By Greg Conderacci
Recently, RBR launched this new series to enlighten our ultra-cool readers about the benefits of dorkiness.
In Part I, we explored screening your helmet; in Part II, we messed with your handlebars; in Part III, we reflectorized your machine; in Part IV, we prepped you for flats; in Part V, we praised electrical tape; and in Part VI, we recommended kinesiology tape for sore knees; and in Part VII, we raised your aerobars; and in Part VIII, we swore off black jerseys and in Part IX, we turned on a blinking headlight ; and in Part X, we added a bell.
Today, I’m suggesting you buy a cheap wired speedometer – NOW – before they stop making them altogether. Do this even if (like me) you have a fancy, expensive GPS providing you with information ranging from core body temperature to phases of the moon.
Why? Because when you forget to charge the GPS and it goes dead, or you leave it home, or you loaded the wrong ride, or it’s just not working right, the trusty little speedometer will still tell you how many miles you rode. And it and a cue sheet (remember those?) will still get you home.
Of course, wired speedometers look dorky. There’s this stupid wire dangling from your handlebars when you’ve spent thousands of dollars to hide every other wire and cable on your bike. But wired speedometers have only one battery to go dead. And they are very accurate. And, as a bonus, you can see your speed, in nice big numbers, without having to hunt through all the data on the GPS screen.
Do you have a dorky tip to share? Don’t be shy. We’ll withhold your name upon request. Remember a dorky tip has one or more of these characteristics:
- Pro riders do not do it (nor does just about anybody else)
- It’s cheap or maybe even free
- It usually adds weight
Greg Conderacci is a marketing consultant and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, non-profit entrepreneur, and investment bank chief marketing officer. In Getting UP!, he brings you the same skills he teaches at a top graduate school and Fortune 500 companies. Lots of people promise better performance … Greg proves it. Using his energy techniques, in 2015 he rode a bicycle across America in just 18 days — averaging 150 miles a day.
RJ LoCurto says
Or … you can simply record the ride directly to Strava, via its app on your cell phone. Strava offers an excellent free subscription service option. This is better than returning to obsolete, awkward technology that will only uglify your beautiful bike with unnecessary wires.
Or … if your fancy, bluetoothed headset device goes dead, try hopping on your bike without any computer. It’s very liberating, and pure.
Put a bit of silicone seal where the wire goes into the sensor. The sensor is usually a pair of thin metal strips which contact when the magnet passes. I had one where water leaked inside and killed the speedometer.
Go without a speedometer.
riding “blind” has it’s own joys, for sure! I do it from time to time, but when riding an unfamiliar route, I’m glad I have some guidance.
Nat Watson says
And you can have the GPS in miles and the dorky computer in metric! (in case you’re bad at arithmetic)
George Porter says
I changed to the cheapest wired Cateye. My wireless Cateye is unreliable below fifty degrees and when I run my high powered flashing cyglolite, it goes totally bonkers.
Yep, flashing headlights can play having with wireless computers due to the RF the generate by turning on and off. I always put my wireless cyclometer on the handlebar side that is opposite from where my light is and that seems to solve the issue.
If I had done this, I may not have DNF’d a 100k populaire. I was starting to get leg cramps 10 miles from the finish, and had to stop periodically. I was very close to the cutoff time, but I calculated I could stop for 2 minutes every mile or two. I was using my Garmin 500 to measure both time and distance. Turns out I had not checked the battery before starting and did not bring my external battery so when it died, I had no guidance on how far I had gone to measure my stops with. I wound up at the finish 10 minutes past the cutoff.
Steve Kurt says
I’m pretty retro, but the Cateye wired computers on my “utility” bikes work great! They survive rain, cold, snow, etc.
I also use vintage Avocet computers on my vintage bikes. A bit finicky, but look great, since the sensor is somewhat hidden down by the axle.
A shot of the Avocet 20 on my Raleigh International…
Kevin Simmons says
I thought you meant the really old speedometers that actually contacted the hub and had no battery. They had a needle for speed and physical discs rotating for the odometer. And, they looked great on my Schwinn Stingray. Do they still make them?