The rapid development of tech gadgets in our present age has also affected and benefited other areas of our life including our hobbies- in this case cycling.
Long time ago a “techie cyclist” would have a mobile phone, a camera, a bike computer, a heart rate monitor, a GPS and an MP3 player along with him in his exploration rides. Nowadays a smart phone could do all of that. It’s a good thing for cyclist but a threat to those specific gadget manufacturers; if they would be stubborn enough to accept this fact then they would end up as another Kodak Company. When I got my Nokia E72, I discovered this fact that I don’t need to bother considering the acquisition of these specific individual gadgets anymore. And later on, the explosion of apps in the popular iPhone gave me endless possibilities, in fact besides the above listed gadgets and just for fun, an apps mimicking a bike tail light blinker was something I could not have thought of.
Maybe in the future, some apps would even improve the documentation of our explorations like an app that would feed real time GPS, photos and videos and other relevant data to the internet would be available so that the rider can concentrate on enjoying his activity while the phone would take care of the documentation, and even do that real time for the benefit of the friends and followers of the explorer. Maybe an app that would integrate to the Di2 shifting and its future generation versions that would make the bike more intelligent and automated. An irony for a machine intended to be manually operated.
Going back to earth, the best smart phone I have tried- is as expected- the Apple iPhone. This is ONLY because of the hundreds of available app for that phone but the downside of the Apple iPhone is its battery life. I think that area has a long way to go for Apple as a Nokia phone can be available during ordinary use without charging for at least 2-3 days while its common for iPhone to drain its battery in a days time. Converting this for cycling use with GPS and all running, I wasn’t able to use it in a full 8 hour ride. Currently the only solution to make the iPhone usable on long distance rides is by having an available external battery. The question here is how to go about it. An external battery would defeat the purpose of being compact.
The next item to consider is the mounting case. Here are some good mounting cases available out there:
What’s a Smartphone without an application- here are three out of the hundreds out there that I have already tried. These are usually apps that have online community for uploading and sharing the information. There are a lot more that are apps only to record information without any online community for sharing:
- Everytrail (www.everytrail.com ) – the plus about this is its more flexible where you can edit the GPS points and load a couple of formats. It also has an existing community on the web that makes the sharing of information more meaningful. You can actually get a code to publish the information on your other website or blog site. And it’s easy to use. The current limitation is that is cannot create a map from previous data exceeding the existing page listing. It has noted it however and has promised to put it on its future version. This is the one I have been using in this blog.
- Sport-Tracker (www.sport-tracker.com) – This is one of the original software, originally as part of the Nokia group but was later separated and is now available for other phones as well including the iPhone.
- Endomondo (www.endomondo.com) – One of the pros of Endomondo are the numerous challenges it offers to its community members.
This is the future of bike gadgets. In fact one of the futuristic bike I have blogged here has a pod for the iPhone. So maybe in the future, bike frames would already have provisions for these pods and internal cabling routing for sensors, batteries and even antennas. Then later on, the facility to control the bike as mentioned above- a Shimano Di3 or Di4 version.