Cycling

The iPad Mini & En Route Communication

When I cycled along the Eurovelo 5 back in 2010, I typed out every blog post (30,000 words in total) over the course of the five week trip on my iPhone. It may be why, over the last few years, I feel that my eye sight has begun to deteriorate; I now wear reading glasses if I have to browse the Internet on the phone and increasingly use them when reading a book. So, thinking ahead to the summer when I will once again be mobile blogging as I cycle along the Mediterranean coast from Athens to Cadiz, I have just invested in an iPad mini. This seems to be the perfect compromise between portability (the traditionally-sized iPad is too heavy and large for a long-distance cycle) and visibility and here I am, testing it out by posting this, the very first blog post from my new little machine. So far so good. I’ve noticed that because the keypad is much larger than the iPhone, I don’t need to spend anywhere near as much time going back and correcting my spelling errors because I have inadvertently hit the wrong button with my finger. The model I have bought is the bog standard one which only has 16GB of memory and only WiFi (no 3G) but it seems to be able to do everything I need it to. When cycling I can off course ‘tether’ the iPad to my iPhone so I don’t necessarily have to be within a WiFi area to update the blog or indeed browse as required. My contract with Vodafone allows me to take my mobile phone minutes, texts & data for a charge of £3 per day so for a relatively modest charge of £120 over the two months of the trip I can browse away at my leisure. All of the countries through which I am scheduled to pass are on the list of participant countries. The iPad mini also has what looks like a good quality camera. I could, perhaps, consider entering the world of vlogging! More of that in a future post…
Just while I’m here, I’m going to test the Siri voice recognition software. “How cool would it be to cycle and dictate my blog posts? That last sentence was dictated via Siri. It’s an extremely accurate way of making blogs far quicker to write. No doubt one day somebody will invent software that can write an entire book by me just speaking into this machine. It’s bloody marvellous.” Incredible! It works almost without fault. I must have a very clear accent 🙂

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2 replies »

  1. I have always admired you for your discipline in, ‘daily blogging as you go’, Andrew and I am sure the iPad mini will be a great improvement over an iPhone for this purpose. However, I personally would not dismiss the iPad as, ‘too heavy and large for a long-distance cycle’. At 745 grams it’s hardly heavy and it slips into a pannier very easily. We used ours for all sorts, but where it was invaluable was with mapping in a hotel at night, especially working on routes out of a city the next day. We saved hours and much frustration as a result. I suspect the smaller mini would be harder to use for this purpose.

  2. And this comment is being made from the iPad mini connected to the iPhone via ‘tethering’ which in turn is connected to the 3G mobile phone network; hooray!

What do you think?