 s-series speed/cadence sensors only:
– Remove sensor from the bike.
– Undo 2 small screws holding the two halves of the sensor together with a small philips screwdriver.
– Carefully remove one section of the housing (end with cable ties).
– Carefully slide the exposed printed circuit board a little way out.
– Remove the jumper plug from the inner most pin and insert it over the two pins closest to the edge of the circuit board. This will give the maximum range. Shorting out the inner two pins with the jumper plug gives the medium range.
– Re-assemble carefully in the reverse order.
– Becareful not to over-tighten the two screws which can either distort or crack the case leaving the unit not water resistant.
– Further information can be found on Page G82 of the S510 user’s manual or Page G90 of the S710i/S720i user’s manual.

web link

Speed Sensor failing with the polar s series

After about 2 weeks of playing with the new toy the speed function failed, I removed the sensors and remounted but regardless of position I couldn’t get the function to return. As it was failing it would work off and on so on download it appeared I had been stop starting constantly. The cadence monitor has started doing the same thing.

The HRM receiver and transmitter works fine if I ignore the bike features but then I could have spent considerably less on a heart rate monitor without the bike features.

I have contacted polar and they have given me a number of pointers to check out. Read on if you are having the same issues.

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More Graphing Genius

I promised to show you a few snaps from the Nokia 5140 after I’ve downloaded the days commute:


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This just shows the altitude, heart rate and cadence functions on a pretty decent colour display. It would show speed as well but I seem to be having problems with the speed sensor.


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This is a really useful summary feature that isn’t even available on the PC software. Have you noticed that it says I’ve used 839 calories? That’s just the cycle home – I should be a flippin rake by now, instead I continue to look like a brick shit house on wheels.

Polar 725 – Graphed and ready to go

Here’s an example screen shot from the polar precision performance software that comes bundled with the S725.
Quite why I need precision performance when I’m only commuting to work. mmmmmm I think I like to waste money.


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Anyway it great to be able to relive my trip to work, I can see the point at which my heart appears to stop – that’s the level crossing and how I constantly have to stop and start for traffic lights and then how I start taxing myself as I steam up the very minor hill in Hyde Park. Trouble with commuting is that todays ride is the same as tomorrows and the next days and so on. The incentive to upload the files wears off after a while.

Perhaps in the spring I better start adding some proper cycle training into the mix and start heading for Richmond Park at the weekend.

Nokia 5140 and Polar Connectivity

I’ve just downloaded the polar link for cycling gadget/accessory thing for my mobile phone.
Yes of course its another ridiculously unecessary item of gadgetry!

Anyway, its amazingly easy to download files from the Polar 725 watch – much easier than to the pc and it shows a useful summary and graphic file of the work out.
I could now email it to someone if I had anyone even remotely interested or instead I could entertain myself with it for a few moments and then move on to the next project.

I’ll try and upload a few screen shots later.

Ultimate Control Diet

I feel fit and full of energy but when it comes to weight loss I am always disappointed by the hit and miss nature of it all. Sometimes I lose weight and other times I seem to sit on a plateau.

I would like to take all the guess work out of my diet so that when I sit and wonder whether to have that extra packet of nuts I know exactly whether it will tip me over the balance and scupper my weight loss plans for this week.

When you exercise loads it is so easy to think you deserve a little treat and it must be that little treat that makes all the flippin difference.

To counteract this I have devised a spreadsheet based on the calorie intake required to maintain a sedentary person of my weight and knocked a few calculations in to take account of my exercise and required weight loss. It spits out the answer to live the universe and everything in the form of a very small number of calories that I am allowed to consume for the day.

I’ll keep you updated, if my maths is accurate I should be wather thin in months.

Ischia – Island of Thermal Spa’s

Ischia is a small island off the Amalfi coast. We reached it by ferry from Naples and later moved on by ferry to the glitzy island of Capri. There isn’t much to visually excite you about Ischia, it is just a lump of rock populated by folk and their boats. The interest lies in the geological activity that has left this place an oasis of thermal spas.

Accomodation anywhere around Amalfi is expensive so we decided to travel to the opposite end of the island to use the Youth Hostel near Forio. This was a fairly grim affair but passable and cheap.



Shakti is trying to look strong

A short walk from the hostel, along the beach, lies the Poseidon Spa. What a fantastic place this is. It is a sprawling affair with tonnes of pools all at different temperatures, some at sea level and others cut into the side of the rock face.

There are dingy saunas within caves and the original japanes foot baths left over from the war. These are great for the feet if you can stand the pain. You walk around hot and cold tubs covered with loose pebbles.

This is definately a spa to recommend, there are restaurants, cafes and treatment rooms as well so it very easy to while away a whole day. With cheap flights into Naples I would definately like to go back here for a relaxing weekend break.

Day 1: Unpacking the Polar S725

A good day was heralded by the arrival of a new toy – the Polar S725 heart rate monitor cum cycle wonder computer. One of my more unnecessary purchases to date but surely it ranks amongst the most exciting.
I’ve read a few reviews that suggest the polar S725 and S720 are rather traumatic to install especially if you go for the optional/vital IR interface connection. I wasn’t in the least worried – bravado in the face of technical gadgetry is one of my strong points.
Bravado is all it is though – I was practically crying by the end of the night as no amount of button pressing or cursing was going to make the monitor communicate with my computer.

The trick I eventually discovered was to angle the watch at about 45 degrees with its little obscure window practically touching the front of the IR port. I had been spinning the watch around desperately trying to find the right angle as I couldn’t find its infra red window – its on the top of the watch.

So the connection process involves telling the computer via the precision software that it communicates via USB (in my case), pressing the lower right button of the watch so that it reads CONNECT, hold the watch ridiculously close to the IR thingy and then press the connection icon on the precision software tool bar.

Bob’s your uncle – the flashy light should stay constant and make contact withyour monitor. You can now transfer settings and files two and forth.

Few! Now I have to fathom out how I record a session so that I can use it on my commute to work.