The Best Apps for Biking

Updated: Mar 21, 2018

When it comes to recording your ride statistics, various smart phone applications can perform this function extremely well. Whether you want to know the stats in real time or the totals at the end, there are apps for both. The following are currently the most popular ones and are available for both Android and iOS devices. The descriptions here are based on functionality. For user experiences and opinions, check the reviews in the app stores.




Cyclemeter


This feature-rich app makes an ongoing record of your GPS coordinates and other ride statistics, including travel time and stopped time. It will provide audio announcements of configurable information, such as travel time, distance, speed, elevation, ascension, and many more. These announcements can be set at various time and/or distance intervals. This hands-free audible information is ideal for mountain biking, as it eliminates the need to pull out your phone to get the information visually.


Your ride information can be shared by email, Twitter, and Facebook, as long as you have some degree of phone reception. Your current position can even be sent every few minutes so that friends and family will know your location, which is a good safety feature when you’re in the wilderness. When they reply, their written comments are converted to voice announcements that you can hear while riding.


This app can be used with separately purchased sensors for heart rate, cadence, and speed. The heart rate sensor gives your average heart rate and your maximum rate. This is good information for maintaining a heart rate in a particular zone to maximize your workout. The cadence sensor provides your pedal RPM, and the bike speed sensor measures from the wheel, which tends to be slightly more accurate than a GPS measured speed. This data can also be selected as one of the audible announcements.


When your ride is complete, you can view all of your statistics, see your speed and elevation in graph form, and view your ride on a map in street view, satellite view, or a hybrid of the two. All of this data can be compared to previous rides. You can also upload the rides of your choosing to Strava, Facebook, Twitter, or emailed if you’re interested in sharing your stats. For further information, visit www.abvio.com


Strava


This popular app is a type of social networking for biking and other activities. It tracks elapsed time, distance, elevation gains and average speed, and will work with separately purchased heart rate, cadence, and speed sensors. What’s unique about this app is its ability to compare your ride time against your previous rides and that of other riders, both friends and strangers. Before you embark on your ride, you can view a list of existing segmented challenges on the map. When you complete your ride, you’ll be placed on a leaderboard on each of the segments with your ranked position, based on time.


If you’re the competitive type (as many cyclists are) you’ll try to get a higher placing on the leaderboards. This is a great motivator and will keep you from becoming complacent. Always pushing to do better, you’ll improve your speed and fitness as well as your ranking on the list. Velo News said it best: “Besting personal milestones are one thing; crushing your buddy's best time up a local climb with data to prove it, is something else entirely.”


The only drawback to these challenges is a possible recklessness that can go with these types of all-out efforts. When mountain biking on multi-use singletracks, you could be a danger to other trail users. When road biking, disobeying the traffic laws could end in disaster. You must remain cautious and alert while using this app, because it’s easy to disregarding safety when you’re obsessed with getting the fastest time.

For further information, visit www.strava.com


Wahoo Fitness


From the makers of the Wahoo Fitness sensors, it displays real time information of your speed, heart rate, cadence, and power when it’s combined with their sensors. It will provide a full array of audio alerts for eyes-free operation. You can see a detailed analysis of your efforts including your heart rate zone information with current, average, and max heart rates. It will also provide a savable GPS map that displays your traveled route. The summary of all your rides can be referenced at any time and can even be uploaded to a variety of fitness web sites including Strava. For further information, visit www.wahoofitness.com/apps


Map My Ride


This app records your route, time, distance, speed, and pace. Voice feedback announcements are made at programmable distance and/or time intervals by fading down your music to a level that allows you to hear them both simultaneously. Ride parameters including heart rate, cadence, and speed can be monitored when used with separately purchased sensors.


The Map My Ride app can also be used as a nutritional guide by allowing you to record the food that you eat and automatically assign it a caloric number. This is then compared to the amount of calories you’ve burned from your exercise, giving you a final caloric number for the day, either positive or negative.


You can track your progress on the associated web site: www.mapmyride.com. Once you’re signed up with this service, you can add friends or be added as a friend. You can then keep tabs on each other’s progress, arrange times to meet up, and track each other during a race. If you choose, your data can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.


Runtastic Mountain Bike and Runtastic Road Bike


Records your ongoing information including travel time, distance, speed, altitude, ascension, and more. The map view gives you a choice of a topographical with trail markings or a satellite view. Voice feedback is available with a variety language options including English, German, Spanish, Italian, and French. Separately purchased sensors for heart rate, cadence, and speed can be used with optional audio announcements, including when you reach your desired heart rate zone.


When you’re finished, the information can be uploaded to the developer’s website, www.runtastic.com for a more detailed analysis of your results. It will break down your speed, ride times, and elevation gains and losses at set distance intervals in either miles or kilometers. You can see your map with the same view choices, except with the advantage of bigger screen. You can also use the website to keep track of your activity and measure your personal fitness levels including weight and body fat percentage. Information from other activities such as running, walking, skiing, and road cycling can be consolidated to this database.

About the Author
Contact:

Paul Molenberg lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has had a lifelong commitment to fitness and sport activities, including almost two decades of mountain biking a diverse range of trails throughout the United States and some of Canada. The coastal redwood trails of Northern California, Lake Tahoe’s epic rim trail, the slopes of Maui’s Mt. Haleakala, the downhill and cross-country trails in Park City, Utah, and the black diamond trails of North Carolina’s Pisgah Forest are just a few of the challenges Paul has taken on and conquered. He has now leveraged his experience to create a comprehensive book on the sport of mountain biking.

 

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