When it comes to any kind of smart wearable, cycling is one of the primary exercises. Fitbit has made its name and staked its entire reputation on fitness and the various activities that fitness entails. It only makes sense that cycling is one of them. 

There are different types of cycling to consider too, including mountain biking, aerobic cycling, bike cross, BMX, track cycling, and even more.

So how does a Fitbit fair when it comes to tracking cycling?

Can A Fitbit Track Cycling?

A man out on a cycle with a Fitbit

Cycling is a major activity on any Fitbit wearable or smartwatch. While GPS integration isn’t one of Fitbit’s strong suits, as it is with Garmin, Fitbit manages to do a fairly clean and thorough cycling integration that works well.

For a quick example let’s look at how the Fitbit Surge tracks cycling. To get started, Select Exercise, Bike, and then the device will establish a GPS signal. Once you begin cycling, the Fitbit Surge will track your time, average speed, miles per hour, heart rate, and calories burned. Once you are finished cycling, you can hit the Finish Line Button and the device will show you a summary of your stats for the ride.

Not all Fitbits will be the same, but this will give you a good idea of what you’re up against tracking cycling with a Fitbit

As with just about any exercise routine that involves moving from point A to point B, Fitbit devices have to use GPS to appropriately track your distance. It’s far easier to calculate burned calories, heartbeat over time, and distance tracking records if GPS is involved and Fitbit does this well.

Fitbit devices also have features that keep up with your indoor cycling habits. So you don’t have to go out on a bike to take advantage of Fitbit’s health tracking and benefits. They work perfectly well for an indoor cycling bike.

Does a Fitbit Automatically Track Cycling?

Fitbit devices (for the most part, since some of their devices don’t qualify as a smartwatch) implement a number of useful features for cycling enthusiasts. SmartTrack is Fitbit’s automatic exercise recognition software. If you climb on a bicycle, most Fitbit devices are designed to recognize that and automatically start tracking.

But even though a Fitbit may automatically track cycling, you might be better off manually starting the cycling exercise on your device.

For example, on some Fitbits, the GPS doesn’t come on when cycling is automatically detected and that means your speed won’t be tracked. But if you manually start the cycling exercise before you get going, you can get a real-time view of your speed and distance traveled on the Fitbit. It’s something worth checking for your individual Fitbit device.

The auto-detection software is designed to recognize repetitions, such as pedaling over and over. SmartTrack is constantly tracking what you are doing, in terms of movement, not in terms of specific things like washing the dishes. That would just be creepy. 

It measures things like intensity, repetition, and patterns. Not only does Fitbit automatically recognize and start tracking your cycling activity, but it also automatically saves everything it tracks for that activity. 

If you don’t like the automatic tracking features, which do take a toll on your battery, you can jump into your settings and turn the “auto-detect” off. You can also set the parameters in which the SmartTrack feature works, such as how many minutes you want it to run when it detects a cycling activity.

Which Fitbit Is Best To Track Cycling?

Fitbit devices are a dime a dozen. That’s not to say that they make so many that only some are good. All of Fitbit’s devices have something to offer and none of them are poorly made. However, as with everything in life, some tools are just better than others, especially for certain tasks. Fitbit offers four devices that are above and beyond the best devices for cycling.

All of the above Fitbit devices are smartwatches because they feature a touchscreen and tell you the time, along with all of Fitbit’s other offerings. It’s important to make the distinction because some Fitbit devices are simply wearables without a screen or without much of one. 

We almost included the Ionic, however, Fitbit recently put out a recall on the Ionics because they were catching fire. Scary stuff to go along with your bike ride.

Fitbit Blaze

Fitbit Blaze is not a huge seller because it’s a special edition smartwatch from Fitbit. If you happened to get your hands on one, you own an excellent device for extreme sports and recreational/healthy activities. The Fitbit Blaze is the standout Fitbit device in this group for tracking your cycling activities.

The Blaze features everything that Fitbit has to offer in terms of health tracking, GPS, and activity tracking. It’s probably the highest reviewed Fitbit device to date and it is seemingly tailor-made for outdoor activities, including cycling.

Fitbit Charge 4

The Charge 4 is one of Fitbit’s simple designs. However, it packs a punch as far as features are concerned. It’s waterproof to 50m and tracks everything that you can think of, including your sleep.

Most importantly, it tracks your cycling activities and includes the SmartTrack feature.

Fitbit Versa 4

This is Fitbit’s Apple Watch look-alike contest winner. People love the Fitbit Versa for its compatibility. Not only does it feature SmartTrack and some of the best cycling tracking, but it also features calls and texts as well.

Related Article: Can A Fitbit Go In A Sauna? (Answered!)

How Do I Track Cycling On Blaze Fitbit?

Using a Fitbit Blaze to track your cycling is a reasonably straightforward process. The standard cycling exercises will come preloaded on your Fitbit Blaze watch and you can add more through the app on your smartphone. 

  • Bring the display up on your Fitbit Blaze
  • Scroll to the right (by finger-swiping to the left) twice and tap “Exercise”
  • Swipe left or right to find “bike”
  • Tap the Gear Ico (settings) on the lower, left-hand corner of the watch
  • Tap “Use Phone GPS” 
  • Press the left button on the Blaze to back out
  • When you’re ready, scroll back to Bike and tap the center of the screen
  • Tap the play button on the bottom, right-hand side and get started

On the Fitbit app, you can find and add bike activities to your workouts and you will find them in the same menu once you have synced your app to your Blaze device.

Does A Fitbit Track Cycling As Steps?

Fitbit devices don’t count steps for a cycling activity, at least not on purpose. Hitting a bump in the road may generate a step in a separate piece of software, but not in the biking app. Even when walking, steps are a “best guess” estimate. 

Fitbit devices track your time, heart rate, calories burned, and other health stats while riding a bike, not the number of steps your pedaling activity will eventually cover.

Does A Fitbit Track Cycling Distance?

Fitbit devices definitely track your cycling distance, whether it is done through your smartphone, in sync with your Fitbit device, or done on the Fitbit device itself. It’s often best to use your smartphone for GPS anyway since most smartwatches are not quite as good at tracking your distances on their own. 

Either way, Fitbit will track the distance, along with a host of other health tracking calculations that cover the span of time and distance you travel. When you are done cycling, you will see that steps are recorded, however, avoid the assumption that it is in any way accurate. 

In fact, if you calculate the number of steps the Fitbit device recorded, you can easily dismiss the steps because they won’t match your distance.

Can I Put A Fitbit On My Ankle For Cycling?

It’s usually not the best idea to put a Fitbit on your ankle for cycling. It would be like putting your cleats on your hands while playing soccer or football. Could you do it? Certainly. Should you do it? No, you shouldn’t. Fitbit wearables and smartwatches are designed to wear on your wrist. 

You will get far better tracking results from your wrist as well. On your ankle, the device may inaccurately measure some of your health features, such as your heartbeat, respiration, and blood oxygen levels. There are some who swear it will count pedal strokes if you wear it on your ankle. 

However, just about everyone acknowledges that it’s not accurate. When you’re dealing with numbers and your health calculations, accuracy is the name of the game.

How Does My Fitbit Know I’m Cycling?

The SmartTrack feature measures things like repetition. The software also knows the limitations of human beings as well. The engineers at Fitbit probably don’t program their Fitbit wearables with Usain Bolt in mind, so your Fitbit knows that you are not running along at 20mph. 

SmartTrack is constantly running calculations to determine your movements. It also tracks both the intensity and repetition of your movements so it can determine whether or not you’re on a bike. 

Once it recognizes your movements, it will automatically start tracking and will also automatically log your eventual statistics.

Can A Fitbit Track A Stationary Bike?

Stationary bike activities are often preloaded on smartwatch devices and if your Fitbit doesn’t have a “stationary bike” as a specific workout activity, that doesn’t mean it can’t track it. You just have to open up your Fitbit app on your smartphone and add the activity. Then sync your phone and your watch and you’re ready to go. 

You can also sync your Fitbit with Strava, which is loaded with a bunch of cycling activities on its own. Strava isn’t the lone app that works with Fitbit either. There’s also the Fitbit app itself, Google Fit, Cyclemeter, Exercise Tracker by Vimolabs, Komoot, TrainingPeaks, and Map My Fitness, just to name a few.

Bottom Line

Fitbit wearables and smartwatches may not be the best all-around smartwatches in the market, but they’re hard to beat regarding health measuring and health stats. Cycling is one of the dominant health tracking activities on any health tracker and Fitbit is well aware of this fact. 

If you love hitting the trail on your bike, Fitbit is a fantastic choice for tracking all of your biking activities and Fitbit’s numerous devices are worth checking out.