As the world of smartphones and smartphone applications continues to grow, looking for something that suits your needs can be overwhelming; the iTunes App Store* alone has nearly 700 health-and-fitness related apps, and many of them are directed for cyclists. While they may have similar functions, some are definitely better than others, so we saved you some time and found the highest-rated, most purposeful ones to download for cheap (or free).
Go ahead; create a “cycling” category on your phone to organize these must-have apps.
*Links are all to the iTunes App Store, but most are available for Android as well.
- A new app called Personal Bike Routing (or PBR for short), developed by Chi Hack Night, lets riders choose their bike routes based off safety, rather than time or distance. The free iOS app offers three different route options: direct routes, which prioritize speed; cautious routes take riders on quiet, residential streets with minimal traffic; and comfortable routes are a median between the two. It also helps riders navigate through back streets. Currently, this app is only available in Chicago and New York, but is set to expand to more cities this fall.
- Also created by Chi Hack Night is Project Pavement, a free app that maps pavement quality in cities using a bike and smartphone accelerometers. Users can mount their phone to their bike handlebars, and the accelerometer will measure the surface quality, and the measurements can be viewed online.
- With a target audience of any bicyclist under the sun, Trail Tips is a new mountain bike instruction app created by two residents from Whistler, Canada who noticed the lack of availability in mobile mountain bike instruction. The app aims to help riders perfect their skills, and includes over 20 slow-motion videos that provide users with instruction needed to master all skills. This costs $2.99 for iPhone users.
- AllTrails is a guide to MOST of the trails in the United States. In fact, more than 50,000 biking and hiking tails across the country are featured, and can be viewed by difficulty; you can filter results to see what’s pet-friendly or even wheelchair accessible. The app itself is free for iOS and Android, but a pro version, for $30 a year, allows users to access maps offline too. AllTrails was rated the #1 outdoors app for iPhones.
- One of the most obvious athletic applications is Strava, which is a must-have, app for all cyclists. Available free for iPhone and Android, the smartphone app tracks and records ride distance, speed and other metrics. Unlike other tracking apps, however, Strava displays rides in “segments,” that allows users to compare their rides to others on the same road. It also allows bikers to follow weekly progress of themselves and friends, join clubs and compete in challenges.
- Similar to Strava, but a little more simplified, is Biking Log! PRO, a free app that tracks duration, speed, time, notes and more. The data is displayed in interactive charts, and users can access a “quick statistics” to get an overview of their ride. Users can also set goals and view past rides on Biking Log Pro. The app is only $1.99, and was rated the Best Biking App for Mac in 2014.
- Riding through a pothole does not only catch you off guard during an intense workout, but hast the potential to seriously damage your bike. That’s why CTC launched the Fill That Hole app, stemming from its service website, that allows users to report potholes immediately after they spot one from any smartphone.
- One of the most complicated parts about bike shopping is determining which size you need; luckily, an app called SizeMyBike makes that process much easier. The first bike-fitting app uses six body measurements to compute the optimal geometry of a road bike or mountain bike. Users can export their results into a PDF to bring to their local bike shop. This app is $1.99 for iOS, and is available for Android as well.
- Why spend a ton of money at a bike shop when you can spend $3.99 for an app that can help you fix your bike? Bike Doctor provides step-by-step instructions for fixing and maintaining the mechanical aspects of a bicycle. Instructions are clear for beginners, and it also provides details on how to conduct a safety check before riding. Also available for Android.
- A “just-in-case” app created by St. John Ambulance provides first aid tips specifically for cyclists; the free application features step-by-step treatment plans for a range of common cycling-related injuries incase the injury needs to be treated roadside. The John Ambulance First Aid for Cyclists app also provides advice and diagrams for a wide variety of injuries, and gives suggestions in case of a serious emergency.