'I was carting around a screen on my bars while trying to avoid the larger one at home' - Lessons from a week without a cycling computer

It’s become routine for many riders to keep track of every mile ridden and feet ascended; do we really need to know these things?

Male cyclist adjusting the screen on his cycling computer
(Image credit: Future)

When I first started riding bikes as a teenager, GPS devices were not readily available for on-bike use. I timed my rides in what I assume was the usual way: by looking at the digital clock on the oven before dashing out the door, riding the same clockwise loop out of town at breakneck speed, then running back into the kitchen to check the clock again immediately upon returning home.

Since then, things have changed. I now have an extremely powerful Garmin GPS unit tracking my rides at all times. In addition, I carry a phone stowed in my pocket for emergencies (such as the Garmin running out of battery). For specific workouts, I wear a heart rate monitor and track wattage with a power meter, which I have on multiple bikes. 

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Tyler Boucher
Freelance Writer

Tyler Boucher is a former (and occasionally still) bike racer across several disciplines. These days, he spends most of his time in the saddle piloting his children around in a cargo bike. His writing has appeared in magazines published in Europe, the UK and North America. He lives in Seattle, Washington.