Starting from home, I rode to the picnic area in Alum Rock Park, to the northeast. A slight uphill grade through town, ending at a hilly section inside the park. I used the iPhone to call La, listen to music, track my route in the maps program, and take pictures.
The Google Earth map of the route looks like this:
The park is pretty scenic, considering it's in East San Jose, which is a big drab suburban holding tank for overworked engineers. I even took my sunglasses and hat off for a couple of minutes while riding under the canopy.
It features a few bridges that were not built specifically for CARS. (gasp!) People were there ... walking over them ... ON FEET! (gasp!) And they were talking to each other, and they weren't even holding cellphones at the time! Shocking.
This is what messed up my route. I was originally planning to ride up this twisty road, far into the hills, past a reservoir, and then along the top of the hills to another road (highway 103, I think) zipping back down into San Jose. Google Maps showed this as perfectly drivable road, but the City of San Jose disagrees with them.
So instead of going up the road, I stopped and ate lunch, then rode along the bike paths for a while.
Somewhere along the ride back, my rear tire ran over something and developed a slow leak. I didn't realize it had happened until I came into the room the next day and saw the tire was flat. Today La took it to the shop for repair, and for 14 bucks they pulled a huge L-shaped chunk of metal from the inside of the tire, patched the tire, and replaced the tube.
So, what did I learn from this training day?
- Using the iPhone on the bike-stem mount is pretty easy. The display is actually bright enough to be readable, and the most useful buttons are usually placed at the corners of the device, making them easiest to reach. (The phone, the favorites, 'locate me', etc).
- The battery gets drained FAST if you're using it all multi-function like this. I really do need the battery pack.
- Bystanders get really confused if you ride by them while talking into thin air (because your phone mic is clipped to your shirt). The good news: The shirt-clip location is free of wind noise, and my voice is easily heard by the person I'm chatting with. Their voice is also plenty loud and audible through my own headphones. The sound is so good that when La and I go biking together, we'll probably use our phones like two-way radios.
- There is almost no good time to receive a call when you're on a bike. You are almost always too busy riding, listening to traffic, or looking around to bother reading the iphone screen or diverting one hand to the answer button. Luckily it's easy to listen to messages when you're stopped somewhere.
- Just because the route looks open on the map doesn't mean it's actually open.
- Out in the boonies when the phone loses network access, it basically becomes an iPod with a camera. I need an app that will store map data on the phone. It's not enough to just hope that the data I need is already in the cache.
- The heavier tires I have on the bike really do slow me down a bit, but it's worth it. Crappy streets can be pretty rough terrain, and a flat tire sucks.