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Turn your Palm into a biking computer

VeloTrend has released a new and innovative product for the bicycling enthusiast and Palm owner. The VeloTrend BikeBrain is a new class of bicycle computers that is based on Palm's hand-held organizer. VeloTrend has adapted the Palm to bicycles with a sleek case, a wheel sensor, and the BikeBrain application, which will revolutionize bicycle computing. The application syncs up with a companion desktop application as well.

The idea behind BikeBrain is to couple a revolution sensor (mounted on the spokes on your bike) to your Palm. The application that runs on your Palm then advises you of the directions to take during your ride. What you end up with is far more than a basic cyclometer.

BikeBrain boasts the following features:

Patented Route Directions

Speed and Split recording

Route recording

Configurable screen

Large digits

Real-time graphs

Automatic wheel calibration

Foolproof setup

Data upload to your PC or Mac

There is a fast-growing library of maps available on VeloTrend's web site, currently well over 100. You can make your own using the desktop application or by recording maps during a ride in the Palm application directly, simply indicating changes of direction, then annotating them later after HotSyncing them into your desktop.

The automatic wheel calibration is quite simple. You start off on a map by indicating your current location, then another location. BikeBrain then calculates and adjusts for your wheel size and sensor position. It can handle speeds up to 100mph and can even be used on motorcycles.

The desktop application features tools for managing your maps and creating them, as well as a suite of displays for analyzing your rides. Features promised for the next version of BikeBrain include heart rate and cadence monitoring.

BikeBrain serves the bicycling enthusiast well, and it is easy to install and to use. Both the desktop and Palm applications are rich in features for the user.

There are some minor drawbacks. The cover, while professional in appearance and pliable enough to touch the controls for BikeBrain, is not a complete enclosure as it is a single piece of plastic that is velcroed together around your Palm. As they warn, it won't protect your Palm against the weather. Also, the documentation consists of only a couple sheets of paper. A full manual would have been better.

BikeBrain is available for all models of the Palm platform. The price is $89.95 for PalmPilot and Palm III models, and $99.95 for the Palm V model. 1-800-489-0580

-Kermit Woodall

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