How to track cycling on a fitbit
In the age of fitness trackers, one very common question I get is, how to track cycling on a Fitbit? Fitbit does still have the largest market share of fitness trackers and as such, it is a relevant question. Especially since most people are looking into cycling for health reasons over the pure fun of it. And in the case of Triathletes we are always obsessed with cadence, speed and heart monitoring. For the later of these two, my fellow triathletes, I highly suggest you pick up a proper fitness tracker for cycling. But for my Fitbit users lets answer your question of how can you track cycling on your Fitbit.
Can I track cycling on a Fitbit?
The short answer is no, you can’t. Not at least in the same way as you can track running or walking.
Fitbit trackers, as most of you are aware, function off of your wrist movement. Which if you are cycling is going to pose a problem since your hands will be stationary for the majority of your ride.
With that said there are some ways you can hack your Fitbit to get some steps logged as well as ways you can get a semi accurate calorie count as well, if you are biking purely for health reasons or weight loss.
So how can I track cycling on a Fitbit?
Way number one, which I have personally used in the past before upgrading to a Triathlon watch, is by attaching your Fitbit to your ankle or foot instead of your wrist.
There are obviously a couple of problems with this. Your Fitbit needs to ideally fit on your ankle. I have done this method and it does work. It is tough to say for sure how fully accurate the step count will be when you factor in times you are coasting or the speed that you pedal. However it will provide a much better solution that it being on your wrist. If your Fitbit does not fit around your ankle, then you can try fastening it onto the top of your shoe as well for a similar result. Make sure it is snug so it doesn’t come loose in your ride!
Another way that you can track cycling on a Fitbit is by recording purely the heartrate. The best way to do this is by creating a custom activity. From there you can go about using the tracker to log your exercise. This will use the heartrate info and your stop/start time to give you an accurate calorie count but your steps will be off, you may get between 100-400 steps total for changes to braking or shifting gears. If you do not care about your steps, for challenges or bragging rights, and are only in it for a calories in vs calories out plan then this might be a good option for you!
Lastly you can track cycling on a Fitbit manually. If you do remember your start and stop time then you are always able to manually log activities. You can do this through the Fitbit app/web interface and it will provide you a step estimate for you bike ride. I am not sure where it guesstimates this value from but it will definitely provide you with step tracking for cycling on a Fitbit.
Fitbits and Cycling Wrap-up
So as you can see from above you will be able to log some step and calorie information from your Fitbit when you are cycling using our various methods provided above.
While this may not be the ideal solution, Fitbit, as of 2018, has not included biking tracking outside of basic GPS and calories burned like many of the multi-sport watches will do.
I hope that this helps you get the most out of your Fitbit! If you have any additional hacks to make cycling work better on your Fitbit please include them in the comments below. And if you are ready to take the next step to serious fitness tracking I suggest you check out our review of some of the top multisport watches for Triathlons!