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Backpacks & Phone Long Distance Question..

Old 08-16-17, 11:37 AM
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redspecrider
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Backpacks & Phone Long Distance Question..

Long Ride Questions. I'm starting to push myself to farther distances, 75-80 miles above the 40-45 I'm doing now.

1) Backpacks? I often ride with a backpack rather than stuff the pockets of my jersey with things. It always felt a bit more comfortable for me but I've heard many say it's a bad idea. I've heard things like weight, drag, and the bag rubbing against your body as negatives. Any thoughts on this? Is there a definite negative thought to this where I should get more used to carry things in my jersey pockets and/or on a smaller bike bag?

2) I use my phone as my bike computer. I use the Strava app to gauge my speed and performance and also to plan routes. I was planning on building my own queue sheet for an 80 mile ride coming up. This will be the first long distance ride I plan on using it though. Any thoughts on charge? I was thinking two spare external power blocks should give me enough to keep it running through the day. Anyone have any ideas that have worked in the past to keep a phone charged while using GPS?


Thanks for any help!
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Old 08-16-17, 12:12 PM
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1. If it doesn't bother you; keep using it.
2. I'd go with one big power pack instead of 2 smaller packs.
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Old 08-16-17, 12:33 PM
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1) Some people don't seem to mind wearing a backpack. With tools in a saddlebag, and just carrying some snack for the ride, I don't see the point. Personally if I had to carry more I'd try just about anything else before the backpack. Handlebar bag, frame, saddle bag, jersey pockets. Curled up and strapped to the top tube even.

2) I haven't needed a spare battery for the phone, for an 80 mile ride. If not, one of those lipstick battery packs should be sufficient. Just rubber band it to the mount.
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Old 08-16-17, 12:45 PM
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If you don't mind the backpack, there is no issues with it. My fiancee loves her Camelback, which also has a small compartment for storing stuff, I can't stand anything on my back. Gets even more hot and sweaty under it. Only things I keep in my jersey pockets are my ID/credit card, car keys, and phone. Everything else I need to carry goes in a small saddle bag, with the pump on the frame. For longer rides where I may want to stash some food or a coat, I have a bit larger saddle bag and a handlebar bag I can put on.

I have no clue on the battery capacity on your phone, but mine can run all day touring with a good 30% charge left at the end. Don't leave the screen on all the time and it lasts much longer. If you need more juice, a ~3000mAh battery is about the size of a large marker, about $6, and should fully charge most any battery fully.
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Old 08-16-17, 01:02 PM
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I wear a backpack when mountain biking only. The only time I've worn one on the road bike is when I biked to an event and needed a change of clothes. Like others have stated, I find it traps a hot sweaty spot on my back and I'm already hot and sweaty enough. The backpack also gets soaked with sweat. I can't imagine riding a long ride with a backpack. Some people prefer them however.

Then again, I hate having a bunch of junk stuffed in my jersey. I carry my ID pouch with a few bucks and a credit card, a bandanna, a pocket knife, and a Clif bar and maybe a couple power gels, and that is a big load for me. But that's as far as it goes in my jersey pockets. That'll cover me up to about a metric century ride.
Beyond that, like others have stated, there is the saddle bag, but also handlebar bags, Top tube bags, etc. to store supplies for long rides. My single saddle bag already carries a multi-tool, spare tube, couple other road repair items with just enough room for car keys. But I have strapped on an extra bag for snacks when doing a planned long ride.

I also run a Strava app on my iPhone and never had a battery issue even on a 112 mile ride. That included a number of photo's taken.

Last edited by WNCGoater; 08-16-17 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 08-16-17, 01:13 PM
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I'll add, I have a length of velcro strap wrapped around my frame. It comes in handy if I need to shed a light jacket. Just wrap it around the top tube and secure it with the velcro. Also used it to secure to the frame a nice screwdriver found on the roadside, thinking it unwise to ride home with THAT in my jersey. (Think crash and impalement!)
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Old 08-16-17, 01:23 PM
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I don't use backpacks so I can't comment on that.

I do use my iPhone, along with Cyclemeter, as a cycling compute. It's paired with a Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor, a Wahoo BlueSC speed/cadence sensor and a Wahoo RFLKT display device. A 60 mile ride this morning left me with 68% battery life left and a century ride I did, in June, left me with 31% battery life left. I don't use portable battery chargers on my rides, but I do take one along on rides over 80 miles, just in case.
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Old 08-16-17, 01:58 PM
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Fanny packs... Oops I mean hip sacks are making a comeback and are the new hot thing with all the kewl kids.

Joking aside I just ordered one from North St. for short commutes. https://northstbags.com/collections/hip-packs It can double as a handlebar bag.
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Old 08-16-17, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by redspecrider View Post
2) I use my phone as my bike computer. I use the Strava app to gauge my speed and performance and also to plan routes. I was planning on building my own queue sheet for an 80 mile ride coming up. This will be the first long distance ride I plan on using it though. Any thoughts on charge? I was thinking two spare external power blocks should give me enough to keep it running through the day. Anyone have any ideas that have worked in the past to keep a phone charged while using GPS?
I use my phone as a bike computer as well. I've found that on longer rides, simply turning the display off saves quite a bit of battery juice. Even then, I take along a battery pack and even on my longest ride I haven't had any problems with my phone running out of battery. Of course one of the stops on that ride was for lunch when I left the phone plugged into the battery pack for a recharge, but I could strap the battery pack to the top tube and keep charging the phone as I ride if I really needed to. I carry a few zip ties when I ride so that wouldn't be hard to accomplish.

I don't remember the name of the battery power block I bought, but it's supposed to have enough capacity to charge a smart phone two or three times. That ought to be plenty for even a 100 mile ride.
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Old 08-16-17, 02:32 PM
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I've got all kinds of phone thoughts for you. I use an old waterproof Android 5.1.1 device as my bike computer. Tough enough to hold up to rain and dirty and probably a fall off the bike...old enough that it can get destroyed and I don't care.

Ideally you'd want one of the newer phones that handles quick charging and get a charging block that also supports quick charging. The advantage to that is that you don't need to keep the phone plugged in while riding.

When you stop to take a 20-30 minute break you plug in your fast charging phone and you go from 10% charge to 70% + charge in that short time. That's ideal over keeping the phone charging while using it because doing that will cause the battery to get hot and that will damage the battery over time. And if the phone gets too hot the thermal safeguards will kick in and severely throttle the CPU so it doesn't add to the heat. (Both iPhones and Androids do this) When that happens even basic tasks like a map or GPS speedometer might get glitchy.

The other way to go is to not leave the screen on. The screen is BY FAR the biggest battery hog on your phone.

When I'm doing my 20 minute commute to work I leave the screen on as I like to be able to check the time quickly to see if I'm running on time.

When I'm doing a multiple hour ride leaving the screen on drains the battery and I don't really need to be looking at the time much. So I switch it to a 15 second screen off delay. When I want to look at it I tap the screen to wake it up (the phone must have this as a built in option, or you have to have a phone holder that keeps the power button easily accessible), look at the screen for 3 seconds to see how many miles I've gone or whatever, and then let it turn the screen off. Everything is running in the background but the power guzzeling LCD backlight isn't on. This easily triples the length of time before the phone needs to be charged.

And forcing me to tap the screen to turn it on means I have to make sure I'm in a safe place where I can take 1 hand off the handlebars to do it. Keeps me from looking down at the screen without thinking.

I have that phone set up to play music too (which I only do on a trail off by myself. It's not nearly loud enough to head in traffic when commuting) I have an app on it that turns the volume buttons into music controls. Long pressing the volume buttons makes them work as volume buttons, but short pressing the volume buttons makes the music track skip or go back. That all works with the screen off.

You can also use just about any phone as a decent bike computer. And it's not hard to find an older budget model Android device that has an oversized battery. ZTE makes one with a 4000 mAh battery that will last you all day EASY doing basic bike computing stuff. Get and old used one and you're in business. They don't cost much (because used) so it's not a disaster if it falls out of the holder and gets destroyed in street traffic. And your more expensive Samsung Galaxy S8 or iPhone 12 or whatever other phone you have that you REALLY don't want getting broken can ride safely in your pocket or a saddle bag. I have a custom phone case made from a mini saddle bag (the kind made to sit on the top bar behind the handlebars) for my normal phone where it's nice and protected and padded in there. I keep that saddle bag behind the seat post on the bars that hold up my rear rack (I'll post a picture when I can) so I can hear it if it's ringing but it's safely tucked away while my old phone sits on the handlebars taking all the "fall into the street" risks.

Anyway long story short...the best way to keep your phone charged that whole time is to leave the screen off as much as possible. And if possible, use a phone with quick charge capabilities so you don't have to leave it plugged in while using it with the screen on. And use a phone with an oversized battery to stack the deck in your favor from the start.
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Old 08-16-17, 05:09 PM
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I had a small thermal soft side cooler (about 10in long by 8in tall) so I bought a pack of small bungee cords and attached it to my handle bars to hold snacks, water and rain gear. Rode 250mi that weekend and the cooler worked great.
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Old 08-16-17, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by WNCGoater View Post
I'll add, I have a length of velcro strap wrapped around my frame. It comes in handy if I need to shed a light jacket. Just wrap it around the top tube and secure it with the velcro. Also used it to secure to the frame a nice screwdriver found on the roadside, thinking it unwise to ride home with THAT in my jersey. (Think crash and impalement!)
Excellent! I've been sewing velcro ends onto elastic straps, or sometimes on tube rubber, for the same reason - just to strap something on when the need arises. Lately I'm using rare earth magnets on the straps instead of velcro, which hold surprisingly well.
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Old 08-16-17, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
1) Some people don't seem to mind wearing a backpack. With tools in a saddlebag, and just carrying some snack for the ride, I don't see the point. Personally if I had to carry more I'd try just about anything else before the backpack. Handlebar bag, frame, saddle bag, jersey pockets. Curled up and strapped to the top tube even.

2) I haven't needed a spare battery for the phone, for an 80 mile ride. If not, one of those lipstick battery packs should be sufficient. Just rubber band it to the mount.
+1

Just estimate how much your phone drains on your 40 mile rides and double that. I always take a powerpack (that also can jump my car) and for centuries i seem to need it. Depends on if you take pictures during the ride with it and post them etc.

All frame bags for me. Some tools, 2 spare tubes, 3 liters of water, some food. My back also hurts and sweats also without the help of a backpack.
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Old 08-16-17, 08:36 PM
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a kreiga R30 back moto back pack >durable - comfortable - large - H20 proof - can add detachable xtra pack (segregate your battery pack !!) ... perfect for long rides or on the road for days ... i've lived a week + out of mine
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Old 08-17-17, 03:32 AM
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I wear a backpack out of habit now. There was a time when I would never wear a backpack while riding, but when I started commuting by bicycle, I needed to carry clothes, shoes, and other things. I don't even notice it now.

Nowadays I don't even notice it. I carry only what is necessary, more weight in the pack is more weight on my butt.
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Old 08-17-17, 04:09 AM
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My son and his wife both wear backpacks and don't mind them in the least.
I sweat like blazes and don't want anything on my back - besides, the bike works for me, I don't work for the bike. Consequently, my bikes have racks and I use pannier bags... well, one pannier bag as it's rare I need two. However, if all I'm carrying is small and light (ID, rain jacket, phone, keys), I do tend to use a bum bag as I've found I can ignore them and it's obvious to emergency folks where your ID is (not that I've needed it).
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Old 08-17-17, 05:47 AM
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OP could try a frame bag like Apidura or Revelate.


-Tim-
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Old 08-17-17, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
OP could try a frame bag like Apidura or Revelate.


-Tim-
I keep forgetting about them, being 'new' technology and all.
Then there's 'old' technology with some of the very fat seat bags Rivendell Bikes is a good start though there are others (and cheaper)

Actually, with things like bags/panniers, you DO get what you pay for. My Deuter panniers were expensive, but are still waterproof and essentially in 'as new' condition after ten years of commuting.
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Old 08-17-17, 06:56 AM
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I like backpacks. The bike still feels light when I wear the weight, rather than when I put that weight on the bike.
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Old 08-17-17, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by redspecrider View Post
Long Ride Questions. I'm starting to push myself to farther distances, 75-80 miles above the 40-45 I'm doing now.

1) Backpacks? I often ride with a backpack rather than stuff the pockets of my jersey with things. It always felt a bit more comfortable for me but I've heard many say it's a bad idea. I've heard things like weight, drag, and the bag rubbing against your body as negatives. Any thoughts on this? Is there a definite negative thought to this where I should get more used to carry things in my jersey pockets and/or on a smaller bike bag?

2) I use my phone as my bike computer. I use the Strava app to gauge my speed and performance and also to plan routes. I was planning on building my own queue sheet for an 80 mile ride coming up. This will be the first long distance ride I plan on using it though. Any thoughts on charge? I was thinking two spare external power blocks should give me enough to keep it running through the day. Anyone have any ideas that have worked in the past to keep a phone charged while using GPS?


Thanks for any help!
1. Carradice

2. Battery packs. Mine have lasted up to 300 km so far.
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Old 08-17-17, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by europa View Post
I keep forgetting about them, being 'new' technology and all.
Then there's 'old' technology with some of the very fat seat bags Rivendell Bikes is a good start though there are others (and cheaper)

Actually, with things like bags/panniers, you DO get what you pay for. My Deuter panniers were expensive, but are still waterproof and essentially in 'as new' condition after ten years of commuting.

I'll post a pic since we are talking about frame packs, panniers and bags.

This is a size small Apidura frame pack on a Niner gravel bike. They make larger ones but I wanted room for bottles. It was about $85 and arrived from England to Atlanta in about five days.

I've used this for six months but like your Deuter, feel that it will last a very long time.

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Old 08-17-17, 10:33 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
The other way to go is to not leave the screen on. The screen is BY FAR the biggest battery hog on your phone.

When I'm doing my 20 minute commute to work I leave the screen on as I like to be able to check the time quickly to see if I'm running on time.

When I'm doing a multiple hour ride leaving the screen on drains the battery and I don't really need to be looking at the time much.

Agree 100%. During the day on long rides I can barely see the screen anyway, and every time I hit a mile it tells me how many miles I've gone, my pace, average speed, etc. So I can just listen to it if I need to know how I'm doing. Most of the time, though I don't care except for what mile I'm at.

During my morning rides in the dark, though, I tend to leave the screen on since I'm only riding for about an hour and it's not that much of a drain on the battery. The light from the screen lights me up a little so I think drivers might be able to see that I'm a guy on a bike. However, sometimes the glare gets to be a bit much and I'm having a hard time seeing what my headlight has illuminated, so I turn it off.
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Old 08-17-17, 10:40 AM
  #23  
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As far as backpacks are concerned, I've never used one though I do often use my hydration pack (like a Camelbak) which has a separate pocket for snacks or whatever. When it's hot out I desperately need the extra water, especially when riding in areas where there are few if any places to get water (not that it's a desert, but just devoid of convenience stores and I don't know anyone in the area to ask for water). I don't have any panniers or any packs on my bike except for the phone holder, and it's not big enough to hold much. Usually after putting in my keys, wallet, and phone charging pack, there's not room for anything else. So snacks & other things need to go in the hydration pack pocket. The good thing is that while it does make part of my back sweat, if the water is still cold it also keeps my back cool.

One of these days I might look into a rear rack and bag, but for now I'm OK with what I'm doing.
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Old 08-17-17, 10:40 AM
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The only time I've had a problem with phone life (iPhone 5, 6, and 7) is when using a heart rate monitor connected via bluetooth. I get 2-3 hours life running Strava or MapMyRide client, with autopause and display dimming, but using GPS, BT and the HRM. Without the HRM, BT off, my iPhone 7 completed almost 8 hours, and still had >20% battery remaining.

I recommend Anker backup batteries; a 4000maH one I bought for $20 2 years ago is still going strong. The only inconvenience is having to carry a cable to recharge the phone.
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Old 08-17-17, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by SloButWide View Post

I recommend Anker backup batteries; a 4000maH one I bought for $20 2 years ago is still going strong. The only inconvenience is having to carry a cable to recharge the phone.
To add to this statement, Anker has a fairly bomb proof 18 month warranty on every product they sell.

It's a no hassle "It broke? Here's a new one, a better one, or your money back" guarantee.

I've made use of that on a defective Anker mouse and an Anker replacement battery for a phone.
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