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The Alpine Coast to Coast: Finding My Way

When you’re traveling, staying on the right path can be tricky. Different languages, road signs and rules can make foreign roads a difficult place to navigate. Winding her way through eight Alpine countries, Sophie Radcliffe found her technology to be crucial in keeping her on the straight and narrow.

“Although I aimed for around 150kms cycling a day, some days it was over 200kms and others less than 100. Some days we would combine cycling with heading half way up a mountain.”

Before I start explaining how I managed to successfully navigate my way, I have to be honest about one thing. I did get lost, but only once. I made a wrong turning and cycled into Italy instead of Austria. By the time I’d realised I had cycled into the wrong country, I was at the bottom of a very long hill. That taught me to pay closer attention!

Navigation Tools

My iPhone was my best friend. I used the Lifedge waterproof case to protect it from the elements and the Bike Mount to securely attach it to my bike. This set up worked like a dream! I kept my phone on airplane mode most of the day to preserve battery life and would set up the route on Google maps the night before. I found it so easy to navigate using iPhone and Google maps. My routes were never complicated as it was mountainous terrain. The size of the iPhone meant I could see where I was going in the glare from the heat of the sun, in the rainy days (of which there were many) and when I started cycling before dawn or after it went dark. The bike mount tilts so I could shift the position to suit me. I also had my Garmin on my bike every day too, I used it to record statistics such as heart rate, calories and to track my route.

Prior Planning

You might have thought that with it being my biggest adventure to date, I’d have had everything meticlously planned out. It wasn’t quite like that. I used Google and Google maps a lot. We had a rough idea of how many kms a day I could cycle and of course we knew which mountains we wanted to climb. However, the plan we made had to be written and re-written many times during the challenge. By day 15, we were six days ahead of our original schedule, so we needed a plan that allowed for flexibility.

Be Flexible

To be honest, I loved how flexible we were with planning it. Each night we would arrive at a new campsite, we’d look on the map and decide if it would take one or two days to cycle to the next mountain. Although I aimed for around 150kms cycling a day, some days it was over 200kms and others less than 100. Some days we would combine cycling with heading half way up a mountain. We needed the ability to be flexible so we could push it hard when we wanted to but also rest when we needed to. Over the 32 days it took to complete, we had four rest days.

Photography

When you’re out on the bike all day cycling up and down mountains you don’t want to be carrying any extra weight. However, you will want to take great photos. Having an iPhone that can double up as a navigational tool as well as a camera was a huge bonus. It meant I could snap photos and videos without too much hassle, often without getting off my bike – ideal! At the end of the day I would often try and find some water to cool off in. I’d take my phone with me and jump in the rivers, again not having to worry about it getting wet or damaged as it was still in the Lifedge case.

Sophie uses the Lifedge Waterproof iPhone Case and full range of accessories on her adventures, whether they’re epic or everyday.

You can follow Sophie over on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to see how else she uses her Lifedge kit.