Bicycling is good for the body and soul, but tracking one’s results used to be a pain involving wiring sensors to a stand-alone device connected to the handlebars. True, one can employ a smartphone app to track where one is going and even relative speeds, but a true “cycling computer” it’s not. That’s where the $99.99 LiverRider comes in — working with an iPhone 3G means that the computer tech is already on hand. But what LiveRider brings to the party is a simple and sensible means for keeping tabs as you pedal.
Like most devices of its kind, pedal cadence and biking speed comes from connecting sensors to the bike — in this case though there is one dual-sensor only. This attaches using hardware provided on the bike’s frame near the rear wheel— it’s not all that difficult to follow the instructions, especially if you take your time. The sensors don’t need to be wired — there are no wires and that’s the beauty of it. It uses 2.4GHz wireless technology to transmit the information they glean to a transceiver/dongle which you attach to the handlebars. A cable then goes from it to a case that the iPhone goes into (and which also goes onto the handlebars). All is water resistant, with the sensors being the most protected against the elements.
The LiveRider free app (downloaded from the Apple app store) takes this information and turns it into readable facts. The interface is big enough to see at the short distance from handlebars to head and functions with swipes that can be done while traveling with little chance of disaster (although, as always, safe cycling is a concern of the one pedaling away).
Variable options are included, but at its basic is the ability to see how fast you’re going, the cadence, the amount of miles covered and the time in effect of traveling. All of the information comes specifically from the sensors, and the short travel space of the wireless removes any chance of a disconnect. I would have to say the real-time chase rider function is a good one — it lets you go against your personal best or pace to your training goal. The app also shows such things as calories burned and can include profiles for multiple bikes. Sessions are of course recorded and viewable statistically as well as graphically. The data can also be exported via email for use in spreadsheets/databases.
When done or parked, it’s easy enough to remove the iPhone while leaving the rest on the bike till the next time. For those really paranoid, a few minutes of prepping will find a faster disassembly of the case and transceiver, should nothing of visible attraction be desired left on the bike to attract unwanted attention.
LiveRider requires the 30 pin dock and will work with an iPod touch (1st and 2nd generation) as well. It does use up power at a fair clip, so having a full charge on the Apple device is always a good idea.