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  1. #1
    Seņor Member 4Rings6Stars's Avatar
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    Does anybody use an iphone as a cyclometer? If so, what App. and how do you mount it?

    I just got the new iphone and would like to use it as a cyclometer as I'm starting to do some longer rides (>30 miles) and need the GPS. I have a GPS for my car, and now the iphone so I don't really want to go out and buy one for my bike too.

    Anybody using their iphone for this purpose care to share?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Ultraslide's Avatar
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    The iPhone as a GPS is okay. It's saved my butt twice, since I often ride alone in the country. As a cyclo-computer it lacks because the battery life won't go past 4 hours of gps tracking. That said, I use Trailguru www.trailguru.com for my tracked rides under 3 hours. If you want something for training or tracking long rides you'll need a Garmin cycle specific unit. I personally would love to have an Edge 500 but it's not in the budget this year,and even if I had one I'd still use my iPhone for location awareness.

  3. #3
    Thread Killer
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    I don't use my iPhone regularly as a cyclocomputer, but if I do--e.g. for mapping a new route--I use the MotionX GPS app. It'll display speed, elevation and all that, but it also let's you export route maps for Google Maps, complete with waypoints and pics, which I find interesting and useful.

    The phone is too precious to risk on a bar mount, so I put it in a Pelican fitted dry case in my jersey pocket. MotionX runs when iPhone is sleeping, so recording 3hrs is not a problem.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  4. #4
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    I'm not brave enough to mount my iPhone 4 anywhere that it might possibly get hurt, but I have been putting it in my saddle bag for tracking my mileage and mapping my route. I use a $4.99 app called Cyclemeter. It works perfectly for what I want - detailed map of my route, log of the speed, and tracking my progress over time. I've had no problems with it working inside my bag. My commute is about 1 hour long and when I have the app running it burns through about 10-12% of my battery. Of course, if you wanted it mounted somewhere that you could see the display and had the screen on, it would probably eat up quite a bit more battery.
    2003 Specialized Crossroads Comp
    2010 Redline 925

  5. #5
    I hate carnies indybiker01's Avatar
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    try mapmyride for the iphone....If you need it past 4 hours you can get a battery pack case for it....

  6. #6
    Junior Member LongLakeJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    I don't use my iPhone regularly as a cyclocomputer, but if I do--e.g. for mapping a new route--I use the MotionX GPS app. It'll display speed, elevation and all that, but it also let's you export route maps for Google Maps, complete with waypoints and pics, which I find interesting and useful.

    The phone is too precious to risk on a bar mount, so I put it in a Pelican fitted dry case in my jersey pocket. MotionX runs when iPhone is sleeping, so recording 3hrs is not a problem.
    What he said!
    I also do not mount it on the bike - too iffy for my liking. My pocket feels a safer and more secure location for the phone.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ChargerDawg's Avatar
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    Right now i use B.icycle and like it.

    It has a function the will email .gpx and .kml files to you once you are done.

    I have not found a good application to take these files into a training log. There are programs that will import from garmin, but I have not found one that will handle the file.

    I would also suggest that you look into runkeeper.

    I have a ram mount for the iPhone and it is highly recommended.

  8. #8
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    Cyclemeter from Abvio (www.abvio.com) (get from iTunes store) is a fantastic app that I use on my bike
    with my iPhone. Does more than any bike computer I have ever seen. (also can be used for walking/hiking/jogging)
    Complete integration with GPS AND Google maps/earth! Saves all data and emails more data about trip than you will ever want to know.
    Only costs 1 time fee of $4.99 (no additional charges for using their servers). I just use a couple of plastic cable ties on handlebar / stem
    to hold my iPhone case.

  9. #9
    Getting older and slower!
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    I carry my iPhone in my jersey pocket. I've tried some apps, and really like the features of B.iCycle. However, even with a mophie backup, the gps drains the battery so it's dead before I can complete a century. For short rides it works great but not for those longer rides or touring.

  10. #10
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    I've been using Cyclemeter. I carry the phone in a jersey pocket: Cyclemeter can provide spoken status updates at regular intervals, so you don't need to look at it, and I've found that those periodic "30 seconds behind best" announcements really light a fire under me. If I do find that I need to check my bearings, it does have a map view (and of course, one could break out of it to open the Maps app).

    I was using it with a 3G that had probably lost some battery life, and could get about 5 hours of continuous use in Cyclemeter out of it, but I would usually carry a little "emergency charger" with 2 AA batteries just in case (I never actually rode 5 hours with it). I recently got an iPhone 4, and have found that 4:30 of continuous use doesn't run the battery down to the halfway point, so I don't bother carrying the emergency charger now. I am sure that the fact that Cyclemeter is designed to operate in pocket mode is what keeps its battery consumption low. I've tried several other apps, and I like Cyclemeter best. Haven't tried B.icycle or Runkeeper--those both look like worthwhile contenders.

    For plotting out new routes, I like to map the route out on my computer in Google Maps and save it under "my maps." The only iPhone app that I've found that can access "my maps" is Google Earth, so if I need to refresh my memory on a new route, I break out of Cyclemeter and open Google Earth. The inability to import kml or gpx files to Cyclemeter is one of its few real shortcomings.

  11. #11
    Member prpandey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topflyer View Post
    Cyclemeter from Abvio (www.abvio.com) (get from iTunes store) is a fantastic app that I use on my bike
    with my iPhone. Does more than any bike computer I have ever seen. (also can be used for walking/hiking/jogging)
    Complete integration with GPS AND Google maps/earth! Saves all data and emails more data about trip than you will ever want to know.
    Only costs 1 time fee of $4.99 (no additional charges for using their servers). I just use a couple of plastic cable ties on handlebar / stem
    to hold my iPhone case.
    I just saw your recommendation today and bought this app from the iTunes App Store. Took it out for a short bike ride (10 miles) and it worked perfectly! The app tracks a whole list of metrics, which can easily be converted into Excel (CSV file format) so you can create charts and visually view your progress. Based on just one test run, I would highly recommend this app - I think this is a great alternative to some of the more expensive cyclometers out there.
    2010 Trek 1.5

  12. #12
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    Glad u like it. Couple tips to extend battery.
    - turn off wifi
    - keep oral messages short & infrequent
    (I only use distance, avg speed & calories
    Every mile)
    -if u use iTunes while riding, make a "riding playlist"
    So you don't have to mess with iPhone once you start ride.
    You can control via headset
    - start iTunes & then start Cyclemeter & then
    Shut off screen using button on top before storing phone & starting ride. On 4 hr rides never went below 40% battery use.

  13. #13
    Not a legend
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    Started with MotionX GPS, and ended with Cyclemeter. The former was buggy (probably better, now), and more of a general-purpose GPS program. The latter has a more purpose-built UI (easier to use) and is more stable. Developer is quite responsive to feedback.

    Cyclemeter is the app that I would have written if it didn't yet exist.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ChargerDawg's Avatar
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    currently I am using sportTracks to log my gpx files. It works pretty well, although I wish I could edit out my mid ride water pause.

  15. #15
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    I just bought Cyclometer after reading this and used it today on my commute, 26 miles each way. It works really great. I even have it posted my ride stats to facebook when i complete a ride. Very nice features, easy to use, and has some powerful stuff like exporting data to csv, etc.

    It reported my calories on the ride home (1:41, 26 miles, 14.7mphavg) as 1477. is that at all possible?

  16. #16
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    I use imapmyride and I have a Ram mount on my handlebars.

  17. #17
    ...into the blue...
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    +1 for cyclemeter. I also bought it as a result of this thread, and though I've only used it for one ride, wow:

    - very functional: fast, great stats, tracks for hours, speed graphs! elevation graphs!, exports to many places, including "My Maps" for google maps

    - nice, clean interface

    I've had several other GPS apps for a year or so and they never really made the case to be used. This one does.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Bat56's Avatar
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    Runkeeper.

  19. #19
    Member prpandey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TXBDan View Post
    I just bought Cyclometer after reading this and used it today on my commute, 26 miles each way. It works really great. I even have it posted my ride stats to facebook when i complete a ride. Very nice features, easy to use, and has some powerful stuff like exporting data to csv, etc.

    It reported my calories on the ride home (1:41, 26 miles, 14.7mphavg) as 1477. is that at all possible?
    Hmm, that's hard to believe I would say. 1477 is pretty high.

    I've never been a fan of electronic devices telling me how many calories I've used (even cardio machines at the gym). I would expect that an app like Cyclemeter is good for mainly distance, timing, and perhaps elevation. Speed (of 14.7 mph avg) is an estimation. Since you're using GPS, you won't have the accuracy that a real bike cyclometer would provide you.
    2010 Trek 1.5

  20. #20
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    Not sure why you would question "average speed".
    Seems to me a straight forward calculation.
    Now "calories burned" could be a different matter because of many more variables such as considering elevation change-time-speed considerations. After logging 22 rides with it (I log date, distance, max speed, ride time, max elevation & calories) I have found that the data seems reasonable & CONSISTANT from ride to ride).
    I have no idea what kind of algorithm they use for calories but if it is important to you, drop them a line. They have been very responsive to some questions I had.

  21. #21
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    I have no idea if 1477 kcal is accurate. I just ran your numbers at noping.net and it came up with 657 kcal--but that strikes me as low.

  22. #22
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    I little late to the discussion, but i used my iphone for a while before I got a garmin, mainly because I wanted heart rate and cadence.

    My wife had an old rubber case for the iphone that had a place to wrap the headphones on the back, like a .25" little rubber pad.

    Three tie wraps in holes bored through the rubber pad around the stem and the iphone was magically secure. It would be less secure with a plastic case, but if you can find a rubber case with anything that a tie wrap would go through, it was super easy and secure.

    MotionX for me too.

  23. #23
    ...into the blue...
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    After reading this thread (yes, I'm easy), I cancelled my order for the reecharge mount and got Cyclemeter and the RAM mount. Re the mount, I have an iphone 4, anyway, which doesn't quite fit the current mount. Biologic says they are doing a re-design, maybe this will include better tabs so the phone will stay put.

    In general I *love* Cyclemeter. Nice clean, useful interface, sharing and summary options are superb. One major complain I had was that it didn't recognize and pause when you're stopped at a light. Sent mail and found that this feature should be in an update "in the next couple weeks". Wonderful!

    However, the RAM mount revealed other problems. First, the mount itself actually seems pretty solid. Far be it from me to tell anyone to put their hideously expensive device on it, but it really does seem pretty solid.

    The issue is this: CycleMeter does not appear to do very well tracking real-time speed; on my way home it was routinely way behind, e.g. just ramping up in speed after I've hit the low point and am already starting back up.

    So I pulled out MotionX, which I bought long ago but never really used because of their hideously confusing interface, and it generally did *much* better tracking my wired cyclecomputer. Every once in a while, usually after I'd switched out to another app, it seemed to have problems getting back on track, and like cyclemeter, it did very poor at <6 mph, but generally it did very well.

    Research continues...

  24. #24
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    I agree that Cyclemeter isn't very good at moment-by-moment speed reporting. I think this is because it's reported speed is actually a rolling average over the past few seconds. Obviously any GPS-based app is using snapshots over a longer period of time (at least one second) than with a rotation-counting bike computer, which gets to sample your speed many times per second when you're going fast, and doesn't need to account for GPS error (and with an iPhone, the minimum radius of confidence is 17 meters). So over short intervals, a traditional bike computer should be more accurate.

    I haven't used MotionX GPS enough to know how it performs; I wouldn't be surprised if it calculates instantaneous speed differently though. I think it also uses the accelerometer (and perhaps with the iPhone 4, the gyroscope) to augment the GPS data for speed calculations.

  25. #25
    Fatso
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    I'd be hopeless without Runkeeper. It tracks my rides with gps data in great detail and allows me to upload to their free webservice right after I finish. The site keeps a nice detailed log.

    I just throw my iPhone in my pocket or pack and go. The app shouts out speed/pace/distance at intervals of 5 min in a female voice. I don't need the real time feedback of a bar mounted computer as I am riding.

    Using my old 3G it manages rides of about 4.5 hours in length. I have not tested my 3GS on any long rides yet.

    If iPhone would add Ant+ it would be perfect - hrm, power, cadence, etc. would all be easy to support in an app.

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