It’s no secret that cycling is a great way to keep fit. And keeping fit in the 21st Century is being made easier and more fun thanks to the developments of new technology, and the way these gadgets integrate with social media.
From Strava to FitBit, we’ve all started becoming obsessed with sharing our workouts, and fitness trackers are big business. Pretty much all of them will cater for a two-wheeled workout but, while I do have a smartwatch that monitors my main statistics, I was intrigued by a device by navigation specialists Mio, which essentially bridges the gap between cycle computer, sat nav, and fitness tracker.
The nice people at Mio sent me their new £299 Cyclo™ Discover Connect to test out, and I’ve been up hill and down dale for several weeks with it, clocking up plenty of miles and, apparently, demolishing thousands of calories in the process.
It’s a smart little unit. Chunky, but no bigger than a small smartphone, and nice and lightweight. It mounts onto your handlebars or stem with zip ties and it has a quick release catch to enable you to pop it off quickly when you leave your bike unattended.
Its large touch-screen accesses a series of chunky “buttons” which open up its various features. There’s a live map, a trip computer, and it even links wirelessly to your phone. Cleverly, it can deliver smartphone notifications, although I did find this a bit hit and miss.
The system is all built around its GPS mapping capabilities and its live map can be set up as a navigation guide. Using the Mioshare website, you can plot a route on your desktop, sync it up through WiFi to the unit, and then follow the directions as you ride.
You can also discover a variety of local routes set by users, or just ask it to “surprise” you with a mystery tour, if you’re short on inspiration.
It works really well. And I love the way the GPS system plots your journey, which you can then recap, along with a dizzying array of statistics, when you get back, either on a smartphone app or on a computer.
This journey can then be linked up with apps like Komoot or Strava to help keep all your workouts in one place, or you can just build up a history in the Mioshare network.
Cycle computers have been a thing for as long as I’ve been riding a bike, but this takes things on to a whole new level. There’s no wiring to be done, it’s all through GPS and Bluetooth, the battery lasts more than long enough for most lengthy rides, and it’s completely waterproof.
If I had to nit-pick, I’d like the screen to be a little bit more responsive, and the interface does feel a bit primitive compared to a smartphone. It’s also quite expensive, given a decent smartphone mount and one of the many apps available will do a similar job.
But there’s really very little to dislike about it beyond that. It’s great to have your cycling history mapped out and to see how well your fitness is improving. And having all the information clearly laid out on your handlebars is invaluable.
If you want to get serious about cycling, or if you just need a helping hand navigating your local highways and byways, take a look at the Mio Cyclo range. They’re terrific bits of kit.