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What is a GPS Cycling Computer?

As you can probably imagine, given the name, these are GPS-enabled computers used in cycling to track and record your rides. In addition to logging rides to upload to Strava, Garmin Connect, and any number of activity-tracking websites, you can also use them for on-bike navigation. These days, the in-built navigation is so good on some of these devices, you never need get lost on your bike again. Modern offerings from the likes of Garmin and Hammerhead, for example, offer sophisticated mapping software that provides turn-by-turn instructions, re-routing on the fly, route suggestions, details on the roads you’re on, point-to-point routing, and points of interest.

If it’s not on Strava…

As the saying goes, “If your ride’s not on Strava, did it even happen?” Most modern devices will sync with third-party sports-tracking platforms like Strava, Garmin Connect, and Komoot. You can use these platforms to keep a record of your rides, plot new routes, and see how you stack up against your friends … and foes.

More than just GPS and Mapping…

The days of carefully wrapping a wire around your fork to a device mounted on your handlebars are now largely behind us; modern-day GPS cycling computers are a little more sophisticated than that. But these powerful, modern units offer much more than mere mapping and navigation. They’re packed full of features (sometimes with the need for additional sensors or products), like displaying your speed, cadence, power data, to name but a few. Really advanced computers, like the latest Garmin or Hammerhead devices, can display detailed overviews of the climbs on a course, how difficult a climb will be based on its length and gradient, how much further you have left to suffer, and even how much suffering you’ve left in you!

Not only this, but these devices can also be useful from a safety perspective, such as alerting you to steep pitches and sharp turns, notifying your loved ones if you should have an incident, and sounding the alarm if your bike is moved while at the café.