5 Ways to Extend Your iPhone Battery Life While Cycling

Like many of cyclists, I use my iPhone to capture my ride and on short rides that is no problem. On longer rides where the hours tick on by, I need to maximize the battery life of my iPhone. This posting will explain what I do to extend the battery life of my iPhone 4.

First of all, you really need iOS 5 or higher. If you haven’t upgraded, what are you waiting for? iOS 5 brings you multitasking that works along with the Apps that support it. It also fixes the obtrusive, bring to a halt notification system. I had times where I was into a 40 minute ride,  a text pops up and the bike computer app looses all of its data for that ride! Talk about aggravating. The multitasking feature allows you to turn the screen off and still allow the application and the data-port (I have my ANT+ sensor plugged in there) to be still active running in the background collecting data.

The other thing that I do to extend battery life is I stop all the apps running in the background. For those that do not know, just because you do not see the app running on the screen, Words With Friends and Angry Birds are still active running in the background. All of these apps are busy doing their thing from plain sight taking up CPU processing time or check the Internet for updates or what not. You need to stop all Apps except the bike computer App that you are going to use. Terminating them is a fairly simple process:

  1. Unlock the iPhone
  2. Double tap the Home button
  3. You will see a new row of App icons at the bottom. Those are the Apps that are running. You can scroll left or right to get to the App you want to bring to the front. In our case, we want to turn them off
  4. Press and hold any of the Apps until they start to wiggle.
  5. You will notice a “-” negative sign at the top left of the icons. Click on each one to turn them off until you have only your bike computer App

That’s it for turning off all Apps except for the one you want.

The next step is to turn off notifications and turn off your email checking or set the interval when it checks to once per day or some large value like that.  While you are at it, turn off wireless and Bluetooth. If you use a Bluetooth enabled heart-rate monitor then you will need to leave it on. They are both off when I go out riding.

The biggest drain on your battery is the screen. As much as I love the screen, for long rides of several hours you will need to keep that off as much as possible. Turn it on to see some data but for the most part I have it off. If your app supports it, have it set to dim the screen after a period such as 30 seconds. This means that you will have to push the home button then swipe to turn it on. An inconvenience but it’s not that bad. I got my App to chime every 5 miles so I know how far I have cycled without even looking. I also use that time to to drink water.

Recently, I found an App that will blank the screen automatically and turn instant on by touching the screen. I rarely have to do the swipe thing. This really maximizes the battery life even further.

To recap here are the five steps to keep in mind:

  1. Upgrade to iOS 5. You need the multitasking and the notifications system
  2. Turn off all Apps except the Bike Computer program
  3. Turn off wireless and Bluetooth
  4. Turn off notifications and pushing of emails or other data
  5. Turn off the screen. Set the App to auto dim after 30 seconds

What do I get for all this effort? How about 5.5 hours of total ride time and my battery life is at 35%. If you run on GPS only then you can buy an external battery that plugs into the dataport for about $50-$60 at BestBuy. This is how I extend the battery life on my iPhone 4 while cycling. Results will vary.

Keep on Pedaling!

Got a tip? Share it in the comments section.

iBike Powerhouse: iPhone Cycling Gadget Heaven

While doing my daily surfing on the web, I came across some news out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. What was the news, you may ask? iBike Powerhouse from Velocomp. To me it is an iPhone cycling gadget heaven. Using your iPhone / iPod along with their software and hardware, it turns your iPhone to a powerful bike computer including power meter. Along with that you get a new case and mounting system that’s waterproof plus the ability to include an extra battery for longer ride times. All this for the price of $269.

Hard to believe that you can get a power meter system for $269 with no other hardware to install on your crank or hub. Usually some sort of power tap will cost over $1000. Well above of what the average or club cyclist can afford. After checking out their comparisons of several different power taps and their system, it seems to be very accurate. There is also a calibration step you have to do before each ride, but that’s acceptable to me. Take a look at iBike Sports FAQ section for details of the comparison and accuracy of their power meter.

For those that want to read the press release, you can find it at the PR Newswire. Drop by the PR as a lot of information is provided there.

Having not touched nor seen it with my own eyes, I can tell this is something I will definitely get as soon as it comes out. Here are some of the features that it has:

  • Supports ANT+ Bike and Heart rate sensors
  • Waterproof case
    • Case holds extra battery (sold separately)
    • Case houses ANT+ antennae
    • Case houses Power sensors
  • Software fitness plan(s) designed by cycling coach Hunter Allen (see press release for more information)
  • Software for the PC and MAC to analyze your ride and export data

What I really like about the system is the software. It takes a baseline of your current condition and creates a plan for you to follow, depending on your goals. As you progress through the plan, the software adjusts the plan depending on your progress.  It is an interval based training system where all the calculations as to how long, number of intervals and the intensity is worked out for you. All you have to do is stay with in the displayed zone. What you basically have is a coach that goes along with you on your rides. Sweet! Here is a good video of it at the 2012 CES. I can’t wait to go out cycling and have a structured plan to help me achieve my goal of dropping weight and not ride haphazardly with no plan other than ride more miles. Granted this may not be for everyone, but it fits my goals nicely. I can buy the different training plan(s) for $9.99 each as needed.

As far as to when it comes out, I found no mention of it at the iBike Sports website, but I did read an article stating early Spring 2012. Hmm, well I wished it was sooner, but I will have to be patient and wait. I can safely say that this is my iPhone cycling gadget heaven that I am looking forward to getting.

Let me know what you think. Are there other fans of this yet to be released product?

Photos Courtesy of iBike Sports.


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2012: My Gear Roundup

It’s a brand new year and a few of my cycling gear has changed, so here is my 2012 cycling gear guide. These are the cycling products that I use on a day-to-day basis. The majority of it is still the same as last year, but there are some changes as well as new extra equipment. As usual, I do not get paid in any fashion for my opinion of these items. They are just cycling related equipment that I find useful that I want to share with others.

2012 Gear Roundup
 Specialized Sirrus Elite Specialized Sirrus Elite Specialized  This has been a good all round bike. Had some issues with cassette becoming loose but that has been resolved. Also, have this one spoke that constantly becomes loose but that is just a truing issue.
 Shiman PD-M520 pedals Shimano PD-M520 Pedals  Great dual sided SPD pedals for use with my mountain bike shoes.
 Specialized Tahoe MTN Bike Shoes Specialized Tahoe Mountain Bike shoes  Specialized  Excellent shoes for clipping in and out while still being able to walk normally
 Louis Garneau Exo-Nerv Helmet Louis Garneau Exo-Nerv Helmet  Louis Garneau  My new helmet, lite weight, comfortable, forget that it’s on and keeps my head cool
 Wahoo ANT+ Sensor Wahoo Fiscia Sensor  Wahoo Fitness  Needed if you want to use a ANT+ compatible bike speed and cadence and heart rate sensor
 Wahoo Speed and Candence Wahoo Bike Speed and Cadence Sensor  Wahoo Fitness  ANT+ compatible bike speed and cadence sensor. Works great with no issues.
 Garmin Hear rate monitor  Garmin Heartrate sensor  Garmin  ANT+ Compatible heart rate monitor.
 Topeak Road Morph pump  Topeak Morph Road G Pump  Topeak  I like this pump because it has a hose with a gauge. It’s basically a mini stand pump. Only had to use it once. Good enough to get you to 60 psi which is good enough to get you home.
 Canari Vortex Shorts  Canari Vortex Cycling Shorts  Canari  I find these at the local Academy Sports stores. Comfortable fit and pad is not bulky.
 Pearl Izumi Leg Warmers  Pearl Izumi Leg Warmers  Pearl Izumi  The leg warmers keep my legs toasty on those chilly mornings. They do tend to slide off, so I have to pin them to my cycling shorts, no big deal.
 BCG Sports  BCG Sport Shirts  My shirts the BCG sport shirts from that I find at Academy Sports. They are comfortable, bright colored, moisture wicking with some reflective material on it. Sometimes I wear a short sleeve shirt over a long sleeve version when it’s a little cooler here.
 Pearl Izumi Barrier Jacket  Pearl Izumi Barrier Jacket  Pearl Izumi  I use the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Jacket for the days that its cooler outside. Comfortable fit with sleeves you can zipper off and use it as a vest.
 Topeak MTX BeamRack EX  Topeak MTX BeamRack EX  Topeak  New addition is the Topeak MTX BeamRack EX. Excellent beam rack with bag. I love the clamp on feature. Easy to mount on bike and take it off when no longer needed, no tools needed.
 Camelback Aurora  Camelbak Aurora  Camelbak  Yes, this is a woman’s version, but water is water and it carries a lot of stuff!
 Radbot 1000  Portland Design Works Radbot 1000 taillight  Portland Design Works  Portland Design Works Radbot 1000. Super bright and going strong. I like the clip on ability. I can take unclip it from the mount and clip it on the BeamRack when I use that or clip it to my belt when I go walking at night.
 MagicShine MJ-816E  MajicShine MJ-816E Headlight  MagicShine  New addition. MagicShine MJ-816E. Super bright light that out shines everything I’ve seen. Replaces the Cygo MityMax 350
 dailymile website  dailymile  dailymile  This is where I hangout and post ride info. Great social site geared towards exercise.
 SlipGrip 1.5"  SlipGrip iPhone mount  SlipGrip  This is pretty good iPhone mount that accommodates the Otterbox cases
 Cyclemeter iPhone App  CycleMeter iPhone App  CycleMeter  Overall best bike computer app for the iPhone. Flexible display screen, supports many online fitness sites, live tracking, reliable, GPS only mode or with ANT+ Sensors.


Well, this pretty much covers everything that I use except for gloves. Go find a nice pair of gloves in both full fingered (for winter riding) and half finger. If you happen to take a spill while riding, they will help prevent your palms from being all scrapped up.

That’s it for my 2012 cycling gear round-up.