I love how easy it is to track your progress and analyze your workouts. There are a bunch of free apps for your smartphone that will map your runs or rides and provide statistics like speed, distance etc. I started out using RunKeeper, which works great, but have since switched to Endomondo because it includes live tracking of your activities… My wife likes to know where I am, and if I am still moving : ) The live tracking also proved very useful by showing my exact location when I recently broke my derailleur 40km from home and had to be rescued.
Bike computers are a pretty essential tool for providing data during a ride, and they are much less cumbersome than mounting your iPhone to your handlebars. I used a wireless CatEye computer for the first year. It worked fine, however there were a couple of times when the spoke magnet slipped out of alignment with the fork sensor, leaving me riding blind. Although this is an easy problem to solve… just stop and reposition the magnet… this is not an option during a race or group ride. That’s why I purchased the Garmin Edge 500 at the end of July. It uses GPS to track your routes and data, which you can upload and analyze on your home computer. The Edge also works with a heart rate monitor and cadence sensor for tracking cardio and power data. I highly recommend the heart rate monitor for calculating realistic calorie expenditures, and for assessing how hard you are working.