iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

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bluemint
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby bluemint » 16 May 2012, 4:18pm

Backcountry Navigator. You can download map tiles to the phone (OS, OCM, Google etc). I have it as a backup to my handlebar mounted GPS as that can be a little vague and the maps aren't the clearest. Good for walks and checking out the local area as well.

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b1ke
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby b1ke » 17 May 2012, 9:44am

I use an app called U Direct which makes use of Open Street Map plus others. No good for regional overview but good on detail. Also it's free and no need to be online to use it, since the whole of Europe is on the app itself. I also get the free regional maps from tourist info wherever I happen to be pedalling. These are normally pretty good on detail.
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trecelyn
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby trecelyn » 17 May 2012, 9:52am

Hi

It's been said already in this topic but in my limited experience of using phones for GPS (I have an HTC phone) the biggest problem is daily battery life. I was quite careful with power management etc. but the phone died two hours short of our destination (only a seven hour ride).

I have been considering adopting the Luddite attitude that a phone is for phoning and GPS tracking is best left to dedicated devices. :?

Best

T

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RickH
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby RickH » 17 May 2012, 10:36am

trecelyn wrote:Hi

It's been said already in this topic but in my limited experience of using phones for GPS (I have an HTC phone) the biggest problem is daily battery life. I was quite careful with power management etc. but the phone died two hours short of our destination (only a seven hour ride).

I have been considering adopting the Luddite attitude that a phone is for phoning and GPS tracking is best left to dedicated devices. :?

Best

T

By comparison - an (accidental) update on battery life on my Garmin 605.

I switched it on at about 8:45am on Tuesday morning to go out for the morning. In the evening when I was going to go out on my bike again (babysitting the grandchildren duties) I realised I'd forgotten to switch it off earlier so wondered how it would do if I just left it on all evening & I found it was still running fine when I got home around 10:30pm (even having used the backlighting for about 15 minutes on the homeward trip) - around 13 3/4 hours after it was switched on that day. When I turned it off & put it on to charge it was still showing a significant charge left (at least 10% I would say). Remember that this is a 4 year old unit that has logged nearly 11,000 miles of cycling so I would be expecting battery life to be significantly reduced from new by now.

Rick.

ossie
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby ossie » 17 May 2012, 1:07pm

trecelyn wrote:Hi

It's been said already in this topic but in my limited experience of using phones for GPS (I have an HTC phone) the biggest problem is daily battery life. I was quite careful with power management etc. but the phone died two hours short of our destination (only a seven hour ride).

I have been considering adopting the Luddite attitude that a phone is for phoning and GPS tracking is best left to dedicated devices. :?

Best

T



Why not carry a spare battery?

trecelyn
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby trecelyn » 17 May 2012, 2:29pm

ossie wrote:Why not carry a spare battery?


:idea: Why not carry a spare phone (after all much of the weight of a phone is the battery)? Which then begs the question, why not get a dedicated device anyway?

My phone and the endomondo app I use is fine for short rides. For longer rides the phone has proved unsuitable and at the moment endomondo is not behaving very well.

I think the main problem, for me anyway, is that technology promises so much and delivers less.

Cue use of the overdraft facility to purchase a Garmin 500.

Best

T

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Dean
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iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby Dean » 17 May 2012, 3:06pm

The phone's GPS function comes into its own when you're out in the boonies with no signposts and you need to confirm where you are and what junction to take. Bring it out, turn it on, press a couple of buttons and a shiny dot tells you where you are. Put phone away, carry on as before.

I carry a Portapow battery pack for charging, by the way, and charge it from the mains wherever possible.

Reigncloud
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby Reigncloud » 17 May 2012, 3:26pm

Dean wrote:The phone's GPS function comes into its own when you're out in the boonies with no signposts...


I do sometimes wonder if most road signs will one day become redundant because of GPS. I can travel (bike or car), gps-guided, for very long periods without actually looking too much at roadsigns and instead just looking at the 'distance until next turn' indicator on the satnav. In this way the satnav is like your own personalised roadsign(s).

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Dean
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iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby Dean » 17 May 2012, 3:36pm

I prefer roadsigns and to live in my surroundings. Following the landscape is more satisfying to me than following data on a screen.

I could, of course, ask somebody (and I usually do), but having the confirmation from another source is useful.

Reigncloud
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby Reigncloud » 17 May 2012, 3:44pm

Dean wrote:I prefer roadsigns and to live in my surroundings. Following the landscape is more satisfying to me than following data on a screen.


But surely constantly looking at, and looking out for, roadsigns is the exact opposite of 'following the landscape'. And in fact, you don't even need to look at a GPS screen, as it will audibly tell when you need to turn. Hence I posit that the GPS method is actually more liberating than the traditional way.

And this is without even considering countries where you can't actually read the roadsigns. I've travelled in many of these type of places just fine using a satnav.

ossie
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby ossie » 17 May 2012, 5:16pm

trecelyn wrote:
ossie wrote:Why not carry a spare battery?


:idea: Why not carry a spare phone (after all much of the weight of a phone is the battery)? Which then begs the question, why not get a dedicated device anyway?

My phone and the endomondo app I use is fine for short rides. For longer rides the phone has proved unsuitable and at the moment endomondo is not behaving very well.

I think the main problem, for me anyway, is that technology promises so much and delivers less.

Cue use of the overdraft facility to purchase a Garmin 500.

Best

T


It was just a suggestion as a spare battery is £10 and the weight is minimal and you wouldnt have to spend £150 but dont let me talk you out of buying a new toy :D

RonK
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby RonK » 18 May 2012, 10:26am

TrackMyTour Great Tracker - keep the family informed about your progress and location.
Route Planner with Altitude Want to know how hilly the route is?
iCols And you want to know all about cols right?

Travel Health Must have.The best pocket medical advisor I have ever encountered.
Warm Showers For when you don't want to camp.
RescueMe Strictly for emergencies.
BikeDoctor A bit too basic for me, but more useful for the less experienced.

GPS Kit Excellent GPS app.
BikeMate GPS Has some great features but the interface is not as nice as BikeBrain.
BikeBrain Perhaps the nicest bike computer interface I've seen, just waiting for the upgrade so it supports ANT+ wireless speed, cadence, and HR sensors for it to be perfect. Used with the Biologic Reecharge and case I can run it all day from my Son 28 dynamo hub.

Another good charging option if you have a dynamo hub is the Pedalpower Super-I-Cable.

I also have a set of CycleTunes speakers so I can listen to podcasts and audio books from iTunes and Audible without resorting to earbuds.
Last edited by RonK on 18 May 2012, 10:43am, edited 3 times in total.
The theory is simple: a) cycling is inherently fun, and b) the less weight you carry, the more fun it is.

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RonK
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Re: iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby RonK » 18 May 2012, 10:31am

horizon wrote:On the other hand I have this feeling that technology puts things in boxes, no matter how small, whereas life tends to let things bump into each other and combine in a circumstantial and serendipitous sort of way - you could call it the chemistry of travel. A bicycle lets you get close to the country - you feel every hill and breathe in every smell - so the information you need comes your way through your pores and maybe through a sixth sense, heightened by your connection to what is around you. An app might just not have enough magic to let you come across what you hoped you might.

And this from someone who has never used an app in his life. Apologies for going off what is a very practical topic.

You have missed the point altogether - there are many apps useful to the tourist, and they are not just restricted to turn-by-turn navigation. See the list in my other post. I find the iPhone the most useful travel information device I've ever used.
The theory is simple: a) cycling is inherently fun, and b) the less weight you carry, the more fun it is.

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Dean
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iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby Dean » 1 Jun 2012, 4:27pm

Reigncloud wrote:
Dean wrote:I prefer roadsigns and to live in my surroundings. Following the landscape is more satisfying to me than following data on a screen.


But surely constantly looking at, and looking out for, roadsigns is the exact opposite of 'following the landscape'. And in fact, you don't even need to look at a GPS screen, as it will audibly tell when you need to turn. Hence I posit that the GPS method is actually more liberating than the traditional way.

And this is without even considering countries where you can't actually read the roadsigns. I've travelled in many of these type of places just fine using a satnav.


I've been off doing more interesting stuff, hence the late reply, but I pretty much fundamentally disagree.

GPS devices are useful tools. That's it. However, in my experience this translates to "the only tool required". I've been on (and organised) rides where riders with GPSes have diverted from the route just because that's what their device told them, when the road was straight on and straight on and straight on. Not to mention the motorists I've encountered who've left home with only their satnav to guide them, no map and no concept of where they were passing through.

You seem to have a pretty good handle on things, but when I was posting I was thinking of a specific example here in Nepal - I was trying to find the turn-off from Dumre to Besishahar, and as I came down the road I could see the road going north up the valley where the rivers crossed, I could see the change in landscape where the rivers merged and see locals walking up the way I wanted to go (there was a strike on, so no public transport). I also checked with the maps on my phone, as there were road signs in English, and once I made the turn the mileposts confirmed it.

It was only because I had the maps, and had paid attention to the meeting of the rivers and the relative altitudes and compass directions, that I knew where to go. I know not everyone does this sort of stuff (which I do without much thought), but I like to think that I could be blindfolded and dropped back in the area and still have a pretty good idea of where I was and where to go, once I'd been there.

I'd still consider getting a GPS as a mapping and recording device, and for pinpointing where exactly I stood, but it's not a patch on paying attention to your surroundings and knowing where you are by marking landmarks, the time and position of the sun etc, as that way you're independent and not relying on technology which requires external data and power.

As I say, it's a good tool, not the ultimate solution.

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Dean
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iPhone apps useful on a bike tour (e.g. good GPS?)

Postby Dean » 1 Jun 2012, 4:44pm

RonK wrote:
horizon wrote:On the other hand I have this feeling that technology puts things in boxes, no matter how small, whereas life tends to let things bump into each other and combine in a circumstantial and serendipitous sort of way - you could call it the chemistry of travel. A bicycle lets you get close to the country - you feel every hill and breathe in every smell - so the information you need comes your way through your pores and maybe through a sixth sense, heightened by your connection to what is around you. An app might just not have enough magic to let you come across what you hoped you might.

And this from someone who has never used an app in his life. Apologies for going off what is a very practical topic.

You have missed the point altogether - there are many apps useful to the tourist, and they are not just restricted to turn-by-turn navigation. See the list in my other post. I find the iPhone the most useful travel information device I've ever used.


Sorry Ron, but I think you've missed the point Horizon was trying to make. Hey, I travel with an iPhone, so I'm hardly doing it oldschool, but there is a certain romantic purity about leaving all your devices behind and letting what comes, come. I was reading about Peter Gostelow's travels in Africa and was amused to read that the locals referred to the cycle tourists' bikes as "spaceships" for all the extraneous technology they carried to be able to connect with home and update their blogs.

Good list of useful apps, mind. I meant to mention Warmshowers myself (unfortunate name, lovely website) as I've met many people with whom I mean to keep in touch through it, and I hope to reciprocate when I get back to the UK.