When starting out with nothing you might just do your homework and end up with right amount of gear.
However if you already have something and are not willing to burn money just because there’s an ideal setup, you’d try to use what you have. This is the frugal approach.
My current setup consists of an old, battered iPhone 5c, Polar BT cadence sensor and a Fitbit Surge watch. The latter one has served me rather well when running and as a general reflection of fitness. The phone is soon to be swapped with Wahoo Elemnt bike computer, mainly due to poor battery life and cost of adding sensors that are built into bike computers of certain price bracket.
The reason I use Fitbit is twofold – another source of GPS coordinates and HR.
Due to Strava and Fitbit not getting along very well to make their API’s work to truly serve the users needs I ditched the straightforward pull/push between said services. All it did was to create duplicate entries on both sides resulting in cleanup operation and no real benefit. And it only syncs new activities. Well, that’s partly incorrect as some past activities were synced from Fitbit to Strava, at complete random.
So my workflow is the following:
- start the ride and r cord with both watch and the phone
- when finished, upload / sync the activities but save Strava ride as private
- export the both rides on a computer, gpx and tcx respectively
- merge the rides in a tool. I use GPS Tracks Editor on Windows. It does excellent job and allows to adjust Fitbit time that’s off by an hour with no apparent reason.
- delete the activity from Strava and newly merged file
- devour stats and enjoy virtual pat on the back.
I suppose I could just get a HR belt, but that’s another £35 I’d rather not spend. Speaking of external HR sensors I’d probably go with Scosche Rhytm+ that’s supposed to go around your arm rather than chest. DC Rainmaker wrote a good review of this device a few years ago.