Singletrack and the iPad

by Mark Alker 24

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

Comments (24)

  1. You can just buy it as a legitimate business expense you know… you don’t have to go to all this trouble to justify it.

  2. thing that reads computer files can read our computer files… cutting edge news item there guys

    Can we have an android app for the forum please?

  3. Yeah i read the PDFs on my iPod touch it’s good. Probably won’t get an ipad as it’s not so comfortable to hold when surfing. Might use the iTunes thingy though.

  4. I read the mags in iBooks, it all syncs with my iTunes. It makes for a very pleasant reading experience.

  5. Dirtynap = sweeping statement

  6. iBooks here too on the iPhone….

  7. Have you got/used/seen an ipad dirtynap? I’ve got one and its fab. Try one before you talk utter rubbish.

    This sounds like a good way to read the mag, might make me get a subscription at last!

  8. anyone else think that the premier content is a bit thin on the ground?

  9. The paper industry pays my wages.

    The IPad is one step away from witchcraft. Go and buy your mags in the shops so I can pay my mortgage.

  10. can’t wait for the iPad app, paying via iTunes etc. Fed up of piles of paper mags.

  11. Hope the app works for iPhone and is free to premier members. Every time I try to download a singletrack PDF to my phone it fails.

  12. Harry, you must have had a big mortgage increase this year, the rate your paper prices increases to off set this is shocking!

  13. As I wrote above, accessing the files directly via a browser, be that on the iPad or iPhone is not a good way to view large PDF files of any type. You really need to use an App to view them. iBooks is available now for the iPhone now and we’d recommend that for iPhone viewing of our files. It’s free too!

    The iTunes store App will be separate to our Premier access system and so you will need to buy the mags individually or buy a dedicated iTunes store App subscription to Singletrack.

  14. If you click the download link on an iPhone with iOS4.0 it’ll give you the option to save to iBooks once it’s downloaded (assuming you have iBooks installed)

    GoodReader also works well.

  15. The iTunes store App will be separate to our Premier access system and so you will need to buy the mags individually or buy a dedicated iTunes store App subscription to Singletrack.

    Please don’t do this: this is basically what Marvel and DC have done with their digital comic subscriptions i.e. People who already had a subscription via the website still have to buy the iPad versions separately. There has been a lot of negative reaction to that, as (quite rightly IMHO) people find it hard to see why they should have to pay twice for the same digital content.

  16. Would it perhaps be possible to ape Apple and provide some sort of rebate system for those preexisting premier users purchasing products from iTunes? For instance, is they provide the e-mail receipt for the app or for the year subscription, then they would be partially refunded the cost of the iTunes purchase?
    I for one can’t wait for the app…

  17. Just got one of these apple phone 4 things (first apple product for me) and am now glad I had previously signed up for premier as I hadn’t found a use for the PDF download feature yet! And the content looks lovely with the high res screen.

    I do hope there’s a similar android system for PDFs as the way iBooks presents things is very nice, but shouldn’t be exclusive in my view (will probably end up with one when this gets old).

    The PDFs certainly won’t replace the real mag at all, how could they? But having access to them does mean I can refer to routes/tips from earlier issue with ease even when there’s no Internet access.

    So.. Great feature singletrack! 🙂

  18. iBooks on iPad and iPhone 4 is a great way of reading the mag but doesn’t (currently) allow display of a double page spread (DPS). I tried both Bookman and Goodreader but neither seems to support display of zoomed text in high resolution (which is vector anyway). They seem to create a low resolution version that becomes uncomfortable to read when zoomed in.
    Anyone found an app that displays DPS and keeps text sharp?
    Totally agree with the comments about the app being not linked to existing subscriptions. ‘Wired’ is doing the same thing and is likely to put me off paying for the may in any form.

  19. Actually my mistake, Goodreader does render the text in high resolution.

  20. welcome to our website
    We have no legitimate business model and this is why we resort to spamming the comment features of random websites. Effectively we are no better than the arseholes who spend their time filling your inbox up with spam in the hope their images of large penises will shame you into buying their quack products.

  21. We can’t realistically offer a rebate to existing Premier Digital subscribers who then buy the iPad app. One problem is that only a small part of what you pay to Apple for the app finally reaches us. What we are doing though is asking all APP purchasers to switch on the ’email us’ option in the app settings. This is so we can then get in touch and make sure you get all the other Premier benefits like extra website features, reduced website ads and our Premier Discount card.

  22. Anybody tried reading the premier pdf on an amazon Kindle?

  23. Any chance of making it compatible with Zinio? I ‘ve used this on the iPad and it works very nicely with Cycling Weekly, although all the bikes seem to have very narrow tyres and the tracks look boringly smooth 😉

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