I had a wonderful Christmas surprise: a Garmin Edge 800 GPS device for my bike. Karen has always been very generous! It's been a revelation.
Years ago, I couldn't see the point of satnav for cyclists. But I realised I was wrong late last year. The Garmin is so much more than a navigation device. It captures an enormous amount of information about your ride, from the usual bike info (speed, average speed, time spent), to heart rate info (heart rate, average heart rate, time in various heart zones) and plots all this and more online so you can share your ride - and download details of other people's routes. Even more fun, you can race against your earlier rides - and your target performance.
This screenshot shows details of my ride today, uploaded to Garmin Connect. You'll gather that I set no speed records, although I knocked a modest four minutes of the time I took to ride the route on 28 December - my first Garmin ride. (Not as impressive as the four hours I cut from my Bucks century time in summer 2005!) I wish I'd had this remarkable gadget on my Land's End to John O'Groats ride in 2002...
The Garmin has given a real spur to my new year resolution to get back to cycling. And to lose a few pounds!