In cycling, it is important to equip your bike with an accessory that allows you to monitor, in real time, the mileage. This accessory, called an odometer or cycle computer, tracks the number of miles traveled and detects in real time the cycling speed, allowing you to keep a record of the performances.
The classic bike mileage calculator tools have only the two functions reminded above, but on the market, there are many advanced models that can also monitor many other variables. Therefore, how to choose a bike mileage calculator tool? Read on to find out!
What Is A Bike Mileage Calculator Tool?
A bike mileage calculator tool is an electronic device that is able to calculate at least the distance traveled and the current cycling speed. However, the last generation devices are true cycle computers able to calculate, register and keep track of much more than just distance and speed.
In fact, the most advanced models also calculate the burnt calories, keep track of the routes, and help you register a journal of your bike training.
The cycle computers can be divided into two main types, wired and wireless.
The wired models transmit the information registered by a sensor installed on the front wheel’s fork to the display device that is usually mounted on the handlebar, through a wire that connects the two components of the system.
On the contrary, the wireless models use the advanced technologies to transmit the data without the use of a cable. There is a net advantage of the wireless models, as a cable is tricky to install and easy to damage, especially if you’re practicing trail or mountain biking.
To calculate the necessary data, all bike mileage calculator tools use a sensor that detects the electromagnetic induction of the electric pulse generated by a magnet that is mounted on the spokes of the front wheel. For an accurate calculation, the system will require you to set the circumference of the wheel.
Once the data is inserted, the device will calculate the mileage, the maximum and average speed, the distance traveled and other variables that depend on pedaling.
The more technologically advanced odometers are also able to detect the pedaling frequency and the heart rate, while the GPS models use the geographic coordinates to calculate trails, slope inclines, altitude and more.
How To Choose A Bike Mileage Calculator
As we already mentioned, on the market there are available dozens of models of bike mileage calculators suitable for both amateurs and professional use. For this reason, it is necessary to analyze a few aspects before deciding upon a model. Let’s see how to choose the odometer that best suits your needs.
The supported features of a bike mileage calculator will make the difference between a complete model and a traditional one.
The classic bike mileage calculators are able to detect limited data, such as the distance traveled, the current, maximum and average speed, and maybe the time spent to complete a trail or a path. These models are perfect for the amateurs who would only like to monitor the mileage but totally unsuitable for those trying to track their performances.
In fact, those who are approaching cycling from a professional point of view need a technologically advanced monitoring system that can also register and display the number of calories consumed during training, but also the temperature and CO2 level, and maybe the altitude.
Having a device that collects a bunch of data is great, but unless you can transfer that data to your PC or smartphone, the bike mileage calculator is not really useful. The main reason why you need to transfer the data from the device to your PC is that you have to analyze your performance.
On the other hand, the cycle computers usually have a limited memory space, and you will find it easier to store the collected data on another support.
The oldest models of odometers can connect to other devices through a USB cable, while the most recent ones use the wireless technology. Regardless of the model, a thing to check is the compatibility of the bike mileage calculator with the operating systems you are using on your other devices.
Apart from features and connectivity, you should also check the physical characteristics of the model you want to buy. Remember that the odometer will be mounted on your bike, therefore exposed to all types of weather.
The bike mileage calculator tool should be waterproof and made of high-quality materials that have a good shock resistance.
Most cyclists like to monitor their average speed and mileage while riding, and for this reason, the display of the cycle computer should be clearly visible and sufficiently bright to allow an easy reading of the data in all light conditions.
If you are interested in performance, a GPS system is a must. These devices usually include the most functions and have a clear advantage over the other devices as they register the information regarding the route, position, altitude, slope gradient changes, direction, speed, mileage, and effort more accurately than all the other models.
The GPS models usually connect with all devices and some models can even be synchronized either with a mobile device or with an app, for an easier transmission and analysis of the data.
Bike Mileage Calculator Tool: Do You Really Need It?
The answer to this question certainly depends on your cycling habits and goals. If you cycle only occasionally and have no interest in monitoring your mileage, you probably don’t.
Anyway, if you are an amateur or a pro that wants to keep track at least of the distances, then having a cycle computer is crucial.
There are many reasons why you might want to record the mileage and keep track of your performances. Firstly, it will allow you to improve your practice, set records and try to beat them. Secondly, by knowing the speed and the distance traveled, you will be able to balance your training.
Therefore, if you don’t want to lose this fundamental point of reference, investing in a bike mileage calculator tool is a must!