Primarily I’m looking for Nav. aid as I’m fed up with printing and squinting, plus gps tracking of rides.
Up until last week I was saving pennies for a Bryton Rider, the new ‘cut price’ GPS map/nav/computer device.
Then I found my old iPhone 3G.
Before you start to detect smugness, this is a ‘venerable’ 8gig 3G iphone, I got it for work but ‘lost’ it last May. Found it while spring cleaning one of those piles of general clutter that seem to just grow naturally in the corners of our house. Spent a joyful day reinstalling everything and of course at one point typed ‘bike’ in the app store.
Blimey, things have moved on. There’s a plethora of GPS enabled apps for iPhone now, which has got me thinking. All I need is a decent mount for the bike and Bob’s my Uncle for those new routes I want to try out. So, one is on order to test this out. I won’t get Cadence or HRM, but TBH I’m not quite so obsessive just yet – I leave those for the Turbo sessions.
I downloaded 3 free / free trial apps to have a play with and interestingly they are not clones. Each one works in a different way and each may be useful in a different way…
Here’s a summary of what I’ve found so far. Please comment if there’s another one you know of that will do more of all this!
1. Cyclemeter 5.0
+ imports GPX (no limit) I have the Blenheim Sportive in there already since I want to enter the Brompton World Championships on the day.
+ uses Google Maps.
+ nice overlay of existing routes plus comparative stats.
+ good ‘bike computer’ functions (but I already have one).
+ solid tracking function and export (almost too much!).
+ events calendar
Competition focussed: Has a set of ‘Official’ settings, presumably for Audax etc? Also you can set up ‘other Competitors’ – presumably who use the same system. An MTB friend uses this. Looks very good as a 2d map and for following and tracking a ride. Can do live updates to FB etc.
2. Trails Lite
Not just for cycling.
- open source maps, not Google.
- mix of map and stats on the main screen.
- map screen darkens occasionally in use.
+ imports GPX.
+ can overlay GPX on the 2D map to follow route.
+ solid tracking and measuring.
+ for me – has Everytrail integration – that’s where I put my rides.
+ easy to pause and use the camera from within the app.
3. Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner
- Can’t import GPX.
- Uses open source mapping – not quite as good as Google Maps IMO.
- no tracking (as far as I can see).
+ Can create Google Maps Directions-like directions automatically, or create them manually via waypoints.
+ shows route on map while you follow it.
+ proper turn by turn sat nav interface / 3D perspective view or 2d plus great Voice navigation
One interesting feature is its list/map of Bike shops – for tourers this could be very useful. Also has an Events Calendar but it crapped out on me.
This one is a ‘Tom Tom’ alike, plus I could use before I get the mount as it fits in a pocket and works with an earpiece. By far the best ‘navigation’ tool here but not a ‘tracker’. Bike Hut looks useful enough to use in the car. Don’t tell them though, especially since its therefore essentially a free Sat Nav – not quite their agenda…
So far then:
- Cyclemeter seems the best fit overall for road biking, and includes competition settings.
- Trails is nearly as good and possibly better for touring, MTB, and runners/walkers.
- Bike Hut is great for pure ‘Navigation’ from A to B via Z.
Trails works in the background, so you could use Bike Hut for turn by turn while using Trails to track your ride….
Will try some more apps for next time. May actually use one on the bike eventually!
I now use cyclemeter exclusively – its fantastic and continually improved. Worth the tiny price.
Bike Hut is fine out of Town but gets very confused in dense areas.