eBent Recumbent Cycling

A Bent Look at Self Contained Touring

A Cellphone for Bicyclists- There must be one!

with 7 comments

Usually when I write a post I have a suggestion or thought to share, this time I am looking for suggestions. If you have a phone that works well for you as a cyclist please share  your experience with us here.

My current phone is an LG Dare and it one of my all time favorites but still a long way from what I want when touring. I’d like an iPhone but it would not be a great phone for cycling I believe.

I haven’t had a cellphone that I have been happy with for touring since phones switched to color displays. Those were the analog days, great coverage and reflective LCDs that were bright in direct sun light. But as cell phone technology has evolved the usability for cyclist has decreased.

Today’s cellphone have colored graphical displays and built in cameras. Those would be great features if you could see anything in the display outdoors in direct sun light.  Digital signals extend battery life but have deteriorated coverage in rural areas. Today’s cellphones are better phones for most users but certainly not better for touring cyclists.

So if you have any suggestions please share here.


Written by Roland

April 15, 2009 at 9:20 am

Posted in Rant

7 Responses

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  1. These displays are a pain to use in the sunlight. Was it Palm who had some transflective color displays years ago?
    I’m looking forward to other’s comments and hopefully leads to a usable phone. My Razr V3 is still servicable; but getting a bit long in the tooth.
    As a side note, the same problem plagues cameras. I have been using a Nikon P60. It has the ubiquitous color lcd on the back and a tiny, but remarkably usable, digital viewfinder. When the sun makes the rear display unusable, I just switch to the viewfinder and all the same information is available to me on a display I can actually see. It will also record up to 15 minutes of 4:3 AVI VGA video with sound. Great fun for fast downhill runs on the Slipstream.

    Also, happy to hear you are getting back on the bike.


    April 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

    • I have a Canon PowerShot SD1100 that I use as a travel camera. With a little hand shading it works OK in direct sun light. Not great but OK. If I could find a CellPhone with a display that good I’d be satisfied.


      April 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm

  2. What do you think to be the problem with the iPhone?
    I cycle camp and I have an iPhone and maybe able to answer specific questions although I tend to use the phone as just a phone and emailer/web browser.
    I very rarely use the camera.
    I have occasionally used the gps to confirm my location against the paper maps that I prefer.


    April 16, 2009 at 3:36 am

    • We have almost no coverage by AT&T in northern New England and forget Atlantic Canada. I like the iPhone but can’t live with no coverage.

      iPhones are fine if you live in a major urban area but while on a bicycle tour At&Ts coverage is at best spotty. I had to drop AT&T service because I had no coverage at my home and in Georgia where I was spending a lot of time.

      The folks we know in NYC all have iPhones and are amazed that they have no coverage when the come to Maine and New Hampshire. We used to have AT&T coverage so I suspect AT&T has severed its agreements with the local service providers.

      If Verizon offered the iPhone my wife and I would have them. The problem is not the iPhone it is AT&T, the company that blocked the development of the Internet for 20 years.


      April 16, 2009 at 6:42 am

  3. I should have said that I am in England (old not New) and like to tour the Welsh Borders where coverage can be patchy with O2 our provider. I have had occasions where I can see two or three phone masts on the nearby hills and still not get a signal. OTOH, 20 years ago I was touring without a phone and it never caused a problem. With the iPhone I still have music, video and, often, internet connection.


    April 16, 2009 at 9:02 am

  4. nobby

    You are a tougher rider than me. I have spent a bit of time in the UK. I used to visit London every year in January and my named home of Dover. I have toured by car Wales, Scotland, the Trossacks, the Cotswolds and Wiltshire.

    The UK is the place where I feel most connected with history and love touring there. Almost every place I go resonates with history for me. It could be because I live in Dover. The nearby towns towns are Durham, Portsmouth, Rochester, Berwick, Epping, Exeter and Hampton.

    The roads in the UK scare the hell out of me. Funny, I feel safer bicycling in Italy. All of my instincts are wrong for cycling in the UK, the roads are narrow, and the traffic is fast. I have never bicycle toured there but would love to hear about your experiences.

    I also started touring in the 70s without a cellphone, but like the feeling of security it gives me. For example, there was the tour when I discovered in Jackman, Maine (a long way from anywhere) that I had forgotten my tent poles. I called my son and he drove up with the poles. It did cost my the hotel costs for a night in Quebec City for him and his girl friend but it saved my trip.

    Back to the point, I can’t live with an iPhone because the only carrier with iPhones in the US is AT&T until 2010 or 2011 and they don’t have adequate coverage where I live and work.


    April 16, 2009 at 9:49 am

  5. Hi Roland
    Well, if it don’t work it ain’t any use at all :0)

    My folks live 8 mile from Dover and I am London born and bred.

    On UK roads: I had a few years away from cycling and started back in ’06. I have found that drivers are, in general, more considerate than they were twenty years ago although that may not be the same in cities and doesn’t apply to delivery trucks and vans.
    I tend to use B roads or lesser and only use A roads if there is no choice at all. Some have reasonable cyclepaths alongside.

    I find that riding a recumbent seems to give more road space; drivers slow down to get a good look. A ‘bent trike has double the effect. I’ve been trying a Trice for the last month and have ordered one. I was following one and realised that it didn’t take anymore space than my Bacchetta because a trike can steer a constantly straight line. It also has lower gears and better load carrying. The Bacchetta is set to be my day bike and lightweight tourer and the Trice my cycle camper.

    Enjoy your blog :0)


    April 16, 2009 at 10:03 am

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