In today’s world there is an app for everything. Hardly before you realise the need for one, it’s on the market. Whatever your hobby, an app has been released to make it easier or more convenient, and cycling is not an exception. In fact, there hasn’t been just one app created for cyclists, but many. With new technology in phones like the iPhone 5s being able to track your travel without running your battery down too fast, these apps are becoming more usable than ever. In no particular order, here are five of the best smartphone apps for cyclists.
One great aspect of Strava is that you do not have to mount it on your handlebars to see and use it. You can carry it in your pocket and forget about it while it records your route and times. It automatically ranks your time when uploaded in comparison to others’ times along the same route or trail. The really fun and compelling feature of this app is, if you have many friends who are also cyclists, you can compare your times and routes to theirs, or compete for the best times. It is also compatible with Instagram, so you can add graphics of your rides and leave comments about your friends’ rides. This app does have its critics. An article in the Guardian last year claimed that Strava app users are reckless on the roads. It certainly is an addictive social app. Potential users might want to consider other options such as fitness trackers or GPS watches, which also allow mapping the cycling journey and provide plenty of other useful data.
MapMyRide, similar to the excellent running app MapMyRun, does exactly what it says on the tin – it is a quality ride mapping software tool. Not only does it tell you where you are going, but uses its online history to relay popular routes and information. It can also be used to track your nutrition, weight, and other fitness facts, so if you are looking to revamp your entire nutrition and fitness routine, and not just for get a great bike ride, this app is the way to go.
- Google Maps
Simple, but effective, Google Maps can help you plan and track your route, while also helping you gauge the amount of time the route will take and comparing to how long it actually takes in reality. If the final destination is your goal, but you want to get there using bike friendly routes, Google maps is your best option. It also gives audio turn by turn instructions, which is especially helpful if you do not want to mount your phone onto your handlebars. Just leave it in your pocket, or strap to your arm, plug in some headphones, and you are good to go.
Cyclemeter provides you with a lot of data. If jumping on your bicycle for you is more than a relaxed hobby, and you want to see a complete breakdown of all your stats immediately after your ride, this is your app. There are an infinite number of customisable options, it integrates with Google maps for help navigating, and you can configure it a number of different ways, including getting alerts for heart rate zones, times, and distance.
- Wahoo Fitness
Wahoo Fitness is great to use in combination with other apps. It is cross-software compatible, and will share your data with Strava, MapMyFitness, Training Peaks, My Fitness Pall, and even Dropbox. Like Cyclemeter, it also is heavy on the data and numbers it presents afterwards. Heart rate, speed, power, time, and distance are all made available as easy to view stats and graphs with this app. There are a number of reviews on these apps online if you are looking to try one out. You need to work out what suits your needs; and your needs may evolve. Many of the apps out there offer a trial or demo period. Play with them and figure out which ones work best for you. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents every year there are almost 20,000 bike accidents. These apps have the potential to distract and lead to lapses in concentration. Make sure you use them responsibly.