Regents 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.
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.
Exported data from the app that can be emailed, tweeted or added to your Facebook at the touch of a button.
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.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.