Tag Archives: HTC HD2

How To Fit the Topeak BarXTender

Regular Readers will know that minimalism isn’t my middle name. It’s Neil: after Neil Armstrong, who walked on the moon a few weeks before I was introduced to Earth in the master bedroom of a dormer bungalow.

Why Buy a Topeak BarXTender?

I was struggling to mount my phone mount a couple of weeks ago.  I blogged about it here.  As a result, Jon came up with the idea of me getting the BarXtender.  You should buy one of these (at about £15 online) if:

  • You’ve already got too much schizzle on your handlebars; or
  • Your handlbars have too much girth for your lights and mounts.

How Do I Fit The Topeak BarXTender?

The unit is a clever bit of engineering.  It’s built to fit up the biggest handlebar or headset, and can be rotated so it will fit front-facing or left/right-facing tubes.  It also has a bar that be moved around it’s axis for finer adjustment once you’ve got the unit clamped to your bike.

The clamp part of the BarXtender contains a “belt” type metal strip which is held by an allen bolt.  You just adjust the belt strip to slightly larger than the diameter of your tube, then insert the obligatory rubber strip to stop your tube being scratched and tighten the allen bolt.  The belt is drawn upwards into the clamp housing and feels nice & strong when attached.

Next, simply screw the top half of the unit onto the clamp part, then adjust the rotation of the actual bar to suit yourself.

How Does It Look?

I much prefer my cockpit now that the BarXTender’s on.  One person (mentioning no names) commented that I’m just missing a kettle on my bike now, but I think it makes the handlebars a lot tidier, and safer, than they were before.

The Finished Topeak BarXTender Job

The completed job, with Big Light and Phone GPS Mount.

What do you think?

HTC HD2 Settling In Tests

Still Loving It

It’s been a couple of months since I got the new HTC HD2 phone, so I thought I should let you all know how it’s going. I’ve spent about £40 on gubbins for it so far and I think I’m about done, so an objecive view of the Cost Of Ownership is probably due, too.

Not my actual HTC HD2. I bought this one off eBay. Not really.

HTC HD2 Long (ish) Term Test


To make the phone fit my lifestyle, I’ve spent some of my hard-earned cash on the following:

  • Bike handlebar mount (see this post about that little thing)
  • Screen protector sheet, to stop my keys jagging it
  • Crystal case to protect it from my clumsiness
  • Car charger, to stop it dying whilst I drive
  • Windscreen mount, so I can video idiots blocking roads and see the Sat Nav.
  • 3 micro-USB cables to allow me to synch at work, at home and charge in the car

I also put the following software onto the device:

  • Cycle Computer, GPS tracking software
  • Interval trainer, for jogging expeditions
  • TomTom 7 for Windows Mobile

With all the above, I have only 3 complaints:

Battery Life

Most of the time, my phone’s on charge either at home or at work.  But in the car, even with a cheap no-mark charger on, the battery dies faster than it charges if I’m using the TomTom.  This is simply unacceptable.  I’ve had a new “official” HTC car charger delivered from MobileFun today, so it had better work or I’ll be mightily irked.

Screen Protector

In my experience, all screen protectors are rubbish.  I think I need one for those moments when I accidentally put my phone into the same pocket as my car keys, but they always make your screen look crap don’t they?  Gah.  I have no better ideas, so I put one on.

Windows Mobile

I love Windows Mobile.   I love the way it works, and the way it looks.  I love being in a familiar Windows environment on my phone.

On the other hand I ruddy hate it when it hangs.  When it hangs, boy does it hang.  Forget that urgent call you wanted to make, just forget it.  And the fact is, it hangs most when you try ot take the phone out of standby quickly, which is when? It’s when you want to use it urgently! Sort it our Microsoft.  Find a way of letting me get to the basic functionality while all the flashy, pretty, normally lovely stuff awakes gently from its slumber.  Then I will be a truly satisfied user.

To Wrap Up…

I still love my phone.  It’s the best phone I’ve ever had.  The GPS tracking and SatNav functions are particularly excellent, with the phone knowing exactly where I am al the time, even I haven’t got a bloody clue.  Thi is an absolute bonus when I’m tracking a bike ride or a jog, as it knows where I’ve been, how quickly and for how long.  To be honest, it’s a stalker’s dream if you can sneak it in your partner’s handbag…. 😉

I would recommend it to anyone, even you.  Even though you might shout at me whe you can’t make that urgent, quick call.  But you wouldn’t, because while you were shouting the phone would be slowly rubbing its eyes, scratching its gonads and thinking about waking up.  By the time it was ready to connect you to me, you’d have calmed down.

So that’s ok.

Tell ’em Phill sent you.

Well, That Cleared The Sinuses!

Chilly, Muddy, Fun Saturday Ride

While the weather and the short evenings have been keeping us indoors, I’ve been planning a new 10 mile loop in an attempt to stop me heading for Hollingworth Lake on autopilot every time I get my bike out.

Playing with Map My Ride, I worked out a new loop via Milnrow using mainly traffic-free trails, with the intention of trying it out alone to see if I can take the family on some or all of it once the warmer weekends begin.

It was cold on Saturday, but it was dry so nothing was going to stop me going out.  My first little job was to attach my shiny new Phone Mount to the handlebars, but there was a problem…

… the handlebars on my new Fat Boy are, erm, Fat. So the phone mount wouldn’t slip onto them.  As a result I had to put it onto the bar ends.  Now, this doesn’t look very cool and it probably isn’t very safe.  All it’ll take is one clout into a fencepost and my new phone will go for a Burton’s.  So, following Jon’s advice, I’m going to invest in a Topeak T Bar to mount some of my cockpit instrumentation.  I’ll let you know how that goes when I get it.

But, back to the ride.  After botching the phone onto the bar ends, I set off on the short road to Milnrow carrying 3 layers of tops, my trusty Ron Hills under MTB shorts, a Buff around my ears and my Sealskinz waterproof gloves.  With the wind shut out, I was smiling from ear to ear as I joined the traffic-free tracks across Kingsway Business Park.  Back on the roads, the climb up Broad Lane wasn’t fun and I have to admit to a 5-minute rest at the bridge over the motorway.  A quick burst from Crompton to Oldham Road was the last bit of road riding before heading up Thornham Old Road, a muddy, snowy, puddly bit of trail that was brilliant fun on the cold day.  My nostrils were well and truly cleared by the time I reached the top of that hill, and I was glad I wasn’t in refined company as I left a trail of snot in my wake 😉

Next was a blast down towards Castleton through icy puddles, mud and the walking slalom gates of Saturday strollers.  A brief rest at Slattocks Lock on the Rochdale Canal for a drink was well needed, before the final 3 mile towpath (mudbath) ride home.

The loop can be seen on Map My Ride by clicking the map below.  Go on, have a look and connect with me there, too! 🙂

Argos Recovery

Last night.

I took advantage of an evening on my own and did some online shopping.  I found myself at the fabled virtual gates of the Hallowed Halls Of Argos.

Now I have to be careful: the .. ahem.. thing I wanted is a gift.  A gift I won’t be presenting until this weekend.  A gift that could be guessed by a certain someone if he or she were to visit this blog.  Which is unlikely, but nonetheless possible.

So, the (ahem) gift was on offer.  If I clicked on the right part of the page, added a certain item to my basket and reserved both items, I would only need to pay for one.  “Right, ” I said to myself, “That’s my business won.  I’m having that. And that free thing too.”

No problem. You’d think.  I got my reservation number texted to my phone and went to bed happy.


At lunch I drove to the nearest actual (not virtual) Argos store with my phone in hand, reservation number at the ready.  I walked purposefully up to the little touchscreen booth and punched in my number.  No free thing.  The gift and the thing both popped up on screen…. at full price.  Full price.  Balls.

Slightly irked, but still purposefully, I then walked to the Customer Service desk.  The pleasant assistant punched my reservation number into her terminal, which told her the same as my terminal had – as you’d expect.  She looked at me.  I looked at her.  She told me it “wasn’t coming up”.  She asked me to wait.

I waited.  I sent a text.  I looked at the virtual Hallowed Halls Of Argos on my phone. I waited a little bit more.  I realise this is all me me me, but I was getting a bit frustrated.

Then the pleasant assistant came back. She’d called Shop Support (whoever they are. Lunchtime cover in Milton Keynes HQ no doubt) who explained that the offer was available Last Night, but not Today.  But since I’d ordered it Last Night, I could have it Today. But nobody else can.

Nice one.  Thanks Argos.  I now have my gift for a certain someone, and a free thing too.

So if you ever go to Argos, it’s unlikely to be true but tell ’em Phill sent ya 🙂

Cycling GPS Test

As you might know, I got my shiny new HTC HD2 last week, and promptly installed some of my favourite applications on it.

Possibly my favourite app is the GPS Cycle computer. I downloaded a new version (for free!) and installed it easily.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon tinkering with the family’s bikes:

  • Bottle holders for the girls
  • A kickstand for one of the girls, since the other already had one pre-installed
  • New, lighter & shorter bar ends for my boy and myself
  • Towbars removed from Other Half’s & my bikes

This took me a little while.  Just long enough for it to start raining. Pah!  Nevertheless, I was already wearing my eco-ninja cycling gear, so I decided to set off regardless.  I switched on the tracker, zipped it into my pocket and off I went.

It was only a swift pootle along the canalside in the fading light, following some of the route taken by Rooley earlier that same day with his daughter.  With hindsight, it’s a shame I didn’t bump into them, that’d have been a nice surprise.  For me anyway, maybe not them 🙂

I’ve just got round to uploading the kml track that the computer recorded and I’m most impressed.  The accuracy is far superior to what I had got used to with my old Vodafone V1615 (Kaiser; TyTnii, whatever they call it) and I’ve had to do hardly any editing of spurious tracking points.

So far, I’m very happy with the new phone and this is just one of the reasons.  On the other hand, my Trusty Steed, she’s struggling.

I love ths bike, butshe's 10 this year and knackered.

My Faithful Haro, 10 this year.

She’s spending most of her last days languishing in the shed, but I don’t want to draw out her farewell, so in the interests of palliative care, I’m looking at replacing her with a newer model.  Watch this space…

Here’s the map as recorded by the phone’s tracking software on Saturday:

View Smithy Bridge First new GPS Track in a larger map

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