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  1. #1
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    Touring with Ipad

    Anyone tour with their ipad at all? Any apps that you have found useful?

    Thinking of bringing mine to document the days events in a journal for blog purposes.

    Also would love to have the ability to use the google maps at night time or when wanting to go off somewhere else then the planned route.

    Are google maps downloadable and able to be used off line?
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  2. #2
    Grouch Deaver's Avatar
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    Depends on the iPad. If you have a WiFi only version, the maps would be marginal at best using the internet for location as this version does not contain the GPS chip that the 3 or 4G version does. It would approximate your location at best. Not Sure if Google Maps are downloadable.

    I have the same situation and have researched my options. I plan on buying a Dual Electronics XGPS150 Universal Bluetooth GPS Receiver (Google it) for this purpose. I use a Garmin Edge 705 on the bike with topo maps (Shows the hills) but would rather use a larger screen for planning purposes. I also intend to buy the Garmin App for my iPad as well.
    I use Garmin’s Mapsource on my PC to plan my trips and load them into the 705. I plan on the iPad for other look-see’s as you suggest
    Last edited by Deaver; 04-09-13 at 07:11 AM.

  3. #3
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    I use the WordPress app on my iPhone. Free and it works for me. I use my iPhone wrapped in LifeProof case. I recommend you get one for your iPad. Touring can be rough on electronics; at least the kind I do, that includes back-country roads and camping.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Chris Pringle's Avatar
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    I really tried to make my iPad work for our last trip SE Asia, but it was a royal PIA. If all you'll be doing is blogging very short paragraphs just to let your folks about the day's major highlights, you'll be OK. I recommend blogsy for an app linked to your wordpress account. Unless your're just shooting all your pics with the iPad, I found that camera pics are nearly impossible to upload unless your camera has wifi capabilities to upload directly to a photo sharing site. There's apparently a special adaptor you can buy, but the reviews are pretty bad. At the eleventh hour, we said to ourselves "f#~! this thing!" and grabbed the laptop -- a 4.5 lb MacBook Pro. It made a big difference! If you have a MacBook Air or similar, this decision is a no brainer. Just make sure you use a nice and cushy case for it.

    Ditto on GPS unless your iPad has 4G. You'll better off using your smart phone or a bike computer wth GPS.
    Last edited by Chris Pringle; 04-09-13 at 07:47 AM.

  5. #5
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I tour with an iPad and wrote an article about my experience.

    It isn't realistic to use the iPad while biking. It is only for use before and after riding for the day. Mine, too, is the Wi-Fi only version, but I have take screen shots of map pages for reference later.

    If I am touring in the US, I also take my iPhone, which can be made into a hot spot. I haven't powered my iPad by my iPhone yet, but see no reason why it wouldn't work, as long as I had cell phone reception. Any on-bike referencing to the internet I do with my iPhone.

    Mostly, I use the iPad to handle email, surf the internet, write my day's summaries, plot the next day's route, and pass time in the evenings. It is much more convenience then trying to do the same tasks on a smart phone.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  6. #6
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    Thank you all.

    Not looking to use the ipad as I ride. I do have a garmin 800 I use. Is it true that you cannot dowload and upload routes to the garmin with ipad?

    Looking to use it more for blogging and to map out the next days ride or map out a little excurrsion from the planned route.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Not looking to use the ipad as I ride. I do have a garmin 800 I use. Is it true that you cannot dowload and upload routes to the garmin with ipad?
    When I looked into this last October, it was impossible. Not sure if anything has changed since then... though I doubt it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    I use MotionX GPS on my iPad for maps. You can download and save maps with that one. You can also import routes and track routes. However, I don't think you easily plan routes in the app. I tend to take short trips, and I'll plan them out ahead of time, put the routes into MotionX, and then use Motion X to track my route. If you have the cellular model, the GPS makes it very useful if want to pull it out and check your position, which is how I would tend to use it. I wouldn't use it while riding, but if I wanted to see my progress or make sure the turn I just made was correct, I'd pull over, pop it out of a pannier, and check. Of course if you have dedicated GPS, that's unnecessary. If I wanted to deviate from my planned route, I'd use Maps+, which is basically a portal to Google Maps which provides bicycling data, something that the Google Maps app does not do (or at least didn't last year). As far as I know, neither Google Maps, Apple Maps, or Maps+ lets you cache map data for dead zones. Trying to get create route data on the iPad and then getting that data into Motion X is something I never tried. Probably possible, but maybe not straightforward. I've used it as my primary source of location data and maps, and I've been very happy with it. I try to keep paper maps as a backup, but I admit that I've become a little more cavalier about that the more I use the iPad.

    And at camp it's good for communication and entertainment. I would hang it over my head in my tent and watch a movie or read a book. An iPad without a data connection is kind of limited, though. Mine had a cellular plan, so if I had a signal, I was good, but if not, I had better hope I had remembered to load on it to it what I needed.

    When I upgraded the iPad, I went with wifi only. I still expect to take it touring, but I expect my use will change. I now have a smart phone that will provide me with GPS data, so the iPad will be for more entertainment and camp-side map reading, and less for on-the-go navigation. I figured bike touring is just about the only time I used the cellular plan or the GPS, so it was an expense I didn't need given how little I tour. If I were planning a long tour, though, I would probably look a lot more seriously at the cellular/GPS model.

    Favourite touring apps:

    Motion X GPS -- for map storage and route tracking.

    Topo Maps -- for topographical maps. I don't need topographical maps, but I still think it's fun to have them, if only to get an idea of how much climbing you might be doing, or to see if that hill you struggled up was really that bad, or if you were just tired.

    Maplets -- let's you download pdf maps that have been made by others and, if the maps are good, scale maps with the data laid out the right way, show you where you are on the map. For instance, you can download the pdf map of a park you are traveling through, and see the same, blue, you-are-here dot that you see in the regular Maps app, which is pretty cool even if it's not something I use much.

    Maps+ -- is not strictly a bicycling app, but it will use Google's data to provide you with Google bicycling directions, something that neither Google Maps nor Maps will do. However, I find that it doesn't work as well for just searching a location for specific businesses or types of business.

    Google Maps -- (well, really it was Apple's version of Google maps last time I used it on a bike trip, but I expect the new app by Google will function the same) I mainly use this to locate businesses/landmarks. I don't think Apple has caught up to Google in terms of POI data yet, but Apple Maps can be used the same way.

    Yelp -- if I just want to know if there's a good place to eat up ahead, Yelp generally does the trick.

  9. #9
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    If you are touring with an iPad definitely leavy the heavy otterbox type case behind and get something like one of these types of waterproof cases

    http://www.rei.com/product/850902/e-...ries-case-ipad

    There are a variety of companies that make them. Basically just fancy zip-lock bags to keep the moisture out. You can still use the iPad through the plastic. Getting the same thing for the phone is a good idea too. In fact you could probably get by with a regular zip lock bag in the gallon or larger size.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Protection is kind of an issue. It's a balance of degree of protection vs usability. My feeling is that while touring I am more likely to need drop protection, but even more likely to need water protection, particularly if you're using the iPad en route. And then, of course, you want to save weight. Personally, I keep the iPad in a padded case unless I expect rain, when I move it to a waterproof bag that provides less drop protection, but will keep it dry. Now that I've moved to a situation where the iPad will not be used as a navigation device, I may simply use the padded case and leave it inside the waterproof pannier until I get to camp.

  11. #11
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    We used our ipad last summer on the gdmbr. When we had wifi we'd use it to for restaurant reviews, grocery store locations, trip planning, and netflix watching. We also used it for blogging, storing and editing photos. Some good apps:

    Netflix- great for waiting out a storm in town.
    Snapseed-awesome photo editor
    Blogsy- blogging editor
    IA writer - a simple writing app that understands markdown and will copy and paste html formatting into blogsy.
    Lonely planet pdfs - download them online and read them at your leisure in ibooks
    Evernote-great for pre trip planning, storing random things

  12. #12
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    I've posted an article over at CrazyGuy. It offers an overview of the iPad as a touring companion.

    Here's a link:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/ipad

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by niknak View Post
    We used our ipad last summer on the gdmbr. When we had wifi we'd use it to for restaurant reviews, grocery store locations, trip planning, and netflix watching. We also used it for blogging, storing and editing photos. Some good apps:

    Netflix- great for waiting out a storm in town.
    Snapseed-awesome photo editor
    Blogsy- blogging editor
    IA writer - a simple writing app that understands markdown and will copy and paste html formatting into blogsy.
    Lonely planet pdfs - download them online and read them at your leisure in ibooks
    Evernote-great for pre trip planning, storing random things
    Quote Originally Posted by niknak View Post
    We used our ipad last summer on the gdmbr. When we had wifi we'd use it to for restaurant reviews, grocery store locations, trip planning, and netflix watching. We also used it for blogging, storing and editing photos. Some good apps:

    Netflix- great for waiting out a storm in town.
    Snapseed-awesome photo editor
    Blogsy- blogging editor
    IA writer - a simple writing app that understands markdown and will copy and paste html formatting into blogsy.
    Lonely planet pdfs - download them online and read them at your leisure in ibooks
    Evernote-great for pre trip planning, storing random things
    Thank you for this. Blobsy looks amazing especially since you can use different blogging platforms.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  14. #14
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    Thank you all for the help. This is a good thread.
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

  15. #15
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    I'll be out all next week and I'm taking both iPhone and iPad. My touring partner was just ragging me at lunch today about taking the iPad. It is primarily luxury for me, but I get a LOT of email and much of it is people asking me technical questions. The iPhone is useful for typing a few sentences while the iPad extends that usefulness to several paragraphs. I plan on hitting a couple of WiFi hotspots for breaks during the day to make sure I don't get too far behind on the email.

    Since I'm a full-time commuter, I'm not worried about keeping the iPad safe and dry; that's just daily life to me now. I'm more worried about keeping it charged. We'll see how I get along next week.

    I decided not to take both iPhone and camera. The iPhone 5 takes pretty good photos (8MP compared to 14MP on my compact camera) and I didn't want the hassle of keeping another electronic device charged. The lack of optical zoom is the biggest downside. One app that I'd like to mention for those of you who may use both iPhone and iPad is PhotoSync. As long as you have cellular or WiFi signal, your photos are shared via Apple Photostream. But if you're off the beaten path, PhotoSync (and several apps like it) can use bluetooth to transfer photos between the devices. After you settle in and dig out your iPad, you can transfer over the photos you've taken during the day so you can edit and make use of them on the bigger screen.

  16. #16
    Senior Member chrisch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
    Anyone tour with their ipad at all? Any apps that you have found useful?

    Thinking of bringing mine to document the days events in a journal for blog purposes.
    If you have the GPS-enabled iPad (not the WiFi only version) then check out my iOS app called TrackMyTour. The app allows you to create a breadcrumb trail of your tour. You friends and family can follow along on their home computers or with their own iOS device. The app also works offline, which is useful when traveling to remote areas or when roaming costs get expensive. Here are some people doing tours now with the app: http://trackmytour.com/browse/?q=bicycle.

    Have a great tour!
    TrackMyTour.com - An iPhone app for Bike Touring! See who's touring now and where.

  17. #17
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    I take my WiFi and 4G with GPS iPad everywhere. I have the Navigon app which allows downloaded maps. Works great for navigation. Also can use Google maps if I have network or wifi coverage. Using a mapping program at lunch stops to get oriented, or plan the next route in addictive. My primary use for iPad is to read books at night in the tent or hotel, and have headphone music to drown out noisy campers. Without it I would be miserable. It is also great for email and web access for keeping up with bills and stuff. I have a BT lightweight keyboard that acts as a cover for the iPad, and could use that for blogging, adds another 1/2 lb to the unit. I also have tons o travel guides and all the manuals for my electronics, cameras and other toys. If I run out of reading I can get a book in seconds OTA.

    I could use my smartphone for all this, but I like the larger for factor. Perhaps the iPad mini would be ideal next time.
    Last edited by lhendrick; 04-13-13 at 08:08 PM.

  18. #18
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    I've toured with an iPad. I had previously toured in the US with an iPhone, and I picked up the 3G iPad simply because I wanted an unlocked device that I could buy SIM cards for when touring in other countries.

    As people have mentioned, the iPad is clumsy to use by the side of the road for turn by turn directions, but it found it invaluable for searching for campsites and routes at night when I'd set up camp. It really doesn't give you any more functionality than an iPhone, but the added screen real estate makes using it less of mental hassle. The real issue with any of these devices is powering them. I use a combination of a Son28 dynamo hub, a B&M ewerk, and a cache battery to keep the iPad charged. On my last tour, I was on the road for 3 weeks, and never plugged the iPad into a wall socket once, probably using it 2-3 hours a day. I also kept my iPod & camera batteries charged that way. I kept all my devices completely powered down when I wasn't using them, and made sure the iPad's screen was always as dim as I could keep it and still see it.

    If I was to purchase an iPad right now, I'd most certainly go with the 3G iPad Mini. It's supposed to have the longest battery life, it's smaller size would allow it to fit neatly in a handlebar bag making it unclumsy to pull out mid-ride to check directions, email, etc.

    I would second the WordPress app for blogging/journaling. I would recommend getting the iPad camera kit for photo uploading (I think it's the only option). As far as maps go, there are quite a few that will allow you to download and use maps offline, but it will be nowhere near as good as having a data connection. A month of data for a 3G iPad is usually off contract (unlike the iPhone), and rather affordable, depending on the country you're in.

  19. #19
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    I know it is unsafe to use an iPad while riding, but I have been thinking about trying to find a way to set one up so my stoker (my son) can use one on the back of our tandem. Has anyone seem a setup like that for an iPad?

  20. #20
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I would love to tour with ipad, but I need photo storage which unfortunately ipad doesn't have. It's a great device though, nice to have with you for sure.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotsaSpokes View Post
    I would recommend getting the iPad camera kit for photo uploading (I think it's the only option).
    There is another option, I think, which is to get an Eye-Fi camera card. If I have my facts right, there's an app you run on the iPad that connects to the camera card to get your photos. I've used the connection kit, though, and it worked fine for me. Keep in mind that the new camera connection kit comes in two forms, USB and SD card, I think. Make sure you get the right one. I used the old kit which came with both pieces, and I was able to use both with my camera because I could leave the SD card in the camera and connect it to the iPad via the USB part of the kit or remove the SD card and use it directly with the SD card part of the kit.

    Quote Originally Posted by lucille View Post
    I would love to tour with ipad, but I need photo storage which unfortunately ipad doesn't have. It's a great device though, nice to have with you for sure.
    Depends on what you need for storage, I suppose. I try and empty my 64GB iPad of items I'm unlikely to want on a trip, and that generally leaves me with a good amount of storage. Also if you have an on-line photo storage solution, you can occasionally pass off photos to the cloud for storage. But then I don't tend to take that many pictures. If I did, I would probably just keep a supply of high capacity SD cards, because that seems like a pretty portable solution for extra storage, but if you take a lot of photos, that may not be the most efficient way to go.

  22. #22
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lotsaSpokes View Post
    I use a combination of a Son28 dynamo hub, a B&M ewerk, and a cache battery to keep the iPad charged. On my last tour, I was on the road for 3 weeks, and never plugged the iPad into a wall socket once, probably using it 2-3 hours a day. I also kept my iPod & camera batteries charged that way.
    That's interesting. I too have a SON hub and the e-werk with cache battery, and while it works fine for my garmin and phone, I couldn't get a charge into the iPad. Did you charge it as you rode or using the cache battery? And at what settings on the ewer?
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  23. #23
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    Depends on what you need for storage, I suppose. I try and empty my 64GB iPad of items I'm unlikely to want on a trip, and that generally leaves me with a good amount of storage. Also if you have an on-line photo storage solution, you can occasionally pass off photos to the cloud for storage. But then I don't tend to take that many pictures. If I did, I would probably just keep a supply of high capacity SD cards, because that seems like a pretty portable solution for extra storage, but if you take a lot of photos, that may not be the most efficient way to go.
    My camera uses CF cards which as I understand don't work with ipad connection kit. Carrying more cards is a nice and compact option, but CF cards tend to be on a more expensive side. I usually don't need more than 2-3 (when not traveling), so spending money on something that I will not use regularly seems like a waste. The laptop is really the best (and heaviest) option.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    That's interesting. I too have a SON hub and the e-werk with cache battery, and while it works fine for my garmin and phone, I couldn't get a charge into the iPad. Did you charge it as you rode or using the cache battery? And at what settings on the ewer?
    I don't know the e-werk settings off the top of my head (I'll look later), but it's whatever the usual USB voltage & amperage is.

    As far as charging the iPad - I don't know why, but the iPad won't charge if the screen is on/lit. I've also noticed this when trying to charge the iPad off of older computers with USB 1.0 ports. I don't think they provide enough power to both charge the battery and light the screen. The iPad is a higher wattage than smaller devices, I think. This is actually a bit frustrating, because the only way to verify that the iPad is receiving a charge is to have the screen off and listen for that chime the iPad makes when a power source is connected, or to check the battery charge percentage as you ride along to make sure that it is increasing.

    I've charged the iPad both riding and after riding. If you're charging while riding, the B&M cache battery won't charge - it's just acting like a conduit for the charge going to the iPad. I carry lots of gadgets (iPad, iPod touch, camera), so if I'm riding, there's always something plugged into the e-werk, so I'm rarely left with a charge when I get to my destination.

    I have an iPad 2 - I don't know if that makes a difference.

  25. #25
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    I have a question. I like to map out rides while traveling for business like I am now. When at home I do it with ridewithgps and it works great but on the iPad it sucks. When you want to map out as ride from point to point what are you using to do it with?
    Feel free to visit my blog www.chefonabicycle.com

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