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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 07-21-10, 07:11 PM   #1
Pat_RI
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Cyclocomputer - Is it necessary???

I have been riding for a bit and finally broke down and bought some shorts and gloves because my hands and rear end were getting sore from riding. I think they should make a big difference but now I am thinking I need a cyclocomputer to see if I can track any improvements. I haven't been really riding any set route I just drive around until I get tired so I don't know the distance, speed, or time (time can be estimated) I am doing. Is a computer really needed if you are riding to lose weight? Is there any good iPhone app to buy that will do the same? Any advice is much appreciated.
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Old 07-21-10, 07:19 PM   #2
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I used gmaps pedometer and a watch for quite awhile. Then bought a basic cyclocomputer. It's really nice to have but not "necessary". I must admit I do lust for a gps.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:22 PM   #3
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I have that dilemma by the horns right now. Necessary? Nah but I want to keep track of my cadence without distracting counting. I just started riding again after too long and said I wouldn't do this again. Just ride and enjoy the scenery. Well seems that's not going to be easy. Dammit.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:07 PM   #4
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I use my computer for a few things.

First, I use the elapsed time to remind myself when to drink and eat. Every 15 minutes I grab the water bottle for a drink.

Second, I use the speedometer to make sure I'm actually working and not just cruising down hills and then pedaling enough to get some momentum to cruise more.

Third, I use the trip odometer to track the distance of each ride to help prepare myself for a MS150 ride next month. I do one long ride per week. Last week was 47 miles. Today was 52.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:15 PM   #5
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I use an App called Cardiotrainer on my android phone and it works great.. I know there are a few Iphone apps that work very similarly, look in the electronics forum for more info..

here is a link to some iphone apps.. http://ruedatropical.wordpress.com/2...-applications/
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Old 07-21-10, 09:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spooner View Post
I use my computer for a few things.

First, I use the elapsed time to remind myself when to drink and eat. Every 15 minutes I grab the water bottle for a drink.

Second, I use the speedometer to make sure I'm actually working and not just cruising down hills and then pedaling enough to get some momentum to cruise more.

Third, I use the trip odometer to track the distance of each ride to help prepare myself for a MS150 ride next month. I do one long ride per week. Last week was 47 miles. Today was 52.
I love the pace arrow! Not so much on the descents, but on the flats it is great!
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Old 07-21-10, 09:30 PM   #7
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Depends on how serious you are. I use my cheapo (Axiom) $14 ( 5 years ago) from Performance for ride time, distance and average as I log them.

I'm not very serious about riding so I don't pay attention to heartrate, calories burned, cadence zones etc. Just basic simple stuff.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:44 PM   #8
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I have an app for my blackberry that I like.... it logs a GPS point every second or so and uploads to a website when I'm done riding. Keeps track of distance, time, avg speed, altitude, altitude profile, speed profile etc. etc. etc. There are a bunch of similar apps for the iPhone, including some that will update your location real time so somebody else can see where you are, which I think could be super handy for nervous non-biking spouses.

I'm an engineer deep down, so I like looking at the graphs & stuff.

I do like seeing my speed & cadence on a bike computer... distance is nice too. I use my watch to tell me when to eat.
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Old 07-21-10, 10:04 PM   #9
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I have a cylcomputer, and a gps. I still just use map, google, and watch most of the time. I do like the MPH function the most.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:25 PM   #10
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I wouldn't go without a computer on my bike for very long. One of my main motivators to ride more is to accumulate more miles. I love to build statistics and monitor my progress. I also like to look at my average speed after a ride. It's a good way to make sure that I'm pushing myself and not just coasting around.

I can't understand how people could stand to go without a computer on their bike. Each mile is an accomplishment, of sorts, and being able to watch that number grow is rewarding. That is the case for me, at least. I would classify a cyclocomputer as a necessity, but it might not be a priority for everyone. I'd say that spending the $20 for a basic unit is worthwhile. I wouldn't leave home without one.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:42 PM   #11
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I have a very basic bike computer, and a GPS with a handlebar mount. Sometimes the GPS gets confused ( going through a tunnel ), or runs out of battery power, so the CatEye is a more reliable thing in the long term. I've had my bike for almost exactly a year, and have 3,300 miles on it. As much as almost anything else, I like knowing that ... I'm the kind of person who would be just slightly bothered by wondering what the odometer might read if I'd had one. The GPS lets me make fancy maps later on, when I get home, and has a heart-rate monitor and cadence sensor.

Bike computers aren't a necessity, although I think it's kind of important to know your speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
I'm not very serious about riding so I don't pay attention to heartrate, calories burned, cadence zones, or that giant mountain up ahead that even birds can't fly over, etc. Just basic simple stuff.
I edited that a little bit to leave out the part Mr Beanz forgot. This is a guy who doesn't call something a hill unless there's snow at the top.
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Old 07-22-10, 01:18 AM   #12
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Short answer: no.

For many years I used maps to figure out my distance and I used a watch to figure out my time. You don't really NEED a computer for anything. I bought my first one last fall. I really do like to know my mileage without having to use a map and knowing my speed is kinda fun. But you know, people rode, raced, toured, etc for decades without them. They are fun to have and pretty convenient but they are not a necessity.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:46 PM   #13
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If you are a recreational rider or commuter then it is not necessary.

But comping from a competitive swimming backround it is instrumental in improving your performance. We had pace clocks on the walls to see how fast we were swimming and the cyclocomputer is the cycling equivilent. Sometimes percieved effort is not the actual effort. The computer can monitor your progress and give you encouragement to race against the clock.
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Old 07-22-10, 10:59 PM   #14
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No, but you will love it if you get one! If you have everything else you need, and you can swing it, go for it! Or get the iPhone app equivalent. If nothing else, it will show you progress. Your old average was 9mph and the new one is 50! Wow! Good job! I like my computer to show me how fast I went down hills.
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Old 07-22-10, 11:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I edited that a little bit to leave out the part Mr Beanz forgot. This is a guy who doesn't call something a hill unless there's snow at the top.
Hey, don't tell anybody, they might think I'm a serious rider!
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Old 07-23-10, 03:27 AM   #16
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If you want an iPhone app, look at Runkeeper - it's pretty good at tracking your rides using GPS. I still prefer a real bike computer because of various issues (running down my phone battery, forgetting to start Runkeeper, etc.) but it will at least give you a better idea than you have now...
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Old 07-23-10, 03:38 AM   #17
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I like having one. Mainly for the cadence. I will let mine drop if I don't keep an eye on it and my knees will hurt for a couple of days after. I like seeing how many miles I get a year and my avg speed. Not really necessary but its also not that expensive and is helpful.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:47 AM   #18
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yeah not neccessary but i love to be able to track my speed time etc. and keeps the interest up!!
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Old 07-23-10, 09:59 AM   #19
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I use imapmyride on my iphone. It's not perfect, but it is free and fine for basic tracking. Sometimes it'll stop during my ride but I can go in through the website and edit the route to add anything it missed. If you're taking really long rides it'll probably burn up your battery though.
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Old 07-23-10, 10:25 AM   #20
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I use it for tracking distances when I print out maps.. it makes it easier to know when the turns are (or were, if I'm not paying attention). If it weren't for that, I don't know if I would have one. Knowing my speed, average speed, and elapsed distances are nice, but not necessary.
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Old 07-23-10, 10:31 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneez View Post
Short answer: no.

For many years I used maps to figure out my distance and I used a watch to figure out my time. You don't really NEED a computer for anything. I bought my first one last fall. I really do like to know my mileage without having to use a map and knowing my speed is kinda fun. But you know, people rode, raced, toured, etc for decades without them. They are fun to have and pretty convenient but they are not a necessity.
This.
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Old 07-23-10, 11:51 AM   #22
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Beanz is a one man sleeper cell of cycling seriousness. He can use technology like no one else on BF's. He's scary good!

I broke down and got a Garmin 305 last year. I like tracking my progress and also use it to keep names and phone numbers of people I meet while riding. Garmin lets you keep notes. I am also in my 50's so keeping track of my HR is important, IMHO. I don't care about cadence, the best part of biking is coasting downhill and singing at the top of my lungs.

Computers are optional. For me they keep me mentally involved and pushing myself-I like my little games I play.
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Old 07-23-10, 03:35 PM   #23
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Beanz is a one man sleeper cell of cycling seriousness. He can use technology like no one else on BF's. He's scary good!
Hahaha! Hey man, I just ride my bike!
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Old 07-23-10, 04:15 PM   #24
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I've been riding somewhat seriously for 20 or so years now - got started again in my 40's. For a long time I "needed" a computer on each of my bikes. Between travel for work and sloth it's been a couple of years without any serious riding. A while ago, I joined the Y (gym) and started riding seriously again. Another 8 pounds or so and I'll be a poser on this forum. In my biking renaissance I purchased a new bike (needed N+1). So far I haven't got around to putting a computer on it. The computer on the other bike I ride, a sport touring bike coming up to 20 years and 20k miles, has dead batteries. So at the moment, I have no computer. I do like to log my miles, route, and average speed (Yeah, I'm an engineer). Sometimes I throw, er place, my handheld GPS in my trunk bag and get ride statistics after I get home. Sometimes I ride a known route or use google maps to calculate distance and my cell phone to estimate ride time. So far I don't miss having a computer on my bikes. In fact riding is more fun then it has been for some time.

If I was more serious in my training I would use a computer and a heart rate monitor. The computer for cadence and the heart rate monitor for actual effort. But I'm also a semi-retired old fart so training is no longer an issue for me.

If I was to get around to an organized event ride, I would have a computer so I could follow the cue sheet. That's the only real reason I know that demands a computer. The other day I went out for a ride and ended up "exploring" an area I wasn't familiar with. Between the twisting, turning roads in a housing development and some off-road trails through a green belt area I got lost and was glad I had my GPS along to get found and oriented to continue my ride. Without the GPS I would have followed an arterial road until I got to a known location. With the GPS I was able to continue my "exploration" of the off-road trails and still get home.
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Old 07-23-10, 04:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat_RI View Post
I have been riding for a bit and finally broke down and bought some shorts and gloves because my hands and rear end were getting sore from riding. I think they should make a big difference but now I am thinking I need a cyclocomputer to see if I can track any improvements. I haven't been really riding any set route I just drive around until I get tired so I don't know the distance, speed, or time (time can be estimated) I am doing. Is a computer really needed if you are riding to lose weight? Is there any good iPhone app to buy that will do the same? Any advice is much appreciated.
Computers are handy, although people were riding bicycles for many years before the first bicycle computer came out, so no, it's not strictly needed. I use mine for a couple of things, and both of my bikes have one. It really depends on what you want to use it for. I use it, in the attempt to ride further and further, so track total distance over a period of time, using a spread sheet, this year I greatly simplified the information I track, and dropped time from the tracking information, so I no longer keep track of average speed, it was pretty pathetic anyway. It is handy to know that you have so much saddle time, in order to remain properly hydrated and fuelled. The problem with phone applications, you need to remember to start the app, which is the difficulty, you get half way to your turn around point and remember you forgot to start the phone app.
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