OUTDOOR BASICS

Best Biking Apps: Mapping Your Bike Route

Cyclist using biking app
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

If you are a huge fan of cycling or perhaps you are even a professional, then a biking app is probably part of your daily routine. Not so long ago, cyclists had to rely on bike computers which counted rotations of the wheels or pedals and required calibration.

Nowadays, all you need is a smartphone that can be connected to GPS and you are ready to go! However, if you are still a newbie and haven’t had a chance to get familiar with mapping your bike route, then this article might help you. We are going to check out some of the best biking apps and how to use them.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Biking Apps

There are many advantages of using biking app and they can definitely help you in more than one way:

  • Biking apps are easy to find and install
  • Most of them are free
  • They offer a variety of useful features
  • You can bring anywhere you go and watch the stats as you bike
  • Biking apps can help you maintain a route and actually improve your biking

Instaling a biking app on phone

There are also some disadvantages:

  • Biking apps require GPS which can eat up your battery life
  • Smartphones do not handle well bad weather
  • You might need to install mounts in order to watch the stats as you bike

How to Get and Install a Biking App

First, what you need to have in order to get and install a biking app is a smartphone that can be connected to GPS and that can use a turn-by-turn navigation. Most of the current models can, which is a lot easier than relying on bike computers. Most of the cycling apps are available for both iOS and Android, and most of them are completely free. Once you choose and download an app, all you need to do is set it up according to your preferences and you are ready to go!

Instaling a biking app on phone

After that, you should decide what exactly you need a biking app for. Do you need it in order to access the database of routes or just to track your average speed, calories and moving time? There are apps that provide all of this, but there are also some that are specifically oriented towards only one goal.

Different Types of Biking Apps

Now we are going to take a look at some of the best biking apps and different functions they have. In that way you can choose which one suits your preferences the most.

  • Apps that track time, distance and speed are the simplest and easiest to use.
  • There are cycling apps that let you browse as many routes as you need or even let you upload the ones you have discovered while riding.
  • Some apps can alert you of bad weather and teach you how to use the first aid emergency kit.
  • Almost all of them are able to create a database of statistics that can really improve your cycling performance. They also allow you to share your stats with the world and make friends.

Cyclist checking his biking app

Top 12 Best Biking Apps

Let’s take a look at some of the most used and best cycling apps ever. Depending on your preferences and needs, you will be able to choose at least one that will come in handy.

Strava

This biking app is one of the most downloaded ones available for both iOS and Android.

What makes it so popular is the fact that it offers a range of useful features such as tracking your cycling speed, distance and time, and sharing them with other users online. When you finish riding, you can check out all of the statistics, including how many calories you have burnt so far and whether you have set any new records or not.

Strava Biking App

All you need to start this app working is connecting it with one of the compatible GPS devices, and that is it. After that you are free to upload your activity from the device, analyze it and compare it against yourself or everyone else.

Map My Ride

Map My Ride is one of the old school apps that is still pretty much popular. It records statistics from your cellphone which includes the basic ones such as: speed, elevation, distance and routes. It is available for both iOS and Android and it is completely free. It also offers a special feature called Courses that allows you to set the fastest time and try to break it.

Map My Ride Biking App

What makes this app interesting is the fact that it can also record your diet and let you track what you eat. Since a proper diet is very important for every cyclist, this is a great addition. You can share the stats via social platforms and have fun.

CycleMaps

CycleMaps is the best biking app for planning your biking route. This app can determine the safest route for your bike by using OpenCycleMaps and CycleStreets. All you need to do is choose A to B route and include as many stops as you need to. It is available for both Windows and iOS for free.

CycleMaps biking app

The great feature of this app is that you can see your current location as you bike on a moving map. You can also see your speed and route distance and share it with your friends. This app can also help you to find out about small streets and lanes you haven’t known about before.

Fill That Hole

This is one of those biking apps that can be really useful, perhaps even save your life. It was created by the national cyclists’ charity CTC and it enables you to find about potholes and also report them at the same time. It is even possible to add a picture of a pothole. It is available for both iOS and Android for free.

Fill that hole app

Having in mind that local councils cannot maintain each pothole unless they know about it, you can help the whole community by reporting any road defect you come across. This can save someone’s life and prevent accidents.

ViewRanger

This amazing biking app allows you to add any route you come across, which can be browsed by anyone in the world. It is available for both iOS and Android for free; however you need a lot of space on your phone because these files are huge. This biking app can be used not only by cyclists but also hikers.

View ranger

When you come across a route, all you need to do is save it to your phone or tablet and it will be uploaded to the global collection. Any cyclist will be able to access it (as long as they have this app installed) and you will contribute to the biking society.

Cyclemeter

This biking app is available for free, but only for iOS. It is considered to be a very amazing fitness app that is able to host stats about your performance and in that way help you improve it. It records everything from distance, speed and time to workouts.

Cyclemeter GPS app

It is basically your virtual assistant and you can upload all of the data to social platforms or even Strava.
Cyclemeter enables you to view your riding on a calendar, summarize your routes by days, weeks, months, years and analyze everything. There is also a huge number of features that make this app one of the best.

Cycle Hire

This amazing biking app developed for iOS only is not free, but it is definitely worth your money. It is for people who use the London Cycle Hire scheme because this app can tell you if there is a huge number of cyclists at a particular time or route. You can track your journeys while the app can help you find out the nearest docking stations and see them all in your screen.

Cycle Hire

Cycle Hire is a perfect solution for those who get lost easily in London or simply for those who want to make friends. The app has a gorgeous design, it is practical and easy to use.

My Virtual Mission

This cycling app is great for the users of iOS and Android, plus it is free. As the title suggests, this app lets you set your own biking mission and work towards it. For example, you can set the destination and decide that you will cycle there for a couple of months. All you need to do is set up this goal on the app and you are ready to go!

my virtual mission app

The app will track each time you cycle and it is a great way to motivate yourself.What is also great about this app is that it promotes fundraising. You can easily set up a fundraising goal with your friends and share it. It is a great and healthy way to help others or your own cause.

Endomondo

This biking app is basically your virtual trainer. Besides logging and tracking your performance it can also give you audio encouragement, which can be really motivating. It is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry for free.

Endomondo

Another great thing is that you can get encouragement from your colleagues and friends as well, because they can comment on your activities and you on theirs. This is a great way to share your habits and promote healthy sports.

RiderState

Available for both iOS and Android, this highly competitive biking app is free and addictive. It is for the cyclists who like testing themselves and competing. It is basically an interactive game that allows you to ‘conquer’ the territories you have ridden through. The more regions you pass through, the more territories you conquer.

RIDER STATE App

This app also tracks your distance, speed and position and allows you to play against other people. You can see the position of the territories you have yet to conquer. This is a great app for people who are very active and would like to cycle more aggressively. It is available for iOS and Android for free.

Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner

This very interesting app for cyclists allows you to decide on a route from your point A to point B by using not only roads but also cycle paths and other less known paths. It is available for both iOS and Android for free.

Even though this app is currently available for the UK users only, there is a possibility of expanding it later on. What makes this app great is that it can help you avoid hills and present you with the quickest route you need at the moment.

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St. John Ambulance First Aid for Cyclists

Biking is very fun but sometimes accidents occur. Hopefully you will never need an app of this kind, but it is a good thing it actually exist. This app was designed in order to help cyclists and guide them how to use the first aid treatment.
This means that it can tell you what to do if you hurt yourself or come across someone else who is hurt.

St. John Ambulance First Aid for Cyclists

The app consists of step-by-step guidelines and diagrams. However, you should keep in mind that you should first call the ambulance and only after that see what you can do by using this app. It is available for iOS and Android for free.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, we have covered the basic info regarding biking apps, their advantages, disadvantages and which ones are currently the best. Remember that you should choose the app according to your preference. If you are not able to pay for the app, there is no need to worry because most of them are completely free and you just need GPS in order to use them.

Cyclist holding his phone

They are all easy to install, but keep in mind that they can be restricted in your region since most of them are the US and UK based. Using a biking app is not only useful and practical but it can also be fun. You can share your stats with the world and compete with your friends.

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comment section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Jon Morgan

    I really enjoy all your articles Daniel. They are all presented in a way that you will enjoy reading it. Thank you for the recommendations. I personally do not have any of the apps you have mentioned but you really got me curious with everything on your list. Good job!

  • Carl Anderson

    St. John Ambulance First aid is really a must have for all cyclists. I think that in any sport, it is always important to be ready in case of emergencies. I like that it has simple step-by-step guides and diagrams on different treatments. I highly recommend people to get it.

    • Daniel Carraway

      We do like this app very much!

  • Daniel Carraway

    Thanks! We tried to find the best for our readers!

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