3 bikes, 1 computer …

I ride 3 bikes.  Regularly.  Every week.  Some times to commute.  Other times to train.  And often, just to get out for a ride.  I log 150-200 km each week.

I am not new to cycling.  No. I have been cycling in one form or another for 40 years.  That’s a long time.  And, I am mechanically experienced.  I have built bikes.  Built wheels.  Maintain my bikes and others’.  I may not be an expert – I am always learning something new – but I know my way around bikes.  Road bikes.  Mountain bikes.  Commuters.  And, I know the local bike shops.  I am a regular.  I am always shopping for something.

You understand what I am saying.  I am not a newbie.  So, imagine my surprise when I learned recently that I can use the same wireless computer on more than 1 bike.

I like to record my rides.  How far I have travelled, how long I have cycled and at what speed.  It helps me compare rides, compare bikes and compare routes.  I have used a bike computer for years but now that I regularly ride 3 bikes, I thought I would need 3 computers.

I thought, “That seems silly.”.

So, I began considering iPhone cycling apps as an alternative.  After all, I always carry my iPhone in case of an emergency so, why not also use it to track my ride.  Besides, these apps also record elevation changes and grades.  That’s interesting.  On the surface, this seemed like a clever solution.  Most apps are free.  They provide more ride detail.  I carry the phone anyway.  But there are problems.  The phones have a relatively short battery life, the displays are difficult to read in the sunlight  and, the way the GPS apps work, they do not display your current speed.

So, I began considering a Garmin GPS unit.  They can be used on any bike without any setup changes.  They have a long battery life.  You just need a mount for each bike.  Simple.  The pros use them.  Why shouldn’t I?  Well, there is a problem with them as well.  They are expensive!  Really expensive for a guy that simply likes to get out and ride.  To challenge himself to longer, steeper climbs.  And, longer rides.  I don’t need to spend $500.  At least, I don’t need to spend $500 on that.

So, imagine my surprise when I learned I could purchase a wireless kit for each additional bike I wanted to use the computer on.  This is a $10 investment and I need two.  $20 to use my computer on each of my 3 bikes.

That’s smart.  Each time I change bikes, I have to change the wheel circumference set on the computer.  Fortunately, this is a simple process.  I keep the circumferences stored on my iPhone so I never forget.

Why didn’t I know I could do this?  The computer gives me all the information I need.  Current speed.  Average speed.  Maximum speed.  Distance travelled.  Accumulated distance.  Ride time.  And, a clock so I don’t need to wear a watch.

Maybe I am a newbie.

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6 thoughts on “3 bikes, 1 computer …

  1. We can’t know everything.

    Endomondo is a great iPhone app though. It does give current speed though it’s not perfect – keeping the screen on does chew battery, however if you fly with the monitor is standby, I can easily get eight hours of tracking without killing my battery. It’ll be close to dead, but eight’s not bad either.

    Great post.

    • Thanks bgddyjim.

      I have tried several of the phone apps including Endomondo. The issue for me is battery life. For short training rides (i.e. 2-3 hours) they are fine and I like the added information – power & calorie estimates, grade and the “social” aspects of Strava. However, I also like to tour and am on the road for the whole day and don’t want to be without my phone in the event of an emergency.

      In a way, I have taken a step backwards. I am ok with the wireless computers.

      • I think the computers would be better anyway, just for being able to conserve juice on the cell phone for emergencies as you wrote. I used Endo for two and a half years and it was cool while I was using it but I’m just as happy keeping the phone in the back pocket.

  2. I’m a garmin guy…and I own a tandem so that means I own TWO of a lot things – Garmin 800’s included. I got our’s refub’d, factory sealed on ebay for a hair under $300. 1 year warranty from Garmin, another year from our credit card. So if you shop around, things can definitely be cheaper.

    The nice things about the Garmin units are they are ANT+ so you can use an HRM if you like. Also, they have multiple bike profiles so when you hop on another bike, you select which one you are on and it changes wheel circumference etc.

    I’ve got some posts coming up on powering gadets while riding…..

    • I must admit. I like the Garmin products. I am a tech guy and appreciate innovative solutions. But they record more information than I really need. If I was a competitive cyclist I could see the value. I may change my mind and, if I had one, I am certain I would use it.

  3. Pingback: 1,000+ km / month … | PedalWORKS

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