Cycling is a beautiful sport that can be practiced for a wide variety of purposes. From easy Sunday trips to off-road holidays on some of the most spectacular trails or roads, cycling expeditions can be tailored to meet the needs of all enthusiasts.
Although cycling is divided into various disciplines, they all have a thing in common. Namely, the curiosity of all cyclists to calculate and keep track of the mileage.
Today’s technology provides many tools that can be used as bike mileage calculators, from simple devices designed specifically for this purpose to apps and advanced gadgets that keep track of your mileage and more.
However, since cycling is a sport that aims to keep enthusiasts away from all the modern “conveniences”, maybe the best bike mileage calculator is a simple odometer. Let’s find out more about this device and see how to install it.
How To Choose An Odometer
Odometers are devices designed for a simple purpose, respectively to keep track of the traveled distance and speed. The basic models consist of a magnet that must be mounted on the spokes of the front wheel. A sensor mounted on the fork detects the movement of the magnet and a cable sends the information to a display unit where the data is processed and displayed to the cyclist.
Calculating your mileage with an odometer is easy. You just have to set the wheel circumference, after which the control unit will be able to calculate the frequency of the rotation of the magnet and display the current speed, the distance traveled and the average speed of the journey.
Some models can even store information regarding the maximum speed that was reached and also keep track of the distances.
On the market, there are dozens of models of odometers. Some of them don’t have any other functions and are only used as mileage calculators. Others, the most advanced ones, besides calculating the mileage, can also register other values such as your heart rate, consumed calories, and more.
Nevertheless, regardless of the model of odometer you consider, these devices have affordable prices and can certainly help you keep a journal of at least the average speed and distances, so you can track your performances.
Besides the traditional models, the most modern and technologically advanced odometers are wireless. These devices present a clear advantage because they don’t need any wires to transmit the information, are more durable and easier to install. The downside of the wireless odometers is the price, that is slightly higher compared to the traditional models.
The main thing to take into account before buying an odometer is the type of cyclist you are. If you only ride your bike casually, then a basic model can be sufficient. On the contrary, if you are using cycling to lose weight or to make performance, then you should consider investing in a cycle computer that is not only a mileage calculator but that can register many other variables.
If you like trail biking, then a model with GPS might be the best investment.
How To Install A Bike Mileage Calculator
Because bike mileage calculators are simple devices, their installation is simple and can be done by anyone. Follow the steps below to learn how to install your bike mileage calculator like a pro.
- Fix the sensor on the fork of the bike.
As mentioned above, the odometers are made of a magnetic component, a sensor, and a display unit. The sensor is linked to the display and it should be placed on the fork of the bike, at about 2-3 inches above the hub. Remember that the distance between the spokes of the wheel and the fork decreases in the proximity of the hub, therefore make sure that there is enough space for the magnet to pass freely.
- Allow a distance of a few millimeters between the sensor and the magnet.
The magnet must be mounted on the spokes of the front wheel. To measure distances and calculate mileage, the sensor of the odometer registers the number of times the magnet passes by it, and in order to register the movement, the sensor must detect it. For this reason, it is advisable to allow a distance of a few millimeters between the magnet and the sensor, rather than letting the two components touch.
- Trace the cable to the handlebars.
Installing the cable is the most tricky part. To secure it and ensure that it won’t break, you should wrap the cable as gently yet as loose as possible around the fork, then around the brake cable or gearshift to keep it in place. To fix the cable and ensure its integrity while riding, it might be useful to secure it around the fork with a few electrician ties, paying attention to not tighten them too much.Leave the last inches of the cable free, so you can reach the display of the odometer without hassle.
- Secure the display unit to the handlebar.
The vast majority of the odometers come with clips designed specifically to match all types of handlebars. The only thing to pay attention to is the place where you install the unit. The display must be easily visible and the unit must be located in a comfortable position that doesn’t jeopardize your ride.
- Connect the cable to the display unit.
That’s it! Your bike mileage calculator is installed to your bike!
How To Set The Odometer
Once your bike mileage calculator have been installed, you will also have to program it. If you have chosen a basic model, then your calculator only needs to know the circumference of the wheel.
Setting this variable is a fairly simple operation, but you have to do it with precision. The mistake many cyclists make is calculating the circumference of the wheels based on their diameter. However, the circumference can be slightly different depending on the type of tire you have on the bike.
Therefore, the calculate the exact circumference of the wheel, place a meter on the ground and place the wheel with the valve in the lower point at the beginning of the meter. Move the bike in a straight line until the valve returns again in the lower point of the wheel and read the measure. This is the exact circumference of the wheel .
Set this value into your bike mileage calculator and the device will precisely calculate the speed of the bike and the distance traveled, helping you keep track of your training.