Bike apps for the iPhone

I finally took the plunge and purchased an iPhone. The main reason why? All the great cycling related apps that are available. In this post I will take you through the all the bike applications so that you can compare them and choose the best apps for you. If you really want to get the most out of your iPhone for cycling then I’ve written an eBook called the iPhone Cyclist that covers over 65 applications.

Bike maintenance on the iPhone

Bike Doctor

When you are out cycling the chances are you don’t carry big heavy bike maintenance books with you just in case something goes wrong. Technology or more specifically the iPhone comes to the rescue. The Bike Doctor App has 20 repairs that you can easily follow step-by-step. The repairs are written in such a way that even a complete bike maintenance beginner can understand them. There are big plans for this App with version  2 promising more emergency style repairs and bike safety check functionality.

Bike Doctor App for the iPhoneShowing one of the steps in the repairss5

Bike Doctor Website

London Bike Rides

If on the lookout for great places to cycle in London then the London Bike Rides iPhone app will appeal. It contains 30 routes through the capital and out into the surrounding area. From easy 6 mile routes that help you discover new parts of London to longer 25-30 mile routes that road cyclists look for. It’s a great little app for London cyclists.

   

EveryTrail 3

Bike route tracking on the iPhone

The below comparison table gives an overview of the functionality of the route tracking apps:

iphone comparison table

The limitation you need to be aware of with most of these apps is that they will rapidly run down the battery and are heavily dependent on GPS signal quality.

EveryTrail

IMG_2070 IMG_2071 IMG_2072

The EveryTrail app comes in both free and paid flavours. I paid for the full version which meant I could track an unlimited number of trips. In the free version you are limited to three. The best use of the Everytrail bike app is for following cycling routes as you can import any rides listed on the EveryTrail website. You can also track your route and tag any pictures along the way. One of the most useful functions is the ability to download offline Open Cycle Maps which is great for saving battery or for using the app abroad when you don’t have access to a 3G network.

EveryTrail 3

Trails

trails iphone screenshot from app storeTrails importing a routeTrails iPhone bike app screenshot

Trails allows you to record, import and export your bike routes. Of all the apps I reviewed this is the one that does this best. When importing routes you simply search on popular croute tracking sites or you import a GPX file. When exporting, you can either export to EveryTrail or to an email address. This makes it perfect for sharing with others.

When tracking your cycling the iPhone screen is locked so that no buttons are pressed by mistake. Also, battery life is conserved as the map is not being constantly loaded unless you ask it to. There is also functionality to edit waypoints and listen to music/receive call whenever. Trails is very well designed and is the bike app I use most often. There is also a lite version available with more limited functionality.

Trails - GPS tracker

Cycle Meter

cyclemeter-iphone-bike-app-abviocyclemeter-iphone-bike-mapcyclemeter-iphone-bike

This is my new favourite bike app for tracking my cycling and it’s the same for lots of people out there as it consistently performs highly in the iPhone app store (plenty of 5 star ratings). Cycle Meter for the iPhone by Abvio is a complete solution that works very simply. When you are at the beginning of your bike ride you tap the start button, the timer begins and you get a load of stats such as Ride Time, Distance, Speed and Average. At the end all your rides are stored on your iPhone and can be viewed again.

Cycle Meter - GPS

MotionX

Motion X bike computerMotion X different maps available Motion X ipod control

There are two versions of MotionX available -  I took a look at the lite version. Tracking your bike route is simple. You simply tap the start button and set off then tap the stop button to stop. Thankfully there is a lock button on the bottom left that stops you tapping buttons when the iPhone is in your pocket. Similarly to the Trails app there is a variety of map formats to choose from. In MotionX you can also control your iPod at the same time from within the app.

MotionX GPS

iMapMyRide

imapmy iphoneimap bike app settings screen imapmyride bike app main

iMapMyRide is an okay app, the problem lies with iMapMyRide.com. It is so full of adverts it is impossible to use. The GPS signal quality was also a little variable. It is a useful bike app for anyone that uses iMapMyRide.com frequently.

iMapMyRide

Cychosis

Cychosis iphone bike screenshotcychosis bike app cychosis cycling app settings

Cychosis works in a different way to the rest of the iPhone bike applications.  You manually enter your ride details into the application. Therefore you need a separate bike computer. The app then keeps a history of all your rides. This works well for those that don’t want their route tracked by GPS which can be a heavy burden on battery life.

Cychosis - Cycling Journal

More iPhone bike apps!

Bike GPS

Bike Hub - a bike GPS

Drivers have their Tom Tom and the UK’s cyclists have their Bike Hub. Great bike app for the iPhone where you pick your starting point and destination and follow a bike friendly route. Oh, and it’s completely free!

Bike Hub iPhone

London Bike Shop

London Bike Shop iPhone app

London Bike Shop shows you the nearest bike shop if you are in London. It also includes listings of bike cafe’s and mobile bike repair services.

London Bike Shop Bike apps for iPhone

The Bike Computer

iphone app - the bike computer

Having a bicycle computer is one of the most fun (And geeky!) gadgets you can have on a bike. I’m always spending way too long looking at my bike computer trying to break my speed record.

The problem with porting this great gadget over to the iPhone is that the GPS function can work with varying success which can obviously skew your results heavily. None the less, this is a great little free app to have and I recommend it to all cyclists.

The Bike Computer

Bicycle Gear Calculator

iphone gear calculatorGreat application to have on your iPhone though you can just as easily use Sheldon Brown’s Tool. It allows you to calculate gear ratio and gain ratio. It costs $4.99 (£2.99).

Bicycle Gear Calculator ? Bike Gears

Brake Lights

brake light app screenshot of light

Hook it up to the back of your bag and you get a bicycle brake light for $1 (£0.59). Novel idea but it is probably ten times more useful to buy an actual bike light!

BrakeLights

Using your iPhone for cycling: Taking it to the next level!

The applications listed here are just skimming the surface of all of the capabilities of the iPhone. If you wish to get the most out of it then I recommend taking a look at the iPhone Cyclist eBook.

Related to bike apps for the iPhone:

  1. 3 new cycling iPhone apps
  2. Mount your iPhone to your bike
  3. Review of Bicio GoRide iPhone bike mount
  4. Using GPS coordinates for cycling (including on iPhone)

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54 Responses to Bike apps for the iPhone

  1. Danny Brown 07/06/2009 at 4:13 pm #

    Thanks so much for your bike apps review for the iphone. This is exactly what I have been looking for as I am about to purchase an iphone (I think) primarily to reduce carrying phone, GPS, cyle computer, et al. I appreciate your comments.

    • CobbyPH 03/11/2011 at 6:21 am #

      I strongly recommend you to install BikeMateLite later. it’s free.
      It is famous for its unique speedometer designe.
      After trying out a few apps, I’ve finally settled on BikeMateGPS as my sportypal.

  2. will 08/06/2009 at 10:41 pm #

    Nice review

    Devices are getting closer to converging.

    I need (want) a good camera, a phone, and a bike GPS. My Nokia N95 comes close with a 5 mb camera.

    But like the Iphone, it’s tough to get all things like heart rate, cadence, great (not good) photos, etc. So I still carry 3 devices …. but hopefully not for long.

    Separately, as a bit of a cycling GPS geek that has explored dozens of great sites/tools, I never understand why anyone uses Map My Ride. Cluttered, advertising filled mess of a site in my opinion.

    • nono 19/07/2011 at 12:24 am #

      I very much agree re Map My Ride. I might put up with the ads (just about) if the functionality were ok, but it is also bug-ridden and clunky. Why anyone would want to pay for it is beyond me — it may get rid of the ads, but certainly not of the bugs.

  3. dale 07/07/2009 at 12:22 pm #

    What about Motionx.
    It only for the new 3gs series but, I’ve heard it’s a very remarkable app.

    motionx.com as well.

  4. Spud 07/07/2009 at 1:39 pm #

    Must HAVE, it’s must HAVE, not must OF.
    — Ooops, my mistake. Thanks for pointing out.

  5. leo 20/07/2009 at 7:56 pm #

    I also tested many bike apps.
    I came to the conclusion that B.iCycle is perfect for Biking.
    I’m missing it in your list.
    Didn’t you test it?

  6. MarvinK 22/07/2009 at 4:52 am #

    What I’d really like to see is an iphone app that replaces most of the functionality of a Garmin 705. Better yet, make a Bluetooth>ANT+ device that will let your phone do heartrate, cadence, speed & power with mainstream sensors.

  7. Russell Mather 22/07/2009 at 8:39 am #

    Trail Guru is an app for the Iphone i have been using and has a simple interface . does twitter and facebook updates and can incorporate photos into uploaded tracks.. worth a look IMHO

  8. leon 24/07/2009 at 3:14 pm #

    The big problem with the iphone for any app that tracks your progress is..you have to be running the app all the time and listening to music, answering the phone etc…screws it up. So it’s not going to replace your gps…

  9. Andreas 25/07/2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Some apps handle this much better – especially in the new iPhone 3GS.

  10. Su Yin 21/08/2009 at 12:28 pm #

    @leon The B.iCycle app lets you use your iPod simultaneously.

    I found the Bike Your Drive stats to be off by miles (no pun intended) when I converted the units to metrics. Otherwise, it was rather promising.

    After trying out a few apps, I’ve finally settled on RunKeeper Free as my cycling GPS logger … for now.

    What I really want is for Sporty Pal to be approved by the App Store. Loved using it on the Android phone.

    Would also like to see a review of Athlete Daybook

  11. Joseph Berry 14/09/2009 at 1:45 pm #

    New devices are really making our life more sophisticated but they really helps in day to day complex situations. i want to buy one in which i get all facilities of iphone, gmail and GPS

  12. Andreas 15/09/2009 at 7:55 am #

    Agreed. I have seen this especially when travelling. I can just lookup and book hostels on my iPhone anywhere there is wifi and I can keep up with blog comments.

  13. Kristi 24/09/2009 at 11:25 am #

    I downloaded sportypal, works fine. It’s finally available, really cool design and UI, it should be mentioned here.
    Sportypal

  14. Graeme Willgress 12/12/2009 at 5:08 pm #

    Can anyone help me here. I’ve just bought an iphone to replace the many gadgets I might carry on a tour. I’m riding around the Uk in 2011 and want to download National Cycle Network routes to the phone and use the gps to follow them or track my progress. has anyone tried this? I’ve been on Bikely.com, which seems good. any help is welcome
    Cheers
    graeme

  15. Andreas 14/12/2009 at 1:51 pm #

    Hey Graeme – I think you could do with an app like trails that can show opencycleroute maps. I have listed it in the above list just find it to download.
    Otherwise you need to plot the route yourself as unfortunately sustrans don’t provide any app for the iPhone

  16. Graeme Willgress 27/12/2009 at 9:43 pm #

    Cheers Andreas. apparently Memory maps are bringing out an app in the New Year, so that’s cool. It will mean that you can download sustrans NCN digital maps direct.

    Happy New Year to all (when it gets here!!)

  17. Timothy 28/12/2009 at 2:36 am #

    Just noticed a waterproof bike mount for the iPhone which seems a perfect match for all the bike apps mentioned above: http://www.ibikeconsole.com

  18. Andreas 28/12/2009 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks for the extra app recommendations guys

  19. chris 14/02/2010 at 10:08 pm #

    Check out http://trackmytour.com/ It’s not a real-time tracker like other apps, so it’s good for longer bike tours when you want to make periodic updates.

  20. Weismiller 23/02/2010 at 3:14 pm #

    SportyPal is approved, and is on the Apple Store, the application has good future, although it needs a lot of work to be done yet, but their community it’s good, nice training results and stats from the workouts with 3d map.

  21. GNDDESIGN 02/03/2010 at 3:35 am #

    “Bicycle Stats” is now available at the App Store.
    You can log and analyze your bicycle ride. Good for training.

  22. Higgs 05/03/2010 at 11:35 pm #

    I tried mapmyride but found it to be a bit off in terms of location. Since then I picked up CycleMeter (http://www.abvio.com/cyclemeter/) which I have found to be excellent in terms of recording route (time, location, etc.).

    The export facility is good as well as emailing the route taken to your chosen email address.

    Has some twitter features too but I’ve never used them

    Unfortunately, it currently doesn’t have an import facility which is the only negative about the app I have

  23. Pingus 09/03/2010 at 2:13 pm #

    Agree wih Higgs – Cyclemeter is ace. Regular updates too which shows they’re continuing to refine it

  24. kyussmondo 14/04/2010 at 9:15 am #

    I have recently got into biking in a big way and was planning to do Lands End to John O’ Groats next year. I was hoping I could track my route before hand and then stick it on my iPhone with one of these apps and have it easily navigate me. The problem I have at the moment is having to stop, look at the map and then memorise the next few turns and then stop again. Potentially, I am thinking I could just use a sat nav app as the whole journey will be on road. Although I am thinking these apps will be useful in training, to make sure I get to the required level of fitness.

    Another issue I may have is battery life and signal. I have seen dynamo chargers around but I am not sure how well they will work or whether I would be better off getting one of these battery packs and charging it every night ready for the next day. I am guessing I will be needing at least 10 hours battery if I aim at doing 100 miles a day. I would turn off Wi-Fi and probably 3G, but would probably have bluetooth headphones connected to hopefully listen to music and hear voice directions. Another problem, is that all of these apps require a data connection. I can’t guarantee that I will have a signal the whole way so I really need the maps on the actual phone not over data, which kind of makes me lean towards a sat nav app again.

    Is a sat nav app good enough for on road biking or am I being a bit amateurish in thinking such a thing?

    • Andreas 14/04/2010 at 4:05 pm #

      Okay let me see if I can address some of your questions..
      RE: 3G and Wifi – these ofcourse will need to be off. Simply having a normal phone signal is enough to load maps.

      For a journey the length of Lands end to John O’Groats I would recommend not an iPhone bike app but instead a proper GPS computer for your bike such as a Garmin. This will last longer, be more reliable and a bit more weather resistant. You can then use your iPhone for music. (Or alternatively have a separate iPod for music – they have 24 hour battery life compared to iPhone small battery life)

      If you do it using your iPhone I would recommend Outdoors as you can load up a route and it has already pre-downloaded the maps so you don’t need to use battery life downloading them.

    • John McAuliffe 27/02/2011 at 1:45 pm #

      Rather than stopping to look at your iPhone map, you could do it on the go…
      Keep it in a pocket when cycling and take it out when needed it’s always securely connected to you so it won’t drop to the ground: http://www.umbilifone.com

      Hooks onto zips, belt loops etc and has 2 foot retractable wire cable that locks securely into dock connector

  25. Mark 15/04/2010 at 9:51 am #

    Nice review.

    I have yet to see a better route tracking and stats program than Google myTracks on android.

    Best of all, it’s free. This coupled with the fact that android phones are generally cheaper than iPhones makes it a must have.

    People I ride with have bought an android phone days after seeing my Nexus One running this program.

    My advice if you don’t want to leap onto the iPhone bandwagon is to get a deal on an HTC Desire or other android 2 device and enjoy.

    • Andreas 15/04/2010 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks for the tip Mark. I’m sure non-iPhone users will be interested in that. Good to see Google have a good app available for the Android as no doubt route tracking is something many people want to be able to do.

  26. Rebecca 21/07/2010 at 11:15 am #

    Thanks for the reviews. Has anyone come across a decent app for planning cycle routes (around london). I normally use the TFL cycle route planner, which hasnt appeared as an app yet… I want one that takes me down the quieter, safer cycling routes rather than the “fastest” main roads.
    Cheers

  27. Mac Hoe 29/07/2010 at 3:17 am #

    Thanks for posting these apps, It will help me in my next ride..

  28. cal m 27/09/2010 at 5:53 pm #

    Try iphone app “run walk bike meter” by vm- apps

    Shows speed with a speedometer. Records tracks. Touch any where on track to know your speed at that spot.

    Talk on ph or listen songs or put in pocket while this app runs in background

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/run-walk-bike-meter/id388884796?mt=8

  29. Fred 04/10/2010 at 8:40 am #

    Thanks for this list – I will definately check out some of the apps.

    I thoroughly recommennd CycleStreets http://www.cyclestreets.net/ for cycling in London. It covers all of UK but haven’t tried it elswhere yet. Would be a good one to add to your review. It uses submittted data and takes into account hills, busy roads/quiet roads, cycle paths etc so is properly optimised for cyclling rather than driving.

    Fred

  30. Nicole 26/11/2010 at 1:23 am #

    Does anyone know of an iPhone App that records gradient as well as speed/time/pace/distance?

  31. Pete H 28/01/2011 at 1:51 pm #

    Hi

    Just considering whether to get an iphone with route apps or a garmin 705 as cycling across wales and down towards bournemouth in the next few months

    any help is appreciated

    Thanks
    Pete

  32. jac 03/06/2011 at 3:44 am #

    i love cychosis. I dont have an iphone, i have an ipod, and its the only app i have found that is decent enough for my needs.

  33. KEITHOULI 10/06/2011 at 1:22 pm #

    I have an HTC and have found best tracker and most reliable to be, ENDOMUNDO an d highly recommend, FREE

  34. Foust10 14/10/2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Not listed but highly I recommend is “Cardio Trainer” works on all platforms. tracks all exercises with one app ex.running/cycling/swimming/dancing/… tracks caloires burned. weight lose, tracks routes. all for free. They have a $10 version that does even more.

    • Ombru 18/11/2011 at 5:39 am #

      for multi-purpose, i think runkeeper and endomondo are better than cardio trainer. but for the bycling, BikeMateLite in much better than these. it’s free.

      if you have hundreds bugs, visit wahoo fitness.
      that’s cool

  35. Bjorn 27/11/2011 at 1:52 am #

    Thanks for this comprehensive overview. i will try a few of the free ones I haven’t tested as yet.I neat new one that recently launched is bikeflux, which is afree gps tracking and rout sharing app for android and iphone. Works nicely for me.

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