Important Cycling Metrics You Should Know
Are you often feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of data you come across while cycling? This guide is here to rescue you by offering a detailed and extensive compilation of essential numbers that you should keep track of during your cycling adventures. From distance covered and average speed to heart rate and calorie burn, this comprehensive list will ensure that you have all the information to monitor and improve your cycling performance.
There's no doubt that having measurable goals and quantifiable training makes it easier to stay on top of your training and be more productive.
Tracking cycling metrics typically requires a device to capture the data. GPS bike computers like Coospo provide most metrics, including speed, distance, time, and elevation. If you want to delve deeper into the data, additional sensors such as heart rate monitor and cycling sensor may be needed.
Speed / Average Speed
The joy of watching your speed improve
Kilometers per hour (or miles per hour) is an interesting tracking metric that can show significant improvement in fitness. However, it is not very reliable for training because of the many factors that can influence it.
Your average speed is best used as an indicator of training progress. For example, if you previously averaged 24 kph and now consistently average 25 kph or more on the circuit, it shows that you are becoming fitter and faster.
Watching your endurance increase
We all enjoy seeing our progress, especially during long rides. Tracking distance is a motivating measurement.
If you typically ride 80 to 130 kilometers per week, can you push yourself to reach 160 kilometers? Is it possible to set an annual goal or more?
When tracking distance, it's crucial to consider the type of riding you engage in. Riding 95 kilometers on a flat highway differs vastly from riding 95 kilometers on a one-way street. The former may take three to four hours, while the latter could take an entire day.
Learning to pace for events
Most cyclists organize their training based on the time they have available, as time is their most limited resource.
If your goal is to improve performance, the number of hours you spend cycling each week will determine the most efficient way to use that time.
Cyclists who have limited time benefit from bipolar training, which consists of short, intense intervals during the week and longer rides on weekends, when more time is available.
The Coospo bike computer can automatically track both the time spent moving, and the time spent stopped through CoospoRide App.
Climbing in cycling is the total number of feet (or meters) you go up during a ride. Climbing is a great exercise because it makes your body work harder to overcome gravity.
If you usually avoid hills when you ride, setting climbing goals and keeping track of how much you go up can improve your cycling fitness.
If you want to keep track of how much you go up, you can gain 1,000 vertical feet for every 10 miles you ride. To motivate yourself, you can also take part in Strava's monthly climbing challenge.
A calorie is a unit of energy provided by food. The calorie indicator on your bike computer or smartwatch shows the number of calories you burned during your ride.
However, it's important to note that this indicator is just an estimate. Some devices use algorithms to provide this estimate, but it may not be completely accurate.
Exercise and training apps may provide slightly more accurate estimates, but their accuracy depends on the information you provide to the app.
For a more accurate calorie count, you can wear a chest strap heart rate monitor that is synchronized with your bike computer or other device.
You may also notice that the fitter you become, the fewer calories you burn on a given ride at a given pace. That’s because your body has become more efficient at using oxygen.
Training leg strength and speed
Cadence refers to the number of revolutions per minute while pedaling. With a cadence sensor, you can monitor your cadence in real time on your bike computer and keep track of the average cadence for each ride.
While you may not need to track your cadence on every ride, having a cadence sensor can be beneficial for cadence exercises. These exercises include low gear/high cadence and high gear/low cadence workouts, which can improve cardiovascular fitness, leg speed, and leg strength.
Customizing training areas and considering energy levels and tiredness
As you exercise more, your heart pumps more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to fuel your muscles, resulting in an increase in your heart rate. Monitoring your heart rate using a heart rate monitor can provide valuable information about the intensity of your exercise.
To use your heart rate effectively, you first need to determine your maximum heart rate (MHR), which is the highest number of beats per minute you can achieve. You can find guidance on how to measure your maximum heart rate in this article:
Some studies have shown that smartwatches, and bracelets may be less accurate for cyclists. For accurate heart rate monitoring, it is recommended to use a chest strap heart rate monitor or an armband heart rate monitor.
The most accurate measure of your effort
Power is the amount of work you do in a certain amount of time. In cycling, your work rate is measured in watts, which indicates how much energy you produce. Being able to generate more power for your size helps you ride faster. Using a power meter allows you to immediately see how hard you're working.
Although power is more accurate than heart rate, it's beneficial to consider both. Heart rate reflects how your body responds to the work you're doing. Your heart rate should increase and decrease in sync with your power output.
You will find this comprehensive compilation useful for tracking and improving your cycling performance. Remember to always stay safe and enjoy your cycling adventures!