I’m still a new cyclist. I’m also a cyclist (like many) with enough disposable income to waste on gadgets and gear. Stuff that won’t make me go one bit faster or longer but that I can’t live without anyway. Like most newbies, I’ve spent plenty of time (and money) finding that right piece of gear that I want (really, how many saddlebags do you have to try out?).
What I’m trying to do here, is document what I live best when I find it, why I like it and what I tried and replaced. There’s no order to the post – consider it a running update.
One final note. These are not reviews. They’re not meant to be. It’s just a window into my experience – a short one – leave a comment if you want more. If you want a review, head over to Ray Maker’s site he does a job no one can beat.
Last Updated: April 2nd, 2016
Favorite Device. Period.
What – Powerpod Sports Powermeter. Why – Frankly, the value is too hard to pass up. A powermeter for $300 with good accuracy that is portable and gives you a ton more data than just power. With the optional $99 power stroke upgrade you get access to motion data about the way you ride that can help you squeeze out a W or two in improvement. It does exactly what it says it does and the service is as good as I’ve had from a company. What else I’ve tried – I’ve had (have) four powermeters and they all are fine (Stages, Quarq, Power2Max) but the deliver power and cadence only, they’re expensive, they require bike modification and aren’t portable.
Favorite Cycling Clothing
What – Voler Cycling Apparel. Why – It is very high quality, fits brilliantly and also looks good. Their warm and cool weather gear is equivalently good. Additionally, its designed and made in the USA. What else I’ve tried – Pretty much everything. I like Specialized clothing also but I’ve tried all the Italian Brands, the Strava brand, Izumi etc. Voler outdoes all of them. Even the Voler socks are a cut above the rest.
Favorite Heart Rate Monitor
What – Wahoo Tickr X. Why – It’s easier to put on. Its extensible in its functionality. It’s accurate and reliable over several hundred hours of exercise. It works in and out of water and does not require connectivity to a phone or watch to track your workout – it has onboard memory. It has its own run and movement dynamics. It just fits better and has less lost connectivity than other monitors. What else I’ve tried – Garmin, including HRM-RUN and Polar monitors.
Favorite Replenishment Drink
What – Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix (Orange). Why – Its relatively inexpensive, easier to carry around, has less sodium and a better balance of nutrients and does exactly what it says it will – rehydrate. What else I’ve tried – Mostly plain water and Gatorade. After 5 hours of it, Gatorade just leaves a tacky taste in your mouth and makes you feel dehydrated. Plain water is good but doesn’t do it when you’re trying to add some easy to digest calories during a ride and get some electrolytes as well.
Favorite Repair Kit Carrier
What – Specialized Road Spool Carrier Why – I like to be able to get everything off my bike (remember its a rule) and this wonderfully efficient device allowed me to carry a tube, tire levers a co2 canister and head and a tube patch kit and put it in a jersey pocket. What else I’ve tried – every form of bike satchel you can think of – behind the seat, under the cross bar etc. etc. All of them look stupid and don’t do any better job then the road spool. I also carry a mini pump just in case the co2 doesn’t work.
What – Specialized Mini Pump Why – It works, it’s small, it’s light, I can put it in my jersey pocket with the tube spool above. What Else I’ve Tried – A bunch of co2 canisters – which work but there’s something joyful about simplicity.
What – Lezyne Caddy Sack Why – I carry homemade nutrition most of the time – generally from this book. This fits inside a jersey pocket is waterproof and expands – simple as that. What Else I’ve Tried – nothing yet, this one does exactly what I want.
What – Garmin VIRB XE Why – It’s small, rugged, waterproof, does data overlay easily and fits into the Garmin Ecosystem. It also uses the standard Go Pro Mounts. It lets me do cool videos no matter where I take it (plane, bike, underwater wherever). What Else I’ve Tried – Go Pro Hero 4 – It has better battery life and probably slightly better quality but lacks the integration with my data I enjoy so much.
Bike Computer Mount
What – K-Edge Combo Mount (click on image) Why – It gives the best profile for my Garmin 1000 and the VIRB XE. It fits around bike bars easily and is sturdier than the Garmin version. What Else I’ve Tried – The Garmin equivalent. Broke two of them just putting the camera in before I was done with them.
What – Garmin 1000 Why – Garmin Eco System, extensible and upgradeable, connects to any sensor, wireless uploads, large screen, touch screen, Strava segments. What Else I’ve Tried – The Garmin 500 and 520. Good but too small for what I wanted in a computer – don’t care what anyone thinks, as I’ve been training, the ability to have a number of data elements in front of me at any one time gives me realtime feedback on my effort.
Bike Rear Light
What – Garmin Varia Radar Why – Its a great tail light, changing intensity and flashing as a car approaches and gives you radar information about speed of, number of and distance of cars approaching from behind. Never had it miss one. It doesn’t stop you being hit by a car (yes that’s happened to me) but it gives you a degree of situational awareness that’s invaluable. What Else I’ve Tried – Regular Tail light – Simple, no radar.