The GPS on my phone KILLS the battery life. If you going on a decent ride which I will be once i have the fitness required, then you'll need a portable battery of some sort.

Is it not possible for a speed and candence sensor to track distance without gps signal? Mine doesn't seem to be working. IT's one of these


I.e. have I bought something that doesn't do what i need it to do.

the fallowfield loop isn't 0.06km long

  • 2
    I have never, ever seen a "bike computer" that didn't include an odometer of some sort. Of course, what you have is apparently a "sensor" which counts wheel revs and transmits that info to your smart phone. So what "features" you get are dependent on the smartphone app. The Panobike app apparently shows distance on the "map" display. Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 12:05
  • At the extreme, back in the old days we had non-electronic odometers, I'm sure some of which measured speed (less sure aboutcadence). Parhaps they still exist? Alternatively, dedicated cycle computers will generally have a much longer battery life than phones.
    – PeteH
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 12:20
  • Consider that you're trying to work around issues of small battery by buying other hardware that transmits wirelessly. Instead, consider a USB battery power brick/bank. Mine's a 9Ah and will run the phone and a gopro for 24+ hours, no problem. Downside, you need to take care of your cable connections and be mindful of port damage.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 22:56

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is possible, and bike computers have had sensors like yours before GPS existed. Either your sensor is broken, in which case you can have it replaced, or you have installed it wrong.

  • right on the money I definately installed it wrong. I didn't RTFM properly. I didn't realise the sensor actually had two sensors therefore I only fitted one magnet which is why I wasn't getting a speed reading. The distance is calcuated from speed.
    – Ageis
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 8:43
  • Technically it works the other way round: the sensor tracks wheel rotations which measures distance, and speed is calculated from it.
    – ojs
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 9:27

Looking at the link to the product you have already purchased, it seems like you only have a speed and cadence sensor which transmits the signal with bluetooth. The phones acts as the head-unit in your case for seeing your information like speed. Your best option is to look for an app that can record just the sensor data, without worrying about location, and hopefully one that can work with the screen off, because the screen is also a big power draw. If you're not already turning the screen off on your existing app, then you should really be doing that. Try disabling the GPS functions (aka location service) of your phone to see how the app responds.

If you have Android, then this app might be a good start as it looks like it's made by the same people as your sensor and actually has a comment that GPS feature is turned off while they fix some bugs.

The other option is to find a cheap cycling computer that includes sensors and the head unit, and just use that to track your distance and speed.

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