20 Jan 2013

18th January 2013 Ventus G1000 GPS watch.

18th 24-27F, -4--3C,  a light breeze at first, heavy overcast, feeling bitterly cold today. I was well wrapped up, as usual. So only my nose and cheeks felt the cold. The same supermarket was out of organic apple juice today despite it being on special offer. Isn't this a form of fraud on the company sponsoring the offer? If the idea is to make the customer interested and pleased with the product being discounted what price no stock on the customer's attitude to the same company and product?

I found a Ventus G1000 GPS watch and heart-rate monitor in Netto. Discounted to 200DKK (about £20) to clear. They have been sitting enticingly on the shelf for literally ages in most Netto outlets but were far too expensive to tempt me at three times the price. I got it home and there's no software disk in the package despite it being double sealed! Grr! I made an effort today and was averaging 16mph on the way. About 14mph on the way back with an increasing head wind. Only 17 miles.

Pm. After downloading the software online I put the watch on charge for a few hours. It even has a GPS compass. So no more excuses for getting lost when it is overcast. I have yet to take it for a ride so can't speak for the rest of its potential. It worked okay when I walked to the end of the drive to check the road conditions.

19th 27F, -3C, overcast, breezy and cold. Some drifting onto the roads in the wind but no new snow overnight. The wind was much stronger and horribly cold today. The equivalent of at least -20C. It seemed to be blowing in all directions and even felt strong in the middle of the forest. The organic apple juice had come in so I dragged 6 litres home in addition to all the other stuff. The three bags were so heavy I must have been carrying 30 lbs or 15 kilos. The supermarket roofs were shedding vast quantities of windblown snow. All over me as I loaded my heavy bags onto the trike!

The Ventus GPS watch gave up recording my route after only 10 seconds. So I must be doing something wrong. The instructions are horribly complicated but, just understandable, with multiple layers of menus.

Why couldn't they make route recording as simple as a unique button press with constant and visible confirmation? Their excellent GPS logger is only a matter of sliding the one switch to on. The rest is taken care of automatically. Then displayed around the edge of the Google Earth map/satellite view of the route with speed, altitude, time and distance all plotted against each other. All it takes is to insert the attached USB plug into the computer. While the watch seems to be trying to be as complicated as possible. As if the designers and software writers were desperately trying to impress each other. And failing. I'll keep trying. The watch is so bulky I couldn't wear it inside my Aesse jacket cuff. So I wore it outside the jacket cuff but inside the cuff of my Dintex glove. Only 10 miles.

20th 20-22F, -7--5C, overcast but clearing to pale blue, almost still. I have been playing with the GPS watch again. My rest heart rate is 65bpm seated at the computer. I tried a couple of minutes of stepping on a 10" high step to push it up to mid 80s. By concentrating on relaxing I can push it down to 60-62 bpm. So, it seems I am still alive. I just hope I'm not tempting fate! I haven't measured my BP for a couple of years. The "Head Gardener" tells me that checking my BP will only push it up. Perhaps she's suggesting a sort of home grown, white coat syndrome? Though it has nothing to do with "dressing up as a nurse." (She wont) Now I need to find a way of fixing the watch to the trike instead of attached to my wrist. Then I can read the screen in some comfort. Without having to stop and adjust assorted cuffs up and down and don my reading glasses.

This is a cropped photograph of the computer monitor since there is no way to save the screen as a Jpeg image. 

Don't they know that old farts suffer from lack of accommodation? And, I'm not talking about the luxury of having too many trikes and too little storage space. It has to do with age hardening of the Mk1 eye lens(es). Since taking up triking, instead of working constantly indoors, my eyes have adjusted to relaxed distance viewing. But I still need reading glasses. Which is odd, considering I could use the computer for 10 years without any glasses at all. According to my present £5 (supermarket bought) reading glasses I'm midway between 1 and 1.5 dioptres now. I need the latter to read today's popular, microscopic print on food packaging and instructions leaflets. I'm a martyr to lost misplaced reading glasses. (like so many of my generation) So now I have a retaining cord around my neck. With my failing memory I may need a cord around my trike at this rate!

Note how the watch is showing the wrong time and date in these images despite being set correctly hours before leaving. This has something to with "Dual Time" which I have now zeroed to match "Home Time." I wonder if they ever put the watch into the hands of ordinary consumers before releasing their over-complex masterpiece? 

It should be a bright, sunny morning with a slowly building NE wind gusting to about 20 mph. So I really ought to make the most of it. Go NE young old man! Do it now! (After coffee and rolls to stoke the old boiler) The thermometer is still stuck on 20F at 9 am. I must get going but there's a German gardening programme on the box. So time is standing still while I waffle on...

I fought a cold headwind and blinding sun for the first 15 miles. Then the road turned north and the wind felt far colder. The Ventus watch behaved itself today and recorded speed, heart rate and altitude graphs as well as a textual data and drawing the route on Google Earth. Fortunately it even agreed with the Ventus GPS logger. The heart rate sensor is large, heavy and clumsy but passed almost unnoticed under several layers of clothing. My average heart rate was 105, with a minimum of 61. Rather more worrying was a colossal 224 bpm plateau over the first couple of miles. Not that I noticed anything. At all! Average peak HR was around 130-135 when climbing hard or getting out of the saddle. About the same as when I was chasing a keen young chap on a smart MTB.

This readout is a bit worrying! 224 bpm is foolishly high  before stabilising. I was riding normally into a cold headwind until I stopped beside the road to check in the saddle bag. They say that one should aim for 220 minus one's age in years as a peak heart rate. Perhaps I need to warm up somehow before setting off? I had a period when I was getting regular chest pains. So I asked to have my heart checked by the quack. They plugged me in and reported that I had a remarkably healthy heart. The pains were probably muscular and eventually went away.   

I was able to wrap the watch strap near the centre of the bars. Wedging the strap between the Campag cables stopped the whole watch from rotating on rougher roads. The detail on the screen is rather small for my near vision. Particularly when riding into the blinding sun with my eyes watering! Though much easier to read than the silly little Cateye Strada Cadence computer with its tall and very narrow digits. In most lights I find it impossible to define the difference between 0 and 8 on the daft little screen on the Cateye!

When it is actively recording the Ventus GPS watch toggles between various screens and shows a heart and and antenna symbols to confirm I exist. I was able to walk several yards away from the trike into a shop without the HR monitor losing range. So I'm quite chuffed to have all these bells and whistles for only £20 equiv.  Though I had a hot shower as soon as I returned my nose was still stinging hours later. I can't imagine any useful protection for my nose since I have to "blow it" so regularly. There's a disgusting parallel there between my slow pace and a snail's slime trail.  39 rather cold miles.

21st  24F,-4C, quite windy, brighter than forecast. The wind is making it feel very cold. Waiting for coffee and rolls before venturing out. Same as usual, there were smoking drifts across the road where the hedges were missing. One driver had lost control and ended up in a field. Their car was being pulled out as I passed. (or rather waited because the tow truck driver was using the entire road)  A bitterly cold, strong crosswind was making life uncomfortable for exposed skin. The Ventus watch battery was flat when I was about to put it on! It showed battery full with 8 hours reserve yesterday pm. Perhaps it was working overnight? Only 13 miles.

22nd  26-29F, -3--2C, heavy overcast with a cold and strong Easterly wind. The Ventus GPS watch battery was completely flat again this morning. I had made sure it wasn't recording anything and was fully charged last night. No way to replace the battery as it is sealed inside the waterproof case. It will have to go back to exchange it for a new one.

Saw both Fieldfares and Redwings in the same area today. I disturbed their foraging going in both directions.

My heels were dark purple and hurting like hell when I walked on them back at home. I was wearing my thickest loop pile socks and GripGrab overshoes as usual. I had applied heel cream before donning my socks. The shower seemed to help and I have applied more cream. I wish I knew whether my heels are rubbing. Or whether it is cold air being pumped through the shoes with the pedalling action. My feet don't feel cold while I'm riding. 19 miles.

Pm: The Ventus GPS watch won't take a charge at all now. After hours of charging it is still only a showing a battery reserve of a couple of hours.

23rd 25-26F, -4-3C, overcast, light breeze. Still cold, but the recent winds have dropped.  The Ventus watch is showing 8 hours reserve power this morning. Weird! Now I have to reset all the choices including setting the time all over again. Which were all lost due to the flat battery. I had to go outside to reset the compass which had refused to point correctly despite repeated re-calibration indoors.

If "White Van Man" is so notorious why don't they ban white vans as an experiment in traffic safety? You can't ban knuckle-dragging psychopaths from driving because it would be against their human rights. Just as it is a basic human right for all psychopaths to drive Audis.

Just a ride to the shops. The Ventus watch kept stopping and had to be repeatedly restarted. It recorded nothing of value. No route map nor data. A drunken, drug abusing, knuckle-dragging psychopath passed me in a traffic calming chicane at high speed in a 40 kph speed limit. But he was driving a shitty, old, bright red, rusting, Volkswagen Golf. So justice has already been served. 19 miles.

24th 12-29F, -11--2C, overcast, still, but with an occasional breeze to make it feel even colder. A 22 mile shopping trip in weak sunshine. The coop had no promised fish from a special offer. Now the Ventus GPS watch can't communicate with its software. It's going back! Life is too short to be wasting hours on such junk.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


  1. I'm thinking: Rechargeable battery + sub zero temperatures = unhappy watch.

  2. Hi Tim

    Thanks. It is quite possible, but why sell a watch which suffers from the cold in wintry Scandinavia? The watch is kept indoors overnight. So should behave for at least a while when brought out into the cold. Do I put too much emphasis on reliability just because I want it to perform as promised?

    I kept the watch in my rear jacket pocket yesterday because my eyes were watering too much to be able to read the watch dial. This should have helped to keep the battery warm and to maintain a view of the sky. This is where I have routinely placed my GPS loggers with (almost) complete success.


  3. Thanks for the information Chris.

    The Ventus G1000 seems to be a re-branded Ascen GPS300 from Taiwan, marketed from Korea, and re-branded as Tech4o Discover and others.

    Although the watch seems marginal, when combined with software which can upload 10 tracks for navigation, it could be worth looking at for this price.

    Is there any way I could get 2 of these Ventus G1000 watches + HRMs sent from Netto to Australia postcode 2913?


  4. Hi Bruce

    Finding more stock here in Denmark would be a problem. The discount supermarket, from which I bought mine, has no more stock. You seem well informed on the supply chain. Why not seek one of the alternatives you mentioned closer to home? The cost of sending and import taxes to Oz might make a mockery of the low retail price as the supermarket sought to clear unsold stock of a previous special offer. From memory they were asking 600DKK which is.. about 104AUD. There is also the problem that the watch might not work down under.


  5. Thanks Chris

    I have not found anyone selling any version of the Ventus watch here in Australia.
    My information comes from reviews and instruction booklets I have found on the internet.

    As for not working down under, manual compasses are calibrated for northern and southern hemisphere.
    Electronic compasses should not have a problem but I do have an Android GPS app on my phone which tells me north is somewhere south.

    Keep up your good work,