Dec 11, 2013

Stepping up to GPS

A great move for cyclists

You have been riding for years just fine on your own, right? You know how to find your own way around, right? So why do you need a GPS mounted on your bike? To start with, it’s important to understand just how much you can get from a GPS unit. The metrics that can be logged can give you insight on your riding performance that you might not have even considered.


Perhaps the most obvious benefit of GPS is having all your maps in a little device that weighs just a few grams. And those few grams can make all the difference during your tour. And while you’re saving on that little bit of weight, you might as well focus your concentration on your ride.

Smartphones have navigation but there are drawbacks. Distractions like emails, instant messages and calls are best minimized so that you can achieve maximum output. Also, mounting a GPS unit leaves your phone protected, but not so much that it can’t be used. Models that offer Bluetooth connectivity to your smartphone allow you to instantly share your ride with others.

Consider the Garmin Edge line which has models that work anywhere in the world to bring you not only the latest route info but weather, speed and elevation tracking. A glove-friendly touch screen keeps you on the go and the fact that they are purpose built for riders means durable construction. The Magellan Sportrak as a bike mount is a good choice for mountain bikers.

Performance Enhancement

Creating active profiles within your unit can allow you to work on different cycling styles or training regimens while being able to easily switch from one to another. Having a unit that monitors all aspects of your ride makes it easier to adjust your training. The custom tools let you quickly select for different terrain and riding situations. Gone are the days of trying to remember details that might have happened hours earlier. Let the GPS unit do all the work for you when it comes to compiling data.

Using software to analyze your path to performance helps you break the data down. Seeing your ride performance laid out in easy to read graphs and charts helps you quickly understand various aspects of your cycling experience. Elevation, speed, heart rate, and pacing are looked at and measured against things like time and distance. What you get is a very large amount of information presented in such a way that is not overwhelming. Software that offers simulation rides from around the world are a great way to help steer clear of boredom when doing indoor training.

Tracking and Storing

It's helpful to know where you have been. Especially when you look at where you want to be.

It's helpful to know where you have been. Especially when you look at where you want to be. That is what a GPS unit is designed to do for you. By downloading the logged data onto your home computer, you can easily compare your past rides with your current ones, which will help you plan your next adventures. You can even send an email invite to friends and family that will allow them to keep track of where you are in real time. Friends and family are your best motivators. Even competition, whether between friends or other riders is healthy and rewarding.

Years from now you might want to relive a particularly notable ride. Having a point-by-point record adds an entirely new aspect to photos and recollections. There are so many options when it comes to storing and sharing the rides you have tracked that you will never tire of them. Exploring new places and routes is easier too. When you share your experiences, others return the favor and let you in on their exploits. It’s fun and builds camaraderie.

Essential Tool

With so many ways to help improve your cycling experience, a GPS unit just might be an essential tool for the modern rider who wishes to stay on top of current trends - not to mention the competition. When you also consider that they are so easy to use and bring so much more to the experience, it’s hard to imagine not riding with one. Once you make the move, an entirely new aspect of cycling is at hand and you won’t be able to part with it. A good GPS unit will come to seem as important to your ride as the right tire pressure or a comfortable seat.

Thinking about that GPS device now? Check out Rainmaker's guide to find the right fit for you.