There has been a new arrival in the stable of bicycles at the Wilson household. How and why I acquired this new bike (more correctly described as a tricycle, or trike to sound more adult) is a story for another time, but suffice it to say that it involved a friend of many years who is something of a semi-professional bicycle racer. I will be forever grateful to him for making this bike, oops, trike, available to me.

As I see it, one of the great things about trikes are their potential for being "geeked out". This kind of thing is also possible with regular bicycles, but the extra weight seems more noticeable on two wheels, and there are fewer places to mount the gadgets. Which brings me to the reason for this post, to recount my experience using a Windows Mobile device as a bicycle computer. Before we begin, let me introduce you to Velma (the name of the new trike).

Velma with Windows Mobile Device

Velma is a recumbent bike, so the pedals are in frot while my torso reclines in a comfortable seat, far easier to cope with on long rides than the typical saddle which can sometimes feel like one is sitting at the end of pole. Notice in the picture above, the water bottle battery near the rear wheel. This powers my homemade headlight displayed in the next picture. Actually the battery was purchased separately and is installed in a storage device shaped like a water bottle.

Velma Headlight Mount

In the above picture you can see my home-made headlight. It consists of the end of a Maglite flashlight, with a Cree LED bulb for output of 500 lumens. Notice how the headlight is mounted to the end of a handle bar extender, which is itself mounted just below the front derailleur. This position makes sense for the projection of light emitted by the headlight, but has turned out to be a problem in other ways. This particular part of the trike is prone to frequent road vibrations, so the light cast by the headlight appears very jittery and can be quite annoying. I will probably rethink this mount over time.

Velma With Windows Mobile


This picture shows my Windows Mobile HTC device (Tytn II) mounted to the right handle bar using a RAM mount. I can’t say enough good things about this mount. It is constructed of rugged materials, stays solidly in position regardless of the degree of road vibration, and is very easy to adjust. It is actually intended for use on a motorcycle, which may explain its effectiveness at the tamer speeds of the trike.

My intent is to use the Windows Mobile device as a replacement for the traditional bicycle computer. Since this device has a built-in GPS, I can easily track my speed and distance. And with the right software, I can also maintain a log and map of my adventures. I have only just begun exploring the Windows Mobile software options for real-time sports tracking, but the one I am using now is SportyPal. It has lots of nice features, but I have not used it enough to say much more. Stay tuned.

From a use case perspective, a Windows Mobile device makes the ideal cycling computer. It functions as far more than just an odometer and speedometer, providing support for the following:

  • Upload data during the ride and keep would be followers apprised of location and status 
  • Obtain turn-by-turn directions to avoid getting lost on cycling events through busy city streets 
  • Provide video logging of the journey 
  • Maintain exercise logs for past rides
  • Connect telemetry devices (cadence and heart rate) via Bluetooth (wishful thinking on my part)

As I experience each of these use cases, and experiment with the various software options for each, I will add more blog entries.