Most cyclists track their ride data using cycling computer or a GPS unit. Recently, however, fitness trackers have become popular tools for tracking day to day activity levels.
It's likely that the cycling you do (unfortunately!) takes up a fairly small amount of your time – but what you get up to during the rest of the day can make a big difference to your overall fitness and ability when you do swing your leg over the top tube.
How active you are – the number of steps you take, how often you elevate your heart rate and the hours of quality sleep you get all contribute to your overall well-being, and fitness trackers keep an eye on metrics such as these.
We’ve rounded up some of the best…
The Misfit Shine is one of the cheaper options on the market - and as well as being able to track calorie burn over cycling, swimming, and a host of other sports, it can also provide you with data on distance ridden.
You can connect the device with MapMyFitness and MyFitnessPal, and it also tracks your sleep - time spent in slumber and its quality.
The lights that feature around the edge of the device aren't just there to compliment the stylish design (which is customisable - you can even pop the pebble shaped tracker into a necklace!) either. You'll set yourself an 'activity goal' for each day, and a full circle of LEDs means you've earned your evening on the sofa.
If you're after something really inexpensive, there is the Mi Band, at under £30, but this tracks activity via steps, so though it could help you analyse day-to-day activity, it won't track your cycling so well.
The Polar Loop records data from your activity - be it walking, cycling or making a cup of tea - all based on the level of intensity - high, medium, or low. The device then allows you to view you days, weeks or months online so you can see when you're more active, and when you're slacking.
You can link up with MyFitnessPal to track the calories you burn vs those you consume, too - so if you're monitoring your weight this could be helpful.
Data can be uploaded to the Polar Flow Web service, where you can also received tailored advice on where you could improve.
This one comes in at £79.00 from Polar. It won't tell you much about your cycling performance, but it will give you info on your overall fitness and well-being.
Jawbone UP 24
A lightweight unit that links up to the UP app, this little companion is great for keeping an eye on your overall health. It tracks your activity, the steps that you take during the day, and even has an ‘idle alert’ which reminds you when you should get up and take a little walk.
The focus is on holistic health - a ‘Smart Alarm’ allows the watch to silently vibrate 30 minutes before your alarm goes off, helping ease you into consciousness and you can set goals for the amount of water you should drink, and calories you want to burn during each day.
The app allows you to scan barcodes on food items, or log meals at restaurants, so that you know how many calories you are consuming in the day, too. A ‘Smart Coach’ will send updates when you’re doing well, and you can transmit information to the app wirelessly.
This one is still under the round number - at £99.99 from Jawbone
Fitbit Charge HR
If you're training using heart rate, the Fitbit Charge will help make tracking your rides and other workouts easy with its heart rate zone tracker. You will, however, need to wear a compatible heart rate monitor for this.
Calories burned and active minutes are also covered, as well as the hours of sleep you get.
You can match the device up with a compatible mobile to see calls and alerts, and upload to the app dashboard to view your data.
This device is best for someone who wants to track their training using heart rate zones, without getting bogged down in distance, speed and climbing.
The Microsoft band will be great for anyone who wants a watch to help them in their work and social life, as well as their fitness. Effectively, this watch could become your personal wrist-side Personal Assistant.
Steps taken and workouts can be tracked, and if you're looking to add some gym work to your routine you can have tailored workouts delivered, and the watch will even track your reps during the session.
Your sleep is assessed for quality as well as hours spent counting sheep, and your heart rate and calorie burn will be constantly monitored.
On top of the fitness benefits, you'll also see meeting invites, calls and text messages on your wrist. Finally, you can rely on Microsoft's 'Cortana' - effectively Google with a voice - to give you updates on weather, directions and more.
Garmin are well known for their GPS tracking devices and the Vivoactive crosses the boundries between 'fitness tracker' and fully fledged GPS. This is the one to go for if you're looking for a full set set of cycling specific data as well as fitness tracker benefits and a sleek design.
This tracker will provide you with speed and distance stats, plus cadence if you've got a sensor, heart rate based calorie consumption data and you can ask it to vibrate if you drop below a set speed (this could get annoying on a hill or in a headwind!).
The ultra-thin GPS watch has a high-resoloution colour touchscreen, and can track others sports such as swimming and running as well as cycling.
As well as tracking steps, alerting you to inactivity and keeping an eye on your sleep, the vivoactive will keep you in touch with everything else going on in your life too - with vibration alerts when you receive calls, texts or notifications.
The downside on this one is that unlike other devices, which take heart rate from your wrist, you will need to wear a monitor with this watch.
Cost? £199.99 from Garmin - which might seem a lot, but not if it can take the place of a handlbar mounted GPS and a fitness tracker.
Want something more cycling focused? Check out our Cycling Computer and GPS Buying Guide.