Sometimes, hopeless romantics like myself hang to things for far too long, such as a dating partner who doesn’t read very much, or who dislikes bikes. Sometimes it takes a clear signal to remind us that we need to move on. Such was the case with my love affair with the Blackberry.
I had been hanging on to it mostly because I didn’t have a great reason to toss it, though I’ve been wanting an iPhone for years now. Thankfully, the Blackberry, named Nietzsche, leapt out of my hand and splashed down into the filthiest pub toilet in the neighborhood, providing me with an excellent excuse to chuck it, as well as a great reason to wash my hands.
Okay, full disclosure: it is also true that some weeks ago, upon seeing me using Nietzsche, an iPhone-addicted Cheryl remarked “They still make those?”, but this had no bearing on my loss of interest in RIM products, I assure you. It was mostly the urine.
At any rate, a few days after splashdown, my brand spanking new iPhone 4 arrived and was christened Hemingway. With Hemingway came the opportunity to try out some of the GPS-based cycling applications in the much-vaunted App Store. There are a ton of these, but seemingly none with a clear lead in terms of reviews. I downloaded one of the free ones, BikeMate Lite, and tried it out on the Faster Mustache Imminently Terrible Grind of Atlanta (FMITGA for short) last night.
It was simple enough to use; I merely pressed “START” and then dropped Hemingway into a jersey pocket, protected by a high tech plastic ziploc-style iPhone condom I happened to already own. I then commenced to crank myself up Atlanta’s least enjoyable hills, choking back sobs all the while.
Halfway through the ride, I checked on the application, whose main interface looks like this:
I realized that the application was recording everything in metric units, so I touched the “option” button to change this. I was met with this screen, which consists of the real “Option” button and a long list of advertisements for other app store products in addition to the advertisement ever-present on all Bike Mate Lite screens.
Now, I realize that whoever made BikeMate Lite wants to get paid for their efforts, and I support that, but this kind of seems like overkill to me. The application also lacks any elevation data for rides, as far as I could tell, which is a feature I missed sorely.
To my way of thinking, the “Lite” version of a program should be an excellent preview of what the full version will be like in the same way that a first date is a preview of what actually dating someone will be like, outside of whatever they are glossing over or exaggerating, of course. With that in mind, I just don’t feel that BikeMate Lite and I are a match.
I believe that you get what you pay for, and since I paid zero dollars for this application, I should be pretty happy with the fact that it recorded my position and speed just fine. It even saved the route and will show it to me on a little map whenever I want. As far as I know, the full version of BikeMate is the greatest GPS-enabled cycling application ever conceived, but I don’t feel like spending even a couple of bucks to find out as my overall experience with BikeMate Lite could be summed up with a shrug and whatever consonantless noise one chooses to make in these circumstances. I suggest “Uuoee”.
If you want an application to record your route, speed, and to show you as many ads as it possibly can, then BikeMate Lite might be for you, but in terms of GPS-aware cycling applications, at least, I’m continuing my search for a better option.