Using the Garmin Edge 305 and VirtualBox

Posted by Scott on May 9th, 2008

The Garmin Edge 305 is a really cool bike computer which includes GPS features to map rides in addition to the typical speed and mileage information. I recently picked one up and am looking into getting it working under Linux.

Before I explore my Linux options, I wanted to see what the Garmin Training Center Software was like under Windows. I run Windows XP within a VirtualBox virtual machine which is running on top of my Ubuntu Gutsy OS. Getting USB devices to work with virtual machine guests is not simple, so I thought I’d share the resources I used to get it working.

First, to set up the USB system requirements that VirtualBox needs on Ubuntu Gutsy, you need to follow this guide. It will walk you through creating a separate group for USB access and enabling the usbfs support which is disabled by default in Gutsy.

Once you’ve done that, follow the remaining steps in that guide to configure your VirtualBox XP guest to access the Garmin’s USB device ID. By this point you will then almost be able to access the device fully within the WinXP guest by right-clicking on the VirtualBox USB icon and checking the Garmin USB device. Unfortunately this isn’t enough to trigger the Garmin gStart daemon.

To resolve this final problem, open up the Windows XP device manager (right-click My Computer->Properties and select the Hardware tab). Within the device manager you need to disable and then re-enable the Garmin USB GPS device, and gStart will properly detect the connection event and allow you to access the device from the Training Center software.

That’s the magic incantation you need to get this device working properly using a VirtualBox VM.

Update 2009-07-25: There is a better way you can automate the restarting of the Garmin device. Check out these instructions for details – they worked great for me. And thanks riaan for the tip!

Tour de Cure Ride Report

Posted by Scott on May 5th, 2008

I successfully completed the 75 mile Tour de Cure charity bike ride yesterday, but it was quite an ordeal, mostly due to the weather. The forecast called for rain and temps in the 40s, and boy did it deliver.

The ride started shortly after 7am from the Portsmouth Middle School, and the rain was very light. I thought to myself, “this isn’t so bad” and was helped along with a nice tailwind heading south on the NH seacoast. However, the rain picked up quickly, and by the 20 mile mark I was pretty soaked over most of my body. From then on it was staying warm that was critical, and that was a struggle.

Miles 30-40 were the worst in terms of rain, as it came down heavily and my glasses became perpetually fogged, so I had to put them away. This made it very difficult to take advantage of the descents, because I couldn’t see well with the rain pelting me at higher speeds.

For a while I rode and chatted with a woman who was also doing the 75 mile ride, but was getting chilled. She confessed that she was miserable and considering switching to the 50 mile route instead. A number of riders ended up doing this, and the thought crossed my mind on numerous occasions when the rain picked up. But I told myself that as long as I stayed reasonably warm I was going to stick with the 75 miler.

When she broke off the route, I found myself riding alone for nearly the remainder of the ride. I managed to get lost a couple of times and padded on a few extra miles to my trip, but the good news is after about 50 miles the rain scaled back quite a bit and even offered a reprieve here and there. There were some moderate climbs in the 50-60 mile range that seemed more difficult than they should have been. In retrospect, I think my soaked clothing weighed me down more than I had anticipated.

Eventually I found myself heading back up the seacoast. Remember the “nice tailwind” I mentioned above? Well now it became a headwind. I struggled to maintain 10 MPH on perfectly flat road. I was getting tired and this was definitely the most demoralizing part of the ride. After what seemed like forever, I finally turned inland and realized how bad that headwind was.

When I reached the finish I assumed I was one of the last riders to complete the course. But in fact many of the people who did the 75 or 100 mile routes turned around well before completing them and there were many others still to complete their rides.

Due to getting lost a couple of times I ended the ride having done 82.9 miles in 6 hours, 32 minutes on the bike. To give you some perspective, I completed my first century ride (100 miles) last September in 6:35! The weather really made it difficult, but I am glad i stuck through it and finished the full route I had set out to do. Here is a photo from just before I started the ride.

Portsmouth, NH Tour de Cure

A special thanks to everyone who helped to sponsor my ride and donated to the American Diabetes Association. Your support was a major factor in keeping me motivated not to give up!

Preparing for the Tour de Cure

Posted by Scott on Apr 27th, 2008

I feel reasonably prepared for the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure ride next weekend, where I will be riding my bike 75 miles to help raise funds for the ADA. I’ve been ramping up my mileage over the past month, and completed two 50 mile rides during the past two weekends. It’s really remarkable how the human body can adapt when it’s put under physical stress – for that first 50-miler I was just about in agony for the last 10 miles, but for yesterday’s ride I felt great at the end. Here are a couple of photos from yesterday’s ride, where the weather was absolutely perfect.

Narrow Bridge in Newmarket

My bike, setup for longer rides.

There’s plenty of rain in the forecast for this week, so I’ll probably be doing some easy work on the indoor trainer. I sure hope the weather is dry for the ride itself – I’ll still be riding if it’s raining, but it makes things much more difficult.

If you’ve been thinking about making a donation to sponsor my ride and haven’t yet, I can still accept donations online this week.


Posted by Scott on Apr 18th, 2008

I have a symbiotic relationship with hills on my bike. They get the satisfaction of me suffering to climb them, but doing so makes it easier for the next time.

I’m Riding in the 2008 Tour de Cure

Posted by Scott on Mar 28th, 2008

The Tour de Cure is a fundraising event for the American Diabetes Association. This year I will be riding my bike 75 miles to support the efforts to prevent and cure diabetes, as well as improve the quality of life for those impacted by this increasingly common disease. I would greatly appreciate sponsorship donations of any amount. Please visit my Tour de Cure web page for more info and how to sponsor my ride. Thank you!

My Cycling Goals for 2008

Posted by Scott on Jan 1st, 2008

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions (the geek in me can’t ignore how arbitrary the calendar system we’re using is), but I do have some goals for the calendar year related to cycling.

As I checked out my stats from riding in 2007, I’m really surprised. For my first year back on the bike (a year which started in mid-May, I might add), I rode over 1,600 miles, including my first century. I’d be happy just to repeat that!

But to give myself some goals to work toward, I would like to top 2k miles in 2008, and ride at least two centuries. I commuted to work by bike a couple dozen times last year, and I’d like to top that significantly.

Unfortunately my 2008 riding won’t be starting anytime soon, as New England is covered with plenty of snow right now. Over the next 24 hours we’re expected to get another foot of the white stuff in my neck of the woods. Well, at least I can enjoy my snowshoes…

The Epic Ride (Completed)

Posted by Scott on Sep 23rd, 2007

My century bike ride yesterday was a success. I completed the ride in about seven hours, including breaks, with my riding time just over 6.5 hours. That’s 100.3 miles at an average speed of 15.2 MPH. The weather turned out excellent, with cloudy skies in the morning keeping the temperature down in the upper 60s.

Heading up Route 1A in Rye, NH

It’s really motivating to do long rides in groups. When you’re riding solo, all the aches, pains, and uncertainty are hard to ignore. I don’t think I could have done this ride alone.

NH Seacoast Century Ride

Now my goal is to keep riding as much as I can this fall and winter, and maintain my fitness until spring arrives.

The Epic Ride

Posted by Scott on Sep 16th, 2007

The title of this post also happens to be the title of my college admissions essay, which was about a mountain bike ride. This time, though, I’m talking about a road ride. Specifically, the Tri-State Seacoast Century, which I will be riding in this coming weekend, rain or shine. I’m planning to attempt the 100-mile ride, which will be my first century ride if I’m successful.

So far this year I’ve put 1200 miles on my bike and done a couple of solo 70-mile rides. I think once you can ride 50-60 miles, it’s all mental after that. You just keep turning the pedals over until you’ve reached your goal. Since there will be hundreds of other cyclists doing this ride, it should be easier to stay motivated.

I expect the ride will take me somewhere around 7 hours to complete. I’m really looking forward to it, as it’s a personal goal I set for myself late in the Spring.

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