GPS Technology In Modern Cycling Systems
Cycling, also known as biking, involves using bicycles for the purpose of transport, recreation, or most commonly, sport.
In general, cycling is highly regarded as an efficient form of transportation for both short and moderate distances. In many contexts, however, cycling is best known as a sport on a recreational and professional level.
Around the world, various cyclists participate in self-directed and marathon races dedicated to the sport. Each year, there are new advances in cycling technology aimed to further assist cyclists who want to better their performance in the sport itself.
Cycling through GPS technology
The most notable modern advancement in cycling technology is the global positioning system or GPS device designed for use with cycling. Modern cycling GPS devices provide cyclists with more than just exact coordinates for their desired destination.
Many devices, in fact, now track the speed, pace, distance and elevation change for cyclists, in addition to providing them with exact locations, directions and other features that accompany their ride. GPS technology for cycling typically manifests as the common dedicated GPS device cycle computer and smartphone apps.
Modern GPS cycling devices feature a distinct lack of wires, which allows cyclists to quickly change the device between bikes. In comparison to older cycle computer tracking devices that required a wired link to a magnetic wheel sensor, GPS cycling devices collect distance, location and speed-related information from GPS satellite signals.
Today’s GPS cycle computers have a significant advantage over other manual devices and smartphone apps. Many devices are waterproof, have good durability and battery life; they also can be used with gloved hands. As they attach to a bike’s handle bar, they’re designed to withstand the immense pressure and vibrations that course throughout the bike when it’s in motion.
Today’s GPS devices according to the experts
The GPS cycle computer has actually received most of its current innovation throughout the past few decades.
Earlier cycle computers created in the 1990s had systems that required manual calibration based on a bicycle’s wheel and tire size, making it so that two riders on the same exact bike and cyclecomputer eventually produced different results in both speed and distance. Recent technology, however, corrected that issue.
Now, those same devices have evolved into devices that can track virtually every parameter of their ride, including distance, maximum-average speed, calories burned, ride duration and even power.
The evolution of GPS cycle computer technology in recent years can be attributed to competitive companies like Garmin, who took advantage of opportunities to create their own GPS cycle computers. The Garmin Edge line of cycle computers, as an example, can now track various aspects of cycling with no other equipment required besides the device itself.
According to industry experts, these devices can ‘now track a number of [cycling] factors, including the aforementioned time, distance and speed, in addition to pedal cadence and heart rate.’ Using GPS and cellular tracking, they can now ‘track those parameters on a continuous basis, allowing them to view a HR graph over the course of a bike ride.’
These devices simply allow cycling coaches to track health-related factors before and after a bike ride, helping them accurately compute ‘training stress and intensity factors for each of their cyclists’ workouts.’ This can essentially help coaches ensure that their cyclists don’t under train or over train.
Other industry experts have commented that such devices also help ‘cyclists stay motivated’ during a workout or ride. Julie Sylvester, the co-producer of Living in Digital Times, commented that it’s ‘not just the tracking that keeps people motivated, but the community support created by many of these trackers.’
She later explained that the rewards and/or points systems that many of these trackers and mobile apps use essentially help ‘make people want to try harder to stay fit.’
The encouragement of modern GPS devices and apps?
Many modern GPS trackers and apps for cyclists foster a sense of ‘encouragement,’ particularly when it comes to tracking specific cycling parameters through the device.
Some industry experts, however, assume that riders pay more attention to the ‘data and numbers’ provided by the apps and devices, rather than to what their bodies tell them. Cyclists can counter this phenomenon by assigning themselves a goal and purpose of each of their rides and workouts, which can help curb the possibility of cyclists overexerting themselves when working out.
Some experts say to ‘keep the device or watch in a pocket or bag and don’t look at it during a ride.’ They also suggest to keep devices ‘tucked away in a back pocket,’ when heading out on all-out sessions designed to condition the body.
The focus on data when it comes to such sessions can place a large burden on cyclists, to the point of negatively affecting their health in the pursuit improving previously existing data.
Today’s GPS cycle computers, however, are necessary tools for cyclists who want to track essential parameters for to track their performance in the sport.