Heart rate monitor
If you’re more serious in your approach to training, have specific goals, or are looking to monitor your effort more accurately then the next step in judging your effort may be with a heart-rate monitor. Through regular use you’ll soon establish what your heart-rate is at a given exertion level, tallying up with how you feel on the bike.
For example, a heart rate of 135 beats per minute may be ‘moderate’ whereas a heart rate of 165 bpm classed as ‘heavy exertion’. Knowing your heart-rate at a given exertion level is particularly useful so you have a more accurate gauge on what’s comfortable, tempo or on the limit. This can be especially handy if you’re in a group and can see your heart-rate creep up as the pace quickens. By tracking it with a heart-rate monitor you can quickly see if you need to back off before you go pop. In a way your heart is much the same as a revving car engine. You can hear if the engine is just ticking over, cruising or approaching the redline, similar to perceived exertion. It’s the car’s rev counter, like a heart-rate monitor, that shows you the exact exertion level.