With some considerable enhancements in GPS technology coming through all the time, a bike GPS system can do pretty much the same as any car satellite navigation system and in many cases even more. A GPS system can be as basic or as enhanced as you want it to be and there is an almost limitless supply of extensions to enhance your riding experience.
The most basic requirement of a GPS system is to get you from A to B and to tell you exactly where you are at any given time. Naturally all systems provide this and whether you are training, riding for pleasure or taking part in a competitive race, this piece of equipment is starting to be taken for granted.
Beyond this basic function, there are many additional benefits you can take advantage of, depending on what system you purchase. Many systems will now give you guidance with altitude which for any serious rider is of extreme importance. Systems will be preloaded with maps and routes and will give you altitude readings both before and during your ride.
Several GPS devices can also monitor your heart rate which is useful if you want to judge your fitness levels and in some cases ensure that you aren’t pushing yourself that little bit too hard. While some cyclists will prefer to have a separate heart rate monitor others will prefer the convenience of having it built in to a GPS system so that there is just one device to fit, maintain and check.
Most systems today come fitted with screens that are resistant to sunlight and also many have excellent signal strength no matter where you are – this is particularly useful for mountain bikers who may find themselves in the densest forest so try to ensure that you purchase a GPS system with a good range and good signal strength.
If you’re training or cycling for pleasure, some of the more advanced GPS systems have the ability to store data from your journey and then download it to your PC or laptop at home. This is particularly useful if you want to review the route and performance and keep it safe for future use and you can even send it to friends and team mates if you so wish.
In most cases, the needs for road cycling and mountain biking are much the same when it comes to GPS. The main difference however is obvious in that road cyclist will stick to traditional, well mapped road routes while mountain bikers will be cycling off road.
The more advanced GPS systems will pick up established trails however and if you are using a completely unknown route then there are memory facilities that will reproduce this for you if you need it at a later date.
Depending on your cycling needs, there is a GPS out there for everyone. You can just follow the basic maps, monitor your speed, performance and heart rate and even race a virtual competitor. Whatever your requirements are, the range of systems on the market today is almost endless.