Before the rise of smartphones, cyclists embraced a wide range of technologies intended to improve their ride and make getting fit a bit easier. Unlike running, you have a frame to attach things to and designers took full advantage of this, developing specialist hardware products for the most dedicated of riders.
Fast forward to 2016, and the market for dedicated cycling hardware is almost non-existent. Why? Because our smartphones have created a more widely used platform to develop software solutions for. Cycling apps are now very popular as developers have come around to this way of thinking. More than ever, there are tools available to cyclists which makes the important tasks, like calculating distance and calorie output, easier.
Let’s explore some of the essential cycling apps on the market today.
1. Map My Ride
The original ride-logging service. Map My Ride allows users to track and save their individual ride data. From this, the app calculates distance covered, speed, elevation in various places, and even provides a detailed representation of your route. This helps you better understand which routes available to you are providing the most benefit.
There’s also a social element to this app, as routes can be uploaded and shared to the Map My Ride community for suggestions and inspiration. The aim is to bring local clusters of cyclists together and bolster the biking community through common purpose; this kind of support is proven to help people stick to their cycling goals.
2. Bike Doctor
Regular cyclists will know the problems traditional bikes often face. Usually, your only option is to pay out at a bike workshop, or rely on someone else to fix it. With Bike Doctor, you can move towards cycling self-sufficiency and learn proper maintenance through hundreds of detailed, visually-supportive help-guides.
Bike Doctor is especially useful if you use an on-road or off-road electric bike. The latest version comes with an electric-based monitoring guide, with information on how to effectively calculate electric bike charge and effectively conserve energy if necessary.
3. Bike Gear Calculator
Does what it says on the tin, and then some. For the technically minded riders out there, the Bike Gear Calculator is a dream come true. The app comes with an encyclopaedic knowledge of various bike parts from tyres and frames down to the pedals, cassette and hex socket screws, and how different parts can optimise your existing setup.
Beyond resources for gear itself, the Bike Gear Calculator can also serve as a handy reference for tuning up your existing kit. Whether you need to figure out a suitable tyre height and crank length for your usual ride, or alter your chainring completely on account of a new, bumpier route, calculations are made easy thanks to easily digestible graphs and tables.
This comprehensive fitness app is perfect for tracking your cycling performance on every ride, using GPS capabilities to monitor your speed, time, distance covered, and how you can effectively improve your workout each time you get on your bike. Cyclemeter itself comes bundled with a varied selection of pre-determined workouts, which you can add to and improve as the app generates more tailored data based on your own cycling records.
The app also includes a virtual personal trainer with built in announcements and helpful tips along your ride. These are perfect for adding some variety to your pre-determined workouts, and this data can also be exported and shared to various other cycling apps such as Map My Ride.
5. Dirt School
Looking to hone your skills in mountain biking? Dirt School offers tailored coaching via its growing digital platform, where you can pick up on new skills through collaborative learning sessions. The app also comes with hundreds of video files and visual references, to ensure you can observe a technique as many times as you want and replicate it properly.
If you decide to register for the premium version, you’ll also have access to a nifty feature where you can send videos of your attempts to Dirt School instructors and coaches. In return, they will provide personal feedback and set you some challenges to improve your skills and take you to the next step.