When I decided to try out the insane sport of randoneurring, I quickly found that my iPhone running my tracking app, RunKeeper, was not going to work. The battery only lasted 4 hours in GPS mode, and these rides started at about 4-5 hours. I ran out and picked up a Garmin, as these things still take AA batteries and go for 25 hours before expiring. After riding it on one brevet in March, and fiddling/cursing the old mode of convoluted GPS UI/OS the Garmins use, I launched it off the handlebar mount on a large bump on the commute home one night. I didn’t notice it was gone until I came to the next stop light, and after circling back to the likely area, it was never found. After weighing the logic of dumping another $200 into a device I found cumbersome, I decided against it. The iPhone has GPS and will always have a more competitive app arena that will ensure the best GPS experience. Already, apps like CycleMeter, MotionX GPS, and RunKeeper have better UIs and more specific usability features. Now I just had to find a way to use my dynamo hub to power both the lights and the iPhone.
There are a few options out there. Peter White sells some chargers, Wahoo makes a case with built in battery, but I settled on the BioLogic ReeCharge system that is made up of a case/battery combo, a handlebar mount, and a dynamo charging system. The setup was very straightforward, and I used my older iPhone 4 with it for the first few weeks (in case it launched, as well)
I had no issues with the case coming loose on both road and trail over the past month or two of use. I have put a couple hundred miles on the bikes with the case mount, and gone over some knarly bumps, but the case has held fast. This is by no means an exhaustive test regime, but it has certainly done better than the Garmin I had. Wiring on both bikes was simply a matter of merging the light and ReeCharge wires at the clips that attach to the hub. This took about 15 minutes at most. The other end just plugs into the handlebar mount. I honestly had a tougher time figuring out what to do with all the extra wire. I took a couple different tacks on the two bikes. On the Hilsen, I wrapped the extra around the handlebar mount, as I was trying to minimize the wiring down on the frame:
On the Hunqapillar, I coiled the cable around the shifter cabling. I did this one first, and didn’t like the result, as it is more visible overall:
The dynamo unit is strapped to the back of one of the fork legs, and simply held in place by zip ties. Here are some pics of my wiring on the Hilsen. I followed the basic process that Lovely Bicycle had posted a while back to keep the wiring as invisible as possible, while still being an easy job that doesn’t require any frame drilling or fiddling.
More images of how the lighting cables are run are found HERE.