Tron Touring

A little update from the road coming up here. My annual vacation is a cycling trip with my son. We started this Monday and are traversing the south of Germany lengthwise, heading towards Lake Constance. The two of us are on cyclocross bikes and we’re carrying our belongings in Camelbak “The Don” backpacks. The bikes are fine for the roads we’re riding on which range from forest double-tracks to “Bundesstrassen” (federal roadways smaller than a highway). Both bikes have 700C 32 mm semislick tires mounted that roll fast and cushion a lot more than racing tires.
Of course, ours isn’t a self-sufficient kind of touring. Overnight, we’re staying at local hotels where ever our legs fall off. Then it’s a bit of husbandry taken care of with the obligatory shower: we’re washing our kit with shampoo, rinse under the shower and hang at the windows to dry overnight. Not to mince words, that kind of hygiene is important and we’ve been free of saddle sores so far.
Now to something completely different: navigation. It is a bother that sucks energy from your riding. Normally, but not in our case. Navigation and logging chores are taking care of by three apps on the iPhone. At the beginning of our trip, we used Google Map’s pedestrian routing mode with a lot of success, but it isn’t navigation in the sense that it reacts to deviations from the route. Once you go off course, you’ll have to manually initiate a new route. We’ve since switched over to a proper navigation app, Navigon. To my great surprise, it has a very efficient cycling mode that is activated by a combination of settings so arcane, it’s almost an Easter egg. The roads it’s choosing for us are very scenic, albeit a bit on the hilly side. But that’s just our legs complaining at the end of the day. And of course it’s proper navigation, with turns and intersections announced on my Bluetooth headphones in a mellifluous female voice (I suspect she’s a Dominatrix in RL).
It didn’t happen unless you prove it. That’s taken care of by the Cyclemeter app I already wrote gives us and those that we mail the results to statistics and maps of our daily endeavors.
There’s only one thing I would change to a future cyber tour. I’d run a charger off a front wheel dynamo hub to power the iPhone while it is in it’s handlebar holder. The way it is now, we have to beg for a mains outlet to recharge at each and every rest stop. Understandable, we’re running two two location apps constantly all the time.


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