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What cycling app do you recommend?

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What cycling app do you recommend?

Old 03-13-18, 04:12 PM
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What cycling app do you recommend?

Hi all,

Coming back to cycling this spring after a three year hiatus. A lot has changed since I rode regularly (which actually was in 2012). I'm planning to purchase an iPhone mounting system for the bike and use an app to keep a few stats. I remember using something back then, but I can't remember what I used. Trying to avoid purchasing another cyclometer, since I already have a phone (iPhone 8+) and will have it with me.

What I'd like to be able to do:

1. See speed, distance, maybe even elevation in real time.
2. Keep track of distance over time - this week, this month, this year, etc.
3. Sync my stats with my desktop computer.

What would be nice, but optional, would be:

1. Heart monitor
2. Cadence counter
3. GPS capability or some ability to download/upload routes/rides of my own or others
4. Turn-by-turn navigation like I get with google maps in the car (on my phone)

Is there an app you'd recommend?
Is there a bike mount you'd recommend (or shy away from)?

Thanks!
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Old 03-13-18, 07:02 PM
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I use this to hold my iPhone. I try not to interact with the phone on a ride, as I enjoy just getting away from it all. I put the phone on low volume so I can hear a phone call and a text message tone. I will always answer the phone and sometimes check text messages at a rest stop or lunch.

https://www.topeak.com/global/en/pro...365-tri-drybag

I have ended up using Strava for tracking my ride. I pair it with this for cadence:

https://www.wahoofitness.com/devices...cadence-sensor

Strava will only get the average cadence on an upload, but during the ride it shows history.

The best source for all this stuff is DC Rainmaker, he has tested it all:

https://www.dcrainmaker.com/
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Old 03-13-18, 07:34 PM
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Ridewithgps.com has a nice app, also. I use a very inexpensive bluetooth heart rate monitor my wife saw at Aldi's a couple years back and it works fine. I do not have a bluetooth cadence sensor. There are some out there, tho.

Welcome back!
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Old 03-13-18, 08:41 PM
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If the budget permits get a Quad Lock. Eventually almost everyone does, even if they start with something else. I got a Delta mount on sale for about $3 because it was unsold old stock for an iPhone 4s, which I have. Suits me perfectly. The Delta mount encloses the phone sides and back.

Try Strava. Again, eventually, almost everyone ends up with Strava after trying everything else. It just works. The free version has lots of features. You don't need to share your rides with anyone if you prefer not to. That's an option. Strava has access to the data but doesn't reveal private data or disclose identifying info, even if it uses the data anonymously. They often tweak the software and I've seen lots of little improvements over time.

If you're very private and don't want your data shared with anyone or any organization, try Cyclemeter. By default all data is stored on your phone, only. You must choose to upload it to your own private cloud storage (or home server/backup drive), or to share it with other apps, including Strava, social media (which Strava is, as well as being an activity app), etc.

The only disadvantage to Cyclemeter is you must keep the subscription current each year to access your own data. I let mine lapse at the end of 2017. Now I can't even fully access my own data, even though it's on my phone and cloud storage.

Since I was satisfied with Strava I didn't bother installing Cyclemeter, Wahoo Fitness, Map My Ride, Ride With GPS, etc., after doing a master reset on my Android phone this week. I really only use Strava and Charity Miles so the other half dozen apps were just filling space.

Wahoo Fitness is a pretty good freebie on the iPhone, which includes auto-pause/resume. The Android version is inferior. But while Wahoo Fitness records lots of data the app doesn't show it. Uploading to Strava or other apps or databases reveals more info.

But some folks do get good use from other apps, notably Map My Ride and Ride With GPS for sharing maps and navigation aids. Strava isn't very good at that. So even Strava users tend to use other apps for posting routes for upcoming group and event rides.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:53 PM
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I used the free mapmyride app for quite some time, but lately was having some problems with it shutting off. A few weeks ago switched to Ridewithgps. I needed something to give some turn-by-turn navigation at times. Also, the Randonneuring group I'm with use ridewithgps for their mapping. I upgraded to basic for $5/month to get the turn by turn and some other benefits. So far so good. It has performed well for me and I believe it will do everything that you are wanting an app to do.
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Old 03-13-18, 09:54 PM
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I use Cyclemeter, as I wanted a stand-alone program. I have a Wahoo heart rate monitor I link with. I've been happy with it for a number of years.
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Old 03-14-18, 01:24 AM
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Strava
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Old 03-14-18, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by gif4445 View Post
I used the free mapmyride app for quite some time, but lately was having some problems with it shutting off. A few weeks ago switched to Ridewithgps. I needed something to give some turn-by-turn navigation at times. Also, the Randonneuring group I'm with use ridewithgps for their mapping. I upgraded to basic for $5/month to get the turn by turn and some other benefits. So far so good. It has performed well for me and I believe it will do everything that you are wanting an app to do.

I use Ride With GPS to create the maps for our Audax routes, but Strava when I'm on the bicycle.
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Old 03-14-18, 10:38 AM
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Lots of great input, thanks! I shall check into these suggestions. Had heard of the Quad Lock and liked what I saw; good to see actual people endorsing the product. At one point, I had the notion of using an old iPhone 3G that was laying around the house for the bike, but even though it charges up and such, I can't find a way to add any apps (which probably wouldn't work on that old iOS anyway...).
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Old 03-15-18, 03:21 AM
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My iPhone 4s still works with most apps that interest me. But I have to be careful to run them in the order the apps prefer. Cyclemeter always wants to be the topmost app in the stack. Usually better if I run only one app at a time on that phone.

I also have that phone on a very basic emergency calling plan from Freedom Pop. The SIM cost a dollar, I think. I opted for the "free" plan, which includes 200 minutes talk time, 500 text messages and 500 MB data, indefinitely. They require a $10 deposit to cover data overages. So far it works exactly as described, and I'm pretty frugal with the data away from home -- otherwise I do everything on wifi.

Freedom Pop uses the AT&T network. They use an app that bypasses the iPhone's native dialer, so you don't get Siri, voice commands, etc. Technically it's VOIP -- voice over internet. But it does work.

But be very careful with Freedom Pop's default fees. They tend to get a little sneaky about their fees and even with their free program they'll nudge you toward more features and more fees. I may decide to use them for a paid plan later, but I wanted to try the old iPhone on their free service for awhile just to be sure it's legit. And it does work wherever I've tried it.

While I was using the iPhone 4s for awhile in a Delta mount on the handlebar, I've wanted to retire it to backup only. It was a gift from a friend and while I try not to get too attached to electronic doodads that become obsolete, the 4s and SE are my favorites of the iPhones. Just the right size and beautifully crafted little things. It's a delightful little bit of industrial art and I worry about it being damaged on the bike.

I'll probably switch to a cheaper ZTE Android phone I just bought for $10 at Walgreen's to go with a Simple Mobile prepaid card. I saw Simple Mobile advertising a completely unlimited voice/text and 4G LTE data plan for $60/mo, and was curious enough to give it a try. So far, so good, although setup was a chore compared with Verizon's plug-and-play ease. Even if I don't stick with Simple Mobile I can still use the phone as a GPS device for bike rides, and as a mini-tablet on wifi. At $10 it's hard to beat. The ZTE is about the size of an iPhone SE, small and light enough to use on a handlebar -- my Moto E4 is too big and heavy for handlebar mounting.
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Old 03-15-18, 07:54 AM
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I use Cyclemeter and pay the $10 for the year's subscription. It was cheaper than Strava's subscription and I can still upload my rides to Strava via Cyclemeter. Then Strava syncs automatically to my FitBit app.
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Old 03-15-18, 09:03 AM
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One big advantage that Cyclemeter has over the other apps mentioned here is that all the ride data resides on the phone as well as uploaded to a website. This will allow you to view your ride data anytime you want, even in Airplane Mode. The other advantage is that Cyclemeter is a yearly subscription of $9.95 vs monthly subscriptions from the other apps. If youíre looking for a data junkyís app, Cyclemeter has them all beat, hands down. Not even the Strava web site breaks down data like Cyclemeter does. The closest thing I have found that is somewhat close to Cyclemeterís data breakdown is the Ride With GPS website.

Another big advantage of Cyclemeter is that it beats the other apps hands down in user defined customization. I use the Strava phone app to edit my rides after my Bolt sends the ride data to the Strava web site. Thereís almost no user defined options for screen and data display on the app.

The disadvantage to Cyclemeter is that it can do so much more than the other apps that it becomes intimidating to users. When this happens, users often donít explore the app and lose out on its full potential.
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Old 03-15-18, 12:41 PM
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Strava. I was on the free Strava site for several years but then my kids got me Premium upgrade for a Father's Day present.

Now they just renew Premium every year for me on (or about) Father's Day.

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Old 03-15-18, 12:52 PM
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Yeah, one thing I miss about letting my Cyclemeter subscription lapse was the customizable voice prompts for speed, direction, etc. I don't use a speedometer and don't like to look down at a device while riding in a group, so the voice stuff is handy. And if I don't want to distract other riders in a group with my phone's voice stuff, I can wear a single ear bud.
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Old 03-15-18, 01:16 PM
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I use the Runstastic Road Bike Pro iPhone app ($4.99), and pair it with SunDing bluetooth speed and cadence sensors (Amazon $14). I used to wear Wahoo heart rate monitor for a few months and I have stopped.
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Old 03-15-18, 03:47 PM
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Garmin and Strava. Phone apps are OK if you don't ride too long. If you ride too long they kill the battery, leave you with a dead phone and worst of all, no record of the end of your long ride!
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Old 03-15-18, 10:58 PM
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I carry a spare phone mostly for apps. First an older iPhone 4s, my backup phone on a barebones talk/text/data plan for emergencies.

This week I paid $10 for a ZTE Majesty Pro on the Simple Mobile prepaid service. Even if I decide not to renew the service the phone will still work with GPS apps and wifi when I get home.

No worries about the battery running out. I don't run the display active most rides -- usually the phone sits in a jersey pocket or handlebar bag. So it'll last all day and night on a long ride.
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Old 03-16-18, 05:55 AM
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Gee, do not buy a phone mount, I have two still in the box and you can have one, just for the asking. I don't use tracking or an HR monitor, my iPhone6+ resides in my jersey pocket, in an Otter case. PM me if you want one mailed out.

As far as apps, I use Endomondo for tracking things, it will interface with your iPhone and with Strada and Facebook, if you want. Using their manual entry modes for my stats. You can set the privacy to keep it to your self, or let everyone encourage you and leave it public. Personally, I don't care for challenges there, I am just keeping up with my riding mileage and weather conditions.

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Old 03-16-18, 07:04 AM
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No phone app for the grouch.

For the stuff that I really use I have a Garmin 200. It does what I really care about and the only drawback that I can see is remembering to recharge it. I like it because I can switch it from bike-to-bike without fretting over the calibration settings. It's not too big either. I carry my phone in a jersey pocket for use when I need a phone.
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Old 03-16-18, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by memebag View Post
Garmin and Strava. Phone apps are OK if you don't ride too long. If you ride too long they kill the battery, leave you with a dead phone and worst of all, no record of the end of your long ride!
Not 100% true. If you leave the screen on while you ride, then yes, battery life will greatly be effected. However, on short rides, this probably won't matter. I ran an iPhone 5c (and later, a 6SE) for over 4 years using Cyclemeter, a Wahoo RFLKT, and Wahoo's BlueSC and TICKR sensors. I've done century rides without having to charge the phone and still ended up with over 35% battery life on the phone. It also helps to optimize your phone to extend battery life and make sure that your cycling app is the only thing running when you use it as a cyclometer.

When my RFLKT died, I went to a Wahoo ELMENT Bolt. When I first got the Bolt, with it's 15 hour battery life, I was curious to see just how much of a difference there was in battery life between a dedicated GPS unit and a phone using a cycling app. I borrowed my wife's RFLKT and connected it to my sensors via BLE and connected my Bolt to the same sensors via Ant+. I did this over a 4 day period and on rides between 40 and 60 miles. The results were exactly what I expected. Starting with fully charged batteries, each device used up the same percentage of battery per ride (+/- 2%). The only advantage that I have found with a dedicated GPS unit over a phone, when it comes to battery life, is that you don't have to recharge the GPS unit on a daily basis since it's only used for one function. Whereas a phone will need daily recharging since you still use the phone after a ride.
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Old 03-16-18, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
Not 100% true. If you leave the screen on while you ride, then yes, battery life will greatly be effected. However, on short rides, this probably won't matter. I ran an iPhone 5c (and later, a 6SE) for over 4 years using Cyclemeter, a Wahoo RFLKT, and Wahoo's BlueSC and TICKR sensors. I've done century rides without having to charge the phone and still ended up with over 35% battery life on the phone. It also helps to optimize your phone to extend battery life and make sure that your cycling app is the only thing running when you use it as a cyclometer.

When my RFLKT died, I went to a Wahoo ELMENT Bolt. When I first got the Bolt, with it's 15 hour battery life, I was curious to see just how much of a difference there was in battery life between a dedicated GPS unit and a phone using a cycling app. I borrowed my wife's RFLKT and connected it to my sensors via BLE and connected my Bolt to the same sensors via Ant+. I did this over a 4 day period and on rides between 40 and 60 miles. The results were exactly what I expected. Starting with fully charged batteries, each device used up the same percentage of battery per ride (+/- 2%). The only advantage that I have found with a dedicated GPS unit over a phone, when it comes to battery life, is that you don't have to recharge the GPS unit on a daily basis since it's only used for one function. Whereas a phone will need daily recharging since you still use the phone after a ride.
I never left the screen on. The GPS and the Strava app drained the battery. This was on long-ish rides.
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Old 03-16-18, 08:00 AM
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I use Ride With GPS to create routes and maps, and Strava to share rides with friends via upload to social media and/or a Strava club group. The biggest thing with Strava is remembering to start recording at the beginning of the ride, and stop recording at the end of the ride, unfortunately I've had a LOT of rides I've wanted to record but forgot....

BTW, I do not mount my phone to my bike, I just carry it in my shirt back pocket. When I'm using Ride With GPS to navigate my ride, I turn up the volume to hear the turn-by-turn directions.
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Old 03-16-18, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by memebag View Post
I never left the screen on. The GPS and the Strava app drained the battery. This was on long-ish rides.
You could have had a weak battery on the phone or a phone with a power hungry GPS receiver. The same will hold true for a weak battery or GPS receiver on any dedicated GPS unit. It could also be the app. On an iPhone, Cyclemeter is optimized for low battery drain. I can't say if their Android version is just as optimized or not.

How long is a long-ish ride? If you were doing 300K+ randos, then I would say a phone isn't the best way to go. But as I said, I've done centuries with my phone connected to 4 BTLE devices and never had to recharge during the ride. On my daily 40-60 mile rides (3 to 5 hours, including stopped time), I used up between 15 and 25% of the phone's fully charged battery.
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Old 03-16-18, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by John_V View Post
You could have had a weak battery on the phone or a phone with a power hungry GPS receiver. The same will hold true for a weak battery or GPS receiver on any dedicated GPS unit. It could also be the app. On an iPhone, Cyclemeter is optimized for low battery drain. I can't say if their Android version is just as optimized or not.
This happened on three different Android phones, both running Strava.

My Garmin Edge 1000 has never had trouble. The battery needs to be charged after 100 mile rides, but my phone's battery is still charged, which is the most important part.

Originally Posted by John_V View Post
How long is a long-ish ride? If you were doing 300K+ randos, then I would say a phone isn't the best way to go. But as I said, I've done centuries with my phone connected to 4 BTLE devices and never had to recharge during the ride. On my daily 40-60 mile rides (3 to 5 hours, including stopped time), I used up between 15 and 25% of the phone's fully charged battery.
60-100 mile rides.
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Old 03-16-18, 12:36 PM
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Strava has auto-pause/resume, even in the freebie version, so it's less important if we forget to turn it off after a ride.

I usually start Strava when I begin suiting up so I don't forget. And I may forget to turn it off when I get home because my first priority is getting out of those clipless shoes, getting something to drink and putting an ice pack on my neck.

Strava has a crop feature via the computer browser to eliminate those lag times. It rarely affects my overall average speed, but does cut back on the total elapsed time. So it doesn't look like my two hour ride included an hour of rest.

Cyclemeter's free trial version didn't originally include auto-pause/resume. That came with the paid version. I think the free trial version now features auto-pause/resume, but the new ad splashes drive me nuts -- especially those tasteless ads for phone sex. I don't mind discrete targeted ads but that was the last straw. I uninstalled Cyclemeter from my phones. And most other useful features are disabled. I shouldn't criticize an app that costs only $10/year, but they do a poor job of marketing themselves. At the very least, get with the 21st century and use targeted ads relevant to cycling.

Wahoo Fitness has a good auto-pause/resume feature in the iOS version, but not Android for some reason. So it's useless in Android. I uninstalled it from my Android phones but kept it on the iPhone.

I tried Endomondo this winter, in conjunction with their related diet app when I discovered I wasn't eating enough calories or protein. Useful for a couple of weeks to get myself back on a better diet. But the Endomondo app seemed to be the most useless of all activity apps I've tried. I know it's popular with some folks but I can't figure out the appeal, other than the interface with related apps by the same developer.

IpBike is promising for cycling. Tried it a few times. But the interface is cluttered and non-intuitive. Lots of great features, for folks who enjoyed Cyclemeter for the deep feature set and customizable options.
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