In the realm of cycling workouts, traditional bike computers have long been associated with hefty price tags and the inconvenience of tiny screens. Furthermore, the cumbersome process of acquiring new routes during a ride has been a persistent issue. Enter the new Apple Watch OS 10 released last year.
With the advent of WatchOS 10, Apple has elevated the cycling experience on the Apple Watch to new heights. The latest iteration of the operating system introduces a suite of new features specifically tailored for cyclists. One noteworthy enhancement is the inclusion of advanced cycling tracking capabilities, allowing users to monitor and analyse their biking performance with unprecedented precision. A significant leap forward comes with the ability to seamlessly view detailed cycling data directly on your iPhone, offering a more expansive and user-friendly interface for a comprehensive ride analysis.
WatchOS 10 doesn't stop there—it goes further by enabling users to link their heart rate monitors and power meters to the Apple Watch. This integration allows cyclists to visualise additional layers of crucial data, such as heart rate and power metrics, providing a holistic overview of their physical exertion during each ride. This multifaceted approach empowers users to fine-tune their training regimens and optimise performance, making WatchOS 10 a game-changer for cycling enthusiasts who seek both precision and convenience in their workout tracking.
How I use the feature
Transitioning from the Wahoo Element Bolt to the Apple Watch running WatchOS 10 was a decision that transformed my cycling experience, and three months later, I haven't looked back. One of the most noticeable improvements is the ability to display metrics on my iPhones 6” display, providing an enhanced interface for tracking my workouts in real time. The expanded display has not only made data more accessible but has also added a level of convenience that was previously lacking.
While the native Apple Watch workout app doesn’t provide the ability to follow a pre made route, I have found that since I have my iPhone right in front of me on the ride I can use either Strava or Apple maps. All my favourite routes are already stored in Strava and using the iPhone app I can bring them up and follow along with ease.
Moreover, the process of setting up my heart rate zones on the Apple Watch has been a game-changer. This personalisation aspect has allowed me to tailor my workouts more precisely, ensuring that I stay within my desired intensity levels. The synergy between the heart rate monitor and the Apple Watch's advanced features has given me unparalleled insights into my physical exertion during cycling sessions, contributing to a more informed and effective training regimen.
While the Apple Watch with WatchOS 10 has undoubtedly revolutionised my cycling routine, it hasn't been without its challenges. The primary hurdle that I've encountered is related to battery life. The demands of continuous GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, and other cycling-specific features can take a toll on the device's battery life, necessitating careful management to ensure it lasts throughout longer rides. As long as I start the ride with over 80% battery I have had no trouble completing a 4+ hour activity.
Another drawback I faced involved difficulties in pairing my Wahoo Ticker with the Apple Watch. This hiccup led me to rely solely on the Apple Watch's built-in heart rate sensor, which, while effective, might not offer the same level of accuracy as external heart rate monitors. The seamless integration of third-party devices is an aspect that could be further refined, as the device pairs, however, it does not return a heart rate value.
Despite these drawbacks, the transformative benefits of Apple Watch's cycling features have far outweighed the challenges. As technology continues to evolve, addressing these minor setbacks could elevate the overall cycling experience for Apple Watch users, making it an even more compelling choice for fitness enthusiasts seeking an integrated and streamlined workout tracking solution.
The only purchase I had to make to move to this new way of tracking my rides was to buy an iPhone mount. While there are a lot of options out there, the Quad Lock solution was the best for me. Using their “pro” mount, you can replicate the out front mounting trend all the dedicated cycling computers have been following. At first I was nervous about attaching my $2,000 iPhone to my bikes handle bars, but, after a recent crash I was amazed to find that my phone and the mount hadn’t even budged. If you are interested you can use the affiliate link below to buy a Quad Lock mount, I recommend the pro out-front mount.🛒 Quadlock Affiliate Link
How has it improved my cycling experience
Transitioning to Apple Watch with WatchOS 10 has changed my cycling routine for the better. The advanced cycling tracking features, including heart rate zones and power metrics integration, provide unparalleled insights into my physical exertion. Despite battery life challenges and occasional device pairing issues, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. The ability to view metrics on my iPhone's enhanced interface and seamlessly follow pre-made routes with apps like Strava has added convenience to my rides.