If you own a bike, the chances are you're also a fan of technology, gadgets or puncture repair kits. The world of bike-tech is moving fast: From the material used in the construction of the frame to E-bikes to the wearable technology and other accessories now flooding the market (see smart helmets), there's plenty for cycling-geeks to get excited about. Another area of the tech landscape where cycling is prominent is in apps. Here are 6 of our favourite free apps for cyclists.
Launched in 2007 by three ex-management consultants Endomondo is described as 'a personal trainer in your pocket'. The app is essentially an activity tracker however it was designed to motivate the user through employing a number of innovative features that aim to make fitness more fun, more social and more engaging. Endomondo's features can be split between two main categories; the personal trainer and the social motivator. Notable features within these two categories include: Personal trainer: Real-Time GPS Tracking and Live Map track your position on a map & let friends follow you live, Audio Coach Feedback gives feedback every kilometre, Workout History includes split times & workout maps, Workout Goals allows you to compete against a friend or set a distance goal. Social motivator: Global Fitness Community for connecting with users all over the globe. Peptalks allows users to send and receive motivational audio messages from friends, Challenges daily challenges from Endomondo or custom challenges for competing against friends and Routes where you can discover and create new routes in your area and even become the route champion.
This app is all about safety and simplicity. The team behind CycleMaps wanted to give cyclists, in particular commuters, different options for getting from A to B. For example if you are building your confidence on the bike or are new to a city you can request a route that uses quieter and safer routes incorporating relaxed cycle paths and small streets instead of car-choked, main roads. Alternatively if you are in a rush you can find a route that uses high-speed cycle lanes or bigger roads. First and foremost the CycleMaps app is a route planner however the app's live display shows your position on a moving map and gives directions in good time which allows the rider to know where the next turn is and be more assertive on the road. You can also monitor speed, distance and time remaining.
3. Rain Alarm
Rain Alarm is a very helpful app that uses governmental weather data to give accurate, short-term weather forecasts using a satellite view. This is great for road cyclists who are deciding what to wear before a cycle and for those looking to avoid the rain all together. The reliable short-term forecast uses practically real-time radar data that, if set up correctly, the Rain Alarm app can be used to work out a route that avoids patches of rain. The app gives detailed information on the type of precipitation also through the use of a live map and some other helpful screens. There is also a website with various views.
4. Macs App
This blog post is certainly not intended as an advert for our own App, but since we first wrote this post back in 2016, we have worked hard on developing our own app that not only works in tandem with our wide range of cycling trips but offers much more. With the Macs App you have access to Global mapping, the same as many of the others offer below, but for free! The app has pre-loaded most of our tours, so you always have a backup in your pocket if you are feeling a bit lost. It runs in flight mode, so saves on battery and roaming charges and also keeps those pesky emails and interruptions at bay while you are immersed in the wilds. You can also map your own routes and share them with the growing community. For more info and to download the app, you can visit our website or type Macs Adventure into the App Store or Google Play store.
5. Map My Ride
A tried-and-tested app that has been popular amongst cyclists for quite a while now, MapMyRide is a reliable route planning & fitness tracking app. The large database of routes available on MapMyRide makes it a good option for those looking to discover new routes in their area or for exploring a new part of a country. New features mean the app can also be used to track performance and join challenges with friends or other members of the 40 million-strong community.
6. Fill That Hole
"In the UK there is an average of one road defect for every 110 metres of road." Let that sink in. If you cycle in the UK, in particular around Glasgow, this app is a novel way to report potholes and other road defects to your local council. The FillThatHole app is operated by Cycling UK, the UK's leading cycling charity, and is the easiest way to notify the local authority of any road defects. Simply complete the form in the app and the team at FillThatHole does the rest, keeping the bureaucracy and hoop-jumping to a minimum. Besides being a total nuisance that can damage wheels, potholes also pose a substantial danger to cyclists and other road users - the fact is, local authorities have a duty to maintain the roads and FillThatHole facilitates this.
There you have it, Macs Adventure's favourite and free cycling apps. If you have questions about our range of cycling tours in the UK, Europe or Worldwide, contact a member of the team. If you would like to receive travel tips and advice, including the best of our blog straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter. Happy cycling!