High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels


The Road ID App for iPhone: Be Still My Fredly Heart

bike gadgetsI like gadgety things. I really do. Just ask my husband or my cat about my iPad. My husband will tell you it’s attached at my hip. My cat will tell you he wished the damn thing had never been invented. He gets thoroughly disgusted when he’s on my lap and I’m on my iPad and often claws at my hands as I’m using it. He has sharing issues. You can also take one look at my bike and make a very well-educated guess that its owner likes gadgets. So when I read the All Seasons Cyclist’s Post about the Road ID iPhone app, I squealed like a prepubescent girl at a boy band concert. Being the safety conscious Fred that I am, it immediately stirred my desire for feeling safe while out riding—and for cool gadgety stuff.

Road ID is an online company that offers identification tags for runners, bicyclists, walkers, and hikers. Their app was designed to work with the tags (I haven’t gotten around to purchasing those yet) by allowing you to set up your iPhone’s home screen with pertinent ID information and emergency contacts. But the really cool thing the app does is allow you to send an e-mail to family or friends when you head out for a ride, and your contact can follow you live using eCrumb—an electronic bread crumb feature that provides a detailed map of where you are. If you stop moving for five minutes, eCrumb will send an alert to your contact. So, lets say that dickweed’s harassing behavior takes a darker turn and he clips me or runs me down (see dickweed post here) and I am unable to call 911. eCrumb will send my husband an alert and he’ll be able to notify first responders. And of course, my lock screen will give them valuable information as would the tags, which I really need to get to feel complete.

But let’s say I’ve just stopped for a cup of coffee on my way home and have forgotten all about eCrumb. After four minutes, the app will sound an alarm reminding me to pause eCrumb thereby avoiding the embarrassing moment the paramedics storm Starbucks looking for a downed cyclist. What the app won’t do is track your miles but it does run side-by-side with apps that do without too much of a drain on your battery.

My husband lECrumboves this app almost as much as I do. Not only does he feel better about me being out and about on my bike, if I make a random stop at the grocery store he sometimes calls me and asks me to bring home something good (a euphemism for Italian sub ingredients) for lunch. He also enjoys watching where my rides take me. He says watching me ride via eCrumb is like watching a video game. Just when he thinks I’m on a set route home, I make a turn and off I go in a completely different direction.

I really can’t recommend the Road ID app highly enough. Chances are you’ll never need it but it can literally be a lifesaver if you do. Oh…did I mention the app is free?



Biker Has a Bell

I Love My Bike Bell
One of the reasons I decided to get a mountain bike as opposed to a road bike is the fact that I want to stay off the roads as much as possible. Fortunately, with the trail system in our wonderful city I can eliminate a lot of road travel even when I’m commuting. When I had my road bike years ago, I quickly tired and became extremely wary of motorists who, to put it mildly, didn’t like to share the road. Then there were the complete wackos who considered it a sport to see how close they could drive by a cyclist without actually hitting them. They are probably the same people who enjoyed pulling the wings off of flies when they were kids. Seriously what is it about a bicycle that makes people lose their minds?
I remember having a conversation not terribly long ago with a woman who told me she “hated…absolutely hated” cyclists. When I asked her why she told me she felt they weren’t entitled to share the road (despite laws dictating otherwise) because they weren’t licensed and therefore weren’t paying their fair share of taxes. “I’m paying for the road and they’re not,” she said anger punctuating every word, “so they don’t belong there and they deserve it if they get side swiped or hit.” I can’t even repeat what she said about cyclists who blow through stop signs or lights. (If you’re a cyclist who does this, you don’t help the cause one bit.) There were so many kinds of wrong with her way of thinking that all I could do was walk away. She’s definitely on the bat guano insane end of the spectrum, but anti-bicycle sentiment can be rather innocuous as well.
Just the other day, on my second ride with my new bike, I was on the trail at the same time a “Girls on the Run” race was finishing up. There were a lot of young people on the trail and so I slowed down accordingly. About 50 yards ahead of me were a group of kids and an adult woman heading my way taking up the entire width of the trail. There was no way they didn’t see me. As I got closer, I shouted that I was hanging to the right but nobody budged. I slowed down to a crawl. This time I shouted, “Excuse me,” but even though they were looking right at me, I had to stop as the kids milled around me taking their sweet time moving on. As the throng cleared out, I pushed off only to hear a snide, condescending, “Biker needs a bell” from the adult. Really? Yes, I know they had the right of way and I acted accordingly.  I also made darn sure I was polite and accommodating throughout the convergence. Fortunately, this little altercation was an aberration. Trail users here in Bellingham are normally quite civilized, friendly, and respectful of each other.
Biker has her bell now and she plans to use it. Ching-ching!