eBent Recumbent Cycling

A Bent Look at Self Contained Touring

My New Riding Companion – iPod Touch

with 7 comments

iPod Touch

I don’t listen to music while rideing but I love to bring my iPod Touch along.

Here’s why:

1. I have always carried a book with me in my bike bag. With the iPod Touch I now carry as many books as I want in much less space. Plus if the light is dim .. no problem, the display is back lit. It is even easier for me to read a book in my sleeping bag on the iPod Touch than it is to read a paperback because the iPod Touch is easier to hold and I don’t have to hold a light in my teeth.

Another thing I like, when my wife buys a book for her Kindle II, I get a free copy on my Ipod Touch.

2. I have self-contained bicycle toured with a laptop computer but don’t like it, they are heavy, bulky and delicate. Laptops and panniers just don’t mix well especially in the rain.

My iPod Touch is small, light, and fairly rugged. Plus it does everything I did on the laptop just on a smaller screen with touch pad typing.

iPod Touch Size

Size and weigh

4.3 inches (110 mm)
2.4 inches (61.8 mm)
0.33 inch (8.5 mm)
4.05 ounces (115 grams)1

My iPod Touch does everything my small lap top did in a package much better suited for bicycling. In fact, I can bring it along on every ride now, even if I am not using panniers.

3. When I don’t have a WiFi connection, I can read books, watch movies or TV shows, or listen to Podcasts, audio books, or music. I have my calendar, Notes (credit card passwords etc.), and Contacts (phone numbers and addresses) with me, plus any reminders or shopping lists. The iPod Touch has replaced my PDA.

4. I can bring all of my photos along with me.

5. When I have a WiFi connection, I can check and send mail, read my news feeds and on line news papers [New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Foster’s Daily Democrat (local paper)]. I can surf the internet, check on the Stock Market.

6. I can also make free phone calls  and send text message call all over the world using Skype  and SMS if I have an internet connection.

Portrait Mode Keyboard iPod Touch

7. Literally thousands of low cost applications and games. I like the Brain Trainers and Bejeweled but there is something for everyone.

8. Maps and Locator programs that tell you what is available in an area if you have WiFi. I use this to supplement my GPS.

The iPod Touch is my idea of what a computer should be. It is powerful, easy to use, easy to carry, and syncs with my desktop computer. This is my idea of the future of computing.

See full size image

Landscape keyboard iPod Touch

What are the downsides:

1. If you are not near sighted you may find the text too small, that is why my wife has a Kindle II.

2. Battery life is almost as limited as a laptop when WiFi or Bluethooth is on, just a few hours.

3. No camera – this is something I would like but have yet to find a usable integrated camera. Yes, my cellphone has an integrated  8 MP camera but like most cellphone cameras is essentially  unusable outdoors. Their viewers just aren’t bright enough for me.

4. You will need to charge it everyday.

5. No cellphone. Yes, you could get an iPhone but then you are stuck with AT&T”s lousy coverage that just isn’t good enough for a touring cyclist and an expensive data plan.

I do love my iPod Touch. I have not been an Apple fan since the Apple IIc and III days. I never like the Macs. I have ben a PC user and developer since the IBM PC days. But two things have brought me around to the “Dark Side”,  the iPod and Microsoft’s current state of paralysis.

I tried several MP3 played before my wife gave me a Nano and I loved it. The hardware isn’t better than the Sansa I had but it is a better system solution.  Apple had the only easy to use system solution. People don’t want to buy hardware they want to buy problem solutions and Apple does a better job of that than the competetiors.

Microsoft’s Vista fiasco and what looks like another fiasco with Windows 7 has soured me on Microsoft solutions. Microsoft has the best technology but lousy product planning. They need to solve that problem quickly or become irrelevant.

I like my iPod Touch so much that I just replaced my still hot PC with an iMac. The iMac isn’t as techie as I like but the OS is just better and they have a better system solution for most folks.


Written by Roland

April 14, 2009 at 10:35 am

7 Responses

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  1. I loved my Ipod Touch, it was stolen last summer though 😦


    April 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

    • Sorry to hear you lost your iPod Touch.

      I got mine totally by chance. It was a give away when I bought my new laptop last summer. I would never have bought one but when it come for free as a promo, what can you say.

      Since I got it I have been entranced.


      April 14, 2009 at 1:42 pm

  2. I don’t have a iTouch or iPhone, but I understand where you are coming from looking for the perfect personal computer, phone, MP3 player, GPS, camera all-in-one.

    As an avid cyclist, I too wish to reduce weight and complications. Often I forget how all the cords and power supplies add the the complication.

    Right now it looks like the iPhone or iTouch is the closest thing to the universal device, but I can’t pass the expensive data service, limited battery life, or the need to carry a separate phone.


    April 15, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    • Jason, I understand and agree with what you say. I would never have bought a iPod Touch. My reasoning was exactly the same as yours except I was more skeptical. I got mine as a promotional item when I replaced my laptop last summer.

      Now I love my iPod Touch and carry it with me all of the time. I listen to Podcasts while driving, read books while waiting for my wife, listen to music and audio books when I don’t feel like reading, and always have my calendar, address book, and notes with me. The iPod Touch has replaced the book I always carried and is much more convenient to carry.


      April 16, 2009 at 6:49 am

  3. Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation)
    I have been a fan of Apple products for ages and they never let me down, great customer service, reliable hardware and good customer service.
    The latest and the greatest from Apple is the iPod Touch, it’s like a laptop but much smaller and cheaper, what makes the iPod Touch awesome are all of the Apps that available out there.
    I don’t look at my iPod Touch as just a media player anymore, it’s also the best most useful gadget i have even owned.
    My Wife loves it as well and my kids won’t put the darn thing down thanks to all the Apps for Kids available out there.
    Before the iPod Touch my Kids were playing their Nintendo DS Lite all the time and they have not touched the DS ever since i bought the Touch, it’s been months.


    April 19, 2009 at 7:59 am

  4. Sounds like we both feel pretty positive about the iPod Touch. I love my Touch and agree it is the most useful device I have ever owned.

    I have an iPod Nano also I use when I got to the gym. It is a better player than the Touch. But the Touch is a real computer and a great book reader.

    One thing we don’t have in common, I would never let the kids touch my Touch or let my wife borrow it .. smile.


    April 19, 2009 at 12:03 pm

  5. […] Keeping you cellphone and iPod Touch charged while touring is a problem if you are spending your nights in a tent, not in a motel. (see my new riding companion). […]

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