Tip of the Week 8: Get a Cycling Computer

Now is the time when people are choosing which rides/events/races they will be doing for the year. You should be training for the upcoming ride whether it is the 20 mile option at the Goldilocks Ride or the 200 mile Desperado Dual. If you get out and ride for an hour, you can maybe get an idea of how far you went, but effective training requires tools and metrics to plan on improvement. Most computers are easy to install and use on almost every kind of bike. If you’ve got kids working on the Cycling Merit Badge for Boy Scouts, this computer can be a lifesaver!

Basic cycling computers are inexpensive, starting about $30, and can range up to $650+ for a GPS-based touch-screen Garmin Edge 800. Wireless computers are becoming more affordable, starting at just $45 this year. You can get rid of that ugly wire wrapped around the bike for a cleaner look.

For those of you with a Cannondale Lefty, we have an adapter that allows you to use a sensor on your front wheel. We definitely recommend using a wireless computer for this Lefty application.

Most computers will tell you the following bits of data:

  • Current speed
  • Average speed
  • Maximum speed
  • Trip distance
  • Total odometer
  • Clock (make sure you get home for dinner!)

More advanced computers will tell you even more information to help you train more efficiently. Some computers track the following metrics:

  • Heart rate (average, current, max)
  • Trip time
  • Lap time/speed
  • Elevation
  • Grade
  • Vertical altitude gain and loss
  • Current, average, maximum cadence (rotations per minute on your cranks)
  • Mapping w/ current location
  • Turn-by-turn directions
  • Training pace
  • Intervals timing
  • Data recording for later analysis on your computer
  • Connection for ANT+ power meters

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