The rise and rise of the handlebar mounted computer and accompanying online applications like Garmin Connect seems unstoppable. The ability to gain access to sophisticated training metrics including power outputs measured in watts, heart rate, and cadence has placed data in the hands of the amateur cyclist that until recently was the preserve solely of the professional peloton. Add to the melting pot information about the route – distance, elevation and navigational aids, allowing new training loops to be created and recorded – and a world of inspiration opens up from a small box on your stem.
The bar-mounted computer is increasingly only one half of the digital equation, however. Laptop applications like Training Peaks offer detailed post-ride analysis, which at this time of year provides hard evidence for what can seem like a bloody-minded decision to ride for five hours in conditions that might have persuaded less motivated riding buddies to climb aboard the sofa instead of on to the bike.