iPhone on the bike

I always ride with my phone in my pocket though more as a safety than functional piece. I’ve certainly had occasion to snap a few pics, make a call or jot down a new buddy’s email. I’ve checked Google Maps when in new places to make sure my route was going to lead me back home. All this has happened while pulled over (ok a few pics while riding) as I’ve never really considered the iPhone hardened enough to serve as a real piece of bike kit.

There are a few companies out to change that perspective with what look like real businesses focused on making the iPhone a bike accessory.

Pedal Brain has a already approved iPhone accessory and developing app ready to try and take on the bike computer market.  The richness of the display data is certainly appealing and they say they are working on battery life.  If they can make their goal of 8 hours (2G only) they’d had a pretty competitive product.  I don’t like the idea of paying a monthly fee for my data … Garmin Connect is free, but this might be cool to have as a commuter.  Not sure I want my iPhone mounted on the handlebar.

Pedal Brain

Via Bike Rumor this am I learned about yet another and more daring approach called ARider. Through the use of augmented reality a Japanese researcher is looking to overlay mapping data into your view – live. This is certainly cool sounding in theory, but it looks (and I know it’s just research now) way too wonky. I can’t see projecting anything across my field of vision while riding at speed or in a city. I want my vision clear!  I also really can’t see having my iphone helmet mounted …

In each of these cases, I’d be willing to bet it would not be long until you ran into the need to run another app (inbound call, arriving email etc) that would start to reveal the limits of a single tasked device. The nice thing about using a bike computer is that it totally stays out of the way and lets you focus on riding. I glance down for a look at my progress, but spend my time really checking out the data when off the bike …

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