If you’ve ever tried to coordinate or participate in a group bike ride you’ll know how frustrating it can be. Not only can you have unreliable participants who may start late, but some riders may run into mechanical issues or delays that cause them to miss the start time. Bryton’s new group ride and chat feature offers the ability to see other riders directly on your map and even send or respond to chat messages directly from your GPS computer instead of having to wait around or make calls to figure out if people are on their way. It’s a new feature that, at the time of writing this, is only available on the Bryton Rider S800. However we expect Bryton to extend it to other GPS computers in their lineup such as the Bryton Rider S500 in the future.
In this guide we’ll go over how to create group rides, join them and how to use the map views to see other riders and chat with them. Note, this feature requires having your phone connected to the GPS via the Bryton Active app and utilizes your cell reception to transmit your location and chat messages. The observations and instructions in this guide are based on the Android App v2.16.1777.354 so some of the steps described here may change. It’s safe to assume many of the bugs or features will be updated or improved over time so we recommend referring to the official manual or Bryton website for the latest instructions.
CREATING A GROUP RIDE
The first step in taking advantage of the group ride feature is to create a group ride. A group ride is a ride with an assigned route, label, start time and duration. Anyone with the group ride code can join the ride which makes it easy for new riders or friends of friends to easily join a ride. Rides have to be created via the Bryton Active app and then uploaded to your linked GPS computer. Based on the app we currently have the steps are:
- Select the “plus” tab (second from the left)
- Click on “Group Ride”
- Click on “Create New Group”
Each group ride can be configured with:
- Group name label – This is the name that is shown when you join a ride and is used on the group ride data page title
- Starting time – This sets the start time of the group ride. Note you cannot change this once the ride is created, and you cannot start the ride early. That’s why we recommend setting the time earlier than you expect.
- Duration – Sets the total estimated duration of the ride. Again we’d recommend making this larger than you expect as you won’t be able to join the ride after the estimated end time (i.e. starting time + duration).
- Note – Optional note field to describe the ride or add details.
- Route – Select a route from the routes available on your Bryton Active app or linked third-party accounts.
You cannot edit any of the group ride details once you create it, so we’d recommend reviewing the details carefully. Once you press “Create New Group” the app will generate a multi-digit group code which you can share with ride participants. In the current version of the app you cannot directly share the code with other Bryton within the app. Instead you’ll need to copy it and share it via text or other apps and have other riders copy-paste the code into the Bryton App. Also note that you cannot start a ride until the specified start time is reached or passed so we’d recommend setting the start time conservatively and extending the ride duration to avoid issues.
JOINING A RIDE
Joining a group ride is as easy as copying the code into the “Group Ride” page of the Bryton Active app. Anyone with the code can join the ride, there is no way to limit who joins the ride. Once you join the ride any connected devices are automatically synced to the device and you’ll be prompted to start the ride if the start time has been reached. Otherwise you can start the synced group ride from your GPS computer by doing:
- Select “Courses” from the main screen
- Select “Group Ride” option
- Press “Play” on the displayed group ride
If you do not see the ride, make sure you’ve synced the Bryton Active app with the device and joined the ride with the proper code.
Once you’ve selected and started a group ride your GPS computer will show avatars indicators for all riders on the map view. Each position is synced regularly as long as there is cell phone reception and allows you to quickly see your relative positions. The avatars are automatically created using a combination of your Bryton account name. Only other riders within the bounds of your current map view will be shown, so you may need to zoom out or pan around to see riders that are further away. There is also no way to currently “jump to” or have the map view center and track another rider which means you’ll have to use the manual controls to find other riders.
PARTICIPANT LIST VIEW
There is also a participant list view page that is automatically added to data pages when a ride is active which shows the list of other riders with their speed and relative distances. Participants are ordered in terms of their position relative to the preset route with a crown symbol placed next to the rider furthest on the route. This is perhaps one of the most useful features and provides a Strava-like real-time comparison screen. Riders speed is also shown which helps you determine if someone is stuck at a light or doing roadside repairs. Although the update rate is relatively fast, if you’re neck-to-neck with another rider there is some lag to the positional updates. If a rider loses cell phone reception and stops updating their position data, there will be an “update X minutes ago” label below their name to indicate that the data is stale.
From the participant list view, you can press the small chat icon to view the message list. Here you’ll see a list of previously sent messages from riders on the group ride. There are two ways to create a message, you can use the voice-to-text feature to speak the message or select predefined messages. The voice-to-text uses a built-in microphone and the connected Bryton Active app to process your speech (i.e. the same feature as voice navigation search). As you can imagine, the feature doesn’t work particularly well while riding due to wind noise and works best if you are not moving. We found the voice processing to be hit-or-miss, and best reserved for short concise messages. Alternatively, you can select from a few predefined messages such as “ok!” and “s.o.s.” which covers basic scenarios.
There are a number of limitations to the group ride / chat functionality for the app version we’re using in this guide. Some of them are minor usability or labeling issues while others are more restrictive. Here are two of the more prominent limitations of the feature that you should be aware of:
- You can only have one active group ride at a time. This means you can’t create recurring rides or plan multiple rides ahead of time. You can only create another group ride after the previously created one expired or was deleted.
- Rides cannot be started before the specified start time. Group rides are only valid once the specified start time is reached or passed. As a good practice, you should add some buffer time to the start and duration times to avoid issues.
Overall, the Bryton Group Ride and Chat feature offer a simple and fun way to track and communicate during rides. It’s relatively straightforward to create the events and share the access code with friends and to see their real-time position and data during a ride. The integrated positional tracking on the map view and chat functions make it easy to determine where riders are and even send them messages without the need to pull a cellphone out. Even though there are still a fair amount of bugs and improvements Bryton could make, when it works it’s a lot of fun. The seamless integration into the data display views on your GPS means you can chase friends up segments with real-time distance splits or track other ride positions on the map without the need for additional apps or devices.
Disclaimer: The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase or serve as a reference . The authors or the blog itself does not get any compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.