Garmin 800

It’s not really a product review, but I’ve just got myself a Garmin 800. I bought it off a friend from the City of Lancaster Tri Club, as he is upgrading. I’ve had a Garmin 500 for almost six years, and I’m very happy with it, and apart from the odd times when the screen freezes, I’ve not had any problems with it. So why did I buy an 800? Maps, that’s why. The 800 that I’ve bought comes pre-loaded with maps for the whole of Europe, perfect for touring or for when you’ve entered Skelmersdale and can’t find your way out.

This morning was my first ride with my new toy, a regular 12 mile loop up and over Littledale. First problem I encountered was the main screen didn’t have my preferred data displayed. I like distance, total ascent, speed, time and time of ride. A quick Google search and I was all set, after a brief moment getting confused with the instructions for the 810 and 820.

Next issue was that it wouldn’t fit where my 500 fits, as I have 15mm of fork steerer above the stem (I like the bars a bit higher for longer touring). Fortunately my new Garmin came with three mounts for in front of the bars, and once I’d found the 3mm allen key I was set. For a laugh I decided to use both Garmins and compare the results, although I did look a bit like DC Rainmaker when he’s doing multiple reviews.


The ride was a bit wet and windy, and I had to adjust the 800 as I had lap distance instead of total distance on the front screen.

How did the two compare?

Distance and time were identical, as expected, but elevation was about 7.5% higher with the 800. The map screen worked fine as well. When I returned home I uploaded the 800 to Strava (here) – no double counting for me. Battery life, the 500 was at 95% and the 800 was at 86%, although I had messed around with the screens when I was out. Even so, the 800 will have a significantly shorter battery life, something that I will have to keep an eye on.

Overall I’m very happy with my new purchase and I’m looking forward to plotting some new routes in the future.

That time I met Alex Cox

Twelve years ago I was working in a small restaurant weekends and evenings as I was studying at the local college the rest of the time. One quiet evening Alex Cox walked in, and as it was quiet I had the chance to have a quick chat with him. Who? Alex Cox used to present BBC2’s Moviedrome as well as being a writer and film director. I used to avidly watch Moviedrome each week as you never knew what the weeks film would be. Some were terrible, some were good and some were absolutely brilliant, but they were always interesting.

I told Alex that I was a fan of his work and he asked me which of his films I liked best. ‘Walker’ I replied without hesitation, which Alex agreed was his best film.


He appeared genuinely pleased to meet a fan, although as this was back in the day before I had a decent mobile, I haven’t got a selfie with him. Never mind, but if you get the chance, have a look for some of his films, they’re all listed on IMDB.

Fireworks 500

Fancy an open water swim, in November, in an old quarry, at night, with a glow stick and hundreds of other lunatics. Definitely!

It sounds crazy, but it was the second time that me and my wife had done it. More people and more queues for the car park meant that the start was delayed, which also meant that many of the people in the first wave didn’t have working glow sticks, as they had already turned them on.

The water was cold, as expected, and it took until I had rounded the first buoy for my head to stop hurting. I lost my nose clip and glow stick, and could hardly see a thing, but it was great fun, especially get out at the end.


As usual with Epic Events there are free photos to download, which is always a nice touch. The medal was also fantastic.


To end the evening there was a big firework display, although we didn’t stay as our car was stuck in a muddy field and needed to be rescued by a farmer and his tractor.

We’ll definitely be back next year.