Singletrack and the iPad

July 13, 2010

Singletrack mag has been available to read as a PDF file for several years now through our online shop and more recently via our Premier Digital Subscription option.

If you are already a Premier Digital or Premier Print Digital users then you will be familiar with reading Singletrack either in your browser as a Flash based magazine or as a PDF file that you download to your laptop/PC and read offline – You can even print out the bits you want to carry with you like the route guides.

Now with the arrival of the iPad there’s a new way to read your favourite bike mag.

It so happens that the iPad is great at viewing PDF files and with the iPad being practically magazine sized you can read a whole page at once without having to scroll in and out like you needed to do with the iPhone. It’s this full page size feature that makes the iPad so useful as a book/magazine reading device.

Method 1 – read using iBooks

The simplest way to read your copies of Singletrack is to use the iBooks application that’s included on the iPad. The recent update allows you to read PDFs and keep them stored in your iTunes library.

Download the PDFs from the MagArchive onto your computer and drop them onto iTunes where they’ll appear in your Books Library.

Next time you sync your iPad they’ll appear in your iBooks Library (based on your sync preferences).

iBooks lets you change brightness within the app, for that late night reading experience, you can search the contents easily, and set bookmarks to your favourite articles or pictures. The only drawback is you can’t view pages side by side so double page spreads will lose their visual flair.

Method 2 – install a PDF reading App

There are many Apps in the iTunes store that will read PDF documents. Currently most are designed to read and store simple documents and are not really designed with magazines in mind. However there are a few that we have found that are cheap and visually offer up a reading experience close to that of a real magazine.

Bookman is one of our favourites. It’s free for a start! To use it you need to download the magazine PDF files to your computer that you use to sync with your iPad. Then connect your iPad and open up iTunes. Click the ‘App’ tab in your iPad’s menu and scroll down to the App settings window. There you will see Bookman in the list. Clicking the Bookman icon in this list will bring up a window that will allow you to load all the PDF files you have downloaded to your PC into the Bookman library on your iPad. Once you have ‘sync’d’ them to your iPad you will have an easily accessible library of every digital copy of Singletrack magazine at your fingertips (Currently 43 issues).

Bookman gives you the option of viewing the pages individually in portrait mode or if you rotate the iPad into landscape mode you can view the magazine as a series of Double Page Spreads (DPS). This is pretty useful as many features in Singletrack are designed to run across the central spine of the page. Our galleries often have images that are viewed across two pages. It’s this ability to view DPS pages properly that singles out Bookman as a PDF reader particularly suited to viewing magazines. In landscape mode the text is naturally too small for most eyes to read but with just two fingers you can zoom in on any part of the page to read. Just tap the page twice and the display rescales everything to fit back into either landscape or portrait mode.

Another good App we have found that has this DPS ability is GoodReader. It costs 59p and the method of loading mags into its library is slightly more complicated but it handles DPS pages very well in landscape mode.

Method 3 – via our dedicated iTunes store Singletrack Magazine App.

A quick search through the App store will reveal our dedicated Singletrack magazine app that will allow you to buy individual issues complete with interactive elements like audio/video clips and links to websites. Our app will even allow you to subscribe for a year’s worth of issues and will notify you as soon as a new issue is available to download. Issues will come straight from the store to your iPad without the need to sync with iTunes first.


The App itself costs £2.99 via your iTunes account – For that you get the app plus your choice of issue from the last 12 months. Once you have bought the app all subsequent issues cost just £2.39 each.

You can subscribe to the next 8 issues of Singletrack via our App for just £15.99.

Please Note: Subscribing via the iTunes store and our official iTunes App is separate from our Premier Subscription system. We can not link your Premier Account to your iTunes account and so we can’t offer a discounted App price for existing Premier Susbcribers.

If you are already a Premier Digital subscriber then we recommend that you do not buy the iTunes App.

Method 5: If you’re on the road

Another way is to use the iPad’s web browser, navigate to the mag archive (make sure you are logged in to the site and a registered Premier Digital user), click on the ‘Download’ link of the mag you want to read and wait for it to appear in your browser.

This method is simple and you don’t need anything other than your Premier Login details and the browser that comes with the iPad.

However there are some major drawbacks – If you navigate away from the page then the iPad ‘loses’ the document and you need to download it again. It also doesn’t read like a magazine and you have to scroll up and down to each new page. Not a great viewing experience, but it works.

Sign Up For Premier Access

To access our PDF files, whether you want to view the mag in your browser complete with interactive extras or as a PDF file downloaded to your computer, you will need to subscribe to our Premier Digital service. This is simple and fast and costs the equivalent of 5p per day. For that you will get access to the ever growing contents of our Mag Archive (Currently listing 43 issues of Singletrack) for a whole year. There are other benefits too from the option to reduce the number ads you see on each page of this website to access to Premier only web stories and video content. We also furnish you with one of our Premier User Club Cards which give you access to a whole range of deals and discounts in bike shops and other bike related businesses up and down the country.

Just click the Yellow Button at the top of the page to reveal the options.

The Bookman main library index page - just tap to open up your mag
The iPad in landscape mode automatically displays two facing pages
The front cover of issue 59 as displayed on an iPad

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Online Feature Premier