Bike Computer iPhone Applications

Earlier in the month  I was writing about the items you need to start in mountain biking.  One of those items – which brings you a feel of accomplishment — is a bike computer.  You could purchase a purpose built bike computer (for several hundred dollars) or you could opt for an application that is running on your iPhone and allows you to leverage it as a large screen computer.

To start on the path of getting your iphone in the role of a bike computer you need to take the following steps:

  1. Figure out how to get your iPhone on the bike in a most secure fashion.  One option for that is leverage my personal experience described here (in earlier blog articles);   There is always the danger that the iPhone can suffer some damage on your bike, but I personally have taken a good tumble with my mountain bike which resulted in bending the rear wheel of the bike but NOT damaging the phone which stayed securely in the braket.
    • NOTE:  you need to replace the cord that came as original on the caddy with a stronger elastic cord – I bought mine from REI
  2. Review options for iPhone applications to install on your phone; 

In this write up I will provide the list of iPhone applications I have tried;   Here is first the list: 

Application Assessment Cost
iBiker Easy to use; dashboard stays on; Review Free

Easy to use; some quirks; Review

BikeComputer Limited capabilities; Review Free
BikeBrain Good capabilities; Easy to use; Review Free

Runtastic Mountain Bike Lite

Excellent application; Feature rich; Review


MapMyRide Very good application; Still need to decide; Review  
Argus Another interesting application aggregating several aspects of your daily routine; Review Free
BikeFree   Free
Cycle Watch Lite   Free
Cyclemeter   Free
Cycle Log   Free
iBike   Free
LiveRider   Free
MountainBike   Free
Strava   Free

Stay tuned – I will provide an overview of these applications – starting with iBiker first and continuing with the rest of the list over the next few days

Interesting Gadgets for Bike Enthusiasts

Well folks – I thought I had seen most gadgets and then…I saw the pizza cutting tools in the shape of various bikes.  Then it dawned on me – of course – the shape of a bike is perfect for the purpose.  It offers big wheels, which is what the usual pizza cutter looks like anyway.  So here you go – a set of pizza cutting tools for your home:

 and then here is one from the UK: Fixie Pizza Cutterthe Fixie Pizza Cutter available here

Both of those actually give you the ability to have the tool be an item you can display rather than hide in a drawer and risk of being cut when you try to find it…

So – go ahead and pick up one…

Truly Believer in Bike Helmets Now

Well. folks, this morning went on a bike ride.  My wife and I did about an hour and a half both on the road and off-road through some single track country.  This all went well until we came back close to home.  I was riding pretty fast – wanted to make the climb up our drive-way as usually without dismounting from the bike.  But this is where my bike brakes failed me.  I braked – and the brakes locked up — apparently a 'feature' of the fluid operated disk brakes.  The fluid absorbs water from the air and cause corosion and in sme cases locking up of the brakes and of course the wheels

Needless to say I took a nasty tumble over the handebars of the bike and hit the pavement really hard.  At the end I was very glad that I had my bike helmet on — my head struck the pavement once as I rolled on the ground and then a second time 'thump' as I hit and came to rest….My bike was a few feet away from me and most amazingly – my iPhone was mounted on the bike in a Delta Smart Phone Caddy holder attached to the stem of my handlebars.  Well – the phone survived 

My helmet faired not so well — it will be replaced.  But it did its job – I was able to survive the hit with only minor scrapes on my hands and arms and only a brief headache…Having gone through this experience I also wanted to post here the link to an organization that further promotes bike safety and use of helmets – the organization is Helmets on Heads.

As the title of this blog entry states – I am a TRUE believer now – I will not ride without a helmet, EVER!

How to Get Started in Mountain Biking

Last week I had a summary of the new mountain bikes coming up for 2014.  There are a number of interesting machines available for you to use.   But, for some folks new to the experience, there is also the mental block of how do I start…?  What is the kit I need to have in order to get started with mountain biking.  So, with that in mind, I decided to post a brief list of the basic and extended necessities for a beginner in the sport.  

  • A good mountain bike – there are multiple options
    • On the higher end for a beginner: Marin Rocky Ridge 
    • In the mid-range: Specialized Rockhopper
    • In the entry level: Trek X-Caliber 6 (will write about this bike in my next posting)
  • Biking helment – lots of controversy and opinions on what makes a good helmet and how important they are, but at the end of the day, yes, you need one…For many reasons…
  • Water bottle 
    • If your bike was not outfitted with a water bottle cage – you need to get it done – either get one from your bike store or any of the camping stores may carry it; They are fairly universal 
  • spare tube for your tires
  • pump – you can look into both portable and/or full size ones
  • Combo tool kit – those come in a form factor that fits like a pack under your seat
  • Next we go into the nice to have things:
    • bike computer

                 — OR —

This kit should get you going on your first mountain bike ride – if it is just in your local park as a start!

Transporting Your Bike on a Plane

If you are traveling and want to use your bike on the road, then chances are you really would like to bring your personal bike with you.  If that is the case, then read further the information in this blog posting to figure out what options you have and how to accomplish the task of getting your bicycle where you need it.

The good options for transporting the bike are not the cardboard bike boxes some airlines offer, but the specialized baggage from the companies like Biknd and their Jetpack.  The Jetpack is brand new for 2014 – demonstrated at the Taipei International Cycling show. 



  • 360 degree opening for ease of packing/unpacking
  • Lightweight 15.4 pounds (7kg)
  • Aluminum frame
  • Allen key set will be provided in the case
  • Air bag protection
  • Exterior dimensions 31.5" tall 51.2" long and 10.25" wide (80cm x 130cm x 26cm)
  • Convenient stowaway down to 12" x 14" x 50"


You need to know what the rules / fees are for the airline you plan to take – below is the info for some of the more significant airlines:

American Airlines

• $150 for each bike bag.

• Maximums: 70 pounds and 126 dimensional inches.

• If under 50 pounds and 62 dimensional inches, $25 regular baggage fee if it's the first bag.

Delta Airlines

• $150 charge for each bike.

More New Mountain Bikes for 2014

Here we go with the second installment of the recent / new mountain bikes that are out this year.  You see more and more bikes with full suspension — and that functionality is appearing even in mid-range bikes.  But the hardtails are still the way to go for 29ers and 27.5" machines.  I believe the lack of not properly tuned and designed (i.e. cheap) suspension actually helps the performance of those bike models.  With that in mind, lets take a look at some additional models you should consider:

  • Pivot LES 27.5:  This is a good bike with the maneuverability of a smaller bike with compact frame and the great hardtail capabilities of a 29er.  Additionally, this model comes with small and extra-small frames making it a well fitting bike for smaller riders;

Pivot LES 27.5   LES 27.5

  • Marin Rocky Ridge:  Since we are talking about hardtail bikes, here is another 27.5" model.  It comes outfit with a good front fork 120mm RockShox and Shimano Deore shifters and brakes and is certainly light weight for this type of bike – 27.4lbs; 

rocky_ridge_7.6_1152_648_80_s as usual this style of bike combines the agility of a 26" one with the speed and stability of the 29er – so all in all a good choice for trail rides especially;

  • Next, here is a link to a new bike I just added — the Fezzari Timp Peak (which comes in several models) Fezzari-Timp-Peak-XT-S