GPS Training Apps have made carrying your iPhone an essential part of exercise, and especially cycling. Whether for fitness, competition or as a purely recreational pursuit, the ability to safely carry your iPhone while cycling not only provides a wealth of metrics, maps, speed, heart rate and energy burn data, but also music to enjoy and train to, a camera to capture spectacular scenery or wildlife, and obviously if trouble should arise, a flat tire, a strained muscle or injury, the ability to call for assistance.
I’ve previously used neoprene and velcro sleeves, strapped to the arm. These are cumbersome, clumsy, contact with the screen and buttons is difficult. You pretty much have to remove it, and remove the iPhone from the pouch to access any functions or controls. Nor do they seem particularly water resistant or secure. The flexing movement of your arm while exercising tends to loosen this kind of strap on pouch.
I’ve also used a kind of removable plastic clamshell case that fixes with a bracket to the handlebars. These are available from around $30 to $50, delivered from China, at the usual online shopping venues. On the particular model I bought the bracket and screw attachment was not secure on the handlebars, the whole thing tended to slide around, also it stuck up in an obtrusive manner. Each time I wanted to use it I had to remove my regular protective case to fit it into the clamshell. Access to the buttons was difficult; if I wanted to access the side buttons or use the camera the easiest thing to do was to remove the iPhone from the clamshell, which was annoying and inconvenient. Consequently it got used a few times, then put on the shelf.
The Quad Lock Case and Bike Mount Pro system from Annex Products is the best solution I’ve found so far. It’s a three part system, comprising a tough but light polycarbonate hard case, the Quad Lock Pro mount that attaches to the head stem or the handlebars of your bike, and a weather resistant, tough polyurethane cover that Annex calls The Poncho.
The Pro Mount attaches easily to the headstem, by hooking o-rings or zip-ties around hooks on the base of the mount. The included rubber 0-rings are handy if you want to remove the mount quickly to change it between different bikes, for instance, or you can attach the Quad Lock Pro Mount more permanently with zip-ties. I’ve used both, but it’s perfectly secure in either case.
You can leave the hard case on your iPhone all the time, it’s a tough, sturdy, rigid case with a raised lip that protects your screen, but provides easy access to all buttons and ports. When you want to ride it’s a simple matter of slipping the iPhone into the Poncho and clicking the case back into place on the Pro Mount. You simply place it on the mount at 45 degrees, push down, turn, and click, it snaps securely into place. You can also easily mount it in landscape mode. Release is just as easy, simply pull down the spring loaded blue locking collar and turn to release.
The flexible Poncho fits snugly over the iPhone. It has a small closed cross aperture over the earphone jack, so can you plug your phones and still keep the elements out. Other than that the whole thing is closed. The underside has a raised edge that seals tight against the back of the hard case, keeping out rain, dust and mud. It’s a little difficult to operate the mute button with the Poncho on, so best to have it in the position you want it prior to going out, other than that, volume and on/off buttons are all accessed with ease. The transparent polyurethane provides excellent visibility and all touch screen functions work perfectly.
At around $70 for the full kit, depending on your location, it seems expensive. However, think of it as three separate components that each cost around $24 each, and it’s actually damn good value. Well designed, great quality, great functionality. An inexpensive bit of kit to protect your valuable iPhone.
You can mount it on your motorcycle, there’s also a car mount available, so you can take advantage of the quick release Quad Lock system and easily use your phone’s GPS Sat Nav in the car. There’s even what you might call a kitchen mount – attach it to the wall of your kitchen so you can use your phone hands free when you’re busy cooking, or to any convenient location in your house, and you’ll never forget where your phone is again. And if you prefer Android to iPhone, there are hard cases and Ponchos for other phones available.
It started raining the first time I hit the park on my bike with my iPhone in its Poncho and locked on the Pro Mount, and the Quad Lock system did its job perfectly. The case, the bike, me and the ducks were wet and sprayed with mud. The iPhone was perfectly dry.
The only problem is resisting the urge to watch videos while cycling. Safety Notice: do not watch The Avengers or wear a cape while cycling.
This really excellent bit of kit is available online from Quad Lock, with free shipping for orders over $35 to Australia, the US and the UK. I bought mine, it really is the best solution I’ve found, highly recommended.