Cycling is an excellent form of exercise that can help you lose weight, gain muscle, improve cardiovascular health, recover from injury and even get smarter.
Essential reading: Best GPS devices and tracking wearables for cycling
If you’re a serious about this sport and don’t have a cycling app installed on your smartphone, you’re missing out on a lot. Cycling apps make it easy to keep tabs on speed, routes, workout duration, elevation and more. On some you’ll also get access to personalized training routines to help you achieve your fitness goals faster.
These are a few of our favorites.
This is one of the most popular apps around. More than just a GPS-based cycling and running tracker, Strava lets you set challenges for yourself and others. Millions of runners, cyclists and active people use this app to record their activities, compare performance over time, and share photos, stories and highlights of their adventures.
The social aspect of the app makes it an excellent choice for cycling workouts. Strava allows you to participate in challenges, and share your routes and achievements as a way of motivating fellow riders. You’ll also find highly customizable training plans.
Map My Ride has been around for a while now. The app features a huge database of maps making it an great choice when you want to explore a new area. Choose from one of 70 million routes or be bold and create your own.
The app not only makes cycling fun and ensures you don’t get lost, but also helps you to stay motivated. Get extra encouragement, cheer on your buddies or start a friendly competition.
Although the app is free, you can also go premium for more advanced features and even better mapping capabilities.
With Endomondo, you can track over 40 sports, cycling being one of them. A quick glance at the functions brings out two important categories: personal trainer and social motivator.
Personal trainer is designed to monitor your workouts, provide audio feedback along the way and offer guidance on how to reach your goal. You’ll get information on your route, speed and progress, as well as access to a full training log. The real-time GPS tracking ensures you and your fellow riders know where you are at any given time.
The social motivator brings people with similar interests together under a Global Fitness Community. With its Peptalks feature, you’re sure to stay psyched up thanks to motivational audios from others. You can also participate in challenges against your allies and discover new routes in your area.
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Runkeeper is a true classic. Despite its name, you can use this app to monitor many forms of exercise such as walking, cycling and roller skating.
For cycling, the app will keep rack on your route, pace and workout data in minute detail. But that’s not all. You can also set goals, get personalised routines, join challenges, see your progress – and much, much more.
Cyclemeter is an excellent app that will transform your smartphone into a powerful number crunching machine. The app features a unique interface that displays in-depth statistics. Its also highly customizable so you can tweak it to your liking.
You’ll find information on laps, intervals, graphs, splits and training plans. For navigational purposes, the app comes integrated with maps.
You can use this app to find your perfect cycling path. Written by cyclists, it allows you to plan a route ahead, or from your current location. To one destination or with multiple stop points. Just mount it on your bike and go.
You can also see your location on a moving map in real-time. The app will let you know your speed, route distance and estimated time remaining to your destination.
Did you know you that can use a phone as a bike computer? Well, you can thanks to this app. Dubbed Bike Computer, the app features a minimal but powerful design. With personalized metrics including pace, distance, route and elevation it looks and feels like a standalone bike computer.
The app syncs with Strava and Facebook and will even send SOS messages with location if it detects a fall. So far more than 100,000 people have downloaded it.
Zwift is building a community of like-minded cyclists. They can ride with or against each other in realistic 3D generated worlds simply by pairing their bike with indoor training gear (e.g. trainers, power meters, heart rate monitors, etc).
If you want to ride up a mountain, sprint through central London or sweat through the inside of a bubbling volcano, Zwift presents everything in a fun way. There are hundreds of different events – from social, easy rides to intense races with real world prizes.
As suggested by one of our readers, an interesting option for planning cycle rides is Footpath. It works very well and mostly intuitively and for a tiny in-app fee you can export GPX routes for Garmin.
You can easily change from miles/feet to km/m and show a route profile. You can draw a route freehand or follow roads, keep a spot pressed to see an enlarged view and keep the undo pressed to clear the route, plus other things such as turn-by-turn navigation as well.
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