2 Jan 2015

2nd January 2015 Sigma BC16.12 Cadence computer

Friday 2nd 46F, 8C, gales and overcast.It was blowing hard as I walked anticlockwise around my "through the woods" route. I had just made it into the woods when the wind really picked up. With debris being blasted between the bare stems of mature beeches like a YT video of a hurricane! Seconds later the air turned grey with rain. I hid behind the largest beech I could find to escape the worst of it. It didn't take long before rivulets of water were streaming down the 2' diameter trunk and blowing all over me. Fortunately the heavy squall was quite short lived and I could press on. Being shaken like a rag doll as I was buffeted by the wind. The bad weather kept up all day as forecast. Another rest day.

I have been searching online for a new bike computer to replace the Cateye Strada Cadence 'Roadkill' RIP.[sic] Finally settling on a wireless Sigma with cadence. Sigma come well reviewed so it seemed like a fairly safe bet. The large digits look easy to read compared with the tiny and ridiculously skinny text on the Cateye. No doubt the Cateyes are another case of the triumph of style over function.

Naturally I shall be enrolling in a full, 3 year course of night classes to learn how to use the four buttons while wearing "proper" winter gloves. The Sigmas use a rotation lock in the head/fixing shoe. Which will hopefully avoid the fiddly juggling necessary with Cateye's silly little sliding/rocking shoe. Which eventually led to its early demise in Assens. The head had flown away several times before but had previously avoided throwing itself into the speeding traffic with quite such gusto.

I just hope nobody wants steal the Sigma! I tend to just leave the computer in place on the stem outside the umpteen supermarkets and bike shops I visit. Nobody seemed to want the Cateye but it was rather small and all black. So probably invisible. Without the correct contact shoe and wireless transmitter bike computers aren't much use anyway. Not that this would stop the bloody minded. I may examine the possibility of a black Velcro strap to hide it from prying eyes. Just one more thing for me to remember.

Getting rid of dangling wires is a huge leap of faith for me. Not aided by dire tales of interference from popular LED cycle light drivers! How daft is that?  It is fortunate indeed that night riding is not my usual fare. If all else fails I shall just have to hold the front light in my teeth while breathing through my nose. While I tend not to monitor my cadence continuously I do like to have it as an option. Just to check that I am spinning in the high 90s rpm. Pushing lower rpm tends to knacker my knees. Guessing one's pedal rpm is a poor sport wide open to corruption of the data.

Saturday 3rd 38F, 3C, roaring gales dying down to variably windy. I was woken by a terrific hailstorm! The overcast seems to be breaking up now. Though it is not forecast to dry up until after 3pm. I left after coffee. Picking up the new Sigma computer on the way past. Free postage for packet-shop pickup and as I am always passing it is a better arrangement than monitoring the drive for the postman. Cykelpartner.dk proved themselves flawless, yet again, in email comms, supply and delivery. It stayed dry and the wind was not to much of a problem. 15 miles.

I fitted the new Sigma computer and wireless sensors after lunch. All went well except for a missing O-ring. One tie-wrap short of a set too. Though I always have lots in the shed for such occasions. The spare Crud mudguard O-rings proved suitable. Though I backed up all three fittings with tie-wraps anyway.

Somehow I missed the bright yellow notice to get the head working with a press of the two lower buttons. I swapped the head battery several times before discovering the simple trick to wake it up from its deep sleep factory setting. If all else fails read the damned instructions! Page 1 in case you were wondering. It's a shame they didn't put this trick on the step-by-step [illustrated] setting up instructions sheet as well. I must shoot off an email to Sigma to suggest they update the sheet before the next printing.

Setting up from scratch was a bit of a learning curve but everything [Cadence, distance and speed] worked first time. There is a slight delay before readings change on the screen. So be patient if you buy a Sigma yourself. The head has a nice big screen with digits large enough to see in all light conditions. There are a few seconds of back-light available for nighttime use but this would obviously drain the coin-sized CR2032 battery if left on continuously. A front bike light could easily be arranged to leak some light onto the computer screen if desired to read one's progress continuously in the dark. Most front bike lights provide some side leakage for extra safety. City dwellers could probably borrow some light from the streetlights and shop windows.

Ironically it is too dark to take any pictures of the set up now now so we'll just have to be patient. Even more patient as Sigma is updating their website. So I can't download the PC Data Center monitoring software until after the 5th. This requires a USB-cabled, docking station which I ordered at the same time. A 50% discount is offered on the software for new buyers of a Sigma computer.

Sunday 4th 37-39F, 3-4C, light overnight frost, sunny. Walked to more distant woods, looped along the main track and back. Saw a very pale, medium sized bird of prey. All white, cream and buff except for darker fingertips on its very long, very high aspect ratio wings. A group of hunters in olive drab were waiting beside their polished vehicles in the car park ready for the off. They were armed to the teeth with antiaircraft guns as they moved off in convoy to take on the fiercely independent pheasants. I shall be going for a ride as soon as coffee and rolls are safely consumed.

Full sun out of a cloudless sky but rather cold into the headwind. I rode an anticlockwise, rural loop. The new computer worked continuously but seemed rather optimistic on speed and distance. It ended up showing 26.4 miles to the GPS's 22 miles. I am sure I entered the correct wheel circumference of 2135 for 700 x 25 as in the Sigma instructions. The Cateye matched the GPS logger within a mile on most rides. [When the Cateye kept going!]

Must try harder on the Sigma. The wheel magnet is so bulky it strikes the Crud plastic mudguard stay. I rotated it around the spoke to the minimum overhang position but may go back to a Shimano magnet if it proves to be strong enough. The head needs more room on a shorter stem. To allow gloved hands to reach the nearest buttons without catching on the Ahead steering tube extension. Despite the large digits I really don't like the curvature to the top of the digit '7'. I keep reading it as a '2'.


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