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Riding with iphone

Old 04-06-11, 05:54 PM
  #1  
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Riding with iphone

I'll be heading out on some rides worth tracking in the near future.
Has anyone given the iphone cycling apps a test?

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Integration with Google Maps/ped would be handy
tracking elevations / speed min/max/avg
Looking to just leave it in the jersey.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:09 PM
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I actually ride with my iPhone so I can listen to the music along with a time to time check-in from the wifey and/or kids. I have iMapMyRide app. It gives you min/max/average speed and elevation... and of course a map of your ride. This is good enough for now until I get my road bike. Then I'll be getting something that will include a cadence meter and an actual elevation meter instead of a graph. Oh... and don't use it in MUP's that are prone to weak signals. You get into a dead zone and there goes your data.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:16 PM
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How's the GPS on the battery? I almost never find myself on a MUP, it'll be road riding that I'm tracking. Thanks for the input.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:27 PM
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Just have to comment again... there is devices made specifically for this task. While I carry my iphone, it is off and in my bag, the garmin, (made for the purpose ) sits on my bars.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:31 PM
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i bring my phone, but don't use it for data because (1) i find the GPS to be inconsistent (it uses aGPS, not straight GPS like a garmin) and (2) draining phone battery isn't great when you're far from home

that said, i WISH i could just bring the phone. to have my camera, video camera, ipod, gps, and cycloputer in one device would be wonderful.

but the battery tech isn't there.
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Old 04-06-11, 06:56 PM
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JaceK, I realize that, however I'm just getting into even wanting to track my usage somewhat. Let me see if it's even something worth having first.
If I can use something like this app, AND it's useful for gratis great, if not and I have a burning desire for yet another device I'll consider the Garmin solution.

I'm so old I track my effort and recovery by how much I hurt and how I feel the next morning, no algorithms!
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Old 04-06-11, 06:58 PM
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I strap mine on my arm with an arm band carrier, works great.

usually on pandora if not just shuffling thru the library
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Old 04-06-11, 07:29 PM
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I used the MotionX app (99¢) the other day. This is the feedback that it gave me - [redacted - I can send you the link]
Compared to my PowerTap data, it shorted me almost 3 miles and (of course) the speed was off, as well (17.9 according to the PT); part of the difference might be discrepancies in the start/stop times - I thought that I had stopped recording on the phone, but it continued for about 5 minutes until I realized that it was still running. I also don't know how it compensated for GPS signal loss (you can see the straight line jumps on the map - I assume that this is signal loss/recapture) which happened about a half dozen time. Over the course of the ride, my battery went from 100% to 20%.

For pretty much free, it's better than nothing. Unless, of course, it kills your battery just before you have a mechanical problem that's not addressable on the road side.

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Old 04-06-11, 07:52 PM
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I have used Cyclemeter for about a year. It gives verbal queues at desired intervals, mutes iPod, pandora etc, sends status emails with maps at desired intervals. Does way more than I will ever use.
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Old 04-06-11, 08:07 PM
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It's not cheap, but take a look at the iBike app for iPhones.
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Old 04-06-11, 08:12 PM
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I've found RunKeeper to be the best for me. It integrates with their website. It does drain the battery pretty quickly, though. I think I could get a 120-150 minute ride out of it. To prolong it, I turn off everything I can.

However, I now use a Garmin Edge 500 and upload all rides to RideWithGPS.com.
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Old 04-06-11, 08:43 PM
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I installed iMapMyRide to play with it. It has HRM and cadence capability with compatible ant+ products. It's free (with ads, lol). I've been using a Garmin 305 the past couple of years. These are ant+ units, so I could use them if I bought a receiver for the iPhone. There's one available for about $75. Cheapest handlebar mount I've seen is $18. I can live with that if it's secure.

I did a 2.5 hour ride last weekend to compare iPhone and Garmin and the results were almost identical. iMapMyRide does not have auto pause, however, so you must pause it manually. Not difficult, but just one more thing to remember. With a handlebar mount that would not be an issue.

As far as power consumption goes, it used about 30% of the battery over 2.5 hours. I do not listen to music while riding, so that may have helped with the battery consumption. I would think the ant+ receiver would use more juice.

I'm still learning my way around the website and managing the logs, so I can't comment much on that. Have no use for the Facebook updates at present, but that would be a nice feature for documenting progress on a charity or LD ride, or letting the S.O. keep tabs on progress.

I'm looking at Cyclemeter because of its features, but it does not offer HR or cadence. I like having the HR info. It helps me monitor my personal energy usage.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:05 PM
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I've used the MotionX app with good results. The version I have lets you turn off the screen, and does a pretty decent job of auto stop-start. I have a Garmin 60csx that I hike with and the two compare favorably in terms of distance, avg, min and max spd. Elevation is better on the Garmin, but not by a huge margin. I am in Chicago, so not much elevation to speak of in the first place...

The app still does drain the battery quickly. My old 3G iPhone lasts about 70minutes from full. My way to boost that is to get those booster adapters that allow you to plug AA batts into the phone. I charge up 4 rechargeables and carry those to augment the iPhone's battery. Additionally, I turn off Wifi and Bluetooth so it is not sniffing for those constantly.
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Old 04-06-11, 09:05 PM
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I have and iphone and I've tried several of the cycling apps out there, but none of them worked very well.

My parents bought me a garmin 705 for my birthday, and it is magnitudes of order easier to use, provides more data, and is more clear, and it lasts 10 times as long.

But out of the ones I tried, the mapmyride one was the best
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Old 04-06-11, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
(1) i find the GPS to be inconsistent (it uses aGPS, not straight GPS like a garmin) and (2) draining phone battery isn't great when you're far from home
I agree with #2 - Phones were not made with bicycling in mind, so the battery is drained much faster than a Garmin while using GPS.
In regards to #1 - There are two types of A-GPS (Assisted GPS): The type that only relies on cellular triangulation and the type that offers regular GPS with cellular triagulation; the iPhone is the later. So the GPS will actually connect faster using the iPhone compared to a Garmin. The Garmin still offers better GPS components so it will offer a more accurate GPS experience.
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Old 04-06-11, 10:14 PM
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I have been using the MotionX iphone app - but only in the lock position and sticking slightly out of my underseat bag (for semi-view of sky) - i have been VERY happy with the results - a lot of people will bash you for "being in love with you iPhone" - but just ignore - the app is great at compiling data on everything from speed to elevation - i ride with a Cateye wireless computer that shows my current speed/time/etc - and it is very close to what the MotionX app captures.

you can also share your rides on facebook, or email them, or twitter, or whatever - there is also an Facebook "app" you can add that keeps all your rides in one nice list - and also shows you all your friends who are also using the app.

MotionX for the win, no i don't work or own stock there...
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Old 04-06-11, 10:41 PM
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thanks muchly!
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Old 04-06-11, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by JaceK View Post
Just have to comment again... there is devices made specifically for this task. While I carry my iphone, it is off and in my bag, the garmin, (made for the purpose ) sits on my bars.
Well good for you, but not all of us are gear junkies and may have either priorities than having seperate devices. I'm a self-confess gear junkie, but I use my Garmin watch for both my running and biking. I spend enough on running gear as it is. Some people just want versatility in what they have, and why not?
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Old 04-07-11, 03:59 AM
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Here's another vote for the MotionX app. Works great... all the features the others mentioned... plus you can upload routes to it and overlay the routes over the map to make it easy to follow an unfamiliar course. And you can set it to automatically email your location every few minutes to someone (friend or spouse) if you're riding solo. All of the GPS app will eat your battery so I bought a New Trent IMP880 external battery and put it in a bento box on the top bar. Extends the iPhone life about five to six times. Can easily ride all day for a couple of days and still have a fully charged iPhone at the end of it. Worth considering.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:03 AM
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+1 for Cyclemeter.

My wife likes the email status updates since I commute to work a few times a week. If she doesn't get the "completed" email, then she knows that I'm in some trouble. She could easily click on the map link and find my last known location.

I like the fact that I have one less gadget to carry. My 20 mile commute drains about 15% battery in 1.5 hours. It's not a big deal for me since I have a charger at work.

Originally Posted by Cookingoff View Post
I have used Cyclemeter for about a year. It gives verbal queues at desired intervals, mutes iPod, pandora etc, sends status emails with maps at desired intervals. Does way more than I will ever use.
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Old 04-07-11, 06:57 AM
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Another vote for Cyclemeter. I've had no issues with battery drain on 3-1/2 - 4 hour rides. Maybe drains down to 70% on my 3Gs but I don't listen to music or anything and turn off WiFi and Bluetooth. I've got Cyclemeter linked to my DailyMile account and also to my MobileMe account that automatically logs rides on my calendar.

I find it to be within a few hundredths of a mile to my Sigma computer and the ride time to be within +/- 20 seconds or so using the feature that automatically estimates your actual ride time. Certainly close enough for me. I put the iPhone in a ziplock "snack" back and keep it my jersey pocket.

I would like to have a Garmin at some point but this works for now since I carry a phone anyway for emergencies. http://www.abvio.com/cyclemeter/
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Old 04-07-11, 08:11 AM
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I have an Android and just downloaded Google My Tracks app. It looks promising, and works with Google Maps. Only for Android, though.
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Old 04-07-11, 08:45 AM
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The iBike Dash is made for just this. Most of the other apps you still have to stick your iPhone in your back pocket so you don't get to see it during the ride. The Dash lets you put it on your handlebars in a waterproof and secure case. I am a bit partial to it though, seeing as how I help out with developing it.
http://www.ibikesports.com/ibikedash/idash.html

And it was just featured on the Today Show! (on a good looking bike)
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540...22254#42322254
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Old 04-07-11, 09:04 AM
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I have used my Iphone and GPS apps it works but battery life was bad phone will die in about 3 hours or slightly more on its own battery.
I'd suggest this Satechi iCel 5200 mAh (2 amp) Battery and the phone will last all day.
This battery is also good for anything that uses a USB cord, it has enough power to run the device and charge at the same time and can charge the phone 3 times from dead.
That said I also have a Garmin 305 and 705 the 305 battery seemed to last slightly over 4 hours the 705 I'm not sure but after my rides the 305 would be almost out of power the 705 more than half left.
If you just want to try GPS use the phone but for serious GPS use get something like one of the Garmins.
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Old 04-07-11, 09:27 AM
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Man... Cyclemeter is where it's at for the iPhone. I've been using it for over a year and here's what i like about it:

~ I have routes saved that i frequent and compete against myself on those specific routes.
~ auto stop (works very well too)
~ i use it when i run as well. (separate settings for running too)
~ consolidates all my gadgets into one device.
~ Vocal updates tell me any bit of information i want it to. I have it set to announce current speed, average speed, distance, and time every mile i go. you can add as many bits of info about your ride at just about any interval you want, including time intervals not just distance. it also automatically turns the volume down if you are listening to music until the announcement is over... pretty nice feature.
~ you can set email updates (or facebook/twitter whatever) at any interval you want. i have it set to email my wife where I am every 30 minutes and it also emails her when it auto stops/proceeds so she knows there's a problem if i'm stopped for an extended period of time (i.e. dead)
~ SUPPORTS MULTITASKING!!! i use Opus while Cyclemeter runs in the background and have touch control over the ipod interface (i only use this for running though. nothing but wind when i cycle).
~ downloadable alternate voices for announcements. you wouldn't think this is cool, but i downloaded a british man's voice that sounds a bit like Phil Liggett.
~ Google map integration and export.
~ decent graphs for speed and elevation.
~ splits ride data nicely
~ You can put it in an iPhone case and mount it on the bike but i just lock the screen and throw it in my back jersey pocket when i ride. Because the announcements are so clear (with the volume turned up) I don't feel like i need to look at the screen ever. When I running i use an arm strap and it still works great.
~ BATTERY LIFE. as tknesel stated: turn off the WiFi and bluetooth and you'll get great performance out of this app. I did 60 miles this weekend and i had about 65% still left on the phone. Keep in mind i don't use the screen at all while i'm riding. (I have a 3GS iPhone btw)
~ frequent updates for the app. Abvio seems to really keep on top of making this app run smoothly. every update has made it better and better.

things i DON'T like about Cyclemeter:
~ NO ANT+ support! wtf... the mapmyride app supports it. You have to buy a dongle and of course the HRM and cadence sensor, but it works with an app so why not Cylcemeter? I really hope they add this feature soon.
~ The aGPS works 98% of the time. The handful of times i have lost a signal it interpolated the data between the points at which it had a signal. I've heard other apps just stop working once this happens so i guess it's not all that bad. BUT, it seems that they might have fixed gps drops in a recent update. I haven't had a single drop in months.
~ Cylclemeter does not have live updating. It would be nice to NOT have to rely on sending out emails about where i am, instead allow users from a computer to login and check my status live. Again, mapmyride has this feature, why not Cyclemeter.

overall, this app really helps me keep track of my progress and training without being too intrusive or distracting. i totally dig it and recommend it highly.


(i added this post as a review for the app in iTunes, so don't wince when you see it twice)

Last edited by Ghouse; 04-07-11 at 09:40 AM.
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