Cycling with your iPhone

I’ve been browsing the app store this morning, looking for an app that can be used to track rides (what I really wanted was something that has Velo Quebec’s Route Verte, but I haven’t found that one just yet) and I found Cyclemeter, which is just amazing: it will track your time, location, distance, elevation, and speed. You can see the results of your ride on a map, on graphs, and on a calendar. It’ll track your distance by day, week, month, year etc.

Check it out…

And if that’s not enough, you can hear your progress as you ride, and you can even share your ride via Facebook or Twitter, and hear encouraging comments from your well-wishers as you go along (via text-to-speech technology).

I do track my distance and time, average speed etc using a bike computer, and I log it all into an excel spreadsheet. I just like to track my progress. I would so LOVE to be able to track my routes, too! I was hesitant to buy the app at first, because I just couldn’t see how this was going to work very well with the phone tucked away in my little carry-sack with emergency tools and spare tube.

but lo and behold, look what I found…

That’s right, an iPhone mount for a bike (by bicio). How perfect is that?

You lose some, you win some…

My day today …

You lose some: a work crisis occupied most of my morning and as a result, I missed a chance to skype with my 21 month old granddaughter in Halifax. And what’s truly disappointing about this is the fact that she truly loves to skype with me. She shows me all her favourite stuff and sings songs with me. It’s great fun.

But, because of the work crisis I figured out how to make conference calls on my iphone. Not only is that useful for work, but it’ll be great to hook up with my family in California and Halifax and Ottawa! Have I mentioned how much I love that phone?

You lose some more: Once all the morning conference calls were out of the way, my iphone reminded me that I had a lunch across town at 1 pm, and since it was a lovely day, I pedaled my bike from the east to the west end of town, which meant biking AGAINST the wind for practically the whole ride out. I got to the cafe, noticed none of my friends were there so when the woman behind the counter asked me what I’d like to drink, I casually observed “So I guess none of the other people from the book club are here yet!” to which the woman replied “You mean the book club that’s meeting here tomorrow?”

But, it wasn’t a complete waste. On the counter was a huge tray full of fresh, still warm, date squares, so of course I devoured one of those along with a cappuccino. On the terrace.  In the sunshine. And then I biked home, mostly downhill with the wind at my back. It was lovely.

You lose a bit more: tonight I’m going to a session at Montreal’s 12th Annual Blue Metropolis, a convention for book writers and book lovers. I’ve already been to a couple sessions and am just loving the event. All kinds of writers and writerly topics. Montreal is such an amazing place to live! But — I’ll have to rush out at the end so I can put my conference call skills to the test again. Work calls at 10 pm on a Saturday. *sigh*

I know there’s going to be a win side to that last one, after all, that’s the pattern to this day. Just dunno what tonight’s little silver lining will be, at least not yet. I’ll let you know tomorrow…

Car-less in MTL, easier than I thought!

Today is one of my first real tests with this whole car-less life style I’ve recently adopted. Up until now, when I’ve gone out it’s been either to work (40 minute walk each way, or a 15 minute bus ride when I just can’t or don’t want to take the time), or out to a movie or dinner all of which I seem to end up doing in the downtown/Old Montreal area and I never bothered trying to drive to those locations anyway since finding parking there is just a huge headache.

But today, I am meeting friends at a café located way, way in the west end of the city. Since it’s way too far to walk (my favourite mode of transport in winter) I’ve only ever driven there or, in summer, taken my bike. It’s raining today, and cold, plus my bikes haven’t been fixed up for riding after their winter hibernation, so it’s public transit for me. I’m still a novice at the intricacies of the MTL public transit system, so had no idea how to find out how to get there.

But I just discovered the coolest thing! I started out the way I usually go about finding directions to anyplace I want to go to: I added the cafe to my address book, pulled it up on my iPhone, tapped the address, and the google maps application automatically opened and identified the café’s location on the map. I tapped the “directions” button at the bottom of the screen, added my current location (though I could have let the app find me and add it automatically), and driving directions were automatically generated. Just follow the purple line a la Harold). Handy if you have a car…

Necessity is the mother of invention, or attention, because it’s only this morning that I noticed that once directions are generated, three icons appear at the top of the screen: a car, a bus, and walking figure. Ah ha!

I tapped the bus and 4 possible public transportation routes showed up. A little clock icon also appeared, and when I tapped that, I discovered I can generate directions based on either the time I want to leave my current location or on when I want to arrive at the destination I’ve selected. Since I’m more concerned about when I get there than I am with when I leave here, I entered the time I want to arrive, and PRESTO! 4 optional routes via MTL’s public transit system presented themselves. I picked the quickest route, and up popped a new purple path highlighting the bus route numbers and metro stops.  When my visit is over and it’s time to go, I’ll just reverse current and destination addresses and follow the purple path right up to my door.

I have NO idea how I got from point A to point B before the iPHone and google apps, but I know friends and family will tell you I tended to get lost an awful lot. Don’t think that’ll happen today.

I love this iPhone, and I love google apps!

Uh oh

Forgot my phone at work. First time ever. My phone serves multiple roles in my life: it’s my phone, my portable music library, provides me with directions when I’m trying to get from point A to a point B I’m not familiar with, gives me almost constant and ready access to the internet, both my work and personal email accounts, my work and personal calendars, it carries all my to-do lists and reminds me when I’m to-do something (handy app, that one), it allows me to catch up with friends and family via facebook and twitter, it provides me with games and video to entertain me when I’m waiting in long lines or in some waiting room somewhere, and it does a whole heck of lot of other things as well. In short, that little wee iphone plays a rather large and important role in my life.

One of the simplest but (I’m quickly realizing) most important roles it plays is that it’s also my alarm clock. It wakes me up on time in the morning, and it does so very gently with the delicate sound of a harp strumming. I like it. I rely on it to make sure I don’t miss any early morning appointments. It makes sure I begin my day on time. Every day.

Except, apparently, for tomorrow. Tomorrow, I am on my own. I thought of having someone call to wake me up, but that won’t work will it! Because, well, I left my phone at work…

Uh oh.

NOTE: just found this article that confirms what I’ve suspected… my iphone IS a part of me!