By Mirianna la Grasta
With lockdown restrictions easing out, people slowly returning to the office, and shops and secondary schools reopening today, many will be those hopping on a bike and rediscovering the joys of cycling. Be it as a way of travelling from A to B, getting fit, going on adventures, or simply enjoying the summer breeze in the city.
And although you don’t need technology to do any of that, phones can turn out to be one of the best tools to carry in your pocket when heading out for a ride. Navigation, analysis, socialising, training…the world of cycling apps has a lot to offer. So, what is really worth downloading if you’re new to cycling?
Here are five smartphone apps you should check out to make the most out of your rides.
Best For: navigation and route-planning
Komoot is the go-to app for easy, cycling-specific navigation, route-planning and ready-made routes. It offers turn-by-turn navigation, both on-screen and with audio, downloadable offline maps, a selection of ready-built routes on and off-road, a versatile route planner, where you can also select your fitness level, and social networking too. The app works worldwide and its ready-made routes can be filtered by distance, difficulty and public transport links. As for personalised route-planning, Komoot helps you generate bike-specific topographic routing. The app also works as a social network: it allows you to share your commutes and adventures, stories, photographs, tips and recommendations from your journey with the cycling community.
Best For: turning your phone into a bike computer
If you don’t own a bike computer, Cyclemeter can come in handy when riding and training. The app turns your mobile device into a fitness computer, showing you maps, graphs and fitness data like splits, intervals, heart rate, laps and training zones. Cyclemeter also offers training plans and structured workouts for all levels. Unlike most cycling apps, Cyclemeter doesn’t store your fitness and GPS data on a website: everything is saved on your phone, unless you choose to share it on external websites like Facebook, Strava or Instagram.
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First Aid By The British Red Cross
Best For: first aid advice
Although not cycling-specific, First Aid by the British Red Cross is a must-have app to learn first-aid skills and refresh your knowledge on the go. The app teaches you what to do and how to do it in various situations, and it gives you advice on how to prepare for emergencies. It includes videos, interactive quizzes and step-by-step guides. Everything is stored on the app itself, so you can access it at all times, whether you have an internet connection or not.
Bike Repair Guide By Haynes
Best For: bike repair tutorials and videos
Created by Haynes, who publishes motorcycle and bicycle repair books, the Bike Repair Guide is a mobile manual for cyclists looking for repair and maintenance hacks. The app offers step-by-step tutorials on how to do basic pre-ride checks, plus maintenance advice for your drivetrain, wheels, frame, brakes and cockpit. It includes tips for emergency situations, like a quick inner tube and tyre fix, and more complex advice too, from how to lubricate cables, to avoiding cross-threading. It’s the guide you’ll need when trying to fix your first flat by yourself, in the middle of nowhere, with no signal on your phone!
Best For: ride analysis and community
Cost: free, with a premium membership option at £6.99 a month
Strava is, quintessentially, the social network for cyclists. It allows you to track your activities, fitness and performance, and share them with a worldwide community of athletes of all levels. Strava gives you stats for your every ride, including speed, distance, elevation gain, heart rate and calories burnt, it shows you what your athlete friends are up to, and it lets you take part in monthly challenges and competitions. The app is a must-have for connecting with like-minded athletes, sharing your training journey and adventures, joining clubs and communities, posting pictures, and signing up for social rides and events. Strava also has a premium membership option called “Summit”, which gives you a more extensive and detailed analysis of your performance.