Keeping your phone charged while you track your rides

Mr No Battery Life asks:

I wonder if in your editorial you might be able to do some surveying of mobile phone peripherals? I have been using MapMyRide to plot my routes, but my phone (Samsung Galaxy S2) runs out of battery before I finish, even on a 30 miler. So might you do something about rainproofing phones, cradles and on bike kit for charging powering phones?

Thank you for asking the question!

I’m a big fan of Cyclemeter, which I use to plot my little rides. It gives me audio feedback on my ride time, distance travelled and how my performance compares to previous time I’ve followed the same route. As I can’t afford a personal trainer to shout in to my ear to ride faster, I find Cyclemeter to be the next best thing.

All day battery life

However, like all GPS apps, Cyclemeter does rather eat in to my battery life, despite not having the screen on all the time and turning off wifi.

charger

For longer rides, I use a battery pack like this one or even better this one. As my iPhone has a battery size of around 1500 mAh capacity, this will give me more than a full recharge.

I either nip this in a Topeak Tri bag or in my pocket, though it can be a little bulky.

The only thing I’ve got to remember to do, is to charge my battery pack.

Your phone against the elements

Other than that, you clearly want to keep your phone protected from the elements.

iphone mounted to handlebars

I’ve always trusted the BikeConsole bike mount,  but more recently some impressive alternatives have hit the market.

The most popular of which seems to be the QuadLock, which I’m certain will be featuring heavily on Santa’s gift list.

With mounts available to suit different sizes, as well as easy installation, you can see why it has become a popular choice. Though the price tag is a little aggressive at £45. I’m hoping to have a review on London Cyclist soon.

Xvida is another option. I thoroughly recommend watching the promotional video of the mount in action. It’s edge of the seat entertainment expecting the iPhone to fall out of the case at any moment.

Why stop there?

The list of accessories for mobile phone enabled cyclists continues. From dynamo hubs to recharge your USD devices and Bluetooth enabled heart rate sensors. You can take things to any level you choose. A good site to look at if you are looking for additional mobile gear is Cyclewiz.

Do you use any accessories for your mobile phone on your bike? Leave a comment below – I’d be interested in hearing what kind of tech London Cyclist readers are using.

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10 Responses to Keeping your phone charged while you track your rides

  1. MJ Ray 21/11/2014 at 10:33 am #

    I use a battery pack but the biggest changes I made to improve battery life were upgrading to a Sony Xperia running Android4 (or actually a stripped down cyanogen mod) and switching to osmand~ which is kinder to battery life (rmaps is also good, but some GPS apps are battery vampires).

    Quite a few dynamo lights have USB sockets now but I’ve not got one yet.

    • MJ Ray 21/11/2014 at 10:35 am #

      Just for comparison, the GPS tracking now consumes 1-2% of battery an hour.

      • Andreas 21/11/2014 at 6:20 pm #

        That is a serious improved performance – thanks for sharing MJ Ray, I’m sure fellow Android users will be interested.

  2. Matt 21/11/2014 at 11:09 am #

    I use an iPhone with a Polar H7 heart rate monitor, a Wahoo Blue SC with a Wahoo RFLKT+ to output all readings to it’s the screen. On a recent 2.5 hour ride I lost about 20% battery. IMO the biggest battery killer is having the screen of the phone active.

    • Andreas 21/11/2014 at 6:21 pm #

      I’d agree with that. Apparently they’ve made huge improvements to bluetooth battery consumption.

  3. phil Hamilton 21/11/2014 at 11:24 am #

    You could always use one of those gizmos which allow you to charge your electronic bits from your dynamo (the Shimano one isn’t too expensive, runs smoothly and is largely drag free. The SON is even better.).

  4. Michael 21/11/2014 at 12:48 pm #

    You can’t beat a son hub, will provide all the lighting you will ever need, charge all your devices or charge a power monkey type spare battery. The initial cost may look bit steep, but a quality hub like a Royce or Phill Wood don’t come cheap either.
    Been running the Son on my daily ride now for just under 5 years and am only few miles short of 50k about the only original bit left on the bike are frame bottle cage and the trusty SON hub. What looked like a bit of luxury when I built the bike turned out to be a pretty good deal.

    • Andreas 21/11/2014 at 6:23 pm #

      That’s impressive Michael – have got very limited experience with dynamo chargers, will take a look at the SON hub.

  5. Hugo 22/11/2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Hi there, recently I start to use Finn (http://getfinn.com/en/), before I used a Bike Console bike mount but I found it quite bulky and I don’t like to have on my handle bar all the time the attached piece to insert it. Off course, I cannot use Finn when it’s raining, but as I use it only when I need some orientation to go to some parts of the city I don’t know so well, it’s ok for me. If is raining I still have my Bike Console.

    Finn is always on my bag and I only use it when I need it. The inconvenient of the BikeConsole is that is quite bulky to bring on my bag all the time and if you forget it at home and you need to use the GPS you’re ***** With Finn all my nightmares are solved 🙂

    My smartphone is very safety on it, I ride in a very pothole city, so I know how important it’s this issue, and recently when I travel to Paris I use it, as it fits to any bike. I don’t have to worry to bring a lot of things with me.

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