Top and side view of the Adeo GPS Fitness Trainer.
Finally, a GPS that fits skating!
By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson
The ADEO Fitness Trainer is the first GPS unit that we've come across that works well for skaters. The reason is simple: Rather than displaying workout stats on a small screen, like other GPS units, it pumps them to your ears in plain English.
And that's a big improvement. Not only does it allow you to keep your eyes on the trail (where they belong), but it makes for a more user-friendly experience, transforming the GPS unit into an effective digital coach and motivator.
The ADEO ($150 USD) can also be used in conjunction with iPods and other digital music players, making it a good match for skaters who like to rock 'n' roll.
Before using the ADEO for the first time, it's necessary to charge the unit and set up the software (available for Macintosh and Windows). You charge it by plugging it into a high-power USB port on your computer. Then you take it outside so it can locate the global positioning satellites hovering over your location.
This can take 15 minutes. But next time you turn it on, it only takes a couple of minutes (unless you move it a long distance.)
Now it's time to program the software to provide the kind of workout information you want. (You can also do this manually using three buttons on the unit.) You can choose from a wide range of updates, including current, average and peak speeds, distance traveled, length of workout and calories burned.
I like to keep it simple. So I configured the ADEO to tell me my current speed every 15 seconds, my average and peak speed at two minute intervals, my distance traveled every mile, and my elapsed time every 15 minutes.
You can set up as many as three different workout routines. When you're done, you click the "save" button to update the routines stored in the ADEO's memory.
I found the Motion Lingo software easy to use, although a little rough around the edges.
Lock and Load
Now you're ready to go. The lightweight unit (2.1 ounces) straps onto the included MotionPak belt, which also has a pocket for an iPod or small wallet. You listen to the updates via the earphones that came with your music player. (Earphones are not included.) If you want to listen to your music, you connect your music player to the ADEO with a short cable (included).
As you skate, the unit is perched on the small of your back. In my tests, the unit rarely seems to lose touch with the satellites. Maybe this has something to do with its position on the back, which, in proper skate position, faces skyward. Even when I rolled under a 12-lane freeway, the unit did not seem to lose the signal.
I was unable to verify the accuracy of the Adeo's speed updates. But they usually seemed accurate, given how I was skating and the effects of wind and grade. I say usually because the unit reported speeds that were either too fast or too slow when I was speeding up or slowing down. This is due to the "smoothing algorithm" the ADEO uses to calculate speed. At speeds below 14 mph, there is a "considerable latency in the pace readings," the company says. As a result, the unit reports that you are going faster than you are when you are slowing down and slower than you are when you are speeding up. (Fortunately, the company plans to address this problem when it releases ADEO+ in the second or third quarter this year.)
But aside from that, there's isn't much to quibble about with the ADEO fitness trainer. In fact, I enjoyed using it and found that it helped me push myself when training alone.
But I did make one mistake. I persuaded my girlfriend to try it. She generally dislikes technology — but not in this case. "It's like having your own personal trainer," she cooed after her trial roll. Now she doesn't want to skate (or run) without it.
Looks like I'm going to have to get another one if I ever want to use it again!