The calendar insists that it is late January, but the weather begs to differ. I was able to zip about the area in shorts yesterday, which was a big boost to morale. I’ve also cycled 50 miles more than last January with a few days left to go – a testament to the improved weather rather any improved dedication on my part.
I know you are desperate to learn my first impressions of the iPhone while cycling, so let me delay you no further:
The first thing I noticed is that full-fingered gloves won’t operate the phone, meaning I need to take my glove off every time I want to use it. Bummer. My wife (the runner) has a nifty set of running gloves which feature a silver-tipped index finger which enables iPhone use. If there is such a thing for cycling gloves, I haven’t seen it yet.
I brought my digital camera with me and took two pictures of the same scene, which I now present for your consideration:
There is some loss in clarity with the iPhone, but nothing terrible. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of a zoom lens, meaning I’d better be pretty close to the things I want to take pictures of. It was also a bit of a hassle taking off my glove and getting the iPhone out of the plastic bag I was carrying it in to prevent water damage. The camera does not require such protection and can be operated while fully gloved. Advantage: camera.
I fired up the Strava app, which acts as a cycling computer and allows me to post my ride online for others to see and chat about. Strava also creates stretches of road known as “segments” where people can compare times against each other. This was a disappointment. The app said my ride was a half mile longer than my Garmin reported, which was extremely disconcerting to a guy who is particular about his ride stats. I double-checked the distance with MapMyRide and it agreed with the Garmin. Additionally, I didn’t get credit for doing any segments, despite there being two on my route. The only possible explanation is that I was riding on the road while the segments appear to be on the mixed-use pathway on the other side of the road. Sigh.
Finally, running the app for a two-hour ride almost drained my battery. The phone was not fully charged at the beginning of the ride, but it does reinforce in my mind the necessity of being mindful of your battery life when running apps. I suspect a full charge would last only six or seven hours when being used continuously by a cycling app. This makes its use on centuries questionable.
So it was a less than steller beginning for the iPhone, but it wasn’t a disaster either. I’m fully committed to getting the most out of it as I have no other choice. I’m sure it will only improve as I figure out all the many benefits I can gleen from it.