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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-28-11, 01:27 PM   #1
Digital_Cowboy
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Cyclecomputer

Here's a good question for everyone here. When commuting, which feature(s) of your cyclecomputer are the most important?

For me it's the speed and the current time while I'm riding. The distance traveled I only check every now and then and is of more importance once I'm either at my destination or when I'm done for the day. My current cyclecomputer has not only the usual distance, and overall cumulative distance but it also a second distance "meter" (for want of a better word). I use the Dist 1, for daily mileage and Dist 2 for keeping track of weekly distance ridden and of course the odometer keeps track of the total cumulative miles ridden.

It also has a time ridden, average speed ridden, and a max speed ridden. It also has something of a cadence function to it. That works with the average speed.

So what function(s) on the cyclecomputer do you find most helpful when commuting?
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Old 10-28-11, 03:18 PM   #2
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Perhaps you didn't see this thread on the front page of the commuting forum you posted to?

Cycling computer for commuters
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Old 10-29-11, 02:05 AM   #3
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Perhaps you didn't see this thread on the front page of the commuting forum you posted to?

Cycling computer for commuters
Perhaps you have a problem with reading? The OP in the link that you provided was asking what would one suggest to a manufacturer:

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Originally Posted by JaccoW
What would you suggest to a company that makes cycling computers?
Whereas I was asking what function(s) does one find most helpful while commuting. Two different questions if I am not mistaken.
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Old 10-29-11, 04:23 AM   #4
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I like the two odometer functions. The time, speed, and average speed functions. My wants are for commuting and touring. A backlight would be nice. I commute in the dark for the AM commute most of the year but my shift is always variable and always a bit early.
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Old 10-29-11, 08:02 AM   #5
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Perhaps you have a problem with reading? The OP in the link that you provided was asking what would one suggest to a manufacturer:

Whereas I was asking what function(s) does one find most helpful while commuting. Two different questions if I am not mistaken.
But in the usual BF fashion of everyone bloviating well beyond the original post, I think your question is probably answered in that thread. :-)

What's most helpful? Hmmm.... Being a data junkie and liking all of it, I've never really ranked the functions. But, I guess the trip distance seems to be the one I refer to the most, especially on mentally challenging days when I can look down and see "half done"..."three quarters done..."
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Old 10-29-11, 08:10 AM   #6
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Mileage/Odometer. I keep track of annual mileage every year, so that is the most important function during commutes. I don't like to look at speed, it's embarrassing lol
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Old 10-29-11, 08:14 AM   #7
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Speed and time of day....I know the distance.
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Old 10-29-11, 09:05 AM   #8
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Elevation gain. Riding on the flats or downhill doesn't require that much effort. The only thing that really matters is how much climbing you do.
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Old 10-29-11, 09:22 AM   #9
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Perhaps you have a problem with reading?
Must have been that detailed, search-helpful thread title you posted. Oh wait...

No computers on my bikes currently.
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Old 10-29-11, 09:26 AM   #10
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I like to watch heart rate and cadence while riding. All data however is loaded online for cummulative analysis at my leisure.
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Old 10-29-11, 12:05 PM   #11
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I like to watch heart rate and cadence while riding. All data however is loaded online for cummulative analysis at my leisure.
A lot of cool hills where you are - I used to live in Bisbee. There are many wonderful, scenic rides in that area - - -
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Old 10-29-11, 12:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Blues Frog View Post
I like the two odometer functions. The time, speed, and average speed functions. My wants are for commuting and touring. A backlight would be nice. I commute in the dark for the AM commute most of the year but my shift is always variable and always a bit early.
As I said I like the two trip odometers as well as the time and speed. I also like the average speed function, but I have to wonder how often it samples the speed and how it calculates the average speed. As I'll be rolling down the road at 16-17MPH but when I check the average speed it shows 3 or 4MPH slower then what I am going.

I agree that a backlight would be very useful feature.
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Old 10-29-11, 12:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter View Post
But in the usual BF fashion of everyone bloviating well beyond the original post, I think your question is probably answered in that thread. :-)
I've noticed the individual in question has a tendency to challenge or assume things. In another thread that we've posted to in A&S where I'd suggested that all motor vehicles have one of those "1-800 how am I driving" type of bumper stickers on them. He assumes that I meant that other drivers should whip out their cell phone and call said number to report said car while driving. He then further assumes that I was somehow suggesting that motorists should write down the license plate number of the car in front of them while driving. Neither of which I said or suggested. He choose to read more into what was posted then what was actually there.

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What's most helpful? Hmmm.... Being a data junkie and liking all of it, I've never really ranked the functions. But, I guess the trip distance seems to be the one I refer to the most, especially on mentally challenging days when I can look down and see "half done"..."three quarters done..."
I too can be somewhat of a data junkie. But my current computer has all of the functions that I need/require. I agree with you about being able to look down and see if I'm "half done or three quarters of the way done" or what have you.

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Mileage/Odometer. I keep track of annual mileage every year, so that is the most important function during commutes. I don't like to look at speed, it's embarrassing lol
I agree, I haven't had my current bike even a year yet and I've already put almost 3k miles on it. Which means that it's gonna need a major tuneup in the very near future.
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Old 10-29-11, 12:42 PM   #14
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Elevation gain. Riding on the flats or downhill doesn't require that much effort. The only thing that really matters is how much climbing you do.
Not much in the way of hills where I live. The closet that we have to "hills" are bridges. And at least for one of my routes most of those are on the Pinellas Trail. We have some nice steep bridges on it.
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Old 10-29-11, 02:22 PM   #15
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Hi D_C!

Good question. As you may or may not know, I like to use both my cyclecomputer (tossed the sigma and have a planet bike now..) and I also wear a heart rate monitor.

My PB wireless has several of the aforementioned functions, but I like the advantage of being able to get a quick idea "at a glance" when I ride. I'm usually most interested in distance - time (and that it's accurate...which my sigma was not...) but I also like to get feedback for distance traveled in a week.

My Polar HRM gives me all that data too. It also gives me cool stuff like ascent/decent, elevation, HR (of course) cadence, DST, time, and speed. All that information I upload into my laptop and it gives me a nice graphical analysis of how my body is performing in relationship to the varying conditions of my ride. Especially in areas where I sprint, and how it looks when I climb "The Hill Of Many Smells" as I have come to fondly refer to one of the more challenging climbs on my route. However, I use both when I commute, ride local, or ride centuries.

I really like my HRM, but I can't readily access the information on it like I can on the cyclecomputer on my bike. So the utility of the computer is a pretty handy tool.
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Old 10-30-11, 02:20 PM   #16
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Hi D_C!

Good question. As you may or may not know, I like to use both my cyclecomputer (tossed the sigma and have a planet bike now..) and I also wear a heart rate monitor.
How has it improved your cycling?

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My PB wireless has several of the aforementioned functions, but I like the advantage of being able to get a quick idea "at a glance" when I ride. I'm usually most interested in distance - time (and that it's accurate...which my sigma was not...) but I also like to get feedback for distance traveled in a week.
I agree, Speed and time of day are my primary interests, followed by daily, then weekly distance ridden. Living in Florida and having very few actual hills to climb grade is very far down on my list.

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My Polar HRM gives me all that data too. It also gives me cool stuff like ascent/decent, elevation, HR (of course) cadence, DST, time, and speed. All that information I upload into my laptop and it gives me a nice graphical analysis of how my body is performing in relationship to the varying conditions of my ride. Especially in areas where I sprint, and how it looks when I climb "The Hill Of Many Smells" as I have come to fondly refer to one of the more challenging climbs on my route. However, I use both when I commute, ride local, or ride centuries.
Sounds like a lot of good data. I'm not too sure how comfortable I'd be giving that kind of information to a web site. What do they do with it? Do they compare it to others who ride in the area?

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Originally Posted by silmarillion View Post
I really like my HRM, but I can't readily access the information on it like I can on the cyclecomputer on my bike. So the utility of the computer is a pretty handy tool.
I can see where being able to interface with a computer would be a plus, and I'd rather have my medical/health/ride information stored locally instead of on some company's web site.
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Old 10-30-11, 02:40 PM   #17
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Speed, Time are probably tied for first, Odometer and distance are next tier.
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Old 10-30-11, 02:45 PM   #18
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How has it improved your cycling?
Well, it forces me to keep my ride on, and not to sandbag. When I sluff off, I can see it in the data. I'm a geek, so when I see the data before me, it's kinda like a motivation tool...(for me anyway...)

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I agree, Speed and time of day are my primary interests, followed by daily, then weekly distance ridden. Living in Florida and having very few actual hills to climb grade is very far down on my list.
Uh-huh. The speedo just let's me see just how fast I can do the big downhill, and how slow I get as I climb up the grade on the other side. The clock lets me see how late for work I'm going to be. Fortunately, my boss is really cool and likes the fact that I ride to work. He thinks it's pretty cool, but I can't talk him into riding with me....(mainly because I guess I would be too quick for him and I begin at 6:00am)

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Sounds like a lot of good data. I'm not too sure how comfortable I'd be giving that kind of information to a web site. What do they do with it? Do they compare it to others who ride in the area?
Ah no brother, I didn't mean to mislead you. My HRM came with software that I can run locally. I agree, it's my stuff, and I don't share it with anyone except the guys I ride with, and my friend who helps me train. (and tells me I never eat enough..)

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I can see where being able to interface with a computer would be a plus, and I'd rather have my medical/health/ride information stored locally instead of on some company's web site.
Agreed. Like I said, I don't upload anything to a website, but I think you can if you want. My HRM is a Polar S725X. Only thing I dislike about it is that it doesn't currently work with 64x Win7. Polar says at this point they don't think they will upgrade the software... even though some people have been able to get their IR interface to work somehow. I've tried to do what they have done but I still can't get the IR to even function for some reason. I still need to do more research on it.
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Old 10-30-11, 02:52 PM   #19
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BTW Cowboy,

You know I love riding in the Tampa/St.Pete area. I have done a century down there with my Bacchetta buddies. And a few years ago, they hosted a big what-to-do party/ride down there. Even though we didn't ride much of the S.Park...(Desoto? is that it?) We rode through a small section of it while on the century. Gotta admit. I love those flat fast centuries on a recumbent bike!
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Old 10-30-11, 03:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by K'Tesh View Post
Speed, Time are probably tied for first, Odometer and distance are next tier.
Agreed, anything else (for a commuter not training ride) is just icing on the cake, nice to have but not really needed for the task at hand.
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Old 10-30-11, 03:45 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silmarillion View Post
Well, it forces me to keep my ride on, and not to sandbag. When I sluff off, I can see it in the data. I'm a geek, so when I see the data before me, it's kinda like a motivation tool...(for me anyway...)
That's a good point.

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Uh-huh. The speedo just let's me see just how fast I can do the big downhill, and how slow I get as I climb up the grade on the other side. The clock lets me see how late for work I'm going to be. Fortunately, my boss is really cool and likes the fact that I ride to work. He thinks it's pretty cool, but I can't talk him into riding with me....(mainly because I guess I would be too quick for him and I begin at 6:00am)

True, the same can be said for climbing the steep bridges that we have and seeing how fast we can get going.[/quote]


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Ah no brother, I didn't mean to mislead you. My HRM came with software that I can run locally. I agree, it's my stuff, and I don't share it with anyone except the guys I ride with, and my friend who helps me train. (and tells me I never eat enough..)
Ah, okay, thanks for clearing that up. We share enough information as it is, the only way we'll retain any privacy in the coming decades is by being able to pick and choose what we will and will not share. And sadly (hopefully in the FAR off future) I can see a day when we're not given a choice in what we will share. It'll all be in the "cloud" for "everyone" to access whenever they want.

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Agreed. Like I said, I don't upload anything to a website, but I think you can if you want. My HRM is a Polar S725X. Only thing I dislike about it is that it doesn't currently work with 64x Win7. Polar says at this point they don't think they will upgrade the software... even though some people have been able to get their IR interface to work somehow. I've tried to do what they have done but I still can't get the IR to even function for some reason. I still need to do more research on it.
That's good, see above. What was their reason for not wanting to issue an upgrade to the software?

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BTW Cowboy,

You know I love riding in the Tampa/St.Pete area. I have done a century down there with my Bacchetta buddies. And a few years ago, they hosted a big what-to-do party/ride down there. Even though we didn't ride much of the S.Park...(Desoto? is that it?) We rode through a small section of it while on the century. Gotta admit. I love those flat fast centuries on a recumbent bike!
Not too long ago I ran into a couple who were riding a couple of Bacchetta's and they weren't the usual Bent, they were more of a regular "upright" style frame bike. Very cool looking. I haven't done a century yet, does it count if one runs a century solo? And yes, I can see how Florida's natural flatness can lead itself to being conductive to running a century.

Ft. DeSoto is a very lovely place, sadly I haven't been out there recently. I need to though one of these days.
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Old 10-30-11, 05:45 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy View Post
Here's a good question for everyone here. When commuting, which feature(s) of your cyclecomputer are the most important?

For me it's the speed and the current time while I'm riding. The distance traveled I only check every now and then and is of more importance once I'm either at my destination or when I'm done for the day. My current cyclecomputer has not only the usual distance, and overall cumulative distance but it also a second distance "meter" (for want of a better word). I use the Dist 1, for daily mileage and Dist 2 for keeping track of weekly distance ridden and of course the odometer keeps track of the total cumulative miles ridden.

It also has a time ridden, average speed ridden, and a max speed ridden. It also has something of a cadence function to it. That works with the average speed.

So what function(s) on the cyclecomputer do you find most helpful when commuting?
I ride a fairly heavy touring bike equipped with a very modest wireless cycle computer. I only use the speed function out of idle curiosity; if I'm going >15 mph on flat ground, I'm satisfied. I'm mainly interested in using the computer for determining daily and weekly distance.

Actually, I'm thinking of removing the computer entirely. I'm having trouble with signal interference because of my new light, which means the computer is now useless in the dark, and I can just as easily record mileage using the GPS feature on my phone, which makes the purchase of a wired computer kind of pointless.

Last edited by bragi; 10-30-11 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 10-30-11, 06:23 PM   #23
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What was their reason for not wanting to issue an upgrade to the software?
I'm just guessing here, but I would bet that they would like me to buy another $$$$ HRM/Cycloputer. :thumb:

I tell you though, this is a very nice HRM. I know they have some really nice new ones that have come out now that are pretty much an improvement on the old design. They just package it a bit differently. I think they have done away with the IR interface, and have gone to a USB or something better to retrieve the data. (Which in my honest opinion has always been a bit dodgy anyway...)

If you want to step up the level of your training, and keep track of your performance, you can't go wrong by getting a reasonable HRM. They are much more affordable than they were a couple of years ago and you get more bang for your buck.

Great tool to have though.
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Old 10-31-11, 01:21 AM   #24
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I ride a fairly heavy touring bike equipped with a very modest wireless cycle computer. I only use the speed function out of idle curiosity; if I'm going >15 mph on flat ground, I'm satisfied. I'm mainly interested in using the computer for determining daily and weekly distance.

Actually, I'm thinking of removing the computer entirely. I'm having trouble with signal interference because of my new light, which means the computer is now useless in the dark, and I can just as easily record mileage using the GPS feature on my phone, which makes the purchase of a wired computer kind of pointless.
Yeah, these day's there's an "app" for just about if not everything.
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Old 10-31-11, 01:34 AM   #25
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I'm just guessing here, but I would bet that they would like me to buy another $$$$ HRM/Cycloputer.

I tell you though, this is a very nice HRM. I know they have some really nice new ones that have come out now that are pretty much an improvement on the old design. They just package it a bit differently. I think they have done away with the IR interface, and have gone to a USB or something better to retrieve the data. (Which in my honest opinion has always been a bit dodgy anyway...)

If you want to step up the level of your training, and keep track of your performance, you can't go wrong by getting a reasonable HRM. They are much more affordable than they were a couple of years ago and you get more bang for your buck.

Great tool to have though.
You're probably right on all points.

And you're also probably right about the IR vs. USB interface system.

I have to admit that I haven't used an HRM, yet. Nor have I felt the need for one. But I can see their use, especially for those who besides riding for transportation/recreation but who also race. Given that I don't race, I don't see the need for a HRM.

Although it is an interesting enough idea that the next time I see my doctor out at the VA I'll ask her if she thinks it'd be a good idea for me to use one.
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