What tech do cyclists actually want?

The future has two wheels…
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Pumping thighs, expert mechanics and aero framesets only get you so far. For many cyclists the key to making good time is found in the tech that they adopt. No one survives all 21 stages and 3,500km of the Tour de France without the help of earpieces, data trucks and GPS devices.

And you don’t need to know the difference between a fork crown and a down tube to benefit from advances in cycling tech. With devices like Everysights' Raptor AR smartglasses, which shows upcoming turn-offs, hazards and HR/speed/distance data as an augmented reality overlay, the future of cycling might already be upon us.

Read this: The best cycling watches, sensors and trackers

We asked some of the pro-riders and recreational cyclists of today what they want from the connected cycling tech of tomorrow.

Rachel McKay

Level 3 cycling coach

Already uses… I have recently started using a Wahoo Elemnt as my cycling computer and to record my rides. I will eventually use it for route navigation but don’t really need it as I know all the local roads. It will be useful when riding in different areas.

Would like to see… Commuters would benefit from any system that makes cycling safer, eg HUD maps with live traffic data. For racing (eg road racing, time trials) and non-racing events (eg Sportives, Audax, multi-day events) where radio communication is allowed, anything that makes this easier and safer to use is welcome.

Robert Lawrence

Recreational cyclist

Already uses… a Garmin Edge 510 bike computer and the corresponding app; heart rate monitor for recording heart rate, effort and accurate calorie usage data; HRV (heart rate variance) monitor used in the morning to check the variance in my heart rate that gives a red or an amber or a green for whether I should train or rest.

Would like to see… for me, in terms of wearables, more comfortable monitoring is a biggie. For example, advances in material technologies that allow companies to put wearables into a cycling jersey that could monitor sweat, informing a rider what to replace in their body, allowing for more accurate nutrition and hydration on the bike and thus improving performance. I’d also like the Raptor style technologies to become more streamlined, more aesthetically pleasing.

What tech do cyclists actually want?

Gareth Hanson

Mountain bike coaching UK

Already uses… Trailforks app for finding mountain bike trails; ViewRanger with iPhone and Apple Watch; Zapier to record data into a logbook which I need for my coaching qualification progression; and TrainerRoad and Elite Kura for turbo trainer zone training.

Read this: The best Apple Watch apps for cycling

Would like to see… a collision detection device with an accelerometer that, if you don’t get up after a fall, messages an emergency contact with a latitude and longitude reading of your position. It would be small and stick to your helmet. Also a device for car-style tyre pressure detection.

And, as a coach, how about a kind of smart sensor for technique training? Typically riders are unaware of their exact body position, they think they’re lower or are further back, or have their heels dipped, so a device that could measure body position relative to starting position and the amount of compression you put into the bike, that beeps louder as you get to the right amount, would be good.

What tech do cyclists actually want?

Alex Davis

Look Mum No Hands! cycling café

Already uses… Strava for measuring distance and recording rides. As much as I can remember to turn it on or off. I’ve found that although I don’t use it for training it’s great to see my progression and how long it can take me to get to and from work. I also appreciate logging all the miles so I can look back over the year and show off how much I've clocked from a simple commute.

I’ve also tried out the Zwift VR headset, cycling while riding a turbo trainer and I was so excited. I can’t wait for the turbo trainer and headset to become readily available so I could cycle in fantasy landscapes at home. Yes, I prefer cycling outside, but I think this could be a great gateway to folks at the gym or at home to give cycling a go and have a lot of fun at the same time.

Would like to see… I grew up on a tandem and cycling has always been my main form of transport. Most of my cycling is spent commuting. I think it's important for cyclists to be able to document what happens to them while on the road. There are lots of issues on the roads regarding cars, HGV, pedestrians, even just the terrain or non-existent lane.

When people encounter an issue, it’s not second nature to get out your phone to snap it, record it, or even make a note. A technology allowing cyclists to take photos while wearing glasses could help a lot of people who use the road to share their issues so we can make it better.

Chris Wilkinson

Cycling enthusiast

Already uses… Garmin and Strava for tracking data and route following. A power meter too, but don't really use that properly now as not doing specific training; I only use it to remind me how much power I’ve lost.

Would like to see… I think the advances will more be in the indoor trainers like Zwift but making them far more realistic and immersive. Much of the tech for cycling generally gets ignored, unless it’s for doing specific training.

Cycle much? Let us know in the comments below what kind of connected tech and apps you'd like to use.

TAGGED Cycling

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Gareth is a freelance tech, food (and sex) journalist. 

He writes about tech & food for Metro, The Telegraph, Wareable, The Independent & Great British Food magazine.

His favourite kind of food is British heritage (so, er, just British) and his favourite tipple is sake. His spirit animal is Sonic the Hedgehog.


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