Cheap tech will help observe train

For many years, I would ride my age in miles on my birthday which comes around again next week. This year, I’m not ready for that long a ride, but I may ride it in kilometers, which still adds up to more miles than I’ve ridden in a long time.

Larry Magid, freelance technology columnist of the San Jose Mercury News is photographed on Friday, Oct. 21, 2011 in San Jose. (Gary Reyes / Mercury News) (Gary Reyes / Mercury News)

I used to ride a sleek and efficient road bike, but after an accident a few years ago that required surgery to repair a broken elbow, I’ve switched to a heavier hybrid bike with wider tires and regular (not clip-on) pedals. My hybrid bike, which I’ve owned for several decades, is very low-tech, but I just upgraded it with a Xoss G GPS enabled bike computer for the shockingly low price of $29.90. It’s not as advanced as some of the much more expensive units like the $399 Garmin Edge 830, but it does track my distance and speed, and it’s incredibly easy to setup. Unlike old-fashioned bike computers that don’t rely on GPS, you don’t need to install a sensor on your wheel or tell it the diameter of your wheel, because it gets its location and distance data from GPS satellites. Versions of this and other GPS computers that also measure cadence (revolutions per minute) do require a wireless sensor on the wheel hub.

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