Cyclemeter for iPhone review

cyclemeterRegents Park. A bitterly cold Sunday morning in December.

I’m on my bike for the first time since the Christmas holidays put a mince pie shaped hole in my cycling schedule. I’m using Cyclemeter to compare against my pre-Christmas ride time to get an idea of how much damage I’ve done.

In the last few weeks I’ve swapped the pedals for pigs in blankets and the saddle for stuffing. I’ve not worn my helmet for weeks, as my choice of headwear recently has come exclusively from inside Christmas crackers.

I’m gulping in the frosty air after my first lap, sweating pure sherry in the wind by my second lap, and have pretty much given up on myself in the third. Then, a little voice somewhere inside me speaks up:

‘Keep going Lewis! ’.

I’m propelled for a few moments by the encouragement my inner Bradley has given me. Then it pipes up again ‘Fancy a beer soon mate?’. I slam on the brakes.

Am I having a nervous breakdown? No. Well, not yet anyway.

Connected

The Cyclemeter app I switched on before I started to record my ride time, is linked to my Twitter account.

When you start turning the pedals, it tweets a link to your followers showing your route on Google maps, with an abundance of cycling related data so that your friends can follow you in near real time. I later learn that any replies sent to that tweet will be read aloud by your iPhone in a choice of one of 29 accents. My inner voice, it transpires, wasn’t in my mind, it was in my pocket.

Cyclemeter can similarly connect to your Facebook or Dailymile account, and the option to read out messages from your social media contacts can be easily turned off.

Replacing a $300 Bike Computer

Created by two American runners with aim of:

“Replacing the US$300 dedicated bike computer… with a $5 application”

Cyclemeter is one of many apps on the market that turn you temporarily into a GPS tracking device by using your smartphone’s signal to plot your journey.

There is a comprehensive amount of data that can be gleaned: ride time, distance, average speed, high speed, ascent, calories burned, intervals and zones, just for starters.

On completion of a journey it allows you to save your route so that the next time you do it, it will tell you whether you’ve improved your performance or declined. It’s not just for sporty types too, I’ve used it to test out a shortcut that a fellow commuter suggested for my ride to work, and also to send cycle maps to friends. Downloaded to most phones in matter of seconds, setting up only requires you to open the app and press ‘Start’ to get going. No Allen keys required.

clip_image004

Exported data from the app that can be emailed, tweeted or added to your Facebook at the touch of a button.

Features

Casually browsing the ‘Help’ section of the app reveals the depth of features that are included – users can track competitors, tailor the app to distinguish between different bikes (a nod to those that use a folding bike on their daily commute and a road bike at weekends), different shoes (a nod to the app developers’ running backgrounds), or even different wheels (a nod to cyclists with more money than sense). With compatible hardware it can even link to heart rate monitors and power meters, for the shaven legged riders who take their training very seriously.

Overall Review: 5/5

Cyclemeter is an easy to use, instantly accessible product for any cyclist who has ever had a passing interest in totalling up how miles they travelled on the way to work or wondered just how fast (or slow) they were going down that hill.

For a fraction of the cost of a top of the range cycle computer, you get all the same features and benefits, and none of the hassle of installation and set up. And should you develop into budding Chris Froome or Victoria Pendleton, this app has the ability to grow with you. My inner voice is thanking me for downloading it.

Cyclemeter can be downloaded through the App Store

On a cold winters ride around Regents Park, Lewis Hill discovers the joys of Cyclemeter
Cyclemeter
Date published: 03/05/2013
5 / 5 stars

Join 9,241 fellow cyclists who are subscribed to the London Cyclist newsletter

Sign up for our free newsletter to get...

  • Advice on the best cycling gear
  • A Friday roundup of all the latest London cycling news
  • Exclusive content not available on the blog

Subscribe today, and get exclusive access forever! (It's free)

*No spam, ever!

As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

20 Responses to Cyclemeter for iPhone review

  1. Simon Wilcox 05/03/2013 at 1:59 pm #

    It’s a great app – the only problem being that the battery life on an iPhone is rubbish. Even with all settings carefully chosen to minimise power (e.g. wifi off, notifications off, every other app closed) you won’t get more than about 2.5-3 hours life. Fine for the daily commute but no good for anything longer.

    You just can’t beat the long battery life in a dedicated GPS device.

    Same is true for car satnavs but at least there you can charge the iPhone from the lighter socket.

    • Lewis Hill 05/03/2013 at 2:24 pm #

      I was having a similar issue until I updated my iOS- now it seems better, I’ve never run out of juice using it, but that may say more about how long I spend riding than anything else ;)

    • senthiil 12/03/2013 at 4:35 pm #

      Hi
      Without cadnce and heart rate, we cant compare it with bicycle computer. At least they should incorporate +ant compatible cadence, hrm, & speed properities in their program. Then we can through away the costly computers.
      More over if they develop application for android, it will be heighly appriciated. If they develop android compatible ant+ dongle, then they wil easily sell their product through out world.

    • JDR 05/08/2014 at 9:17 pm #

      I have a small extra battery connected all the time. It runs for 4-5 hrs and the phone is still available at 100% in case you need it. Ebay has plenty of them.

  2. Phil 06/03/2013 at 3:18 am #

    Is it any betterto the other cycling apps already out there. I can see the cost saving to a cycle computer but to other apps out there? Any stand out features ?

    Cheers

  3. Justin 06/03/2013 at 8:57 am #

    Can you upload a route to it and have it give you directions to follow? This is the one thing I’d really like from an app that I haven’t found yet. You seem to need a garmin or similar so you can plan a route, upload it and have it give you directions, otherwise you still need to know where you’re going or take a map. I’d love an app that could do this properly.

  4. Nigel 06/03/2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Further to the battery life issues mentioned. There is no need to have the screen displayed all the time unless you’re attempting to follow a route. I use mine with a Biologic iPhone 4 case which you can still connect an external battery lead and still retain the rain seals. I only use mine to record routes.
    When viewing the data display on your computer screen you can also just view the map as a full page by clicking on the Google logo in the bottom right corner of the small map.
    Justin was asking if you can upload a route, yes you can. GPX files can found on many sites, that is what you need. Simply e-mail it to your phone and click on the attachment in the message and it will ask to open it in (a selection of programs) Cyclemeter. Do that, Cyclemeter will ask you if want to import it , do it. Job done. It won’t give you directions like a SatNav you simply follow it on screen – not recommended. For voice directions you need Bike Hub.
    I’ve tried most of the apps available and this is the best. Their support is second to none. You can also suggest features, which I have and they’ve implemented them.

    • Justin 06/03/2013 at 7:53 pm #

      Thanks for that, shame it can’t do directions. I have bike hub that can do directions but you don’t seem to be able to upload a route to it.

  5. Charlie2 08/03/2013 at 10:50 am #

    I like this app a lot but it seems to throw up some strange elevation data at times.
    @ Nigel, you are a genius, I have been trying in vain to use GPX files in this way on the app, at last a clear explanation, thanks !

  6. Ed 08/03/2013 at 11:46 am #

    Charlie2, “seems to throw up some strange elevation data at times.” A bit like my Endomondo Pro which said that my Max Speed the other day on a ride was 54.2 MPH!

    That’s a pro speed going down an actually mountain. Which I’m not and wasn’t.

    Used to use Cyclemeter but since getting Endomondo Pro for 69p on an offer & upgrading to Premium for around £10 a year just stick with that although CM is a very good Cateye replacement for around £3.

    I use a Ram mount

  7. Andrew 08/03/2013 at 12:00 pm #

    This sounds exactly the app I am looking for but any suggestions for an Android phone?

  8. Nigel 08/03/2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Regarding strange elevation data – that’s down to Apple’s GPS software. Under the advanced settings there is a switch to ‘Dampen Ascent/descent. Switch it on and it becomes quite accurate.

    • Charlie2 08/03/2013 at 6:42 pm #

      another top tip from Nigel … I’m going to give that a shot tomorrow and see how it goes, cheers.

    • JDR 05/08/2014 at 9:12 pm #

      How can I find this “switch”?

  9. Heather 10/03/2013 at 9:18 am #

    Been really happy with this app, the data you get out of it is excellent. I use it to monitor my training, so like the fact you can also change the activity and compare your split times over distance :-)

  10. Nigel 12/03/2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Regarding Author: senthiil’s comments:

    >Without cadnce and heart rate, we cant compare it with bicycle computer.

    It might help if you actually read up on the application – it does cadance and heart rate.

    >More over if they develop application for android, it will be heighly appriciated.

    It’s in their plans.

  11. Franki 27/03/2014 at 10:20 am #

    Thank you much for the tip about the dampening feature, I was also getting strange readings, the elevation gains were roughly twice what my Garmin 450 said and no way did I climb 3100 feet! After turning on the dampening feature, I drove to work today, comparing a Garmin 450, Strava, and Cyclemeter. This is what I ended up with:

    Garmin
    14.43 mi
    854 gain
    370-394 elevation, work
    390 elevation, home

    Strava
    14.6 mi
    761 gain
    381ft elevation, work
    343 elevation, home

    Cyclemeter
    14.43 mi
    474 gain
    454 loss
    387 elevation, work
    318 elevation, home

    It looks so far like the Cyclemeter makes the most sense. I also like the useful interface of Cyclemeter much better than Strava and learned it has a feature for $4…yes $4-per year where you can upload to Strava anyway. I just love the Cyclemeter app, that’s all I can say, I hope my experiments prove it is the most accurate. Thanks all for the great tips, they were very helpful.

    • JDR 05/08/2014 at 9:13 pm #

      Where is the dampening feature located?

Leave a Reply