An endless number of cycling gadgets, accessories, gears and apps for bikes exist to help make your riding safer, easier, and more social. But where do you start? Which ones are right for you and the type of riding you do? This article focuses on the top apps available for cycling.
To make it easier to find what you’re looking for, we’ve included apps that help you navigate, track, stay safe, travel with ease and share your rides and accomplishments with your friends. Although most have multiple features and cut across categories, we focus on the primary function of each app.
There are many lists you can consult such as best free cycling app and best bike tracking app with hundreds of different apps. In this article we are cutting through the clutter and have narrowed it down to 9 of the best cycling apps. This article will help you by providing an overview of the app and need to know information so you can find the one that is best for you.
Strava has become one of the most popular apps for cycling and for good reason. It is a real powerhouse packed with features. Its primary feature is tracking. Turn it on at the beginning of your ride and you will get stats on distance, time, average speed, max speed, elevation gain and a lot more.
If you are a multisport person, Strava allows you to track all sorts of activities including hike, walk, ski, e-bike, kayak and just about any sporting activity you can think of. The app also has a social feature where you can follow your friends and keep up on their training, give them kudos or make a comment for impressive rides. And hopefully, they will follow you back and give you the kudos you deserve.
Another convenient feature of Strava is that it allows you to sync with other devices and apps. There is a long list of compatible devices like Garmin, Fitbit, Wahoo, Polar, TomTom and more.
One thing Srtava does not offer is offline navigation.
Most cyclists get all of the features and functions they need in the free version of Strava. However, if you find you need more, the app does offer a paid subscription that costs $7.99 per month. This includes more advanced features such as route planning, training dashboard, heart rate and power analysis, goal setting, training log, and a beacon function.
Another cycling app that has gained popularity recently is Zwift. This app is virtual reality for cycling. It allows you to ride real cycling routes from around the world without leaving your home. The app allows you to compete in live virtual rides or choose from over 1000 on-demand workouts. You can also set up training plans based on the large library of rides and live events.
The app includes a tracking feature as well as a social feature. When you ride, Zwift tracks your speed, distance, heart rate and more. Social features include the ability to ride virtually with other riders and share your ride by uploading to Strava. You can also earn badges and achievements.
It is a little more involved to get Zwift set up. You need a bike and a smart trainer in addition to the app. If you don’t have a smart trainer you can make do with a speed and power sensor to take advantage of the functionality of Zwift.
There is no free version of Zwift. A monthly membership only subscription was recently seen for $14.99. If you are not sure about indoor cycle training, Zwift offers 7-day free trial.
This is primarily a navigation app. It provides plenty of features to help you plan and ride your route. Features include offline navigation, voice cues for navigation, route planner tool and suggestions for touring in a region. You can use the app to create your own route or select from a library of routes provided by other users. It works great for cycling but can also be used for other activities such as bikepacking and mountain biking. With all of these great features, it is not surprising that Komoot is often on the list for best cycling navigation app.
Komoot offers a maps only version and a premium version. A recent review found the maps version priced at $19.99 and the premium at $4.99 a month. The premium version offers all the great features of the maps plus more advanced features such as multiday planner, sport specific maps, weather, and personal collections.
This app is another option for navigation with a twist. Cyclists, and travelers in general, who venture into more remote areas really like this app. That is because it has a powerful offline navigation feature. Just download the route before you hit the road or trail without worrying about signal strength along the way.
MAPS.ME includes voice cues during navigation and displays points of interest like restaurants, grocery stores, and hotels that can be extremely helpful when riding in new areas. The app will also give you different navigation for different types of travel. So, you can use the bike navigation to cycle your way to the next village then switch to walking navigation to explore the area on foot.
Some riders find that the lack of topography on the map display is a disadvantage but the price is right. This is often on the list of best free cycling app.
If you will be touring by bike in different regions, you will find a travel trunk bag helpful to store those essentials.
5. Kudo Coach
The Kudo Coach app is designed primarily as a training app for cyclists. It helps you set up your training program and then monitor your activity against your plan. One of the features that make Kudo Coach popular is that it is flexible and practical. This is a training app for real people with busy lives. The app asks you a few simple questions to get your training program up and running and then helps you stay on course.
A convenient feature for cyclists is that you can easily sync rides that were recorded using apps such as Strava, Wahoo, Garmin Connect and Polar.
6. Peak Finder AR
This is a great app to take with you on cycling trips. Get educated about the area you are riding in and have some fun. The app can tell you the name of mountains near you. In addition to the name, it will also display the elevation of the mountain peak. This can be especially helpful if you are thinking of riding up the mountain. Know what you are getting into before you start.
The app is easy to use. If you can take a photo with your smart phone, you can use this app. Point your phone at the mountain, activate your camera and the name will appear. If you are near mountains, you might not have a cell signal but this is not a problem as Peak Finder AR works offline.
The cost is $4.99.
This is a powerful weather app. It will tell you just about anything you want to know, and a whole lot more, about current, and forecasted weather including wind. People who enjoy activities outdoor that rely on or are impacted by wind rely on this app. Cyclists are especially interested in wind. WINDY will tell you if you can expect a tailwind or headwind on your ride. In addition to current and forecasted wind, this app provides information on temperature and precipitation. If you are a cyclist and a weather geek you will enjoy this app.
The app gets its power by pulling data from the top weather forecasting models and several local forecasting models.
The cost of this app is free.
If WINDY tells you the weather will be inclement but you plan to ride anyway, make sure you have weatherproof gear. A great option is a waterproof bike bag.
If you are a bikepacker, enjoy bike touring in new places, or just plain exploration, iOverlander is an essential app to add to your collection. As the name suggests, iOverlander is an app for and by the adventure traveler who is looking for a tool to help explore wherever the road takes you. Sort of like the Yelp for explorers. Some of the more popular ways to use the app are to see what is nearby and then view details about what you are interested in. Find out what amenities are included and what other overlanders thought about the place. You can participate by adding new places or providing comments, reviews, and updates on those that already exist.
iOverlander works mostly offline which is a good feature since many explorations take you off the grid. The adventuresome cyclist can use this app to find suitable places to rest and refresh after each day’s ride.
iOverlander is run as a non-profit so the app is free but donations are accepted.
If the overlander style of travel appeals to you, consider a bike camping trip for your next adventure.
Last on our list but certainly not least, is Busby which is an app for safety. Its features helped earn this app the title of "Best Cycling Safety App 2020" by Cycling Weekly. Cycling is fun and good for our health but it can also be risky and accidents happen. This app helps keep riders safe with several features. The incident detection feature automatically senses when a cyclist falls or crashes. It then prompts the rider to indicate if they are okay. You have 30 seconds to respond. If there is no response, the app sends a message to your emergency contacts and includes your exact location.
Other sports can be risky too. If you are a multisport athlete, Busby can help keep you safe while running, walking, while on a scooter or other activities where taking a fall or crash are a possibility.
Another feature of the app is Flare. Like a real flare, you can use the app to notify those nearby when you need help. This doesn’t have to be an emergency but could include assistance with a flat tire or mechanical.
The app comes in a basic and premium version. The basic version is free. The premium version runs less than $4 per month and includes up to 5 emergency contacts plus access to extra discounts on products and no annoying in-app advertisements.
There are plenty of apps to help make your cycling more fun, safe, and social and help you train smarter. In this article we discussed 9 different cycling apps that are at the top of their game. Regardless of whether you are searching for the best cycling navigation app, the best bike tracking app or just the best free cycling app, we have you covered. We have included apps that excel in tracking, training, apps that help you when traveling and exploring in more remote areas and an app to help keep you safe. Most offer both a free and premium version. Free versions are jam packed with features that suffice for most riders.