The Best App Setup For Cyclists
We all love our bikes. I currently run a Specialized Diverge (old-style shit box but does the job) and a Scott gravel with Shimano xtr (beast). My dream bike would be a Specialized S-works Diverge, but at £12,000 and increasing yearly, that is now WAY beyond my reach. No idea how Specialized or all the other top manufacturers can justify the price, as it makes no sense.
My next bike will be a Boardman from Halfords or a bike from Decathlon, who seem to be bringing top-quality products onto the market at excellent prices.
Along with Ali Express and China components, I am heading away from top brand bike frames and components like SRAM and Shimano, as both are moving out of my reach in search of others that are as good if not better for the price.
There are so many cycling apps and mounts that deciding which one to go for is hard. Garmin and Wahoo have great bike-mounted computers, but both are expensive and have small screens for viewing. Do you want to pay £500 for a bike computer?
I am based mainly in the UK and Switzerland and now ride a gravel bike rather than a road bike for most of my trips. I prefer the tracks and trails on unused or low-used roads, and with a gravel bike, this option is perfect. You may get away with it on a road bike on many roads, but for safety’s sake, a gravel or endurance bike is a better option.
Garmin & Wahoo
How about just using your mobile instead for everything!
I have used Garmin and Wahoo computers for years. However, reading what is on the screen becomes difficult when your eyesight degrades. Plus, I have found that both of these computers have their limits.
- Neither is great when you want to look at the map to see exactly where you are and if interest options are available.
- Neither is ideal for answering phone calls.
- Both are very expensive and require kits to fit them onto the bike.
Why not have everything right in front of you on your mobile?
Use Your Mobile Phone As A Biking App
My mobile phone is a google pixel 4 XL, which is great because of its size. I have a full screen showing all I need to see right there in front of me. The simple quad lock system fits onto my handlebars.
It is a perfect combination as it is tried and tested and works on gravel, mtb, and roads with no issues. This is great as I do not have to keep my phone in my pocket. I have just purchased the Google (pixel 7) Pro for better battery life and better updates.
There is a quadlock case for almost every Samsung and Apple iPhone. It means that all of my information, calls, and emails are right there in front of me if I need them, needs an urgent call, or see anything on my mobile.
If you are tight on money, you can always buy the same quad lock on Ali Express. It is around $8 for the bike kit, which is much cheaper than the one on eBay or Amazon.
This also works perfectly, see note below, as I have tried and tested both original and the Ali Express versions. I will now stick to the ORIGINAL VERSION Only.
The big plus is you will never forget your mobile, and you will be able to see if you have anything important that needs sorting right in front of your face rather than digging into your pocket every time the mobile beeps.
Connect this to the FREE Wahoo fitness app (lots of high-quality stars on both apple and google play for a perfect day out cycling. I use a wahoo TICKR X strap to connect to your heart rate monitor; all of your details and stats are in your face.
Not only that, you have a map view right there as well. You can look at the map and check if you want to detour on a route or make any changes without needing to open your phone and look at google maps.
Choosing a great cycling app depends on your needs, preferences, and goals. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a cycling app:
- Purpose: Determine the primary goal of using the app. Are you looking to track your rides, navigate routes, improve fitness, or compete with friends? Some apps specialize in specific areas, while others offer a variety of features.
- Compatibility: Ensure the app is compatible with your smartphone and other devices (such as a smartwatch or heart rate monitor) you plan to use during your rides.
- User Interface: Look for an app with a clean, intuitive, and user-friendly interface. This will make it easier to navigate and use the app effectively.
- Features: Identify the features you need or want in a cycling app, such as GPS tracking, route planning, ride analysis, training plans, social networking, or virtual races.
- Accuracy: Research how accurate the app’s tracking and analytics are. Accurate data can help you better understand your performance and progress.
- Customization: Look for an app that allows you to customize your experience, such as setting goals, creating workouts, or adjusting display settings.
- Offline capabilities: If you plan to ride in areas with limited or no internet access, choose an app that offers offline map downloads and route planning.
- Price: Consider the cost of the app, including any subscription fees or in-app purchases. Some apps offer free versions with basic features, while others require payment for advanced features or a monthly subscription.
- Reviews and Recommendations: Read reviews and ask for recommendations from fellow cyclists. This will give you insight into the app’s performance, reliability, and ease of use.
- Integration: Check if the app integrates with other fitness platforms or apps you already use, such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, or MyFitnessPal.
Once you’ve considered these factors, you can narrow your options and choose the cycling app that best fits your needs. Some popular cycling apps include Strava, (That’s Me) Komoot, Ride with GPS, Zwift, and MapMyRide.
My favorites differ as to what type of cycling I am doing.
Zwift is by far my favorite cycling app for the indoors. Combined with a decent-sized TV or laptop to use Zwift and watch the cycling at the same time is perfect when the weather outside is a nightmare and not worth getting a cold for.
This is a different kettle of fish; here is where the Wahoo app and mobile phone come into play. I also use a great app called Cyclers. This is my favorite over Komoot, Bikemap, and other MONTHLY PAID apps. There is a FREE version or a one-off LIFETIME payment if you prefer.
With the Cyclers App you can input your bike, distance road, or tracks, and it gives you normally 4 routes that it recommends. With this, you can download and ride any of the routes you like, and if a route is too muddy, you ignore that piece, and it will redirect you. Brilliant.
Low On Battery – Portable Mobile Charger
I have that covered as well. I have bought the Anker portable battery charger. Not only does this top-quality portable charger have plenty of watts to charge my mobile quickly, it can also be used to charge other items like LAPTOPS and APPLE Macbooks through USB C ports. This was my game changer that I use a LOT on my travels.
BE VERY CAREFUL WITH CHINESE PRODUCT
This is a BIG ONE
I am out on my bike around 3 or 4 times a week for around 50-80 km a ride. Most of the time I take a look at my bike computer only when I feel the need. As I am now aware this can be several KMS between checks.
This practice is NOT ideal as I have just found out. On a recent ride, my head unit on the handlebar snapped off with my mobile attached to it. I did not hear it come off.
Of course, panic set in as I tried to remember where I last looked at my mobile phone, and I could see a clear picture some 5 km back coming out of Dunfermline onto a track that was full of ruts and bumps and I remember thinking I was flying along as the speedo showed 40 kph.
This was bad news as that was a full 5 km that I had to backtrack to see if I could find my phone. I was stunned that the bracket had broken off. (Pictures to follow).
Now panic sets in as you think you will probably have lost your mobile. You need to sort out bank apps, have no phone number anymore, wipe the mobile, and all sorts of things running through your head.
I did a full search all the way back to where I thought I had last looked at the display, and then another full search along the same route on the way home. I did not find the mobile on both of these searches.
My saving grace was that I was recording the route on the Wahoo app, and I was sure this would be uploaded to Strava. It was. Looking at the map I could see EXACTLY where the mobile had snapped off the handlebar.
I later returned to where it had fallen off, and it was a place I had not expected, and it was smooth tarmac. I had ridden past this twice and not seriously looked. However, on first looking, I found long grass and steep edges and could see nothing.
I then paced exactly the middle of where it should be, and luckily for me, someone had placed it on top of a fence post next to the field right on that spot.
I now check my mobile far more often. I also looked at how to wipe a phone quickly in case it is not found, and downloaded and saved the info. I also checked my insurance to ensure I am covered for a lost mobile.
The mobile case holder I used on this day was a CHINESE IMPORT. I see these a lot on eBay. They are not much cheaper than the original one. This one lasted only 20 to 30 gravel bike rides before it broke.
I have now upgraded to a genuine model. Hopefully, this advice will help you if you own one of these cases.