Product Review: Garmin Forerunner 201

Garmin Forerunner: Made for Runners But Great for Skaters

GPS Device Is a Handy Tool for Tracking Speed, Distance and More

(Page 2 of 3)

Did Somebody Say 'Geekwear'?

Next, strap on the Velcro wrist band and push the start button to activate the timer. Now you are ready to go.

If you skate with your hands behind your back, as I do, you may want to rotate the unit so the readout is facing away from your back and skyward. That will keep the unit from digging into your lower back.

As you are skating, feeling the wind slice through the vents in your helmet (you did remember a helmet, right?), glance at the large readout on the Forerunner's screen.

It will give you three numbers: one large and two small. I usually set the large number as total time and the smaller numbers as current speed and distance.

Look, Ma ... No Hands!

The numbers are large enough that you don’t need to take your eyes off the trail for more than half a second to read them.

You can set the display to show whatever you want. (You can also program in three different readouts, which you can scroll through quickly. But in fact, it's not really possible to do this while you are skating. It's better to stick to one display while you are on the road and review your data at the end of your skate.)

Another of the Forerunner's cool features is its training partner. With it, you can set a pace for yourself. And the unit will beep if you fall behind or get too far ahead of your speed target. (I don’t use this feature much, but it's nice to have.)

Invented by Hansel and Grettle

Another thing I don't use much is the “trail of bread crumbs” mapping feature. This would be cool if you were skating a new route and wanted to go back exactly the way you came. On your way back, the unit would display little dashed lines (think Jeffy running through the playground in the Family Circus comic strip) and show you approximately where to turn left or right.

I tried it. It works. But a dedicated mapping GPS would be better.

Here's another feature I like. ... Let's say, you're still skating, huffing and puffing, and you just blew past a couple of cute girls (or guys) on bikes. You decide to stop.

When you do, the Forerunner automatically stops the timer. That way your travel time and average speed calculations are not thrown off.

Finally, when you get home from your skate, it's time to check your stats.

How many miles did you go? Check the GPS. ... How fast were you traveling when you passed the cyclists? Check the GPS. ... What was your average speed? Check the GPS. ... How long were you skating? Check the ... Oh, you get the picture.

Anyway, once you get used to wearing the Forerunner, you wont feel quite right skating without it.

(continued ... )

Part 1|2|3 >>>


Talk about this story

Related reading:

Product Reviews


Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson

Planet Extras!
Full Coverage of the World Championships
Photos of the St. Paul Inline Marathon
Sneak Peak: the 2006 Rollerblades
Napa Marathon Photos
a2a champ Kim Perkins Tells Her Story
Salomon to Abandon U.S. Skate Market

The Basics
Beginner's Guide to Inline Skating!
Top Seven Mistakes of Inline Skaters
Protection From Mr. Bumpy
First Time Buying Guide
News Departments
Product News
Skating Events and Updates
Racing News
Skate Industry News
Skate Governing Bodies
Skaters in the News
Olympic Inclusion

Skate Trips and Travel
Where to Skate
Race Previews
Race Reports
Racing Skates and Equipment

Inline Marathoning
Advanced Skating Skills
How to Skate Safely
Skates Previews
Product Reviews
Buyers Guide
Skate Maintenance
Speed Skating
Inline Downhill
Roller Hockey
Aggressive Skating
Artistic Skating
Ice Skating
The Inline Edge!
If You're Injured
Skating Laws
Inline History
Planet Forum