Most mountain bikers seem to love the escape that the mountain bike can provide. They love being out in nature, away from the stresses and responsibilities that day to day life seems to bring. Checking your email or answering phone calls are probably pretty low on your list during your time turning over the pedals. Despite a hesitancy to connect to the outside world, your phone is still an important and essential item to bring with you when you ride. That might make you wonder though, what’s the best way to carry my phone while I ride?
6 Ways to Carry Your Phone While Riding:
1. In Your Jersey Pocket
If you are wearing a traditional cycling jersey, the three pockets in the back are usually the simplest and most effective way to carry your phone while you ride.
I had to hurt around to find a great jersey with a functional pocket. I ended up selecting the shirt with the highest rating and great price from Amazon. Check out this link Spotti Men’s Cycling Bike Jersey from Amazon.
Pros: The benefit of carrying your phone in your jersey pocket is that it is easily accessible and can be pulled out whenever needed. It is also hidden away and doesn’t require any additional equipment purchases.
Cons: One of the cons of carrying your phone in your jersey pocket is that it isn’t perfectly secure. It is possible for it to slip out, especially if you crash during your ride. Additionally, with this method of carrying your phone you have to wear a cycling jersey for all of your rides. If you want to wear a more Enduro or Downhill style jersey or even keep it casual with a T-shirt then you might consider an alternative solution.
2. In Your Backpack or Hydration Pack
Many mountain bikers opt to wear a hydration pack while they ride to help store tools and extra water. You can ride with a hydration pack with the bladder installed to help you carry more water or you can remove the bladder and find extra space to carry all kind of goodies, including your cell phone.
A great hydration pack with phone storage is the Vibrelli Hydration Pack. See Amazon for prices -> Vibrelli Hydration Pack
Pros: A hydration pack or backpack is a very secure way to carry your phone while you ride. As long as you remember to zip up the bag, the chances of losing your phone are extremely low. Additionally, you won’t feel the extra weight of carrying your phone because the weight will be dispersed throughout the bag and masked by whatever else you are carrying along for the ride.
Cons: The con of carrying your phone in your hydration pack or backpack is that you might not always want to carry a big pack with you. If you are just planning to ride for an hour or two you might not need to carry an entire bag. Additionally, the weight on your back can cause additional pressure points through your saddle and your bum.
3. Mounted on Your Bike
If you want your phone front and center while you ride then you can also purchase a bike mount and mount your phone directly onto the handlebars. RokForm is a company that makes a good bicycle phone mount.
If you would like to check out the reviews and prices for the Rokform Cell Phone Mount link to Amazon -> Rokform Cell Phone Mount
Pros: This is the most accessible way to carry your phone while you ride. If you like to use your phone for directions or to track your stats while riding then this enables you to keep tabs very easily.
Cons: Phone mounts that attach directly onto the bike are generally best left for casual rides. A phone that is front and center can be a bit distracting and is not very aerodynamic. Additionally, if you crash, your phone is very exposed and may even snap off of the mount.
4. In an Armband
Armbands are a universal phone holder and can easily be used while running, in the gym, or even while out riding. If you are newer to cycling, but already have this accessory from other activities, it can fulfill its purpose for you on the bike.
Pros: An armband stays with you even if you get off of the bike. If you are a triathlete and plan to run off of the bike then this might be a good option.
Con: Armbands are not heavily used in the mountain bike world. Since you use your arms a lot of navigate the trails, you may find that the band is too tight or constricting while your ride through technical terrain.
5. Bibs Pocket
Some types of cycling shorts will have small pockets on the bib straps that are specifically designed to carry cell phones or keys. These pockets are very useful if you are going for an Enduro style or short ride where you don’t need to carry a lot of extra equipment.
Pros: This is a very sleek way to carry a phone while you ride. No one will even be able to tell you are carrying anything. This is for the minimalist rider.
Cons: You will need to research your bike shorts before you purchase them. Not all shorts have these little hidden pockets and some of them are quite difficult to reach. In my experience in some of these shorts the pocket is so difficult to access that you actually have to pull the bibs down, load up the pocket, and then re-pull the straps back up.
6. Bike Bag
If you place your phone in a bike bag, then it’s almost like your bike is carrying your phone for you. There are a few different types of bike bags to choose from.
Frame Bag: This type of bag is usually only used for very long bike rides or even bike packing experiences. Since it goes on the inside of the frame, it can limit your ability to use a water bottle. This will be a very secure way to carry your phone, but it will probably not be easily accessible while you ride.
Top Tube Bag: This type of bag goes on the top tube of the bike. It is best utilized for snacks and may have enough space to squeeze your phone into. This type of bag will be more accessible, but may flop around a bit or get in your way if it’s too large. ROCKBROS make a decent top tube bag, sold on Amazon here’s a link. -> ROCKBROS Top Tube Bike Bag
Saddle Bag: While these bags are most commonly used for flat repair items, you can also put your phone in it if it fits. It won’t be easily accessible, but it can easily be a part of your emergency supplies.
Pros: Using a bike bag to carry your phone is a very secure option. It also takes the weight of the phone off of your body and instead places it on your bike.
Cons: The phone will likely not be easily accessible and if you have to use too big of a bag then the bag may be slightly annoying or even get in your way.
Reasons to Carry Your Phone While Riding:
Now that you know how you want to carry your phone, you might be wondering why you need to go to the hassle of carrying it in the first place.
Safety is the number one reason to carry your phone. If you get lost, have a mechanical, or suffer a crash and injury you need to be able to call for help. Even if you don’t want to carry your phone, do it for your friends and family so that they know they have a lifeline that they can reach you on.
While it’s not essential, sometimes it’s nice to have your phone to snap a photo or two during your ride. You might rarely stop for a photo op, but you know you’ll see something amazing the day you forget your phone. It’s just Murphy’s Law!
3. Activity Tracking
If you don’t want to spend extra money on a fancy bike computer or watch then you can use your phone to easily track your activity. You’ll want to show your friends later the cool route that you found.
If you’re going for long solo rides then you may enjoy listening to music or a podcast. Just make sure that you keep at least one ear free so that you can hear the world around you.
Finally, last but certainly not least, you may want your phone for directions. It’s all too easy to take a long turn when you’re shredding the trails and sometimes you don’t realize you’re lost until you are really lost. Knowing you can navigate your way out adds a little sense of security to your ride.
Apps to Download to Your Phone
Strava: Strava is probably one of the most popular cycling and activity apps out there. Strava will map your route and give you all kinds of ride stats. The platform is like social media for athletes where you can follow your friends and competitors to see how, where, and when other people are riding.
Trailforks: Trailforks is one of the best navigational apps to download to your phone. If you launch the app before you ride, it will continue to track you even if you go out of service. That means that if you get lost and don’t have service you can still follow your little dot on the trail system to find your way home.
TrainingPeaks: TrainingPeaks is one of the leading apps for performance assessment. If you are looking to make fitness gains then downloading your workouts into TrainingPeaks will give you all sorts of charts and graphs to map your progress overtime.
Headphones: If you plan to listen to music or podcasts while you ride then you will want some good headphones. If you use standard iPhone headphones then make sure the cord goes up through your shirt so that it doesn’t get caught on anything while you ride. Also, please make sure you only use one earbud so that you can still hear the world around you.
AfterShokz is a headphone company that makes wireless headphones designed with the athlete in mind. They use bone conduction technology so that you still get quality sound without blocking out the noise around you. With thousands of reviews on Amazon you can’t go wrong. Check it out with this link to Amazon -> AfterSholz Aeropex Open-Ear Wireless Bone Conduction Headphones
Phone Case: No matter how careful you are, if you mountain bike with your phone, you will throw it on the ground at least once. Make sure you have a good case. I’ve always loved my Lifeproof!
Extra Battery: If you do a lot of really long rides and plan to have some of these apps running in the background then it might not be a bad idea to bring a small portable battery along for the ride so that you can charge on the go.
Stay Connected While You Ride:
Even though many of us ride with the intention of disconnecting from the world, make sure that that is a choice and not a big mistake. Carry your phone with you even if it’s turned off so that you have it if you get into a sticky situation. With so many ways to carry your phone and so many uses for it out on the trail it’s an easy way to keep you safe and maybe even make your ride a little bit better.
Hannah Finchamp is a professional mountain biker for the Orange Seal Pro Team. When she isn’t riding her own bike she is coaching others to reach their goals as a Certified USA Cycling Coach and Certified Athletic Trainer. To learn more about the author please visit www.hannahfinchamp.com and follow Hannah on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/hannah_finchamp/?hl=en