Wednesday, September 23, 2009


As I sat through some lectures at a conference I had to attend last week, I caught myself glancing around the room, mired in boredom.  I was struck by the number of attendees who were looking down into their hands, where the mobile devices of their choice lay, rapidly dragging or drumming their fingers on their respective screens.  Mostly, this constituted iPhones.  A plethora of shiny, black-screened, app-laden, Apple turds.

With this in mind, I thought I would look to see if any cycling-specific apps were available for the iPhone.  Thus, I submit for your review the results of my research.  We'll start with this little gem.

This is a helmet mounted iPhone running a GPS app connected to an eyepiece which goes in front of the right eye and displays a map of where the cyclist is riding, in addition to displaying incoming Twitter Tweets from friends.  Sweet.  As if navigating a traffic-congested busy street isn't enough of an obstacle course, let's try it with one eye tied behind your back.  (Full apologies to all one-eyed cyclists and cyclopians out there).  You can read more about it here.

Perhaps this is an elaborate way for cyclists to participate in the recent pirate fixation that has a grip on our culture.  If that is the case, I guess I would rather wear an old-fashioned eye patch.  Let me digress for a moment more:  I have no sense of direction.  This has been a constant source of irritation for me my entire life.  I’ve been lost more times than I care to remember, and it can be maddening, especially when it happens right here in COMO.  But I would rather be lost than suffer the indignity of wearing an iPhone on my head.

Yet another iPhone app now available and marketed for cyclists is the EveryTrail Bike Computer which calculates your average and max speeds, as well as the elapsed time ridden and an odometer all on a large screen seen here:

Unfortunately, there are currently no commercially available bike mounts for an iPhone (although I'm sure 30 different models are in the works), thus this handy app must be used like this:

Whereas the previous device takes one eye away from the cyclist, this little piece of techno heaven occupies one hand and both eyes.  Brilliant.  Take note for a minute that the genius who is one-handing this particular iPhone has covered 0.9 miles averaging 11.9 miles an hour and is currently riding perpendicularly across a road (which will henceforth be referred to as "squirreling").  Good luck, Rocky.  I hope that iPhone also has an app that dials 911 for you when it senses your head has bounced off the grill of a pick-up.  And how about another app which tells you to try using those things under your feet called pedals so you can actually generate a speed faster than what my granny could do on her Rascal.

As Vince "ShamWOW" Shlomi would say, "But wait, THERE'S MORE!"

The following is an absurd iPhone trio of cycling apps described here:

1) Cyclemeter:  An app which detects your speed by the audible sound of your wheel revolving.  You may be wondering,  "How can my iPhone detect this sound?"  Read the directions yourself:

"CycleMeter uses sound. Put a small plastic tag on one spoke so it hits the fork on every revolution. Then run the cable of your earbuds down the fork and secure the microphone next to this point. The tick, tick, tick of the plastic tab is picked up and the rest is done in software."

I tend to think the slang adjective "ghetto" used to describe a hack-jobbed, jury-rigged, Rube Goldberg contraption is overused.  But it seems to suit this impending debacle nicely.

2) BrakeLights:  For this, you duct tape your iPhone to your ass (or somehow secure it to your backside) and when the device's accelerometer detects you are slowing, a red light glows on the screen like this:

3) Bicycle Back Safety Flashlight:  As if the above red light wasn't douchey enough, with this app you can program in a word to appear on the screen.  The suggested word is "STOP"  however I suppose you could also have the words "I'M A TOOL" appear.  Again - the iPhone must be duct taped to your ass.

In case you were wondering, no, I don't have an iPhone.  I'm supposed to pick one up this week.

Pedal on.

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