Picture of Bike better with an LED cadence meter

I love to bike. You might say I'm an amateur (I only own one pair of spandex shorts), but I'm always looking for new ways to improve. Recently I was talking to a more experienced friend, who introduced me to the idea of cadence.

He explained that cadence is how fast you spin the pedals on your bike. Having the right cadence helps conserve energy and reduce muscle strain, so you can ride faster for longer without getting tired.

I did some research and discovered that most amateur cyclists pedal too slowly, pushing hard in high gears and wasting energy. Shifting down and increasing your cadence uses a different set of muscles and makes your biking more efficient.

I wanted an easy, intuitive way to keep track of my cadence, so I would know exactly how fast to pedal and which gear to choose. This project was the result.

Step 1: Research, and some more about cadence

Picture of Research, and some more about cadence

Cadence is measured in rotations per minute (rpm). In my research, I found that the ideal cadence for most people falls in the range of 85-95 rpm. I used my watch to conduct some very scientific tests and found that that range worked well for me.

Instead of a stopwatch, advanced cyclists use fancy cycling computers to track cadence and other data while riding. But, like watches, they tend be expensive and hard to read while riding. Even dedicated cadence meters use the same grey, calculator-style numerical display. I wanted more than just a number. I wanted something that I could understand at a glance, and that would actively help me interpret the data.

dstahl31 year ago

I am still very new to electronics, but couldn't you add a transistor to the output of the hall effect sensor so you could use interrupts? Either way, I am thinking of making this. And definitely going to try to keep a cadence when I ride from now on.

jessejwk (author)  dstahl31 year ago

You're totally right about the transistor. I just didn't think of it at the time. Thanks for looking. Post pictures if you make something!

I would vote this for Great Outdoor!

jessejwk (author)  tisaconundrum1 year ago

I added it :) Thanks!

wenzej1 year ago

This is a cool idea, cycling and blinking LEDS; my two
favorite things. I have a cadence meter
on my bike, but hardly ever use it because it is hard to read. What might be in improvement to this project would
be to put the Arduino and batteries into a box some other place on the bike
then run a small four wire cable up to the handlebars attach a red / green /
blue led to the wires and make a really small mount for it. Then program the Arduino to turn the led off
when stopped. As you peddle faster the
red light would start to flash slow to fast, at your set speed the LED would
switch to Green and flash slow to fast until you go over a set speed and then
the LED would switch to blue and flash slow to fast.

jessejwk (author)  wenzej1 year ago

I should upload a video; the LEDs actually fade smoothly back and forth as the pedaling speed changes, and two can be lit at the same time if you're in between values. Housing the Arduino away from the display is something I considered, but it complicated things like having an accessible switch and making the power source removable. You're right, though, that it would have let the meter be much smaller. All interesting considerations.

I didn't know about that concept.Nice.Learnt something new

Eunix1 year ago

Great project, you have my votes!

It turned out beautifully :D

This is an awesome project. I think I may just have to incorporate it into my commuter bike project. Thanks for the ideas. I love the clean and simple approach.

jessejwk (author)  DarkStormTrooper1 year ago

Thank you!

canzada1 year ago
Very impressive !