'Overboard' Waterproof Pouch & RideID
Bringing your phone with you on a ride is a good idea for a variety of reasons. It allows you to track you rides, using apps such as @Cyclemeter and @Strava. It also means when you have critical mechanical failure, assuming you have a signal, you can call in Team Support. However, riding around the countryside with a smart phone in your back pocket can have it's drawbacks........
There are three areas of caution. If your phone is located in your back pocket and you tend to stuff all sorts of other personal effects there as well, it's easy to accidentally pull your phone out whilst fishing for something else. Potentially, you're just a dropped phone and cracked screen away from this happening. Also, if you succumb to an unplanned dismount, all bets are off. Chances are you will be more worried about (a) your bike and (b) not breaking any bones, but assuming you are in one piece, the next thing you'll check is your phone. Lastly, the weather is another significant variable. If it's raining and you've got your device someplace that's not waterproof, given long enough, it will get wet and this is typically not good news for a phone. Allow me to provide some additional colour to these scenarios.
At best, I am an average mountain biker. I have even less skills to demonstrate on a BMX. Infact, a BMX would be completely wasted on me. This withstanding, it did not stop me taking my MTB around the local BMX track a few years ago with disastrous results. Having not ridden round the course before, to my surprise I came to a jump. Unfortunately I bottled it at the last minute, causing a complete loss of balance, the net result of which saw me tumble a couple of feet to the ground. Regrettably, someone witnessed this incredibly humorous event, and inbetween gasps of laughter, this member of the general public managed to ask if I was ok. I was, but my phone wasn't. Ironically, the silver lining was that the screen of my Blackberry was completely smashed prompting me to exchange it for an iPhone. Thanks Vodafone! Nevertheless, it remained an expensive lap around a BMX circuit.
The weather. I'm sure we've all experienced situations where the self-proclaimed waterproof jacket pocket turns out not to be completely waterproof. The same also goes for saddlebags. A few years ago, cycling around Border Country, we were subjected to some enthusiasm sapping showers. I'd never cycled in rain quite like it. I had decided to keep my phone in my saddle bag, keeping faith in its alleged water-proofing qualities. I even used the waterproof sack that came with it, offering additional protection. I need not have bothered. When it finally came to using it, the phone was swimming in water. It was practically submerged. It didn't work, however after a very thorough overnight drying process it sparked into life again. Lucky.
These experiences illustrate that if you are going to take your (smart) phone out with you cycling, it's a good idea to protect it. I now reckon the best way to do this is via the solution offered by 'Overboard'. Overboard is a tough, thin plastic case that snugly protects your phone, primarily from water. It has a pair of plastic clips that release the top of the case, allowing you to slide your phone in. Expel the air, make sure the clips are snapped tight, and there you have it - a waterproof locking system that protects your phone from the elements. In addition, the material allows you to operate the phone through the case. Now you can take photos and shoot video in the rain without fear of damage. There are attachment points for a neck-cord and it comes with an Overboard branded carabiner.
For £12 it's a simple solution that will protect your phone from the weather. I keep my iPhone in one all the time, especially with British summer time being as reliable as ever. Consider the Overboard pouch a sound investment.
Still on the subject of cycling and phone use, there are a couple of iPhone apps that allow you to save your key information on your front screen. Should you suffer the misfortune of having a fall and hurting yourself, having your ICE (InCase of Emergency) contact saved to the front screen, might turn out to be life-saving.
I use one called RideID which is endorsed by cycling weekly and British Cycling. It allows you enough space to detail two contacts, their relationship to you plus phone number. Below is room enough for your name, date of birth, address, blood group and detail of any other medical conditions. It's simple, does not rely on the phone being unlocked and has all the information required to identify you and your next of kin.
When I downloaded the App it was free. This combination of products not only looks after your phone, but potentially looks after you in the event of an accident. Highly recommended.
Thumbnail, Slider and Words - bikebritain Ltd