Carrying Your Gear
While there are dozens of great iPhone bike mounts I could
feature here, I’d like to put the spotlight on iPad support for a
change. Mounting an iPad to your bike gives you the satisfaction of having a substantially larger screen surface to review
map details, real-time biking statistics, and other information.
TOPEAK, one of the best-known companies among bicycling
enthusiasts, has addressed this market need with its Tablet
Dry Bag ($59.95) for the iPad Mini. The bag, which can be
anchored to the bike via Topeak’s QuickClick Fixer 9 Handlebar
Mount, is well constructed and sealed to prevent dust and
other elements on the road from clogging up and waterlog-ging your iPad.
TOPEAK also makes a rail-system-based saddlebag called
the MTX TrunkBag DXP ($124.95) that can accommodate
larger tablet sizes as well as other gadgets and items you
bring along on your ride. The MTX TrunkBag’s expandable and
water-resistant side panels are large enough to contain not
just an iPad, but all its gear too. There is also plenty of space
within the main bag for power adapters, cables, and other
supplies to keep your device ecosystem fully portable.
Charging Your Devices
When I first began looking into charging options, I had the
hope of being able to use my bike light dynamo to generate
enough power from wheel rotation to charge my device. Not
only would I be doing my part to save the planet while staying
fit, I would also arrive at my destination with my iPhone fully
charged. The designers at Cinq5 helped me fully realize this
The Cinq5 Plug III ($199) is essentially a power plug that
mounts on your bike’s handlebars and provides power to any
device with a traditional USB connection. Simply wire The Plug
III to an existing bicycle dynamo and start pedaling. The Plug III
cleans up and amplifies the electrical input, and provides con-
tinuous power to your iPhone. Its corrosion-resistant aluminum
housing protects it from harsh riding conditions. Riders can
pedal at a comfortable cadence to power devices instead of the
high intensity required by less capable converters.
For those cyclists who would rather rely on traditional external battery-powered chargers, but are flummoxed by the
inability to mount most of these brick-like enclosures onto
your bike, Cinq5 has also created the Smart Power Pack II
($139). Unlike traditional external battery chargers, the Smart
Power Pack II is predominantly for cyclists. In addition to the
USB charging ports at one end, the cylindrical shape also includes a bright LED flashlight at the opposite end. The device
is both a headlamp and a charger in a sleek, easy-to-mount
package, making it an ideal handlebar accessory. The lamp can
last up to three days with a full charge; and like the Plug III,
the weatherized housing is anodized aluminum to keep it safe
from corrosive elements. The Power Pack also features an integrated backup rear light to help provide additional safety and
visibility during those late night rides, and the flashlight can
even blink an SOS signal in case of an emergency.
And while this article has focused entirely on the hardware-side of biking with your iPhone, it goes without saying that
there are a number of excellent bicycling-centric apps available from the App Store. One of my current favorites is the
Cyclemeter GPS app (free, with in-app purchases). Unlike
other bicycling apps, Cyclemeter doesn’t force you to create a
web-based account that ultimately spams you with unwanted
marketing emails. Besides, Cyclemeter is an excellent, comprehensive biking app that utilizes the hardware capabilities of
the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
iPhones and iPads are natural travel companions, and the
manufacturers featured in this article allow bicycle enthusiasts
to actively use these devices while cycling and keep them
safely secured along the way. Whether you're out for a quick
ride to the store or biking across a state (such as Iowa’s famous RAGBRAI), these iOS-optimized choices convert your
iPhone or iPad into a helpful riding companion along the way.
Mike Riley, a professional software developer and emerging information technologist,
is the author of Programming Your Home, published by Pragmatic Bookshelf. Mike is
also a contributing editor and author of hundreds of technical articles and reviews for
a number of popular technology publications. For more information, contact Mike via
email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @mriley.