Best cycling apps: iPhone and Android tools for cyclists
We round up the most useful mobile apps for cyclists: if you use an app not listed here, tell us about it
New cycling apps are constantly flooding into the market. Whether you want to record your ride, monitor your training, or hassle your local council to improve the roads: there’s an app for that.
In the video above, we’ve rounded up three of the best – but there are loads more – read on for the skinny on the best we know of: so far.
We’re keeping a running list of the most useful cycling apps on this page, and we’d like you to contribute your own recommendations or comment on the ones we’ve already listed. The more supported platforms the better: iPhone and iPad (iOS), Android, Windows, or whatever.
Best cycling apps
Strava for ride recording (and segment hunting!)
One of the most popular GPS cycling apps offers an array of handy ride logging functions which are then uploaded to your online Strava profile. The app keeps track of your ride stats as you travel, including speed, time and distance all the while tracking where you’ve been. At the end of your ride, you can view further stats such as calories burned and elevation ridden – plus whether you have set a new record on any of the numerous Strava segments.
Zwift mobile app for indoor training
Zwift is an indoor cycling game, which allows you to compete with other cyclists in an online universe. When you go faster, your on screen character goes faster, and the same when you slow down.
Zwift runs off your computer, but you can also use the app if you’re on the go, or pair the app with your computer to use your phone as a game controller as you ride.
When using the app paired with Zwift on your computer, it shows you a dashboard with all the key metrics you’d see on a cycing computer (watts, speed, distance, elevation, time, cadence and heart rate), and lets you communicate with othe riders.
Using the app alone, your phone will become your main screen – showing your progress on the ride, as well as providing a full listing of upcoming events and group rides.
Sufferfest app for indoor training
Sufferfest videos used to be standalone purchases – buy a video, download it and follow along to the structured indoor workout. Now, you pay a monthly subscription to use all the videos – and as well as Suffer sessions there are Yoga workouts and mental training tips.
On the app, you can download any video you like from the library, and play it on your iPhone or Windows computer (Android is still in development in the UK but available elsewhere).
Alongside the sessions, there are training programmes and calendars you can download to keep track of your activity.
Relive for ride viewing and sharing
Record any ride on Strava or Garmin Connect, Endomondo or Polar and see it played out for you on a 3D map, complete with speed, heart rate and power data if you like and any snaps you took along the way if you uploaded them to Strava.
CycleMaps for cycling route planning
Planning your cycle route is made easy with CycleMaps, which uses a host of sources such as OpenCycleMaps and CycleStreets to plot the most direct and safest route for you and your bike. You can plot a simple A to B route, or include multiple stops or ‘via’ points. You can also tailor the routes it uses, so that if you fancy a slow, scenic ride it will find the right path, or a more direct, quicker route for fast commuting or training. Also available as an online mapping tool.
Map My Ride for ride route planning
Map My Ride was one of the original ride-logging services, and despite fierce competition for space on your phone from the likes of Strava, it still offers a lot. The app records a host of data from your ride, including distance, speed, elevation and a detailed route. All of this can be uploaded to the Map My Ride site for detailed analysis and sharing with other users, if you wish. Like Strava, Map My Ride also includes timed sections, called Courses, where you can try and set the fastest time.
MyWindsock for preparing for events (or justifying time losses)
Perhaps this is a bit of a cheat, as MyWindsock isn’t available as a phone app yet, but the desktop version works well.
The founder – Ben Norbury – wanted to check how weather conditions would affect his upcoming time trials, hence creating the application.
MyWindsock can tell real-time data on the weather along your planned route, if you upload a GPX file. Alternatively, you can copy and paste the URL for a Strava segment into this clever piece of software to see what sort of conditions you can expect – nearly all UK time trial courses have a segment if not several.
You can also feed MyWindsock a Strava leaderboard, to see which weather conditions have produced the fastest times.
Available for: currently desktop only
Price: Free (premium version also available)
Bike Computer for ride recording
Does what it says on the tin. If you’re using your phone as a cycling computer, this app pretty much gives you all the data that you might want.
It’s Strava compatible, has the capability to call a chosen contact in case of emergency and claims to operate 12% more efficiently compared to any other mobile fit tracker app – saving battery life.
Wahoo fitness for ride recording
Use the Wahoo app to track your rides, and pair it with Bluetooth sensors like heart rate monitors, speed sensors and some power meters. If your devices use ANT+, then Wahoo has a Wahoo Key plugin you can use to pair them too.
Wahoo’s app is compatible with others – like Strava, MyFitness Pal and Training Peaks, so you can upload your ride there too.
There’s a multitude of customisable pages so you can see all your data, plus GPS maps on board too.
Fill That Hole for road preservation
Few road cyclists can boast a pothole-free journey on their local roads, and up until the handy Fill That Hole app came along it was a struggle to report tarmac carbuncles. Created by national cyclists charity Cycling UK, the plain-looking yet highly functional app allows you report the location of potholes, which are then forwarded onto the relevant local authority for attention. You can also add a photo of the offending crater. We’ve tried it, and it works.
ViewRanger for route planning and inspiration
This app allows experts and enthusiasts alike to add routes, which users can browse from anywhere in the world.
In app purchases mean that users can buy premium maps provided by the Ordnance Survey. The files are quite large so you’ll need to ensure there’s plenty of space on your smartphone.
A big plus of this app is its versatility: use it for road riding and mountain biking, but also for walking and hiking.
Cyclemeter for ride and fitness tracking
This comprehensive fitness app utilises the GPS functions of Apple devices to create a host of statistics to help you log and improve your cycling performance. Records speed, time, distance and has an extensive array of workouts to follow, making it a virtual training partner. The app also includes built-in announcements, so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to know how you’re doing. Recorded data can be uploaded to Strava and other ride sharing websites.
Cycle Hire for hire bike hunting
This independent app developed by Alexander Baxevanis is a must-have for anyone that regularly uses the London Cycle Hire scheme, particularly if they use an array of routes. Not only will it help you plot a cycle-friendly route to a Cycle Hire docking station in any given area, it will also tell you how many bikes and spaces there are on an easy-to-follow map. You can also use the app to view your Cycle Hire account details, including recent journeys.
100 Greatest Cycling Climbs
The app of the best-selling book, 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs, enables the user to locate and ride all of the hills featured in the popular publication. Info and stats are presented for each climb, and riders can see how they measure up against other cyclists as the app links to Strava’s segment KOMs.
Bike Gear Calculator
The slick-looking bicycle gear calculator from Matixsoft allows you to compare gear ratios on your bike to optimise your set-up. There are numerous variables that can be input, including tyre width, wheel size and crank length as well as the more obvious number of teeth on your chainset and cassette. It’s not an app for everyone – but the technically-minded will love its graphs and calculations.
Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner
A Sat Nav for cyclists, Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner will plot a route from your selected start and finish points using not only roads (omitting dual carriageways and motorways), but also cycle paths and permitted paths. The app is UK only at present and uses mapping from cyclestreets.net. We like the fact that you can choose a range of routing options from quickest route to quietest route, and it will avoid hills ‘where possible’. There’s also a function to find bike shops in the locality.
The weather plays a big part in any cyclist’s life. There are few cyclists who don’t check the weather forecast before leaving on a ride so that they can select the right clothing and know what they’re in for. We’ve found the BBC Weather app to be simple and relatively accurate – the best of the weather bunch by far.
St John Ambulance First Aid For Cyclists
This is one of those apps that you hope you’ll never need. St John Ambulance has produced a free app that guides you through first aid treatment for a range of common cycling-related injuries, so that you can treat yourself or others at the roadside. The app deals with a very wide range of injuries, giving step-by-step advice and diagrams, plus it tells you what to do in a serious emergency.
My Virtual Mission
Rather than dealing with individual rides, My Virtual Mission allows you to set an ultimate goal and then work towards it. So, for instance, you can decide that over the coming few months you are going to cycle the same distance as riding from the east to the west coast of the USA. Rather than actually cycling it, you set up the virtual journey on the app, and every time you cycle (or run) it plots the same distance on a map of your virtual journey, adding rides on each time you do them. As a goal-setting and motivational tool, it’s good fun. You could also use it to set up a long-distance ride for charity fund-raising, with the app including a function to track how much you’ve raised.
Endomondo for ride recording
Rather than just tracking and logging your activities, Endomondo is designed to be your personal trainer and as such features ‘audio encouragement’ to motivate you during exercise, including how you are performing against pre-determined goals. As well as cycling and running, the app can also track around 40 other sports.
Kinomap Trainer aims to add a new dimension to your home/turbo trainer workouts. The app connects to a compatible trainer and then you can ‘ride’ along with a video of a given route, with the trainer’s resistance varying according to the terrain. You can even add your own videos to the system if you record a route using a GPS-enable camera. You can ride with up to 10 people, and post your results to Facebook and ride-logging sites such as Strava. A list of compatible turbo trainers is available online.
Garmin’s Connect software provides a link between your mobile device and Garmin GPS device to share data. The connection can work both ways, with a compatible Garmin GPS able to display weather data and notifications on your handlebars. Data from the Garmin device goes into the mobile device, giving you a range of ways to display the numbers: charts, graphs, maps, etc. LiveTrack lets friends follow your progress online as you are riding, and you can compete in weekly challenges and wirelessly upload activities.