Using mobile phones on the Trail

Because some of these rides are closer to Perth, some of the trail has mobile phone service. However, there maybe pockets where it does not exist. The rides in the country e.g. Waterous Loop, Old Timberline Trail etc, will have very limited mobile phone coverage. So when you get a signal at a hut or on a hill top, it is a bonus. Turn off Blutooth and Wi fi (also use Airplane mode as it will allow you to use GPS without using your phone service) and dim your screen for longer battery life. I use Telstra, which has the best coverage. So when I have indicated I had coverage, it doesn't guarantee you will.

Smart phones are brilliant. Most of my photos from on the trail were taken with one, and I think they have come out really well. They are handy back up in case you are lost ( Map function or GPS). But I don't think they can be relied on as a primary navigation tool - that is the job for maps.

Do not plan on using my website on a ride. Although my website is classed by Google as mobile friendly (the new standard came in April 2015), all the tabs do not come up on a mobile phone - you need a tablet or lap top to see it all. My site is basically to help you research and plan your ride before you leave home.

You can use your smart phone as a GPS. You can get .gpx files from me and load the route into your smart phone but use it as a back up only. Use the maps and the markers on the trail as your main navigation aid, with a hard copy of my route sheet summaries or the .gpx files as a back up. GPS it will only tell you if you are on the Trail or not. Tracking your route on a smart phone only will chew through the battery - my phone would not last 1 full days ride with the screen on all the time. See more on the separate page "Using GPS on Rides".

'Emergency +' is a handy phone app that was developed by Australia's emergency services and allows emergency operators to pinpoint your exact location using GPS, as well as providing information about who to call in non-emergency situations. The free app also includes SES and Police Assistance Line numbers as options, so non-emergency calls are made to the most appropriate number.

Download it for iPhone:

Or Android:

I carry a spare mobile phone power source. I have two to choose from - one has about 1.5 phone charges in it, but it does have a small solar panel in. I have it mounted in a clear topped bag on the bike, so hopefully it picks up a bit of charge during the day. However to fully charge it from the sun does take 2 days, so it really is just a back up for a day ride on the trail. I have another battery that has 3 or 4 phone charges in it as well.

Make sure you have a fully charged phone with you when you are on the Trail . In the event of an life threatening emergency try to call 112, which may be able to contact emergency services even without service coverage.

Note: my iPhone will switch off if sitting in the sun on a hot day, because it has over heated. It last happened in Dec 2015, on a 34 degree day. Obviuosly, you want the phone where it is visible, which means it gets the Sun. But if it overheats, it is then useless.

This page is the property of Follow My Ride, a website detailing off road cycle tracks near Perth and in Western Australia.