One of the things I did not do on our tour of France was to keep a diary. Normally I am quite diligent in this regard, but I found I was tired at the end of each day and decided not to bother – simply to enjoy the riding and to rely on my photos for a recollection of the trip. This approach was not as successful as I had hoped as new experiences were numerous and I simply did not take sufficient photos to capture everything I needed.
The only technology that we had with us was a single Netbook which belonged to KJ. This was able to log onto the internet if we were able to get access to a Wifi network, which was not often.
I found it very frustrating to be so limited in my communication capability and eventually I gave up altogether. I also decided that we could not rely on one device for both of us for future tours. Shortly after we returned from this trip, I won a lovely Netbook of my own, so I was set (or so I thought!).
Then Apple released the iPad and I was immediately captivated by this new device. A lot smaller, lighter and with such potential for planning, executing and capturing tours! Netbooks could not help track or plan routes and give reports on terrain and weather at a touch of a button. In addition, Netbooks were too bulky and somewhat overpowered for what we needed.
Now my iPad is a fundamental touring tool, as is my smartphone (which gets mounted to my handlebars to provide a live map – how incredibly convenient, no more paper maps to get wet or blown away 🙂 ).
Using these tools, it is now possible to write, photograph and make audio visual records of anything in real time and back them up to the cloud for safe keeping until you are ready to use the material. This makes diary entries so much easier and less time consuming at the end of a long cycling day. Photos can be captured from the SD card of one’s camera, providing an instant backup, and I have an attachment which lets me tune into local TV stations using my iPad. So we can keep up with what is going on in the world while we are away.
If you are considering getting a tablet device to use on your trip(s), I suggest you get it well before you go. Not only are they wonderful for capturing your tour information, they are also great in the planning stage. You also need to be familiar with using the device well before you leave home. This will give you time to find out which apps are suitable for what you want to do and give you time to learn how to use them properly.
With the latest upgrades and models of iPad and/or iPhones, it is possible to create a local internet hotspot using wifi. So all is needed is a local internet (SIM) card for either a recent model phone or iPad and all your devices can get internet access. I do not use Android or other non Apple devices, so do not know if this possible with them as well.
If you are interested in using technology on your cyclotour, I have two other posts on this topic as well: