10 Low-Tech Cycling Tips


Photo/Greg Kaplan

You don't need any fancy gadgets to ride your bike, get fit and have fun.

You and Your Bike

At the very least you need a bike, helmet, water bottle, spare tube and a pump. Also consider inexpensive cycling shoes  and clipless pedals to ensure the majority of your efforts are translated into forward movement.

Indoor Training

For those who have not invested in a smart trainer , no problem! All you need is a trainer that allows you to ride inside. Use a heart rate monitor paired with your smartphone plus a timer, so you know how long you've been spinning. Throw on the TV or your favorite tunes and pedal away.

Heart Rate Monitor

The costs of wearables has dropped so dramatically that even those who are budget-minded can find a good heart rate monitor  for around $50. Pair it with a smartphone, and you have yourself a training environment.

Sports Nutrition

When it comes to sports nutrition  and hydration, you don't need fancy supplements, but you do need to fuel up. Gatorade is relatively inexpensive and easy to find in a local grocery or pharmacy. Fig Newtons—or similar snacks—are a great source of portable calories as well.

Perceived Effort

If you don't want to bother training with a heart rate monitor , use Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) as a guide. The more you train and get to know your body, the more accurate your own results will be.

Simple Bike Computers

low-tech bike computer  might cost about $20. All you really need to measure is time, distance and speed. When you ride a known distance, note the time it takes you, as well as weather conditions like wind speed and direction, for future comparison.

Training Log

Record your miles in a simple, free training log , or create your own in Excel. If you want to go technology-free, use a desk calendar diary  to track your miles.

Smartphone Users

If you don't have the cash to spare for a GPS-enabled bike computer , you can always use your smartphone mounted to your bike.

Route Planning

Check out Google maps for cycling route planning . It's free, and you can save routes to your computer or even your smartphone for later reference.

Just Ride

Who says you need any technology to ride your bike? Kit up, hop on and ride. Enjoy riding  because you're riding. Being unencumbered by data or other fancy gear is liberating and lets you experience cycling in a simple, elegant and carefree way.

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