5 Bike Apps You Need Now

From route maps to repair instructions, these programs will help you get the most out of your cycling adventures.

By: Marshall Worsham

For some of us, the greatest thing about the warm weather moving in this week is that we can stop dressing like snow commandos for our bike commute. For others, it might just be time to dust off the old velocipede after a few months’ neglect. In any case, if you’re thinking of hitting the road this spring, here are five must-have cycling apps to take with you.

Best for Fitness: Cyctastic

All screenshots courtesy of iTunes App Store.

This app is like a cycling coach in your pocket. Log into the app before a ride, and it tracks your entire workout, including distance, speed, elevation change, and calorie consumption. The app translates all of the data into helpful graphics and charts and keeps a history of your training, so you can visualize your exercise progress. On top of that, it has an interactive competition feature, so you can race against other users or your own previous times. Voice feedback updates you on your progress in real time to help you squeeze out those extra seconds.
Available for: iPhone
Price: $5.99 

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Best for Bike Repair: Bike Repair HD

Crankset giving you trouble? Atomic Software’s Bike Repair app walks you through 73 fixes for common problems, from dragging derailleurs to sticky shifters. More than 50 easy-to-use repair guides, illustrated by 250 high-def studio photos, give clear, concise instructions for each step of a repair. An add-on module, also available for purchase, allows you to input the dimensions and details of all of your bike’s components, as well as track your maintenance history. With this app, you may never need to go back to the shop for repairs, but if you do you’ll have every detail of your machine in your pocket.
Available for: iPhone, iPad, and Android
Price: $3.99

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Best Navigating App: Maplets + District of Columbia Bike Map

This popular app gives you offline access to more than 6,000 maps in the US and abroad. A location-tracking feature identifies the relevant maps for your area, but you can also search for guides as far afield as Yosemite and Yokohama. For DC bikers, the District of Columbia Bike Map is a gem. You can use it to find every trail, path, and bike lane in the District, and its high-resolution display and quick zoom and scroll functions make it super-accessible while you’re waiting for the light to change (not that we recommend this). Maplets’ cache of more than 400 bike maps is continually growing, and includes many ride-worthy routes in Northern Virginia and Maryland.
Available for: iPhone and iPad
Price: $2.99, all map downloads free

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Best Gear App: Bicycle Gear Head

Indispensable for gear nerds, Bicycle Gear Head is the most comprehensive gear calculator on the market. If you’re changing or upgrading your drivetrain or building a bike from scratch, this app does the number crunching for you. It finds your system’s gear inches, speed, and gain ratios for all chainrings and sprockets so you know you have the right components before you install them.
Available for: iPhone and iPad
Price: $2.99

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Best All-in-One Package: Cyclemeter GPS Bike Computer

If integration is the answer in today’s fitness-tech world, this is one app that’s gotten it right. Cyclemeter combines cycle computing, fitness monitoring, and mapping—and churns out data in more formats than most of us can handle. Turn it on at the start of a ride, and its GPS function (more reliable than most) will log your time, speed, location, distance, and elevation. You can see your route on a map or follow a path you’ve saved before. A configurable split feature, plus voice announcements and push notifications, help you track your performance in real time. When you’re through, you can review your workout in sharp graphics or export details to Google maps, Twitter, social fitness sites, calendars, and other platforms. For a similar Android-friendly app, check out B.iCycle.
Available for: iPhone
Price: $1.99