In the early days of cycling, gathering performance data meant an endless bundle of wires, connecting one device to another. Now that the world has wireless technology, like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, tracking your progress is faster, more convenient, and most importantly, wire-free.
For cyclists who are serious about improving performance, the question now isn’t whether to use training tools or not. It’s about which gadgets will provide the most accurate and helpful data and insight on every ride and boost speed and performance. You don’t need to look further. Here are the best cycling tools to assist your training and speed your ride.
Heart-rate monitors aren’t popular only among cyclists but among fitness enthusiasts in general. That’s because tracking your heart helps maximize your training. Using a heart-rate monitor during cycling training will help pinpoint your zone and ensure optimum effects for every session.
With a heart-rate monitor, you can identify your resting and maximum heart rates. Training works best when you hit the right zone or percentage of your max heart rate for your goal.
For instance, riders whose goal is to lose weight need to ride at the pace of 60 to 65 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is the starting zone to burn fat.
Training to improve your speed and performance usually means cycling at a higher max heart rate percentage. High-intensity interval training, for example, is at 94 to 100 percent of your max heart rate.
Monitoring your heart rate also lets you know when your body is working too hard so that you know when to stop and prevent injury and help your muscles recover.
However, remember that the heart rate can be affected by other variables, like emotions and stressful situations. Plus, the heart rate may take some time to elevate and may remain high even after the physical activity.
This means that the heart-rate monitor isn’t the most accurate or reliable performance-measuring tool. This is why it should be used in congruence with the next cycling gadget.
Cycling Power Meter
Heart rate may not be the most reliable determinant, but power never lies. That’s why cycling power meters are more consistent and precise tools for measuring cycling performance. A power meter uses strain gauges to determine how much power the rider generates with every pedal.
A cycling computer then receives the information and provides the rider with a numerical report and insights on their performance.
The report helps determine the rider’s strengths and weaknesses and eliminates guesswork during training. Thus, the rider can have structure and direction during training, improve their race pacing and planning, and get more consistent performance measurement. These all result in more technical riding skills improvement.
These days you won’t find a serious cyclist without a cycling computer, also called a cyclocomputer, mounted on their bike.
The standard cycling computer measures speed, cadence, ride time, distance, and time of day. However, more advanced units have additional features, like getting your heart rate and measuring altitude, ascent, descent, and temperature. Many cyclocomputers also have GPS navigation functions that let you record your routes.
Not only are cycling computers handy for navigation, but they’re also essential for connecting to other training gadgets and accessing the numbers (e.g., heart rate, power, weight, time) that sum up your ride.
Smart Bicycle Trainer
Don’t let the weather stop you. Rain or shine, you can train whenever you want with a smart bicycle trainer. While it’s important to condition yourself to ride under different weather conditions, you shouldn’t put your health at risk and ride when it’s too hot, too cold, or raining hard outside.
You’re more likely to get heatstroke, hypothermia, or fever than to progress in your cycling if you push yourself too hard. Plus, riding during bad weather significantly increases your risk of getting into an accident.
It’s better to stay indoors and practice on a smart trainer. You may not have the best view, but you’ll get nearly the same quality of training you get on your bike. A smart trainer will allow you to ride as hard and as fast as you want and gather data on every session.
You can adjust the training settings, increase resistance, or set a riding profile by connecting to an app using your smartphone or computer.
Do you need a GPS tracker and a fitness tracker? Get both in one device. The smart pedal offers GPS tracking, so you can check on your bicycle whenever and wherever. At the same time, it also records your riding speed, route, incline, and the calories you burned throughout the ride.
Bicycle thefts are, unfortunately, common in populated areas, so it helps to have a smart pedal installed to monitor bikes and find stolen ones. Since the pedal also functions as a fitness tracker, cyclists can also use the device for their training or weight-loss program.
Data from the smart pedal can be accessed via a smartphone or computer through an app.
With all the data you need to keep track of, you an assistant that will help analyze and consolidate everything into consumable chunks. Enter, training apps.
Cycling training apps stores all your essential numbers, evaluates them, and creates graphs so you can monitor your progress and performance over a certain period.
A training app also helps you set up a practice schedule and collaborate with your coach, who can input workout or provide professional insights to make every session count. If you need a map that can log your rides, a training app can also be one.
Training by the Numbers
All the tools above promotes using numbers for training and improving your performance. Getting the numbers that sum up every ride gives you insight on how your training is going and how much progress you’ve made.
Numbers are easy to measure and track, and they provide an objective gauge of your performance. So if you’re looking for tools to help speed up your ride, check out the gadgets listed above, and try training by the numbers.
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