12 of the best cycling apps that you should download
© Tyrone Bradley/Red Bull Content Pool
From navigating new trails, to analyzing key stats on the fly, having your own multi-functioning bike computer just got a whole lot easier.
The power of the smartphone goes well beyond communication. Besides calling, emailing, and texting, over two billion people around the world are using these devices to order food, follow the news, watch movies, make payments, and participate in social media, among a plethora of other functions.
As app functionality and practically improves, users become more and more dependent on their phones. The world of cycling isn’t exempt from this trend. In fact, smartphone apps can be an integral tool for getting the most out of your ride, with maps and tutorials and training plans right at your fingertips.
To help you navigate the world of cycling applications and ensure you get the most out of your ride, here are some of the best cycling apps out there.
Best for: Preparing for, and navigating any ride
From coast to coast, the TrailFork app has the insider scoop on where to ride. For instance, the app has 433 detailed trails in Victoria, 69 in Winnipeg, 528 in Ottawa, and 606 in Halifax, which contribute to 225,000+ trail database. Most trails, or trail areas, contain complimentary photos and reviews from users, as well as trail popularity ratings. The app also allows users to download offline trails maps for free, and track your ride using GPS navigation (no cell phone service needed) — making it almost impossible to get lost.
Ultimately, this app is essential for any biker.
Best for: Logging, tracking, and flexing your rides on friends
Cost: Free to record and share activities. A subscription of $6.42 per month allows you to discover new routes, track progress with unique analysis tools, and compete on user-defined segments
If it’s not on Strava, did it really happen? This popular social network uses GPS navigation to record your ride and measures key stats like distance, pace, speed, elevation gained, and calories burned. Users can then share rides with friends, show off stats, and compare performances with a community of like-minded cyclists.
Strava is unique because it encourages riders to push their limits through monthly challenges — like the August Climbing Challenge which pushes users to climb a total of 7,500 metres — and user-defined ‘segments’, or routes, that can be ridden at any time which log leaderboard achievements. Additionally, any tracked rides from the TrailForks app can be synced to your Strava account.
If you’re driven by friendly competition and can’t bear losing to your friends, this one’s for you.
Best for: Planning your perfect route on the go
Cost: A subscription that offers navigation and offline maps costs $3.99
Komoot uses community-based knowledge to make sure riders know exactly what they’re going to ride before they set out for two-wheeled greatness. When creating your own route, Komoot will provide route difficulty, the highest and lower points, surface, and path types, if a road is unpaved, etc. Every route includes insights from local riders along the way, be it a great spot for a coffee, a smooth stretch of tarmac, or a juicy hamburger. Additionally, the app uses offline maps which allows users to reroute on the fly.
Just plug in your start and end destination, and let this app take you on the ride of a lifetime.
4. Bike Computer
Best for: In-depth monitoring and preparing for the worst
Similar to other built-in GPS navigation apps, Bike Computer tracks your movements and logs key stats such as speed, distance, time, altitude, elevation, and more. Additionally, Bike Computer offers a handy and practical feature for solo riders that can accurately detect when an accident has occurred. In case of an accident, your emergency contacts notified of the location and speed of the accident.
5. Trail Tips
Best for: Technical progression and honing those daunting features
Ever ridden down a trail and approached a feature that appears to be a touch above your pay grade? We’ve all been there. Luckily, Trail Tips app is here to help you make sense of those tricky, uncomfortable maneuvers. The app provides in-depth technical skill breakdowns and high quality slow motion videos breaking down 25 different MTB skills, from seated climbing, to rock rolls, to advanced cornering, to no-footers.
6. Bicycle Gear Calculator
Best for: The cycling nerd
Bike Gear Calculator app is perfect for the engineer in your pedal possy. This app allows you to compare different gears on your bike and on setups you’re considering, and see how fast you’ll be travelling at in a given gear at an exact cadence (pedal spins per minute). This data can help to better inform your riding technique, or see if changing the cassette or chainrings will help you get up that big climb.
7. Bike Doctor App
Best for: Diagnosing, repairing, and maintaining your ride
Better known as your personal pocket bike mechanic, Bike Doctor App is an in-phone bike manual for diagnostics, repair, and maintenance. From simple puncture repairs, to wheel truing, to replacing gear cables, all repairs all covered through easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions.
Because loving your bike is a good reason to be handy.
8. First Aid App - Canadian Red Cross
Best for: Having a starting reference when things go wrong
Reaching high speeds, weaving through trees, and rolling down steep rocks on two wheels can be dangerous… There’s no way around it. Things can go south, and it pays to be prepared. Though this app can’t replace a certified First Aid Course, it’s does provide step-by-step advice on how to deal with common first aid emergencies and scenarios.
Best for: Knowing what Mother Nature has in store
You can have the route preparation dialled but the weather will always make or break a good ride. Track precipitation with Accuweather’s MinuteCast feature which provides a minute-by-minute precipitation forecast for your exact GPS location, giving users precipitation type and intensity, start and end times, and detailed minute-by-minute forecasts for the next two hours.
10. Red Bull TV
Best for: Binging cycling videos pre and post ride
Need a daily dose of motivation before your ride? The Red Bull TV app has got you covered. With hundreds of hours of the latest mountain bike race live streams, full coverage of Red Bull Rampage, Hardline, and Crankworx, this app is a go for mind-blowing, inspiring content.
Best for: Making training feel like video gaming
Cost: A subscription of $12.99 per month gives you access to all biking route worlds and training plans
Ascend a volcano or cycle through the streets New York City and London, all from the comfort of your living room. Zwift app takes conventional indoor bike trainers and create an interactive environment where users can interact, train, and compete in virtual races in over ten different virtual worlds.
Best for: Riding worldly real-life routes in your living room
Cost: A subscription of $8 per month gives you access to roughly 2,036,020 kilometres of route films to ‘ride’ on
Similar to Zwift, Rouvy is a popular indoor cycling app that uses bike trainers and elevation data to provide an interactive riding experience. However, while Zwift takes riders through virtual worlds, Rouvy specializes on real-life routes using video recordings of real roads.