For all the month of March I have been using an iPhone App called LiveCycling (formally known as REK) by a company called Soneru Inc. This App is a bike computer for your iPhone (any version) that uses ANT+ technology to connect to your bike sensors including heart rate chest straps from Garmin and power meters. It does all the basic functions of a typical bike computer such as speed, cadence, distance and time. In addition, it supports Heart Rate straps, GPS mapping, auto pause and social media support. About the only thing it does not support is a power meter, but since I do not use one I doesn’t affect me.
Using the App
To start your ride just press the Record button at the bottom tool bar and a little red light will appear to indicate that it is recording. A nice feature is the auto pause when you come to a stop and when you start pedaling it will also auto resume recording. Of course you can manually do that as well, but many times you forget to restart it until you are a half mile down the road. The Record button also doubles as the ride time and distance indicator. This is a sore spot for me as the information is small. In my opinion the real estate used by the fancy graphics could have been used to present this data in a more readable format.
The other two pages I don’t use very often as I don’t find them useful while riding. Page three is a split of page two (Main Screen) and page four. Basically, it shows the current data along with a small history graph next to it. So, that makes page four a running graph of the speed, cadence and heart rate. You can flip between any of the four screens as often as you like while riding. Just remember to keep an eye on the road and not the iPhone as it is easy to get caught up in the gadget and not concentrate on riding.
To end the ride press the Record button again (even in Pause mode) and it will ask if you want to stop recording. After agreeing to stop you then enter the name of the route or ride. The name shows up in the ride history section of the application. If you made a mistake in the spelling, you can rename it in the ride history screen.
Some of the things you can enter about you are your weight in kilograms, so you will need to figure out your weight in kg as there is no option for pounds (lbs). I don’t know why that is not available as there is a metric or pounds option for everything else. Seems like an over site to me.
Other options to enter are your max and min heart rate, Metric System on/off, Auto Pause on/off, GPS Log on/off, and your social reporting options. For the Social settins you can have it automatically email a TCX file to anyone you want to, such as you coach, automatically after you finish the ride. Twitter, Facebook and dailymile are also supported. I tried the Facebook option and I was not impressed. All it posts is a link to their website! Very disappointed in that. It doesn’t even give you a map of the route you took. Argh!
Garmin Connect and from there I post results to Facebook.
The Twitter feed works quite well and posts all the basic essentials about the ride. I have no complaints about that function.
Setting up the bike information is just as easy to perform. Double tap the bike picture and you have the configuration for the bike and the ANT+ sensors that you nay have. In here, you can select the tire size of your bike from an impressive list of different rim sizes. If, for some reason, you cannot find it, you can manually enter it in millimeters. No choice in the matter millimeters is the only option. Aside from the tire size and any ANT+ sensors there is the option for the Odometer settings. Very nice option as you can carry forward any odometer reads from any previous bike computer.
A Few Glitches
I’ve encountered only a few glitches. The App goes into Pause mode when I get a call on the phone, even if I don’t answer the call. It seems like the notifications trigger this. So, what I do now is turn off Notifications so I don’t get disturbed and eliminates the problem.
The other problem is support. The website is in a Chinese dialect so I can’t read anything. It does some English dispersed among the site but that is not very useful. As a result, I can post any comments or suggestions. I am effectively cut off from the company.
To wrap things up, this App rocks! It’s easy to use, doesn’t have any problems recognizing the ANT+ sensors, easy to read screen, accurate data, reporting tools and exporting data are just some of the great features. It just works! That is extremely important because another App has a few more features, but it has a lot of issues in the quality control department. LiveCycling is a solid product and at $12.99, it’s worth every penny. If you are looking for an App, for your iPhone, to record your bike rides, this the one for you. I highly recommend this App to anyone without any reservations.
I was out doing a long ride and I was experimenting with saving battery life by turning off the screen (clicking the power button once) and while it did save considerably on battery life, an unexpected result occurred. The next time I swiped the phone to turn on the screen, I noticed that it was in auto pause mode and a second later it was back to recording. I took a look at the avg mph and it showed 26 mph! Wow, this could not be right as the max showed only 14 mph. I believe it is because of the distance difference and the difference in time from when I turned off the screen to the time I woke it up. Apparently, turning off the screen places the Application in a semi sleep mode. In that state, the ANT+ sensors are not recording but the GPS is.
Is this a bug in the App? I do not know, but another App experienced the same thing. Maybe the use of the Proximity sensor to dim the screen will help.