Seven smartphone apps for cyclists
Armed with a smartphone and a sense of adventure, there a numerous apps that can add a whole new dimension to your cycling. Here we bring you the lowdown on some of the latest cycling apps, as well as a couple of updates.
Free (You can pay for upgrade to an Elite version)
Improve your cycling fitness with this app that makes use of Apple’s GPS functions to create a wealth of statistics on your performance.
The app records speed, time, distance and offers a wide range of workouts to follow. IN fact, it’s more like having your own virtual training partner.
Usefully, the app also includes built-in announcements, so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to know how you’re doing.
As with many of these new apps, recorded data can be uploaded to Strava and other ride-sharing websites.
Bike Gear Calculator
If you don’t know what gear ratio to fit to your bike for optimising your performance then this is the perfect app for you. It might sound a little geeky but actually it’s quite useful and if you like graphs and calculations then you’ll love it.
The bicycle gear calculator allows you to input numerous variables, including tyre width, wheel size and crank length, as well as the more obvious number of teeth on your chainset and cassette.
See Bike Gear Calculator
Free (You pay to become a Premium Strava member.)
Strava is one of the world's most popular GPS cycling apps and it’s being updated all the time. It offers a huge range of useful ride logging functions that are then uploaded to your on-line Strava profile.
The app keeps track of your speed, time and distance, while also tracking your route. At the end of your ride, you can also check calories burned and elevation ridden. Oh, and don’t forget to see if you have set a new set a new record on any of the numerous Strava “segments” (hill climbs and flat road sections).
Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner
This app helps you to plot a route from a start to a finish point using not only roads (omitting dual carriageways and motorways), but also cycle paths and permitted paths.
You can even choose a range of routing options from quickest route to quietest route, and “avoid hills where possible”.
Currently, the app is UK-only and uses mapping from cyclestreets.net.
See Routes Bike Hub
Map My Ride
iOS, Android, Windows
Free (There’s a premium version, too.)
This was one of the first ride logging services and it is still going strong today in app format.
The app records lots of data from your ride, including distance, speed, elevation and a detailed route. All of this can be uploaded to the Map My Ride site just like Strava so you can share data with other cyclists.
See Map My Ride
My Virtual Mission
My Virtual Mission allows you to set an ultimate goal and then work towards it. It’s less about individual rides and more about the total of your rides towards a set goal.
So, for instance, you can decide that over three months you will ride the same distance as the length of the UK.
Rather than real-time cycling it, you set up the virtual journey on the app, and each time you cycle the app plots the same distance on a map of your virtual journey. You will eventually reach your goal of completing the overall goal ride.
See My Virtual Mission
iOS, Windows Phone
Free (iOS – with in-app buys), £2.59 (Windows)
This app uses many different of sources, including CycleStreets and OpenCycleMaps, to plot the most direct and safest route for you to ride.
You can plot a simple A to B route, or include multiple stops in the journey.
The app allows cyclists to request a scenic ride or a faster route, depending on your needs that day.