Whether you are competitive or just a lover of riding, technology can be a great enhancement to your cycling. From ride data to advanced GPS guidance, there is a wide array of tools available for the modern cyclist. In this blog we’ll talk through the advantages of having a GPS device with you on the ride.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been unsure of whether we’ve taken the right turn and had to double back at some point on a ride…
In the past this meant either hoping one of your buddies can rectify your navigational error or if you’ve been on your own having to ask a passer-by or digging through your Camelbak to consult your map. However, it does not have be this way any longer! If you don’t own a GPS device, you are missing out on a fantastic piece of kit.
Finding new trails on a cycling trip or simply venturing down a route nearby that you haven’t yet tried is at your fingertips with a GPS Computer. They also provide accurate ride tracking with clear displays of your average speed, mileage and much more data to use on the ride or look back on later. If you like to stay connected on a ride, you can use this handy bit of kit to receive texts and alerts when paired with a compatible smartphone.
Examples such as the Garmin Edge Explore 2 GPS Computer are simple to set up and ready to use right out of the box. Having used this GPS myself, I can say it is very easy to follow and gives you turn-by-turn directions well in advance.
Another great feature of the Edge Explore 2 is it’s off-course recalculation, allowing you to pause route guidance and off-course notifications while you go off-course to explore. When you’re ready to get back on track, the GPS will show you the way. The Edge has allowed me to explore new areas on the gravel bike and even recce a long distance trail running race route. I particularly liked that I could try out unfamiliar roads and trails and then have it direct me home a different way so I didn’t have to double back on myself.
Units like this one are now much smaller and compact than they used to be and mount very easily to your handlebars. The Edge Explore 2 has a battery life up to 16 hours, emergency contact alerts and a IPX7 Water Rating which gives you confidence to use it for all weather conditions and those long days in the saddle.
If you want something for a more epic adventure such as a bike packing trip or ultra endurance event. The Garmin Edge 1040 Solar GPS Computer features a Power Glass solar charging lens extending battery life, giving you up to 100 hours in battery saver mode or up to 45 hours in demanding use cases. During daytime rides, it adds up to 42 minutes per hour in battery saver mode and up to 20 minutes per hour in demanding use.
You can check out our full range of GPS Cycling Computers here.
Another option for GPS navigation is a sports watch.
This offers the convenience of having your routes with you at all times, for all the sports you choose to do. I have found this to be a good option for rides where you don’t need to be frequently looking at your data mounted on the bars. Especially on the trails, you can ride focused on technical terrain and if you need it, the sound/vibration alerts notify you of when to make a turn or if you go off course. You can track and navigate your rides at your own pace and only stop to check your watch when you need to this way.
The Polar Grit X is a model I have used for over a year now on a daily basis. The navigation face uses a compass style guide, keeping things simple, yet effective. The watch acts as a simplified version of a GPS computer, best suited for those who like to pre-plan their routes as you must download your GPX file onto the device using the Komoot App before you begin rather than being able to plot a point to point like you would on the Garmin. I have found the ‘reverse route’ option to be very effective, allowing me to retrace my steps if I need to. It will also tell you how many miles/km are left of your pre-programmed route.
As well as GPS tracking the watch has accurate wrist based heart rate tracking when both on and off the bike, which I have found to work just as well as a HRM chest strap.
A GPS watch would is the perfect companion to use if you are a triathlete or like to incorporate cross training into your routine. With their many activity modes you’ll be hard pressed to find a sport this watch wouldn’t work for. Along with 40 hours activity mode you’ll be able to use it for many days or weeks on just one charge!
It’s always good to have a backup for any GPS device. If you happen to forget to charge your device before you go for a ride or are a fan of epic bike packing adventures then this handy device should be in your pack…
A powerbank is a secret weapon you hopefully don’t have to use but is always good to have on standby. I’ve made a habit of packing one on my long rides and have been glad to have it when my phone or GPS needs a quick top up. This handy gadget can also be used to charge your bike lights, Bluetooth headphones or any other device you may need so you’ll be sure to make use of it!