The Cyclometer

“Where does he get those wonderful toys?”  – Jack Nicholson, as The Joker

One of the small changes that has occurred since I was last into cycling is the dawn of the Information Age.  This effects the hobby in large ways (like the thousands of websites now available) and in small ways, like my cyclometer.

Back in Olden Times, every kid’s bicycle had a cool analog speedometer.  If you didn’t have one, well you simply weren’t cool.  These odometers were built for a specific wheel size and the mileage/speed was measured through a cylinder which was placed against the tire rim.  The more the cylinder revolved, the faster the bike speed and the more miles charted. These odometers featured fancy reset buttons that would allow the user to bring his total mileage back to zero. 

Serious adult cyclists in those days would never have such a contraption on their bicycle. The tension created by the rotating cylinder would make the bike slightly more difficult to pedal and this was simply unacceptable to anyone who intended to pedal for hours on end.  Thus, no touring bikes would have speedometers/odometers.  One would simply estimate the distance traveled, take a note of the time on one’s wristwatch and do the math in one’s head to computer average mph.

Enter the cyclometer!  This little gizmo is the equivalent of your car’s trip computer and has about as much computing power as an Apollo space ship.

It’s my favorite cycling toy and it keeps me amused for hours on end while I’m in the saddle.  With it, you can keep track of your total distance traveled (miles or kms), distance traveled for this trip, current speed, average speed, and maximum speed.  It is because of the cyclometer that I can report useless trivia to you such as this:  the fastest I have ever traveled on my bike is 36.2 mph.

 All of this never-ending enjoyment comes at the price of a pizza dinner for two.  Not bad!


3 thoughts on “The Cyclometer

  1. I thought having a cyclometer was pretty cool, too. And then someone lent me a Garmin Cycle GPS. You know all those maps on my blog? Automated, I tell you. GPS tracks my every move, I plug it into my computer and it plots my the map for me. It’s like bloomin’ magic.

    • Very nice. I’m not sure I’m ready to enter the Year 2010 just yet, however. I am pleased to be with you in the 21st Century, but buying and using a cycle GPS is a tick much. Besides, what buttons would I press while riding my bike? How would I get instaneous feedback on valuable information like distance traveled, current speed, and average mph? Is it like a wristwatch? That might be cool.

      • I’m not sure I’m in a position to buy one either; I was very lucky to have one lent to me. (By a friend who’s upgraded to a better one.) But it’s a Garmin Edge 305″, is handlebar mounted, and displays pretty much whatever you want it to – up to eight things at once. I have distance travelled, current speed, average speed, time riding, and time of day.

        I’m pretty sure they do wrist mounted ones these days, but they ain’t cheap!

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