Apple Watch’s new cycling feature might make me throw away my bike computer

Considered by many as the best smartwatches, the best Apple Watches have been dominating the wearable market for years. Evidently, this isn’t good enough for Apple. In recent years, the Cupertino-based company has been on a mission to entice dedicated sportspeople to join their ranks by offering advanced health and fitness features. With WatchOS 10, Apple turned its attention to cyclists, so naturally, I jumped on the saddle of my bike to see how good the new features were.

What makes the new cycling update special isn’t just the ability to connect Bluetooth-enabled cycling accessories, such as power meters, speed sensors, and cadence sensors, to the watch. It’s not even the new algorithm that combines sensor data from the watch and connected power meters and can estimate Functional Threshold Power (FTP).

No, I was most interested to see the Live Action feature in the flesh. When you start a cycling activity on your Apple Watch in watchOS 10, it automatically shows up as a Live Activity on the iPhone. This practically turns your iPhone into a cycling computer with data provided by your watch and any connected Bluetooth accessory.

Apple iPhone displaying new cycling features

Apple iPhone displaying new cycling features

This is a powerful feature. You can browse different Workout Views, such as Heart Rate Zones, Elevation, Race Route, Custom Workouts, and a new Cycling Speed view, which has been optimised for the display size of an iPhone. For non-competitive cyclists such as myself, the Workout Views provide more than enough information to pore over.

Of course, I won’t pretend that the data on offer is enough for professional athletes. I can’t see Ironman champions mounting their iPhones on their triathlon bikes to track the cycling leg of their next triathlon. (To be fair, the Apple Watch Ultra is pretty good in the water and has decent running features, but this isn’t the article to discuss the multisport prowess of this wearable.)

That said, only a small margin of people have the endurance and the skills to call themselves pros. Buying the best road bike, donning a tight cycling jersey and squeezing yourself into cycling shorts won’t make you a good cyclist (sorry, MAMILs). For around 85 per cent of the riders out there, data…