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Bike GPS Units Are No Longer Considered Exotic Gadgets

Both GPS navigation devices and electronic exercise monitors have become extremely sophisticated in the last decade or two. Satellite technology has become commonplace not only in automobile navigation devices, but it’s also been integrated into consumer devices for boating, running, hiking, golfing, and cycling. Monitoring your body’s reactions to exercise and fitness routines has also gotten more sophisticated and less constrictive, so almost anyone can now keep track of all sorts of statistics during exercise, like calories burned or heart rate. Since training for cycling racing requires both pinpoint accuracy on distances traveled at the same time it requires precise monitoring of the physical condition of the cyclist, a bicycle GPS cycling device has become standard equipment for anyone planning on training for cycle racing.

GPS Technology Is Ideal For Cycling Training

Bike GPS computer on bicycle handlebarGlobal Positioning System devices use signals beamed constantly from a network of satellites to determine the location of a receiver to within a few yards. A cyclist using a GPS computer can track exactly how far they’ve traveled as well as how much further they have to go, and they receive detailed navigation cues along the way as well. Since many fitness training and GPS functions can be linked by Bluetooth and ANT+ sensor technology, it’s also possible for competitive cyclists to monitor other important information like their speed, their pace, their heart rate, their pedaling cadence, and many other pieces of physiological information.

The tactical advantage gained by pioneers in GPS bike computers has made their use almost universal during competitive bike racing and training, and amateurs and other enthusiasts are also embracing the technology to increase their performance. Serious cycle training involves just as much medical information as speed and location information, and the synching of small but capable remote body sensors with GPS tracking devices make a very potent combination. High-profile cycling events like the Tour de France have made real time data from riders available to the public, and many countries have cycling teams with high-profile systems that capture data on cyclists that can be interpreted on the fly or stored for future analysis. Serious amateurs are taking advantage of this technology, and now enjoy many of the benefits available to the finest riders in the world by using a bike GPS computer.

There are quite a few manufacturers of bike GPS computers on the market. Some of the most popular brands are the Garmin Edge, Magellan Cyclo and Timex Cycle Trainer.

Ways That a Bike GPS Computer Can Improve Performance

Perfect Route Choice

Competitive cyclists train at different levels of exertion on different days. This so called interval training is designed to make sure that sore muscles get a chance to recover properly before they’re pushed to their maximum again, and choosing a route for an interval training run was once a complicated matter. Not only does the course have to be chosen for its length, but also the changes in elevation along the way can be just as important, and require proper planning. Using a bike GPS computer makes finding and navigating your way through the proper course for the day’s training goals easy.

Altitude Measurement

Most high-end bike GPS computers have altimeter functions that track grades you climb and descend while plotting and recording your route. The amount of force that has to be applied to pedal a bicycle up an incline is much greater than on level ground, and unless altitude data is integrated into your statistics, you’ll only have a vague idea of how much energy you’ve expended by studying time and distance.

Staying on Course

Long distance competitive cyclists have a lot of things to keep track of when they’re in a race, or training for one. Racecourses can include dozens of turns that can send a rider off the route, which costs them valuable time, or can even get them disqualified. It’s not uncommon for the course of races to be altered at the last minute due to traffic or other reasons, so familiarity with a course beforehand isn’t always enough to make navigation certain. Many time trial and triathlon courses are so long and cover so much ground that they aren’t even marked for the great majority of their length. A powerful GPS navigation device takes all the guesswork out of finding your way to the finish line and lets the rider concentrate on personal performance, and other riders.

Superb Accuracy

A cycling GPS computer is very accurate, and it allows you to train anywhere and calculate speed over the exact length of an actual racecourse distance no matter where you’re training. Competitive racers might run out of energy if they train on a course that’s not as long as the one on race day, so an accurate GPS map is vital for training purposes.

How To Design Training Sessions Using a Cycling GPS Computer

GPS cycling computers deliver lots of usable information, but the data has to be put to good use by proper planning and interpretation. Cyclists can enjoy excellent benefits from the technology right away if they use these devices for the following tasks:

Attack Your Weaknesses

Training sessions shouldn’t be designed to use your strongest attributes. Every athlete has weaknesses, but smart competitors use training session to attack these weaknesses directly instead of avoiding them. A competitive cyclist using a bike computer can lay out the perfect route to keep heart rates in a tight range while they work one set of muscles or another more vigorously. A cyclist that’s weak on climbing can use routes on hilly terrain, one that’s having difficulty keeping steady cadence on flats can have a long, level course laid out for them automatically.

Add Variety

One way to attack weaknesses is to discover them before they’re exposed in a competitive arena. Many riders would be afraid to try new courses while training because they might become lost, or worry that they’ll be unable to compare their rides on an apples-to-apples basis if they change them up. With a GPS cycling computer onboard, competitive cyclists can ride over unfamiliar routes with the peace of mind of knowing that their physical exertion and time and distance can be measured as accurately as on a favorite training loop.