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Isla Rowntree: Cycle Touring With Lifedge

Everyday Pioneers

We chat with Isla Rowntree, Founder of British children’s bike company Islabikes about her recent cycling adventures and how she uses her Lifedge kit.

“It was great to be able to just put my phone in my back pocket and not worry about it getting wrecked in the constant rain.”

Put simply, Isla Rowntree lives a life completely immersed in cycling. A lifelong love affair with bikes has not only brought her commercial success with pioneering children’s bike company, Islabikes but also an impressive trophy cabinet demonstrating her sporting success. Amongst other competitive accolades, Isla has three National Cyclocross Championships under her belt, which we think you’ll agree is pretty impressive.

It’s a safe bet that when Isla isn’t designing and building her critically acclaimed children’s bikes, she’ll be found in the saddle.

When she is riding over shorter distances or on training rides, Isla uses her Lifedge iPhone case to protect her phone. “I frequently ride after work and with the winter we’ve just had it was great to be able to just put my phone in my back pocket and not worry about it getting wrecked in the constant rain. It has come back soaked time after time and just shrugs it off.”

She has also found a great way to use our case and bike mount on her longer rides which we love. By combining our waterproof case and bike mount with a dynamo hub running off the front wheel, Isla is able to charge her phone whilst she rides, using a USB adapter.

“The bikes designed by Isla and her company embody her ingenuity and pioneering thinking.”

“I needed my phone on my handlebars so I could see the maps when needed, and this necessitated a reliable waterproof case and fixing method. I’ve tried various cases before and they’ve been disappointing, essentially thick plastic bags that make the screen hard to use and read and require the phone to be removed to use the camera and answer calls. The mounts also rattled, a definite no no for an off-road tour. Eventually I came across the Lifedge case which is totally waterproof whilst maintaining all the phone’s usual functionality. It’s bike mount is extremely secure and rattle free and, once the knack has been learned, the phone can quickly be removed for photos.”

Isla recently used her Lifedge set-up on an off road place-to-place tour of mid-Wales. “I primarily use paper maps for navigation as they are completely reliable, but wanted to supplement these using a navigation app on my phone.” She explains, “This would allow me to pinpoint exactly where I was if necessary and also I could then input my planned routes before I travelled so I wouldn’t have to remember all the little details.”

On her many rides, Isla has found that her dynamo hub is much more effective on road rides as it only creates a charge when riding over 6mph, which is much harder to achieve whilst cycling offroad with panniers. “I should stress, I only checked my phone maps when unsure, using the paper map on my handlebar most of the time. If the map screen was lit permanently the battery would flatten quite fast. Fine if you are only going out for a couple of hours but not for all day.” Isla admits, but when you are riding as far as Isla is without knowing where you will be staying each night (more than likely a tent in a field) being able to power your electronics by any degree increases your self sufficiency and can prove invaluable.

The bikes designed by Isla and her company embody the ingenuity and pioneering thinking evident in her adventures. By adapting theory and techniques taken for granted in adult bike building, i.e putting precedent on weight, component quality, and correct sizing and geometry, Isla has helped redefine what we should expect from children’s bikes.

With bikes that are comfortable, efficient and ultimately more fun, children are given the best chance of falling in love with cycling, which is something we fully support.

Take a look at the Islabikes website to find out more.