These days, almost everyone has a smartphone, and we bring it everywhere we go.
However, when riding a bike, you must follow some basic rules and tips in order to keep your phone safe because it probably costs more than your whole bike.
Here’s what you need to know about using your phone when riding a bicycle.
Table of Contents
1. Why do you need to carry a phone when cycling?
There are many reasons why you need to carry a phone on your bike rides but the most important ones are:
- Safety – if something unexpected happened you can easily call someone for help
- GPS – if you have to go to an unknown location or if you ever get lost you can simply find a way out
- Personal Measurements – to track your calories, kilometers (miles), cadence, heart rate…
- For Fun – for your personal satisfaction (messages, calls, taking pictures, listening to music…)
2. Is it illegal to use a mobile phone while cycling?
Unlike cars and motorcycles using your phone while riding a bicycle isn’t against the law.
But that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Cycling with a phone in your hands can be very dangerous especially in crowded places. So, it’s important to do it in the right way.
In case you need to do something, just stop for a while or if you are still cycling, make sure there is no one nearby.
I use my phone every single day when I’m cycling and I haven’t had any problems so far.
3. How to carry your phone when cycling?
You cannot keep your phone in your hand all the time, so you will need somewhere to put it.
Here are the 5 best places to store your phone.
- Top Frame Beg
- Handlebar Stem
- Jersey Pocket
- Shorts Pocket
The top frame bag and a bar bag are both great solutions for carrying around little stuff. Like your phone, wallet, keys, little tools, snacks, etc. They look pretty nice and they are easily accessible.
The best thing you can do specifically for your phone is to attach it directly to the handlebar stem. That way you will be able to use your phone all the time when you are out on the ride.
Back pockets on a cycling jersey are usually the easiest and simplest option for bringing your phone with you. It’s not completely secure unless your shirt has a zip pocket instead of the classic ones.
But if you don’t have one or if you are considering buying one I have a whole article on whether the cycling jersey is worth buying. Here is the link if you want to check it out.
A backpack is a good option only if you already have some stuff inside and want to put your phone as well. And you know that the phone will be safe inside.
A shorts pocket is probably the worst option out of these five because you are constantly moving your legs up and down and it just annoys you. However, it’s okay when you have no other option.
4. Does cycling damage your phone?
Cycling produces high vibrations and constant movement, which can harm your phone. The damage will however only be to your camera, which will not happen immediately, but over time.
For all the iPhone users, Apple says that the iPhone camera is designed for durability and tough situations but they still recommend not to mount your phone directly to your bicycle.
This is especially true for people who ride a lot in the mountains and on rocky terrains.
I personally haven’t had any problems so far but I’ve heard from other people that this is not a joke. It can really damage your camera’s focus mechanism.
5. How to keep your phone dry when riding in the rain?
I’ve been in one rainstorm a few years ago and my phone was completely wet by the time I got home and as you can probably guess the phone died.
Ever since then I always bring something waterproof to put my phone inside in case of a storm.
There are a few ways you can protect it.
If you have waterproof or water-resistant clothes you can simply put your phone in one of the pockets. But you have to make sure the water doesn’t get in.
The second thing you can do is to put your phone in a waterproof pouch.
You can put any type of phone in there, it is completely waterproof and you can even use your phone while it’s inside.
If you don’t want to spend any money you can bring a plastic sandwich bag from home and put your phone in there.
Also if your top frame bag is waterproof you can put the phone in there.
6. Can a phone replace a bike computer?
This is a common question amongst many beginner cyclists.
And the answer is yes, a phone can definitely compete with a bike computer in numerous different things.
Below is a list of their main pros and cons.
|Great Battery Life||/|
The bike computers are specifically designed for cycling and there aren’t any real cons. It has everything that one cyclist needs, GPS, cadence sensor, all fitness data, long battery(14+ hours on average), etc.
Also, they are really simple and easy to use and you don’t need to worry all the time about whether or not they will break.
|Variety of Apps||Not Durable|
Smartphones can definitely match bike computers in functionality, but when it comes to cycling-specific features, cycling computers are just better.
The main drawback of using a phone is its battery. Whenever you turn the GPS on, the battery drains like crazy and only lasts a couple of hours at most.
The conclusion is that a cycling computer is a better and more expensive option. It’s okay if you can’t afford to spend that much on a cycling computer because the phone is a fantastic alternative.
7. How to protect your phone when cycling?
If you don’t have a zip pocket don’t keep your phone in a normal pocket. Your phone will slip out at first big rock without you even noticing.
If you want to keep your phone scratch-free move it away from all sharp things. Don’t keep the phone in the same spot as your tools, knife, etc.
Or you can just buy a protective phone case and don’t worry at all.
8. What is the best phone app for cycling?
Cycling apps will help you track your speed, kilometers( miles), cadence, to plan a route, GPS, and much more.
Here are the best cycling apps for 2022.
- Google Maps (Free), (Available on iOS and Android)
- Strava (Free) (Also have a paid version £4/month), (Available on iOS and Android)
- Maps.me (Free), (Available on iOS and Android)
- MapMyRide (Free), (Also have a paid version $5.99/month), (Available on iOS and Android)
- Komoot (Free), (Also have a paid version €4.99/month), (Available on iOS and Android)
- Ride with GPS (Free), (Also have a paid version $6 and $10/month depending on the plan), (Available on iOS and Android)
- Bikemap (Free), (Also have a paid version £9/month), (Available on Android and iOS)
9. Can you use a phone as a cycling speedometer?
When riding a bike, it’s very important to know how fast you are going.
Knowing when to speed up and when not to speed up allows you to be a better and more consistent rider.
To be able to track your speed you don’t need a cycling-specific speedometer you can do it through your phone, just install a cycling app and you are good to go.
These days almost every cycling app has that option.
10. Can you talk on the phone or listen to music while cycling?
There isn’t a specific law against talking on the phone or listening to music when cycling.
So technically you can do it.
But you must hear other people in traffic so that you can react if anything happens.
It is completely fine to use headphones. Just make sure they don’t have noise cancelation.
Or if they have, you can simply lower the volume or use only one earbud.