Category Archives: Life in Madison

From my personal side of life – living in Madison, WI with my wife Ena Urbach and our dog Lola.

Garmin EDGE 705 – Bugs, Bells and Whistles

I got a new Garmin EDGE 705 bike computer about 6 weeks ago. I’ve been riding 3 or 4 times a week with Garmin and have synced to several applications and a web site. The Garmin EDGE 705 has great bells and whistles but the basic function, turn-by-turn directions, is buggy and unreliable.

What I bought: I bought the Garmin Edge 705, with the Heart Rate sensor, Speed/Cadence sensor & Data Card with Street Maps (SKU 010-00555-40). It came with version 2.2.0 of the firmware. I have also tried version 2.3.0 and 2.4.0.

What I like:

Installation: I love the fact that there is a single sensor that picks up both speed and cadence. The sensor is also sensitive so you don’t have to set it extremely close to the pedal or wheel for the device to work. The Garmin EDGE 705 discovers the peripherals automatically and flawlessly (at least for me. Others on the forum have talked about cadence problems).

Set Up: There are a lot of menus to cycle through to set up the device. This is a mixed vote from me. I like the ability to set up how each screen looks (how many data fields are show, what information is displayed in each data field, etc.). I have had to dig to find settings and I know that someplace I set the minimum speed for autopause. I have yet to figure out where I set that so I can change it.

Post Ride Data Analysis: This is where the bells and whistles ring out. The device syncs brilliantly and easily (for me, YMMV, see the Motion Based Forums) to the Garmin software on my Mac. It also syncs to the MotionBased web site (see the list of my rides in the sidebar on this site). I also bought Ascent from Montebello Software. The default Garmin software provides basic analysis of your ride data. MotionBased and Ascent provide detailed analysis some of which is pretty cool.

What I don’t like:

Turn-By-Turn Navigation: Supposedly, you can load a GPS Track File (in GPX format) into the Garmin. You then tell the Garmin that you want to follow that track. The Garmin will navigate you around the route. Supposedly. I have tried to get this to work a half dozen times. I have created GPX Track files in GMap-Pedometer, Google Maps and I have tried making sure that the start and end points aren’t near each other.

This has never worked correctly. I’ve had the device start to tell me to make u-turns in the middle of my ride. I’ve had the unit tell me to make a turn 5 miles early, then shut off. I’ve had the unit say that I should cut through a barn and corn field though I preferred to stay on the road.

I do have hopes that Garmin will patch the software so turn-by-turn works. Garmin does seem to be responsive to their users and they do seem to issue patches regularly.

Managing the Buttons: You need to push and hold the power button to on the Garmin. You need to push the timer start at the beginning of the ride. You must push timer stop at the end of the ride or the Garmin will keep recording even though your wheel isn’t turning. The Garmin added the drive back from one ride to my total ride. I could hear it chirping away as I drove home. Compare that to my simple CatEye computer that just starts and stops on its own or my Polar that I needed to push start but it could figure out the ride was over all by itself. It feels like I need to pay more attention to managing my cycle computer than I really want to.

Software Updates, Syncing et al: All of this works flawlessly (so far) but it is another device that gets software updates and that you need to sync to your computer. It is fine but just another digital device to fuss with.


The set-up is easy. The unit will automatically calibrate for wheel size and speed. The post ride data analysis is great. It makes it dead simple to keep a work-out log. The turn-by-turn doesn’t work so I still ride with a paper map to navigate by. I would love to be able to rely on this device for navigation when I’m riding. It is fussier than other computers that I have used but the post-ride data analysis is a beautiful thing.

Jim’s Fire and Wine Scallops Recipe

Scallops with Green and White Bean salad

Scallops with Green and White Bean salad

The sauce and spice mix add a little heat and sweetness to the already sweet scallops. This recipe takes about 15 minutes to prep and 10 minutes to cook. I served these with a cold Green and White bean salad and crostini and an Italian white wine. This serves two as a main course or four as an appetizer.


  • 1/4 C minced sweet onion (Walla Walla or similar)
  • 1 Tsp. Fresh Thyme leaves or chopped Thyme tips
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled
  • 1/2 C. White Wine – medium dry
  • 12 Oz of large dry scallops or the closest even number (8 in this dish)
  • 1 Tbl each Olive Oil and Butter
  • Penzey’s Northwoods Fire spice mix or the mix below
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Mince the onion and either pick the thyme leaves or chop the thyme tips. Lightly dust the scallops with the Penzey’s Northwoods Fire mix or lightly dust with chili powder, smoked paprika, dried thyme, salt and pepper. Heat a 12″ non-stick pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter stops foaming and turns lightly brown.

Onion and Thyme
Dusted ScallopsOlive Oil and Buttr

Add the scallops and the whole garlic clove to the pan but do not crowd the pan. Let the scallops sear on one side for 3 minutes. Turn the scallops and add the thyme and onion. Stir the thyme and onion into the oil. Let the scallops sear for 2 to 3 more minutes then remove to a warm plate.
Add Scallops and GarlicTurn add onions

Add the white wine and turn the heat up to high. Scrape all the brown bits off the pan and stir while you reduce the wine by half

Add wine.

Plate the scallops. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Pour the sauce over the scallops.

Frazz Hair

I get Frazz Hair when I bike. I view Frazz Hair as a measure of the quality of the ride. Good Frazz Hair means I had a good ride. This is an example of good Frazz Hair:
Frazz Hair

This hair came from a beautiful ride to Paoli, WI after a Summer rain storm. The roads were dry but it smelled like a Summer rain and wheat fields and the herbaceous scent of prairie flowers in bloom.

We were riding fast – that helps pull hair up into the vents on my helmet and make it all spiky. We were working hard so there was plenty of heat and moisture to steam-set those spikes. It was a long enough ride to give the Frazz Hair plenty of time form and build to the beautiful example you see above.

It’s a good day that ends with really good Frazz Hair.

Spring in Wisconsin – weather runs amok

UPDATE: June 25th. We now have 28 counties declared as disaster areas by FEMA.

Wisconsin Disaster Area Map

When we get serious Spring weather, we get weather sites that look like this:

  • 7 Warnings, Watches and Statements on the forecast
  • A weather map that is covered, jigsaw like, with areas of watches and warnings across the surrounding 25 counties. Nary a gap between the warnings and
  • A Wisconsin DOT incident alert map with 38 road closures due to flooding the next day.

We had 7 tornado warnings in town Thursday. I spent a lot of time checking the weather on WKOW. Two tornados went past south of our house about 20 miles.

Lola gets her Spring haircut

Here are photos from Lola’s Spring clipping. It’s always fun to clip her after she has grown out all Winter. It’s like having two dogs in one. We always seem to pick a windy day to clip her coat. I feel a fine patina of fur covering my exposed skin. The process is to bath Lola the night before, clip her the next day, put everything you’ve got on into the laundry immediately and then wash up because you are covered in clippings.

She is very good about being clipped. She even wags and waits to be put up on the table. You can tell that she is thinking, “Oh boy. I like this table. This is my table. I’m the center of attention and I get an endless stream of good stinky treats.” I consider clipping Lola to be 30 minutes of controlled shedding in the place of my choosing and the time I pick. We will clip her once a month now through September or October. Then she gets to grow out for the Winter all over again.


Before pictures:

A very fuzzy dogWhat eyes

After pictures:

Ena and Lola after clippingPost Clipping She has eyes



First from the Farmer’s Market

Last night we cooked the first dinner of the season from the Farmer’s Market. All of the food came from the Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Square except for the Mint Newman-Ohs. We made grilled trout with a parsley pesto (italian parsley, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper), grilled fingerling potatoes (par-boiled, rubbed with olive oil and salt then roasted over the coals till crispy on the outside) and steamed spinach. Lola helped watch over the grill. Here are a few pictures.


Sometimes you fall in love with gear

Spring Riding GearLast Fall I bought a Gore Bike Wear Tool jacket that I just love. I cross-country skied in it all Winter. Biked in it all Fall and started up biking again this wintery Spring. It is rain proof enough for rainy rides home (5 miles). It is warm enough for cold ski outings and 10 degree (F) bike commutes. It has pit zips for warmer days. I wore it today on a 45 degree, overcast road ride.

I also have a pair of climbing tights that are marvelous – useful throughout a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Metolius used to make them though they are now discontinued. I hate to think about replacing them.

It is wonderful when you stumble on great gear. You can buy a half-a-dozen replacements trying to find another thing that is just as good and end up with half-a-dozen pieces on a shelf, rarely worn.

Testing Slideshare embedding

This is just a test of embedding a Slideshare slide show into a WordPress post. This is not my presentation.

Okay. I’m getting closer. At least I get the frame for the slide show. The one above is using the slideshare imbed in WordPress link along with a plugin from Joost de Valk

Below is the long embed in you blog URL with div tags and everything.

How about this one:

That one works: Now how about an animated show with sound: