Guide to the best apps for bike excursions and routes
Cycling is a hot trend and the app world adequately covers all you could need – finding new routes, sharing excursions with other bike enthusiasts, measuring health and more.
Not only is it a healthy and relatively fast way of moving around (well, it’s generally faster than walking), but it’s also environmentally friendly and free.
This pastime is a brilliant way to spend time with the family, friends, or your partner, and for those that can’t get enough of this sport, there are plenty of cycling groups that tackle all sorts of terrains and distances that meet regularly.
And you can more or less take your bike out anywhere – in the countryside, around the city, in huge parks and natural spaces and along specific picturesque bike routes.
What has also become in fashion, the same with running and other types of exercise, is to map your route, count the calories burned, check your speed and heart rate amongst other things.
All of the above, and more, can be done via a mobile phone application these days. In fact, it is possible to control practically every single aspect of the time spent out on your bike, from the moment you leave your house to the time that you return home.
Below is a guide to some of the best applications out at the moment to ensure that you are pedalling while recording as many details as possible.
Road Bike Pro by Runtastic
This app comes in a free or paid version and is available for Apple and Android phones. The paying app, which is priced at EUR 4.99, is definitely for the more experienced bike riders out there who want to know every detail of every bike outing. This app contains 50 different functions, including a GPS tracking system, measures the distance and time travelled, your speed, the calories burned, your heart rate and loads more. There are even map routes, weather forecasts and a music player. The free version is basic but is recommended for beginners, or at least for those who just cycle for fun.
This is a fantastic mobile phone app, not only for cyclists but for hikers as well. The objective behind the creation, by five Spanish entrepreneurs, of this free app is to share people’s favourite walking and cycling routes from across all parts of the world. Wikiloc allows you explore and discover the best routes and trails in your location and to also create your own, and upload them immediately to the app through your phone. You can broadcast your route live so others can track your progress, see where you are and cheer you on. Wikiloc has approximately 815,000 members, 1,543,687 routes across around 30 different countries and 2,411,101 photos. The maps can be downloaded onto your phone and accessed without connecting to the Internet. And you can track your activities in real time, consulting your speed, distance covered and elevation.
This app is good if you want to compare your cycling and track results with those of your friends and family. The data is gathered from your smartphone, sports watch and tracking devices by the app’s software and the information is used to create personalized maps and classification tables. This means that we can compare our results to everyone else’s, and the most competitive can try and make sure that they beat the competition in the next event. There are two versions of the app available: one for cyclists and another for runners. If you’re looking for some inspiration for a new route, Strava has a local guide section for urban and rural routes, which provides a map, distance, elevation and time details plus photos and comments from other users.
After much revamping, this app has turned into a handy little aid. Bike Map allows you to search for cycling routes not only in your area but in others that you plan on visiting with your bike. There are approximately 1,500,000 mapped out routes on the app from across the globe and new routes are being uploaded on a daily basis by members of the Bike Map community. Navigation while you are out won’t be a problem either as your current location is displayed on an interactive map in real time, so you can easily work out where you’ve been and where you need to head to.
This app was created in Finland in relation to the Nokia phone, but can be used with Apple and Android mobiles too. It has a simple layout and through your phone’s internal GPS system calculates and registers distances cycled, speed, time travelled and the route followed. All this information is shared with other users of the app and on social media sites. You can upload photos and your route covered while you are out and can also listen to music through the app at the same time. As with other apps, Sports Tracker will measure your heart rate etc. so that you are able to improve on past efforts, train more effectively and improve on your fitness. You can also join the Sports Tracker community and find out about new routes, discover new places and learn from those around you.
Bike Gear Calculator
So, this app for Apple and Android devices is slightly different to all the others mentioned previously. Bike Gear Calculator is basically a gears’ calculator that allows you to select your bike’s cadence, tyre size, crank length and more and determine the gear ratio, gain ratio, speed, pedal rotations. With all of this information it then calculates the time and distance that you would use for each route that you choose. You can then change all the specifications to find out whether in a different gear the route would be completed faster and with less effort.
Have you ever thought about renting out your property to someone on holiday in exchange for staying in theirs? Well, this is something similar and great for those of us that own a bike or two but don’t use them very often. This app allows you to rent out your bike to a tourist visiting your area who wants to get to know the area by travelling around on two wheels. The app matches up the details between the bike owner and visitor and the rest is easy. As well as detailing offers for bikes, Spinlister also connects tourists and owners of skis, snowboards, surfboards and SUPs.
This app is for all those that like to travel to different cities in Spain and hire out those bikes that you see parked up in a row in the street, which you then pay to take out and can deposit in another location where there is a space after use. The problem with these bikes is that often it is difficult to know where they are located in the first place and where there is an empty space to park them when you’ve finished with them. BiciDroid is the app to solve these types of problems, as it rapidly locates the nearest bike station with available machines and the nearest free space to enable you to leave them when you’ve finished. The information is given to you on a detailed map. BiciDroid only takes into account public cycles in the cities of Barcelona, Girona, Granollers, León, Palma, Santander, Sevilla, Valencia and Zaragoza.
This app entails a one-off payment of EUR 4.99 and is only available for Apple phones. So, what can you do with Cyclemeter? Well, it’s very similar to Runtastic’s Road Bike Pro and is great for those sports enthusiasts that take cycling seriously. As soon as you hop onto your bike, turn on the app and it will automatically track your speed, distance, location, altitude, elevation, total ride time and stop times. Your results can be viewed on a map, graph, chart and calendar. The calendar is a great feature that allows you to see which days of the month you went out on your bike and the ones in which you stayed at home. With Cyclemeter you can also share your route on social media sites, import and export trails, compete with other cyclists and even listen to music.
This is another app that’s completely different but one that all cyclists will find very useful. It’s not free and costs EUR 3.59 on an Apple phone and EUR 2.26 for Android devices. Bici Repair or Bike Repair helps you to fix your bike when you come across a common problem. The guides help you through photos and highly detailed instructions. It even advises you if your own body is aching while you are out and about on your bike. Bike Repair also provides weather reports and information about the best clothes to wear while cycling.
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