How to: Garmin Edge 500 + Strava + Android

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The Garmin Edge 500 has to be the standard GPS device out there. You can hear the familiar chirp of the “Timer Started” at the start line to any bike race. The 500 is a great piece of equipment but sadly lacks the ability to interface via blue-tooth or similar to a phone. Thats what the 510 and higher models are for. In a couple of weeks I’m heading to a family function about 100k’s away from home. Being the proverbial bike rider that I am I thought I would ride my bike up to the event before returning back in the car. At first this sounded great but then the real big issue dawned on me, if I go I won’t be able to upload my Garmin observations to Strava till the next day! I might as well just not go. Late last year I made the switch from iOS to Android with a Sony Xperia Z3 and for the most part have been pretty happy with the switch. The one thing I do think is great is the ability to use the extra ports and sockets for meaningful real world interfaces.

After a short bit of search I cam across a Micro USB OTG cable which stated it could be used to attach USB microdrive or similar. I was able to get one quickly through eBay for less the $3 and it arrived 2 days later. This served its purpose perfectly! Below are the basic instructions and I have also included d a video demonstration on how to carry it out. (Ok it was just an excuse to take my bike out for a ride to collect some observations to use in the video, for what its worth I got smashed by a summer thunderstorm about 20 seconds after the shot of me pulling up to the water)

1 Make sure you have the following

  • Garmin Edge 500
  • Android Device
  • Micro USB OTG cable
  • Standard USB A-Mini A cable

2 Connect the cables

Take the OTG cable and plug it in to the respective port on your Android device. Next take the USB A-mini A cable and plug that in to the OTG cable

3 Connecting the Garmin

Open the black rubber port on the back of you garmin and plugin the USB mini A connector. You Garmin will now power up and go through its boot sequence.

4 Android device and USB connection

You should now see a message pop up stating that the device is being prepared, that will disappear and then a moment later you will get a message say that the device is ready for use. Don’t touch the message at this stage as it will unmount the unit.

5 Open Chrome

Open Chrome and navigate to Login if you need to.

6 Upload

Once there go to the orange + icon in the top left and click on it. You will be at the standard upload screen now

7 File upload

Select File upload on the left side, you will now be give the select file option. Click the button in the centre of the screen.

8 Select documents

You need to select documents to navigate through the Android file system.

9 Navigate to the drive

Find the Drive, you will see, internal storage, SD card if you have one and Garmin.

10 Select Garmin (drive)

Navigate to /Garmin then /activities

11 Select your .FIT file

Scroll through the list till you find the activity that matches the date of the ride or run that you have just done. Select when done

12 Return to Strava upload screen

Return back to the main screen for the Strava upload and fill out any details you want to change such as bike or shoes and the name of the event.

13 Save

click the orange “save and view” button on the right of the screen

14 Check Dashboard

Return to your Strava Dashboard and check to make sure your activity is there

15 Unmount Garmin

Pull down from the top and click on the USB device. This will unmount the drive. A message will come up when its done.

16 Unplug device

Unplug your Garmin and put your new OTG cable away in a safe spot

17 Get Kudos

Sit back and bask in the kudos that will now be bestowed upon you.

The Top 5 rules of weight loss: lose weight and keep it off

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 I have recently lost the last 10kg I needed to get to my goal weight and I’m surprised by how many people ask me how I lost the weight. My uncle asked me how I did it and I replied bluntly “I ate less and exercised more”…
In hindsight of losing the weight it seems like a pretty silly question once but a friend pointed out to me that maybe it’s not so obvious when your on the other side of that excess weight. Thinking about this I have complied a list of the 5 key points that I feel will allow you or your loved one drop the weight and keep it off. They are not the nice fluffy lists that you find around but follow them and it will work. I would also point out that whilst I am a registered health professional please seek advice from your doctor before starting any type of dietary change and exercise regime.
Sarah keeps her weight in check and lean through hard work, exercise and clean eating
Sarah works hard at both diet and exercise. I have seen her diet and a credit to her for being so disciplined. 

1 Stop the victim mentality

Huh? That’s not nice. No it’s not but this isn’t going to be one of those little fluffy articles that list some little changes and steps to shed massive kilos. Weather you like it or not this all comes back to you (ok I will point out something here. There are some medical issues and some medications that will make you gain weight but if your reading this and you think this might be you, please go and see your Doctor. If they say your fine read the rest of this article and take note. If they find issues, thankfully you went and saw your doctor!)

But it is so easy and we are all guilty of allow these mental state to happen. “I had to go out for dinner that night”, “My partner brought me that cake as a surprise”, “I had a bad day and needed a pizza to make me feel better”. This cycle has to stop. Nobody else is responsible for you or the decisions you make in your life. Nobody. If you don’t agree, don’t bother with the rest of this article.

Ok so how do I stop? The first step is to reflect upon yourself and ask if this is a behaviour that you consciously or unconsciously follow. “I’m not fit enough”, “I just can’t do it”, “I’m not making any progress so why bother”. I want to be blunt and write “At the end of the day nobody cares” but that may be a bit mean. The reality is though they may care but they can’t be responsible and that is the insight you need to take. “I like eating bad food”, that’s fine I accept that you can make that decision in your life and won’t judge you but you are responsible for that and the side effects that will come. If you want to make this change and want to make it stick you need to reflect on yourself and stop the victim mentality.

2 Be accountable to yourself

This really does lead on from point 1. You are accountable for the food you put in your mouth. I could really leave it there but I extend this to say that nobody will know what you do or don’t eat at any given point in time. If you sneak food and don’t record it in your diary it still counts. It’s very easy to fall into the little traps and just say “I’ll eat this, it wont matter”. It all matters and part of the process of effective weight loss is the learning about making informed food choices. You can push this element more by making yourself accountable to others. IE if you plan to lose 5kg then tell your friends or family, want to run a 5k then put it on Facebook or Twitter. By making yourself publicly accountable, you “need to succeed”. Weather you admit it or not the only person that can achieve this goal is you so how do you explain to yourself why you did not make it? Are you happy with that reason? We all fail, the ones that succeed are the ones that pick themselves back up and do it again.

Lost more weight then me
My friend Jye, be accountable to himself for the last 100k we rode together. Still had another 37 to go at this point. #JyeShagged



3 Use tools such as MyFitnessPal (aka Keep a food diary)

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There are a ton of free and paid tools available that will help you to record your food an activity. Weight Watchers and Michelle Bridges 12wbt both have some great paid tools and support processes in place to help but remember, just because you pay for something does not make it their responsibility to make you lose weight (See point 1). My tool of choice is MyFitnessPal (MFP). Its free and available on both iPhone and Android. The brilliant thing about this tool is that it uses the camera on your phone as a bar code scanner, making it super easy to record everything. It sends you a reminder if you haven’t logged your food and gives you a clear sign if you are in or out side of your daily goal. It even gives an estimate at the end of the day to help keep you focused on your goals. One silly little thing that helped me here is that MFP has the “streak”. Its how many days in a row you have logged and recorded your food. I set a goal to make it to a year. I was desperate to keep my streak running and be ahead of my friends that also used the app.

I credit MyFitnessPal for the core reason I was able to get the weight off and keep it off.
I credit MyFitnessPal for the core reason I was able to get the weight off and keep it off.

4 Don’t use gimmicks and weight loss supplements

I worked with a person for several years who was desperate to lose weight. Every other Monday she would come into work and show me her latest weight loss tool, fad diet, supplement or gimmick. After all her time on the “5/2 diet”, “the only green diet” the “mono-oxy something or rather diet” and drug store of powders and pills she kept in her draw she still has not lost any weight.

They don’t work for a reason and that’s because you have not accepted point 1 and 2.What do you mean? The mental state of the supplement is a quick fix. Most weight loss supplement are not tested well their clinical effectiveness, let alone to a rigorous scientific standard and nearly all of them recommended they be used in conjunction with a calorie controlled diet and exercise regime. I remember when the craze hit for some shoes that did not have the flat soles, the tag line being that you could lose weight through micro instabilities caused from the shoes whilst moving and walking. Wow, shoes that help you lose weight whilst walking! Brilliant! We see these sales promises all the time from online to infomercials. I cite the Dr Oz Green Coffee bean incident here. And whilst the video below is making fun of the situation, think about it next time you see a TV infomercial.


5 Find something you love to do.

This could have been “find and set goals” and stuff but in keeping with this post and brining to back to reality, find something you want to do and work you goals into that. For me I started riding my old bike in the shed. My original goal was to lose 5kg for motorcycle road racing. However as the weight started to go I set myself some harder goals, I entered a local triathlon, then I started trying to ride further distances. I used an app called strava (also links to MFP) that really helped me to be competitive with myself and offers fun challenges to push you. Some days I feel that I’m cheating a bit because I enjoy riding and it doesn’t seem like exercise at all. Running on the other hand is effing hard work, not my cup of tea but is for some although I do partake in it as part of my gym routine. I would still like to complete the city to surf. Maybe I need to take my own advise there set a goal.
Cycling will burn a lot of weight
@oliverhiggins during a local crit race

Keep finding goals in the things you do enjoy, get out with friends or your kids. Find ways to incorporate aspects of exercise into your daily life, got little kids? Do all the Wiggles dances next time you put on the DVD. I could probably easily do another 5 or even 10 points to help people lose weight, keep it off and have a better life. Find a friend, have goals but… don’t rush it, stay on target, pick yourself back up, avoid fads, Heart rate zones, don’t give up everything, know your BMR. Maybe these more complex items are for the another list in the near future. And if anybody owns a tug toner please let me know.

Undertaking a Triathlon, a beginners experience.


A beginners guide to triathlons Well not sure if its a guide so much as, this is my experiences undertaking my first triathlon

6 months ago I would have never even thought about entering a triathlon. I was not the most active person, I hated running but had just discovered cycling. As luck would have it I blew my rear tire out whilst cycling with friends in the Ourimbah state forest. This was early January, it was only the November before that I had a friend ask me to come out and try the course. I must have been 1500m in to it before I hit the first hill and sat half way up trying to vomit for 15 minutes.

I was standing out the front of a local bike shop waiting in earnest for it to open so I could buy a new tube. Whilst I waited another customer turned up and joined me in waiting for them to open. We ended up talking whilst we waited and the conversion was surrounding bikes and he asked if I did anything else. I said just mountain biking but would like to try road. He mentioned that amongst other things he did was triathlons. Now this was something I had always wanted to do but they always seemed to be longer then I felt capable of.

He then told me about CCTRI and how they offered shorter locally based triathlons and did the “try a tri”. After waiting for nearly an hour to no avail, I drove around till I found an open bike shop and was finally able to replace my tire. However this did give me more time to think about doing this…

When I got home I looked up their website and low, just as he said they did offer the try a tri option to give you a go. 200m swim, 10k bike and 2km run. I thought, “I can do that”. I was unable to make the next one but this gave me about 7 weeks to train. I had been cycling quite hard for the last couple of months and felt that 10k would be straight forward. The run would take some work, but how hard would a 200m swim be right?

I had planned on doing it on my mountain bike but was lucky enough to secure a Scott Speedster s20. This made a massive difference to my training but took some time to get used to the position, riding style and lycra. But before I knew it within a few weeks I was pushing out regular 30k rides. Even did 50 on one day.

I started my running training on the treadmill. I think this gave me some false hopes but either way it did allow me to believe I could run the 2k. As I got closer to the event I ran outside more which was hard at first but got better as the days went on.

I was silly to think the swim would be straight forward. I knew I would not excel but I figured I would be ok. So I took myself down to the local pool and didn’t even make one lap! I only needed to do 4! I think my pitfall here was that even though my overall fitness had increased, I had (and still do) have poor technique. I was only able to do swimming training twice more but I elected to do “dry” training. That is focused upper body training on land similar to what I would undertake swimming. For this I used a TRX

Leading up to race day I just decided to ride one day and TRX and run the next. On the weekends when I had some more time I went on a 30km+ ride. A couple of times I did all 3 in the weeks leading up, ie TRX then bike 10k and then ran 2k. Whilst it was tough, mentally I knew I could do it. Even if I had do breast stroke or walk for parts of the run.

I had read varied ideas surrounding nutrition when it came to the race. As it was short I did not want to overdo it, nor did I see the need for any food whilst I was out. I did have some breakfast 2 hours before the race, a banana/choc smoothie and some peanut butter on toast. I then got everything prepped and set of with the family in tow.

We arrived at the event with a friend and his son that had agreed to join me for our first Triathlon. His son was in juniors and we were in B-grade which had 22 competitors.

After the juniors had completed thier short swim we ventured out into the lake. It was 100m to the buoy, go around an then swim 100 back. Sounds easy right? The water temp turned out to be great and we all lined up along the markers. As the sirens went I had a brief hesitation but it was more that I did not want to get in the other competitors way. After a few moments and some bumping into the nearby swimmers I was  feeling ok. It suddenly dawned on me that we had a slight current towing us along, so when we passed the marker buoy we were heading back into the current and the wind. This did become somewhat harder and I must admit to swimming a good part of the return leg doing breast stroke. There was a noticeable loss of time doing this, but I was here to complete, not compete. A rogue wave caught me as I came up for breath and I copped a lungful of salty lake water, thankful I was very close to the marker and could start to walk.

I made my way from the water tired yet glad to have completed the stage that from the outset I knew would be the hardest. I emerged from the swim 19/22. Not the best but was just glad to be out. The transition to the bike went smoothly. I have not purchased any “clipin” shoes so I just used the ones I would be running in, this would also save some time later. Donned my helmet and race number then walked the bike out to the area in which I could now start the next leg.

I passed my friend almost straight away, even though he had over a minute on me coming out of the swim he had lost time during the transition. It took a longer time then I expected to find me groove with the bike. Primarily due to some straining in my quads/glutes. I’m putting this down to the lack of kicking in the swimming training and my workouts not having squats. I was able to work through it but the hills were tough. Normally I would try to get out of the saddle but my legs just did not want to help!

However I was able to set a good pace and got past a number of competitors of my field. I sucked it up and pushed the last hill as much as I could. By this stage the “A grade” and “Sprint grade” competitors had caught me and were overtaking at a fast regular pace. I completed my 3 laps of the circuit and return to the transition area. I was really stoked here by the encouragement given to me by all of the officials. I was really starting to feel like I was going to finish. I came out of the cycle much further up the field in 4th spot!
I racked my bike and dropped my helmet. As I turned to run down to the timing area I heard cheers from my wife and children. Nice to have some support! I got about 500m into the run when both my legs started to cramp up, but I was able to push. The run itself felt slow and was difficult to muster the energy I needed but I pushed on slowly. The turn around mark was a very welcome sight and did feel a renewed energy knowing that I only had 1k to go. Now I must admit at this I figured out that I was further ahead then I thought and my “complete not compete” mentality did go out the door. I knew to kids in my grade had passed my and whilst I was very tired I was determined to not let the 2 people behind me past.

I tried to set a regular pace just to keep 50m or so in front. I started to catch the competitor in front and as we approached the line he too picked up his pace and we finished within side a second of each other.

I finished with my family cheering on, well expect my 4yo daughter who had the poops because she wanted to go and play on the swings!

I had come in 6/22 and the 4th in mens. Overall very happy with it and very tired.

Whilst I had initially undertaken this to see if I could do it, I actually had quite a bit of fun and found the training to be quite varied. There is one more race for the summer season, I think I just might become a member.