Apple Watch review for cyclists

I’ve had an Apple Watch for a couple months.

The idea was I could throw it on when biking for an easy way to watch my heart rate and possibly use the GPS mapping to not get lost.

Problem 1:  The screen delay

Biking in Japan is a lot like playing the classic game Paperboy,  many ways to die if you aren’t careful.  Looking at your watch has to be done in a quick glance.

The Apple Watch is definitely the wrong device for this due to the lag in the screen turning on.

In the end, I started doing a wildly exaggerated wrist motion, waiting a second or so, then glancing down. The sad part is even then sometimes the watch screen wouldn’t turn on at all.

Problem 2:  The heart monitor

This may be a problem with my wrist in general (no, I don’t have a tattoo) but it really does a poor job of reading my heart rate.  I’d say it can do it about 20% of the time.  It’s not uncommon to get a 170 BPM reading and then show only 90 BPM ten seconds later.  Most of the time the heart rate information is dark red meaning “couldn’t get a reading recently”.  I sweat rather profusely when biking so maybe that’s the problem.

Sometimes I’d get a reading of 0 and wonder if my heart actually stopped.

Problem 3: The battery

When the Apple Watch has trouble reading your heart rate, it turns on additional LEDS on the bottom of the watch to.. I don’t know, look at your blood veins or something.  I suspect this (combined with having work out mode enabled) is how I could go from 100% battery to 0% in under four hours.

If the heart rate monitoring Gods smile upon your wrist, you may not have this issue.

Problem 4:  The software

Strava’s watch integration is fairly useless because after the watch turns off, you have to swipe to get it back.  I couldn’t get it to stay “in focus” on the watch for very long, maybe because Apple doesn’t allow custom watch faces (yet) and it would require that?

Using the heart rate monitor in Strava isn’t supported either, so basically the only thing it’s good for is manually pausing/unpausing the timer.

I couldn’t figure out any way to show Apple Maps and heart rate data at the same time.

Conclusion

Waste of time, get a Garmin. You replace the battery in their heart monitor maybe once a year – plus, you really need a speed sensor for your wheel to get reliable smart pausing anyway.

So my watch is sitting on the charger, unused. Maybe the Apple Watch 2…?

9 thoughts on “Apple Watch review for cyclists

  1. Anonymous

    Hey you should sell me your Apple Watch if you don’t use it. I offer good deal, you should take it.

  2. ReefsYT

    The battery and the time it takes to turn on.. What if you needed it instantly and bam Slam, on the floor, dead. What’l you do now?

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