Hey Garmin, Let’s Go to the Abbey

florence firenze italy italian bike bicycle travel travels traveling ride riding commute commuting commuter vacation foreigner transportation
Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly

I received my Garmin Edge 1000 literally hours before hopping on a jet plane to Italy and had just enough time to downloaded the Garmin bundle that included that country’s maps. It was a struggle to figure out whether the maps were actually loading, so I was escatic when I fired the computer up and there they were.

During the first three days of my solo bike adventure I punched in a ride distance and the Garmin spit three possible routes back at me. Then based on a little Strava research, I would make a decision.

It all worked flawlessly. I’m not familiar enough with the roads around Florence to know whether I missed any great routes, but I can say I loved the shit out of riding in the Tuscan countryside all by myself without worrying about getting lost.

On my final day I wanted to do something epic and chose a 70-mile route with 10k in climbing rolling right by the Vallombrosa Abbey. I just put Vallombrosa into the Garmin’s Route Planner and it gave me a breathtaking route through the stunning hills south of Florence. I was sold.

Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly

At first I thought the bigger screen on the 1000 was obnoxious, but then I realized that like my new iPhone 6 plus, bigger is better. On older generations the touch screen didn’t work well with gloves on. Now it’s a breeze.

The device has all the data power of other Garmin models: power, speed, cadence, heart rate, etc. Plus it’s a riding partner who knows most of the smart ways home. I could have hooked my “smartphone” up to the Garmin and gotten my text messages and phone call notifications while riding. But I figured there was already enough going on.

The only drawback is battery life. All those helpful tips suck juice. And let me tell you, there is nothing more annoying than being 30-miles from your Italian flat and having your riding partner suddenly announce that its battery is running low and that you might not make it home. Luckily, on my longest day, the 1000 sucked it up and road me home safe and sound.

Garmin 1000. Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly
Photo: Jim Merithew/Element.ly