We round up the most useful mobile apps for cyclists: if you use an app not listed here, tell us about it
In this video we run through five of the best smartphone apps available to cyclists, and below list a further 11 that could be of use to you and your cycling.
Most cyclists now record their rides to see where they’ve been, keep a log of their training or to beat the segment times of their friends.
For the most part, cyclists have never been shy of embracing new technology, and there are now a whole host of useful cycling applications that have been designed to add an extra dimension to your riding.
We’re keeping a running list of the most useful cycling apps on this page, and we’d like you to contribute your own recommendations or comment on the ones we’ve already listed.
The more supported platforms the better: iPhone and iPad (iOS), Android, Windows, or whatever.
17 of the best cycling apps: the basics
We’ll go through each app in detail – but before we do, here’s a look at each one in brief:
- Strava: Records your rides and relevant data. The key to Strava is that your time over set segments is recorded, and placed on a leaderboard.
- Cyclemaps: For those who need help planning their journey, this app will detail the best route, and you can add stop offs too
- Map My Ride: One of the the earliest ride recording apps, Map My Ride will record your route, speed and other metrics – and you can compete against others users with the ‘courses’ function
- Fill That Hole: Created by Cycling UK – the National Cycling Charity – this app allows you to report potholes. They’ll be brought to the attention of the local authority.
- ViewRanger: Lacking inspiration? This app is a place where outdoor fanatics all over the world can upload their routes, and browse those used by others.
- Cyclemeter: A fitness focused app that uses your GPS ride data (distance, speed and time) to log progress with the aim of helping you to become a stronger cyclist.
- Cycle Hire: Using the London Cycle Hire Scheme? this app will show you cycle friendly routes to the nearest docking stations, plus how many bikes and spaces there are at each.
- 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs: Helps you to locate ascents from the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs book and gives vital statistics of each climb.
- Bike Gear Calculator: Work out your gear ratio in exacting detail, inputting tyre width, crank length and wheel size.
- Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner: Will plan out the best route for you, using cycle paths and permitted paths, as well as roads.
- BBC Weather: What cyclist doesn’t want to know what’s going on with the weather? We’ve reckon this one is the best of the bunch when it comes to ease of use.
- St John Ambulance First Aid for Cyclists: Advice on how to treat injuries in the first instance.
- RiderState: Logs where you’ve ridden in your ‘territory’ – the idea is to be the local rider that has covered the most streets in your area.
- My Virtual Mission: Look at the big picture, instead of individual rides. Set an ultimate goal, and log every activity until you reach it.
- Endomondo: Logs activity, and acts as a personal trainer, giving audio encouragement to help you progress.
- Kinomap Trainer: Connect this app to a compatible turbo trainer to ride along to your favourite route, resistance changes with the terrain.
- Garmin Connect: Two way communication: weather and notifications appear on your handlebars, and ride data is logged on your phone.
17 of the best cycling apps: in detail
One of the most popular GPS cycling apps offers an array of handy ride logging functions which are then uploaded to your online Strava profile. The app keeps track of your ride stats as you travel, including speed, time and distance all the while tracking where you’ve been. At the end of your ride, you can view further stats such as calories burned and elevation ridden – plus whether you have set a new record on any of the numerous Strava segments.
Planning your cycle route is made easy with CycleMaps, which uses a host of sources such as OpenCycleMaps and CycleStreets to plot the most direct and safest route for you and your bike. You can plot a simple A to B route, or include multiple stops or ‘via’ points. You can also tailor the routes it uses, so that if you fancy a slow, scenic ride it will find the right path, or a more direct, quicker route for fast commuting or training. Also available as an online mapping tool.
Map My Ride
Map My Ride was one of the original ride-logging services, and despite fierce competition for space on your phone from the likes of Strava, it still offers a lot. The app records a host 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 for detailed analysis and sharing with other users, if you wish. Like Strava, Map My Ride also includes timed sections, called Courses, where you can try and set the fastest time.
Fill That Hole
Few road cyclists can boast a pothole-free journey on their local roads, and up until the handy Fill That Hole app came along it was a struggle to report tarmac carbuncles. Created by national cyclists charity Cycling UK, the plain-looking yet highly functional app allows you report the location of potholes, which are then forwarded onto the relevant local authority for attention. You can also add a photo of the offending crater. We’ve tried it, and it works.
This app allows experts and enthusiasts alike to add routes, which users can browse from anywhere in the world.
In app purchases mean that users can buy premium maps provided by the Ordnance Survey. The files are quite large so you’ll need to ensure there’s plenty of space on your smartphone.
A big plus of this app is its versatility: use it for road riding and mountain biking, but also for walking and hiking.
This comprehensive fitness app utilises the GPS functions of Apple devices to create a host of statistics to help you log and improve your cycling performance. Records speed, time, distance and has an extensive array of workouts to follow, making it a virtual training partner. 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. Recorded data can be uploaded to Strava and other ride sharing websites.
This independent app developed by Alexander Baxevanis is a must-have for anyone that regularly uses the London Cycle Hire scheme, particularly if they use an array of routes. Not only will it help you plot a cycle-friendly route to a Cycle Hire docking station in any given area, it will also tell you how many bikes and spaces there are on an easy-to-follow map. You can also use the app to view your Cycle Hire account details, including recent journeys.
100 Greatest Cycling Climbs
The app of the best-selling book, 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, enables the user to locate and ride all of the hills featured in the popular publication. Info and stats are presented for each climb, and riders can see how they measure up against other cyclists as the app links to Strava’s segment KOMs.
Bike Gear Calculator
The slick-looking bicycle gear calculator from Matixsoft allows you to compare gear ratios on your bike to optimise your set-up. There are numerous variables that can be input, including tyre width, wheel size and crank length as well as the more obvious number of teeth on your chainset and cassette. It’s not an app for everyone – but the technically-minded will love its graphs and calculations.
Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner
A Sat Nav for cyclists, Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner will plot a route from your selected start and finish points using not only roads (omitting dual carriageways and motorways), but also cycle paths and permitted paths. The app is UK only at present and uses mapping from cyclestreets.net. We like the fact that you can choose a range of routing options from quickest route to quietest route, and it will avoid hills ‘where possible’. There’s also a function to find bike shops in the locality.
The weather plays a big part in any cyclist’s life. There are few cyclists who don’t check the weather forecast before leaving on a ride so that they can select the right clothing and know what they’re in for. We’ve found the BBC Weather app to be simple and relatively accurate – the best of the weather bunch by far.
St John Ambulance First Aid For Cyclists
This is one of those apps that you hope you’ll never need. St John Ambulance has produced a free app that guides you through first aid treatment for a range of common cycling-related injuries, so that you can treat yourself or others at the roadside. The app deals with a very wide range of injuries, giving step-by-step advice and diagrams, plus it tells you what to do in a serious emergency.
RiderState is a crowd-funded interactive game played by logging rides and seeing whether you have ‘conquered’ territories in your region. The more you ride in an area the more blocks on the map will belong to you. The app tracks your route in real-time on a map, and shows you the position of territories. The idea is to turn your bike riding and town/city into a boardgame, where you play against friends or rivals. It also logs all of your ride stats, such as speed and distance.
My Virtual Mission
Rather than dealing with individual rides, My Virtual Mission allows you to set an ultimate goal and then work towards it. So, for instance, you can decide that over the coming few months you are going to cycle the same distance as riding from the east to the west coast of the USA. Rather than actually cycling it, you set up the virtual journey on the app, and every time you cycle (or run) it plots the same distance on a map of your virtual journey, adding rides on each time you do them. As a goal-setting and motivational tool, it’s good fun. You could also use it to set up a long-distance ride for charity fund-raising, with the app including a function to track how much you’ve raised.
Rather than just tracking and logging your activities, Endomondo is designed to be your personal trainer and as such features ‘audio encouragement’ to motivate you during exercise, including how you are performing against pre-determined goals. As well as cycling and running, the app can also track around 40 other sports.
Kinomap Trainer aims to add a new dimension to your home/turbo trainer workouts. The app connects to a compatible trainer and then you can ‘ride’ along with a video of a given route, with the trainer’s resistance varying according to the terrain. You can even add your own videos to the system if you record a route using a GPS-enable camera. You can ride with up to 10 people, and post your results to Facebook and ride-logging sites such as Strava. A list of compatible turbo trainers is available online.
Garmin’s Connect software provides a link between your mobile device and Garmin GPS device to share data. The connection can work both ways, with a compatible Garmin GPS able to display weather data and notifications on your handlebars. Data from the Garmin device goes into the mobile device, giving you a range of ways to display the numbers: charts, graphs, maps, etc. LiveTrack lets friends follow your progress online as you are riding, and you can compete in weekly challenges and wirelessly upload activities.