With the iPhone now onto its sixth incarnation and great new Android smartphones launching regularly, there are more cycling apps than ever – ranging from highly analytical training tools to simpler social apps and useful navigational resources. It is amazing what your iPhone and a GPS can do to track your time, distance, and speed. Some even auto-detect your movements and track different types. These apps for cycling are definitely cheaper than your own cycling computer set up.
Strava – Free, in-app purchases
We’re starting with the most obvious app, the one that needs no introduction. Since it launched in 2009, Strava has gone on to become hugely popular and for many, it’s the go-to app for all cycle rides. The smartphone app tracks and records your ride, providing distance, speed and other metrics, but it’s how your rides are presented that sets it apart. ‘Segments’ show your times on leader boards so you can see how you compare to others who have cycled the same road, and the social functionality that allows you to follow the weekly progress of cycling friends, join clubs and take part in challenges that really is the reason for Strava’s popularity.
Cyclemeter – Free
Cyclemeter is a really useful app that turns your iPhone (not currently available for Android) into a cycle computer, which is really handy if you mount your phone to your handlebars, providing plenty of information at a glance. It integrates maps for navigational duties and can be customised in many ways, including providing audio alerts for a range of metrics. It’s also available on the new Apple Watch if you have one of those.
Google Maps – Free
There are many mapping apps available but one that you might have on your phone already, and not realise it, is Google Maps. The latest version has offered cycling routes for some time, and works very well. It can provide turn-by-turn navigation instructions if you want it as well.
MapMyRide – Free, in-app purchases
MapMyRide has been around for quite a while and is a very popular way of plotting routes or finding other routes in your area, with a large database of routes available, making it a good option for those wanting to explore a part of the country. It’s free but there is a premium version which gives you more advanced tools and mapping.
Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner – Free
Routing is made easy with Bike Hub, an app that can find the quickest or quickest route for you to cycle home or to the office. With a route loaded, the app can provide 2D and 3D satellite navigation and turn-by-turn instructions, just like you would get in a car satellite navigation, with audio announcements if you want them. Another useful feature is the ability to locate your nearest bike shop.
National Cycle Network – Free
This free app, developed by the travel charity Sustrans, is a gift to cyclists. With more than 25,000 miles of British cycling and walking routes, it aims to help the cycling community to embark on longer rides and tours.
Size My Bike – £3.77
Determining the right size road bike, especially if you’re a beginner or buying a bike online can be a tricky decision. Size My Bike is a bike fitting app that uses six body measurements to help you choose the right size road bike. It also works for mountain bikes too.
Bike Doctor – from £1.79
Maintaining, servicing or fixing your bike can be a little daunting at first, and that’s where this extremely useful app come comes into its own. It provides step-by-step instructions for fixing any sort of mechanical problem on your bike. It’s been designed to be easy to use, with clear instructions that even a beginner can follow. It costs £3.99 on iPhone and £1.79 on Android – cheaper than visiting the bike shop though.