Polar Express

My first and oldest piece of wearable technology is something I still have and use to this day. Since about 2003, I’ve been using a Polar S720i, a cycling-specific heart rate monitor, to track my feeble heart and body try to power my bicycle up a hill. State of the art for its time, it is still useful. It records your heart rate, speed, and cadence data for up to eight hours of cycling. Over the years, I never ran out of memory until last June on the 150-mile Ride to Montauk, which took me just under ten hours of pedaling to complete.

Polar 720i

I have had a Polar S720i since 2003, and it has required a few batteries replaced over that time.

Ahead of its time, it can upload your cycling and heart-rate data to your computer, provided you have a Windows PC. As a Mac user, I spent countless hours and about $100, buying USB-to-serial adapters and proprietary software, getting it to interface with my Mac. That setup, by the way, still works today.

Another “feature” of the S720i is that will repeatedly beep at you when you were outside of your target heart-rate zone. This was cool back when that whole zone-training was a thing. I used to “train” that way, but I have found it way more satisfying to just pedal to a brew pub or a train station, or better yet, a brew pub next to a train station.

Over the years, the battery on my Polar has needed replacing. Polar warns you not to have the battery replaced by another other than an Authorized Service Center. You can ship it to their main center in Lake Success, New York, which is only about 30 miles from Long Island City, or you can take it another authorized service center, the most distant of which is in Los Angeles. Guess where I went?
Time-Tec in Los Angeles is on Hill Street in the downtown Jewelry District. It occupies a very small space on the second floor of a building occupied by other watch-repair shops. I’ve gone here multiple times to repair my Polar, and they have questioned my sanity in coming all this way. I explain that I am visiting family in the region and that I appreciate their while-you-wait service. (It only takes about five minutes to do simple repairs.)

Also, Downtown LA is a bit more interesting these days than the former home of the United Nations. Incidentally, I can clearly see current UN from Long Island City, which makes for a lovely view.
They moved for a reason, right?

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