As humans we like to track things, some humans more than others, but needing to know speed, averages and time is built in from birth. This need is sometimes justified, you track miles and distance on a car to calculate gas expenditure and to know hoe much gas is left, or when you may need more. Your body and bike are no different.
There is a Need, a Need for Speed
One of the first things I recommend for a new cyclist(behind a helmet, hydration and padded shorts) is an on board cycling computer or cyclometer. Today I don’t want to sell you on a computer or to explain the basics of computers, as we’ve done that before. Instead I want to talk more about the variety of styles, getting more into technology and why or who would need them.
Starting Basic : A Watch
We have covered the basics of bike computers here before, to recap visit the page over here. Over the years of use the standard computer doesn’t excite me anymore, but it is a much needed tool for cyclist as they are starting off. Knowing your speed, averages and distance will make you a stronger cyclist but knowing your limits make you a smarter cyclist, a bike computer can help with that.
The step up from a standard cyclometer in my mind is the heart rate monitor. The key to heart rate monitors is to know your proper limits and zones. With that you’ll need some sort of testing done to check your limits with an accurate test. There are some people that recommend using a formula where you take your age and then subtract a random number. I’m not recommending that formula here because every body, diet and activity level is different. A program for testing I do recommend is New Leaf, I’ve used this only for testing in the past and can’t speak for their weight loss and exercise program. (I’m not paid or endorsed to say this about New Leaf either.)
When GPS first came to market designed for bikes, roughly 6 years ago, it was revolutionary but rather expensive. Pair that with the facts that many people didn’t know about them or what the could do with them. Now, you can get into a Garmin 405 GPS tracking watch for $299. They are easy to move between bikes, or even use it for running and walking. Some of the more advanced styles can double as an on road or trail GPS with street or topography maps.