Adding A Bicycle Speedometer To Maximize Travel Efficiency

The ability to measure speed and distance is as important to many cyclists as it is for motorists. Performance statistics are essential for analyzing current and proposed routes of travel. A bike rider can realize gains in riding effectiveness by installing a small digital speedometer.

Also referred to as a cyclocomputer, the typical cycling computer is slightly larger than the face of a wristwatch. It is usually mounted on top of your handlebar for convenient viewing. In addition to current speed and distance traveled, other functions displayed include:

  • elapsed riding time
  • average speed
  • maximum speed attained

Attaching a basic speedometer

A cyclocomputer relies on a sensor mounted on the front fork to measure rotations of the front wheel. A magnet is securely attached along one of the wheel spokes. The sensor is then able to detect and count wheel rotations. Earliest versions of bike speedometers contained a wire from the sensor to the handlebar display unit.

Installing a wireless speedometer

The wireless version is viewed as an improvement. The sensor mounted on the front fork contains a battery and transmits a signal over the short distance to the handlebar. Before the cyclocomputer can produce accurate results, it must know the size of your front tire.

Measuring tire size

Since the speedometer measures wheel rotations, you must enter your tire size in the speedometer to obtain accurate results. Your tire size is printed in raised letters on the side of each tire. The outer circumference of your tire can also be measured and used to obtain a precise input value.

The operating instructions for your cyclocomputer may include a table of tire sizes and their outer circumference values. You can also use a tape measure to obtain an outer circumference measurement. Once the speedometer is set with your tire size, it is ready to start producing helpful results to benefit your travel.

Adding a bicycle GPS

There are several global positioning units specifically designed for bicycle use. There is no front wheel sensor, and the GPS is mounted on your handlebar. Speed and distance are instantaneously calculated, along with additional GPS data.

A GPS unit can provide maps for your bike rides. The inclusion of altitude helps you determine the true nature of the changing terrain of roads. Smartphone apps can provide friends and family with continuous access to your location.

A cyclocomputer also keeps track of your total miles ridden over several months. The total number of miles per year is another measure of ongoing commitment to the activity. Contact your bike shop, such as Tri-A-Bike Inc, for advice on improving your travel by bicycle.