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I have a Garmin Edge 530. Tracking a ride is not a burden at all. Turn the unit on. Press the start/stop button when starting a ride. Press the start/stop button when done with the ride. After that it all automatically syncs to Strava. If I forget my Garmin Edge than I have a Garmin Instinct watch I can track with.

I don't care about miles or time out when riding. I work with whatever I can get. I do like to track my YTD mileage on Strava. Just because I prefer to ride as much or more than previous years.
 

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Always in the wrong gear
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I have zero interest in a Garmin, or tracking any ride stats frankly.
Buuuuuut… I LOVE the TrailForks app for helping me find and get to all the good trails, and I’ve begun using the rideLog feature to breadcrumb where I’ve been so I can find those sweet sections again.
Miles and elevation, etc are more an interesting factoid than anything else and I don’t care where they end up. My two buddies and I spent almost 30 minutes sessioning this one awkward switchback this morning. I probably rode it 15 times; the same 30 yd stretch.
 

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Hoolie Ghoulie on Strava.
Ripmo
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Singlespeed Steven, Ive seen you on this Forum for awhile. You seem like another great MTBR member. In all of your posts, in various Threads, Ive never even THOUGHT about how fast you are, how long your rides are, and I did not know your history of racing, You just seemed like another MTBR’r Id be happy to meet on trail. I dont care whether or not you EVER use Garmin or track your rides. If I met you and you didnt use Strava, but rode 3-5 days a week, I would think you are MORE awesome than if you used STRAVA. Its all in our heads. I almost quit Strava this year, and If I were King I would outlaw it (at least outlaw all mapping), but I feel like I will lose some crazy important documentation of my life. Weird. Very very Weird. If you quit using Garmin, let us know if the rest of your life spirals out of control.
 

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I also uust use a garmin watch. Its less in my face than a computer unit. I like checking in on the stats but dont take them too seriously. It is seriously helpful for tracking maintenance intervals on suspension and life of drivetrains and tires.
 

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I just did a 14 mile ride Saturday. My cycle meter app only recorded 11.3 miles. GPS loses signal in the woods too easy. The good ol Cateye programmed to my tire size is just much more accurate.
 

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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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I’ve always ridden [21 years plus] for the pleasure of riding. I’ve never been interested in keeping score as they say. Nothing beats riding and enjoying what’s around you rather than trying to beat your or someone else’s times.
 

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Rides all the bikes!
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I not only track just about everything, I even have power meters on all my bikes!

What do I do with that data? Very little. Sometimes I wonder what the hell I am doing, keeping all that data that I don't really use. But I do kinda use it, kinda. And I may want it in the future, for potential future goals. It is super easy to record the data for me, so I don't think anything of doing it. At worst, I just hit start on my watch. It picks up all the sensors and I ride. I hit stop and it auto syncs, no work done. My sensors need very little attention, I have charged my power meter on my MTB I think 5 times in the past several years. I do still have training and racing goals and I use a program to set up my training (so I don't have to do any thinking), so the data is still currently useful.

On the flip side, a friend of mine records nothing. No social media at all, though he USED to use Strava. It makes him happy to do that. I personally love looking back at some of the stuff I have done, refresh my memory of a ride I did. I attach pictures to nearly every ride I do, even if my ride is kept private (I keep my commutes private as they are dull to the world).

But I do have a bit of a "minimum" rule. But unlike some, it doesn't prevent me from running or riding, it makes me run or ride MORE. I don't say "it's not worth it if I can't ride at least an hour", it's more like the opposite in that I must make time for me to do that minimum of an hour* and I will likely find time for more.

*if I only have time for an hour, I am just going to run.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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32,007 Posts
I just did a 14 mile ride Saturday. My cycle meter app only recorded 11.3 miles. GPS loses signal in the woods too easy. The good ol Cateye programmed to my tire size is just much more accurate.
The only place my GPS computers in the past decade+ have lost signal has been inside tunnels. And not even all tunnels.

A reasonably accurate GPS will ALWAYS short the actual distance traveled. It's inherent to the way GPS operates (records a single point, then another, and connects them with a straight line, repeatedly over the course of your travels). Curves are always shortcut. The less frequently you record a point, the shorter the distance the GPS will record. The twistier the trail you've ridden, the shorter the distance your GPS will record. The faster you're going (spacing out distance between recorded points), the shorter the distance your GPS will record.

A computer (any computer) with a wheel sensor will always be more accurate (assuming it's properly calibrated) because it's recording the actual curves that you ride. There's potential for the free wheel spin when your wheels are off the ground to add error, but quantifying how much will be exceedingly challenging. But the fact that wheel sensors improve the recorded distance accuracy of your activity is a big reason to use them. Garmin wheel sensors didn't always work that way, though. They used to only override GPS distance when you lost signal entirely such as in tunnels, or when you turned the GPS off when riding a trainer indoors. I'm glad Garmin eventually made the tweak so that wheel sensor data always overrode GPS speed/distance when present.

GPS bike computers didn't become more popular because they were more accurate than old cyclocomputers. They became more popular because they enabled easy saving of each ride without needing to keep a spreadsheet. They became more popular because your individual rides now included a map you could look at. Which meant you could generate elevation profiles for your rides, associate HR, cadence, and power with specific sections of trail/road, and so on. They became more popular because you can now display your photos from said ride on the map along that ride.

If you don't care about this, or you feel that using one is onerous, then don't. Nobody's forcing you to do so. I use one because it does give me some useful information and because I find it easy and unobtrusive. If I ever change my mind, then I can - gasp - leave it at home.
 

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I use Strava purely to track miles. PR's are nice to see on regular routes, but I don't make them a priority. If I'm feeling spicy, I'll go for some PR's, but I don't force myself with goals when I'm not up for the task.

At my age, the most important thing is to listen to my body. If I ignore what my body tells me, it just makes me take longer breaks than I wanted.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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I know that's mostly right but not ALWAYS. Not every ride involves twisty trails.
Every. single. turn. gets shorted. I don't ride my mtb on drag strips, do you? The difference becomes larger the sharper the turns are and the more of them there are. But it is always true. Now, on a fairly straight course (especially road rides on straight roads with only a few turns), the difference will be small enough that most won't care. But the difference is still there. The corners are still cut. I suppose if you're doing a point-to-point ride on a perfectly straight road or rail trail and you hold a perfectly straight line on that, you wouldn't experience this. But I find that scenario to be pretty unlikely and even if truly possible (on one of those rail bike rigs?), extremely limited in scope. If you ride a bike, you are going to turn, at least a little bit, at some point on your rides.
 

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Every. single. turn. gets shorted. I don't ride my mtb on drag strips, do you? The difference becomes larger the sharper the turns are and the more of them there are. But it is always true. Now, on a fairly straight course (especially road rides on straight roads with only a few turns), the difference will be small enough that most won't care. But the difference is still there.


I'm just saying that mtb's aren't always ridden on trails and that on gravel or paved roads the margin of error is statistically insignificant ime. So again, not ALWAYS.
 

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I went on a 2 day mtb trip recently and accidentally left my phone at home.
No cell phone for 2 days .... No Strava data....... Ahhhhhh.
No checking responding to customers for my business..... No randomly bruising the internet..... Plus I slept like a baby.

It was glorious.
 

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I went on a 2 day mtb trip recently and accidentally left my phone at home.
No cell phone for 2 days .... No Strava data....... Ahhhhhh.
No checking responding to customers for my business..... No randomly bruising the internet..... Plus I slept like a baby.

It was glorious.
That's the best thing about having two phones. Work one gets turned off at the end of the day and at weekends. Worst thing is needing two different chargers.
 
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