Bike not quite running how it should be? There’s an app for that? Lost? Yup, that too.
In fact there are now loads of cycling-specific apps for the iPhone, many of which are extremely useful. In no particular order, here are 10 of our cheapo favourites.
One of the many free apps offering GPS, Imapmyride gives you the option of ant+ add-ons like heart rate, speed and power.
Pros: A great way to collate data from many sources if you don’t have a device currently. Live tracking of friends’ training, climbing, speed, distance, time, logged training, all of which can be linked to your user name on the website.
Cons: Reliant on strong GPS signal – as are all similar apps. Need a good phone signal to view map info live (it still records data without this).
Safely should always be a priority, whether you’re a novice or an old hand. This app gives help in handling various situations, rules and laws, plus best practice tips.
Pros: Tips on how to tackle crossings, junctions, clothing, signs and the dos and don’ts of cycling on the road.
Cons: The roads, as we know, are not always as simple as black and white. Even with
this, safe cycling requires common sense.
Designed to reduce the hassle of arranging rides, this app lets you plan, meet and let everyone know if you’ve punctured or are running late for whatever reason.
Pros: Accept/decline rides, see routes mapped out with time, terrain and start place. Message board. Message quickly with info – saving the guesswork of who’s first at the cafe.
Cons: Everyone you ride with needs an iPhone, or you’ll still have to resort to calls and multi-texts.
Finding Boris Bike parking space can be tough, so this app allows you to find the closest station near you with bikes/spaces available… which of course gives you a route to find it.
Pros: Many unique features which allow you to view favourite destinations, account balance, previous rides and routes. Live updates with directions to anywhere you want to go.
Cons: Chocolate teapot time if you never use the London Cycle Hire scheme. Only as accurate as the last time you checked availability.
This app uses your body measurements to give you the ‘ideal’ bike fit.
Pros: Simple to use – gives you two ideal set-ups, road and mtb. ‘How to’ section provides some set-up info. All you need to do is measure yourself!
Cons: Doesn’t take into account cleat position, handlebar size and obviously bikes will be
London Bike Shop
A one-stop shop for info on the capital’s local bike shops, with opening times and phone numbers.
Pros: Search by address, location and see if shops are open. Search history allows info sharing, and there’s a list of cycling cafes.
Cons: Only as useful as the accuracy of the info. No customer feedback or rating allowed.
Bike Gear Calculator
A gear calculator to calculate gear ratios, gear inches, development and gain ratios using bike measurements. You can choose from a wide variety of wheel and tyre sizes.
Pros: Can find all variations of gear ratios, taking into account all tyre sizes and crank lengths. Select a gear at a certain rpm to find how long it will take to do various distances including one lap of a track, 250m, flying 200 TT, a mile and a kilo. Not got that gear combination? The swoop feature allows you to find the closest alternative ratio.
Cons: While Bike Gear Calculator is absolutely fantastic for the track rider, fixed wheel trainer or single-speeder, it’s of little use beyond this, and the skid patch calculator is truly ‘hipster’.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Uses the iPhone’s motion sensors to wake you in the lightest sleep phase so you’ll feel rested and relaxed.
Pros: Monitor the pattern, time and quality of sleep. Wakes you during the lightest phase, up to 30 minutes before the alarm time, so you’re less likely to reach for the snooze button.
Cons: You may wake up earlier than you want (but not as dopey). Needs accurate, regular placement for long-term monitoring of sleep.
A wealth of info for the training camp Mecca with plenty of pretty useful stuff.
Pros: Offline map, doctors and hospitals info, cycling routes and hire destinations, restaurant tips, and there’s even a beach finder for rest days.
Cons: English can be a little, shall we say, ‘interesting’, and for the most part, the info can be found elsewhere for free before the trip.
Designed to assist the new cyclist in basic repairs and save you money at the bike shop for things you can do on the road.
Pros: Gives a good step-by-step tutorial of your repair. Search to eliminate anything not relevant to you and your bike, and there are good illustrations with a checklist of tools you will need to use. Choose between, road, hybrid and mountain bikes.
Cons: Basic repairs are covered, but not many manufacturers’ higher-end product – but then, it is aimed at the novice rather than the seasoned cyclist.
Handy apps: Other options
There are plenty more useful apps out there too, including these Tech team favourites…
Spirit level: 59p
Not able to get your saddle completely flat? A simple app that allows you to level anything correctly without the hassle of carrying an actual spirit level.
Instant Heart Rate: Free
Uses the camera to measure your heart rate – great for early-morning RHR checks when training hard.
Spoke Calc: Free
Calculates the length of bicycle spokes given the hub and rim dimensions as well as spoke crossing patterns. Really useful for budding wheel builders out there.
This article originally appeared in the April 21 2011 issue of Cycling Weekly maagzine