Cycling with an iPhone

As many may have figured out, I’ve been using my iPhone as a bike computer since I’ve had my 3GS phone and now my iPhone 4. I choose to use it while I’m cycling for several reasons, mainly I find it a lot more flexible compared to a dedicated unit. I now have upgraded the iOS to version 5 and look forward to see how the new features affect various cycling apps that I have used in the past.

Part of the problem I’ve had with iOS4 was the notification system and the affect it had on the bike computer apps. Usually it would cause havoc with the app such as stop recording or exiting the app. All are bad while you are riding as you end up fiddling with the phone and not paying attention to the road. In iOS 5, the notification system is a passive system and should allow the apps to keep on running.

What I plan to do is to go back and build a comparison chart all the bike computer apps I have tried in the past. This is the list of Apps that I plan to do the comparisons on:

  • iMapMyRide
  • CycleMeter
  • LiveCycling
  • Wahoo Fitness

I selected these apps because they support ANT+ sensors and I already have them installed on my iPhone. So, if there is a specific app that you would like me to add to the list drop me a note and I’ll see about including it. Keep an eye out for the new posting on this sometime this weekend.

Keep pedaling !

My Take on Cyclemeter 6.0

Anyone that reads my blog should know that I use my iPhone as a bike computer and my favorite app that I use is LiveCycling 1.12. That app is a solid bike computer but it does have a few shortcomings that CycleMeter 6.0 addresses. For me, LiveCycling has a major flaw, it is extremely hard to read the ride time and the distance because they are located on the task bar on top and the bottom. Using that area of the phone causes the data to be too small to read, especially during the day when the screen gets washed out.

In the field of ANT+ compatible bike computer software, LiveCycling is king in my humble opinion. There are others in the field such as iMapMyRide and Wahoo Fisica Fitness, but to me, LiveCycling stands out above them both. That is, until now. CycleMeter has been around as a GPS only bike computer, but in version 6.0 CycleMeter now includes ANT+ sensor support. Included with the support for ANT+ sensors are the necessary screens to pair with the sensors and the screens to configure your wheel size.

What I really like about CycleMeter is that you can configure the main screen with the data you want to see. With six quadrants to customize, that provides a lot of flexibility. This is where CycleMeter out shines LiveCycling. I can configure the app to display the Ride Time as well as the Distance. Yes! Gone are the days of squinting to see how far I have gone. It is a simple concept, allow the user to customize the screen to their liking and you have a winning product.

Besides the problem of not being able to see the Ride Time and Distance on LiveCycling, the app is a battery drain. One way to combat this is to turn off the biggest drain on the battery, the screen, If I do that then it has a problem with the distance and time. From the moment the screen was turned off to the time it was turned back on, it messes up the average miles per hour (mph) as it now sees a new GPS location and calculates a new super high mph. This is not the only app that has this problem, iMapMyRide and Wahoo Fisica Fitness also exhibited the same problem.

CycleMeter doesn’t have this problem and as a result, battery life is excellent. I kill all background apps except for the bike computer, shut off wireless, bluetooth, notifications, data along with auto turn off display set at 30 minutes it enables me to go on long rides without worry of running out of battery juice. I did a 23 mile round trip  CU ride along as 1.5 hrs where I paused the timer while we looked around and got something to eat. At the end I still had 75% left on my battery after a total time of about 3 – 3.5 hrs of use.

ANT+ support is not the only enhancement that was made to CycleMeter. Here is a rundown of all the changes:

  • ANT+ support
  • Interval Training
  • Target Announcements
  • Zones
  • Lap Button
  • Splits

I like the idea of the announcements combined with the zones you can configure. I haven’t used those features, but monitoring my heart rate and staying in a certain zone would be useful. This is something I need to explore and figure out how to take advantage of it. Other than that, I really like this App and highly recommend it to others. I recommended it when it was a GPS only bike computer as it was excellent at that, but the addition of the ANT+ support makes this my over all favorite bike computer.

I’ve used many bike computer Apps for my iPhone, but I would like to hear from you. What’s your favorite program and why? Do you agree with my take on CycleMeter?

Additional Photos

Do you know your VO2Max?


Motivation, Nutrition and Bike Equipment

The past few weeks has not been good for riding for me. I was just not motivated, plus I was busy working on some new blog sites for others. I am still working on them but now I’m taking the time to ride first then work on them. I also have been so exhausted when I get home from work that I all I want to do is sleep. Going out cycling is the last thing on my mind, sleep is the first.What I’m doing now is just take a short nap as soon as I get home. That seems to help immensely for me. Once I’m out cycling then I’m fine.

Lack of motivation or burn out is common with me. Sometimes I stop and do something else just for the change of pace. In my weight loss quest, that is not good for me. If I stop, I need to pick some other type of exercise to do instead of watching TV. Walking is a good alternative especially in this cooler weather. Running is not as it is too hard on my body of my size.

I have altered my diet some to avoid the high salty food that seems to be prevalent everywhere I go to eat. After scouring the restaurant’s menu and nutrition information, I know what I can and can no longer eat. Goodbye Deli Cowboy at Jason’s Deli, I will miss you. Peaches is the next big thing for me so I’m eating those as snacks at home. I really don’t snack much at work mostly Dr Peppers but I’m cutting back (again) and switching to hot Tea.

Me being an iPhone freak, I have found some useful apps to help me find food I can consume at various restaurants. The one I like the best is an app called Restaurants. This app is really cool because you can search your favorite eatery for foods based on several criteria such as calories and sodium. I primarily search for any foods with a maximum sodium content of 1100 mg. It really comes in handy when I’m on the run and need to find a place to eat.

I’m also excited about some new lights that I found over at Kickstarter called Revolights. These are super cool looking LED lights that mount on the rim of your tires. When you start pedaling the LED turn on in such a way that it produces an half arc forward and back of you bike. The light in front is white and is intended to light up the path in front of you while the back is red for safety.  This makes your bike visible from all sides at night and that is a big plus for me when I go and do my night rides. The site says that this will act as front lights but from what I say it really doesn’t light up that much in front of the bike. What I think I’ll end up doing is continue to use my current light system Cygolite MityCross 350 along with these new lights as a total package system.

That’s it for now, look for a review of Cyclemeter version 6.0 coming soon!