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To Get the Cycling GPS You Want, Sometimes You Must Build It Yourself

To Get the Cycling GPS You Want, Sometimes You Must Build It Yourself

Four years ago, I waited eagerly for the UPS driver to deliver my Sony Xperia Active.

I was already using another bike GPS, but it felt positively primitive compared to an Android phone.  I was excited to have something that would behave like a real Android device, with a faster CPU, WiFi, Bluetooth, and multitouch screen, along with the extras you need to make a good cycling computer like ANT+ and a waterproof case.

Excitement soon turned to disappointment when I began to use the Active as a bike computer.  First, I noticed that while the display was quite sharp indoors, it was a washed out mess outdoors.  And having that display cranked in the sun made the batter life very short, less than 2 hours typically.  Maps wouldn't cache a large enough area for a bigger ride, and data was not always available, especially while mountain biking.  Finally, while I played with most of the cycling apps that were available, I couldn't find any geared for serious cycling with a nice straightforward display of your data: heart rate, speed, power, cadence, grade, etc.

I decided that it must be possible to build, but in a better way.

That was the beginning of Refactor Fitness.