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  1. #1
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Giving up the cyclocomputer!?

    When I picked up the LHT I chose not to have the LBS add a cyclocomputer to it as I have a nice wireless one or a really nice GPS that I planned to use for it. Well, three days of riding without a cyclocomputer later, and I'm wondering if I'll add one to it at all! Do any of you ride without one?

    Personally, I find it to be oddly liberating to ride without one. With the invention of mapmyride and veloroutes, it's easy enough for me to find out my mileage at the end of the week, and well, daily I travel basically the same 20 mile route anyway. The only real reason for a cyclocomputer or GPS is for me to constantly watch my speed and obsess over average speeds.

    Heck, I've even considered stopping focus on mileage.

    In any way, I'm loving riding without one. And I may just keep it that way for the rest of the year!

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I use the computer, primarily for mileage tracking and averages, like you just said, but it's a training tool for me. If I'm out for an easy ride with the wife, I don't even look at it. Other times it's useful is planning a daily itinerary while I'm touring, especially if I'm doing one like last years tour of the UP. Going across unmarked fireroads, I had to navigate by dead reckoning from a planned set of turns and miles from turn to turn.

    Most of these fire roads don't even show up in a GPS database, other than DeLorme's, and I was working off of DeLorme's Gazeteer.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

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  3. #3
    2008 Prouty WhaleOil's Avatar
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    What I have chosen to do is display the speed with the time below. I found that having the total trip miles below really hindered me. I only look at the trip miles when I get back. I found I went further not knowing how far I'd been.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member badgermac's Avatar
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    Not to hijack the thread, but I've actually given up on the wireless models. Had A Planet Bike one but under 40 degrees and it keeled out on me. Now I have just basic wired models, no cadence, etc. I really want to see speed, odometer, trip distance, and time. Got a specialized model on closeout for the HardRock and a cheap Planet Bike one on my FCR.

  5. #5
    2008 Prouty WhaleOil's Avatar
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    I'll keep that in mind badgermac, I have a Trek wireless and when temps drop I'll see if it fails as well.
    The direct link to support me in the 27th Annual Prouty Bike Ride, July 12, 2008:
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  6. #6
    Senior Member badgermac's Avatar
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    I ended up putting my wireless on the Cruiser I got my mom so she can track distance and have a clock handy. She'll never go out in the lower temps so it should work fine for her. Not sure if Treks have that problem, but I"ve heard from some folks @ my LBS (not the one where I got the computer) that the PB ones are quite temperamental.

  7. #7
    Car Free ScotteeD's Avatar
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    I'm with you bdinger. I am so obsessed with my average speed that I'm to the point of hiding my comp. I have ridden 465 miles since the last week of March with an average speed of 16 MPH.......See what I mean, it is driving me crazy I would much rather be obsessed with reaching my goal of 5000 miles this year than reaching an average speed of 20 MPH.
    For many people, an excuse is better than an achievement because an achievement, no matter how great, leaves you having to prove yourself again in the future but an excuse can last for life....Eric Hoffer

  8. #8
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdinger View Post

    Personally, I find it to be oddly liberating to ride without one.
    I like gadgets. So I used a computer for years. But I bought cheap ones and either the batteries would die, or a wire would break, or it would be wireless and do the things wireless computers used to be known for (like not working).

    I got into a habit. I don't have a puter on my bike. I have a brand new in a package somewhere. At some point I will have to put it on. They can be quite handy. Oh, maybe a month from now. After we're done touring, I'll rip everything
    off, sometimes even the rack which puts the kibosh on commuting.

    And then after an endless winter spring rolls around. And I'll put it back on. In a
    month. Or two.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

  9. #9
    Frakabrash Takabrash's Avatar
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    I have mine, but I am so slow that to obsess over average speeds and such would be useless I do like to just put it on speed and time display and head out. It's fun to see the mileage when you get back.
    2008 Surly CrossCheck
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdinger View Post
    When I picked up the LHT I chose not to have the LBS add a cyclocomputer to it as I have a nice wireless one or a really nice GPS that I planned to use for it. Well, three days of riding without a cyclocomputer later, and I'm wondering if I'll add one to it at all! Do any of you ride without one?

    Personally, I find it to be oddly liberating to ride without one. With the invention of mapmyride and veloroutes, it's easy enough for me to find out my mileage at the end of the week, and well, daily I travel basically the same 20 mile route anyway. The only real reason for a cyclocomputer or GPS is for me to constantly watch my speed and obsess over average speeds.

    Heck, I've even considered stopping focus on mileage.

    In any way, I'm loving riding without one. And I may just keep it that way for the rest of the year!
    I often just set mine in regular odometer mode, so I don't see easily how far I have gone on a particular day, or I will set on ride time. Another option, is to attach the sensor to the rear wheel, and clip the computer to the back, then you can still see the distance and time at the end of a ride. Bike computers should be able to clip on many different places, like onto a seat tube or part of a rack. It's nice to know how far you go, if for nothing else, spinner saturday!

    Mapmyride and veloroutes can be anywhere from right on, to completely out to lunch as far as distance goes....

  11. #11
    zac
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    First year in decades. New bike & no computer. Just riding... I don't think I'll ever go back to using one.

    zac

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I've got the cheap Bell for $11 on sale.
    It did teach me a valuable lesson-
    Just because you're in a lower gear, doesn't mean you're slower!
    It convinced me to try to be a spinner instead of a masher, with very positive results.

    I "obsess" much less about my speed now. So I take 3 more minutes to get somewhere. Not having my tongue hanging out is worth it!

  13. #13
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I don't obsess with average speeds since the same course can measure differently according to conditions, wind etc. Plus I keep my wife's pace most of the time since we ride together.

    But a computer is very helpful on an organized ride and rt sheets. 3 miles turn left, 4.7 miles turn right,you know what I mean!

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I don't obsess with average speeds since the same course can measure differently according to conditions, wind etc. Plus I keep my wife's pace most of the time since we ride together.

    But a computer is very helpful on an organized ride and rt sheets. 3 miles turn left, 4.7 miles turn right,you know what I mean!
    Average speed is pretty variable for other reasons too.
    I know my clock quits running below 3-4 MPH.
    I made a very slow (1 mile) trip to the grocery store one day. My average was about 13, even though I didn't go over 10!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Wavy's Avatar
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    I didn't move my Bell wireless to my fixie when I got it a few years ago. Last year i was passed by two kids on mountain bikes, so decided to put it on. Too bad it no longer worked. Oh well. Simplicity and all that.

    Couldn't find it, but...

    Somewhere online is a story written by a former Buycycling magazine staffer about a guy who rides with someone who got a new computer and began obsessing. Eventually the computer user realized he'd lost all the joy of cycling. The story is supposedly taken from a true event, and the guy who wrote it claimed to have been fired by the real-life computer obsessor shortly after the story...
    “Next time you're in your car, at 80 Kilometers per hour, strip down to your underwear and jump out. That's what it's like to crash in a professional bike race.” - Jonathan Vaughters

  16. #16
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    I'm a data junkie. I live it, breathe it, eat it and I just got to have it. Good thing I am a database admin. However, every now and then, I leave the thing at home and just go riding.
    Brian | 2015 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  17. #17
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I like mine for a couple of reasons. One is, I've been riding a 22 mile loop on weekends, and I try to ride it as fast as I can, so I can see how I'm improving. Secondly, it helps to maintain a steady pace, especially handy when you pass other people. Otherwise, there's a tendency to go faster when you see them and slow down when you don't, which means you pass them and then slow down in front of them.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  18. #18
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    I like mine for a couple of reasons. One is, I've been riding a 22 mile loop on weekends, and I try to ride it as fast as I can, so I can see how I'm improving. Secondly, it helps to maintain a steady pace, especially handy when you pass other people. Otherwise, there's a tendency to go faster when you see them and slow down when you don't, which means you pass them and then slow down in front of them.
    Speed can be notoriously inaccurate over distances, for example one route I use, I can look at the computer every 30 seconds, and it shows 25km/h each time, but the average over the ride is 15km/h, why? Because over a 15 block route, there are 15 all way stops, all are political - for cager speed control. It drastically reduces my speed, not so successful with the cagers however, who will push the pedal to the floor and hit 60km/h before jamming on the brakes for the next one. This is a 40km/h zone, because of a large number of children in the area, going from apartment blocks on one side of the street to schools on the other. Going through on a bike during rush hour is not a good idea, the fumes are something else.

    Speed is also a poor indicator of improvement, there are too many other factors, for example if I eat an hour before a ride, the speed will chart higher, then if I ate 4 hours or 5 hours before the ride, how much you have had to drink is also a factor, as is wind speed and direction. My usual loop is 15km, and is primarily North/South, I find a North or South wind has less effect then an East or West wind, which you seem to fight most of the way. Probably the best indicator of improvement is if you have a power meter, that can measure actual power at the pedals. A heart rate monitor may also help, but not as much, as hydration can affect heart rate.

    One thing nobody has touched on though, it's a lot easier to keep Spinner Saturday up to date with a computer!

  19. #19
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    I'll keep mine - I'm a geek and gadgets like cyclocomputers, heart rate monitors, GPS, pedometers, websites that offer stats tracking, etc. all make it more likely that I'll actually exercise. However, I don't obsess over it, and I don't think I've ever paid more than $15 for a cyclocomputer - usually I buy whatever the cheapest one is at Nashbar, use it 'till it breaks, then buy a new one...

  20. #20
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    I tried a cyclocomputer once 10 years ago. I rode with it for a few days and then took it off. I didn't want my ride to be driven by obsession with mileage and speed numbers. When I want to know, distance I can easily get from a map, and from that and a watch I can easily get average speed. That's all I need. For me, riding is a zen kind of thing and I prefer to just ride without measuring anything.

  21. #21
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Wow, interesting responses! I think that keeping the mileage up to date might be a challenge, but at the same time, I might even stop doing that :O. Although, it should be pretty easy as daily I travel the same 20 mile ride during the week, and on the weekends generally either someone is with who has a computer, or I can guage the distance well, OR I can just map it.

    Granted I may change my mind in a month, but I have a nice GPS with a nice GPS bike mount in that event .

  22. #22
    Back in the game...
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    Quote Originally Posted by proethele View Post
    I'm a geek ... gadgets ... make it more likely that I'll actually exercise.
    Me too, but not because they make it more likely. I like to track what (how much) I've done, how much I've saved (or, lately, spent...) on cycling, calories burned, etc. But the big reason I use the computer is for cadence - Trying to spin more, mash less, and having the number in front of me helps me manage that. Occasionally I'll kick it into speed mode before a downhill so I can see how fast I'm going, but usually leave it on cadence for the aforementioned reason, and elapsed time, to remind me to drink... errr, hydrate... If I don't hydrate frequently enough early in my p.m. commute, I end up with calf cramps in the last 4 miles. So I try to drink every 10 minutes or so, plus every stop light.

  23. #23
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I love maps, but have no natural sense of direction. I love gadgets as well, so a GPS was an obvious choice.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bdinger View Post
    Personally, I find it to be oddly liberating to ride without one. With the invention of mapmyride and veloroutes, it's easy enough for me to find out my mileage at the end of the week, and well, daily I travel basically the same 20 mile route anyway. The only real reason for a cyclocomputer or GPS is for me to constantly watch my speed and obsess over average speeds.

    Heck, I've even considered stopping focus on mileage.

    In any way, I'm loving riding without one. And I may just keep it that way for the rest of the year!
    +1

    When I built up my current road bike I very intentionally did not add a computer. Sometime I wish I had one for cadence, but most of the time I am happy about my decision.

  25. #25
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
    I love maps, but have no natural sense of direction. I love gadgets as well, so a GPS was an obvious choice.
    Hah, another sufferer . I've decided that I'll always either carry my smartphone (which has a built-in GPS, and thanks Sprint, navigation software) or on longer rides/tours/etc I'll throw the GPS mount and the nice Magellan GPS on the LHT. To not do so would be, well, it just wouldn't be good .

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