Cycling Tech: Get The Most Out Of Your Smartphone When Cycling
Riding a bicycle is a great way to get exercise, as well as train your body to be physically fit. A key component of training is tracking your progress, and that can be difficult to accomplish without the right tools. With an Android phone, you’ll have plenty of apps at your disposal to plan, calculate, and track your bicycle rides. They can also provide great ways to connect to a community geared toward improving physically, which is sometimes the motivation that people need. This way, you’ll easily be able to improve yourself by knowing your stats and competing with your friends or even friendly strangers.
Some of these tools are more complex than others, and some may be used to track other forms of exercise, too. No matter which tool you end up going with, the important thing is to get out there and get some cycling done. Tracking is just a bonus — it’s not the end game.
Endomondo is arguably the most popular sports tracking app available on Android, and it’s also one of my personal favorite cycling apps for Android. It can easily track your cycling outings, and give you plenty of information after your workout. It shows you a map with the path that you took, along with the distance, time, calories burned, average speed and pace, and how much hydration you probably need after the workout. Endomondo can also be used for a long list of other workouts, including running, roller skiing, and more.
Another fantastic feature about Endomondo is that you can share your workouts to the Endomondo community as well as social media, which can be used to get comments of encouragement from others or as bragging rights.
Strava Cycling is another excellent app which can easily track your cycling workouts. It offers an excellent user interface, and like Endomondo, it can map your path, and show you the time and distance. However, you can also look at your collective stats, earn achievements, compare yourself in leaderboards in a number of scenarios including riding the same route segments as your friends, and join challenges in which you can win gear. Strava also offers its own community where people can look at their friends’ workouts and encourage them.
The idea behind Strava is that you don’t just push yourself to improve on your own times, but you also compare yourself to others as you try to go from the bottom of the leaderboard to the top. Strava does an excellent job at offering plenty of competitive features that indirectly use other people to push you, and that may be the different type of motivation that some people need for workout success.
Strava is also a recommended cycling app for iOS.
If you’re looking at a simpler workout tracker for your cycling outings, then I’d recommend BicyComp. When you first launch the app, it offers you four different layouts, which include varying amounts of information and screen space dedicated to a map. Depending on what you choose, you could see a map, speed, distance, and a handful of time-related stats.
BicyComp doesn’t have an online community, so all workouts will be saved locally if you choose to do so. Otherwise, it’s just a good way to keep track of each workout as you’re doing it.
The only issue that I’ve found is that the map may not automatically move to your current position, so you may have to do that manually. However, it does still find your location and tracks the path you take.
Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner
If you live in the UK, you’re in luck. Bike Hub Cycle Journey Planner is an app which allows you to plan your cycling routes using OpenStreetMaps before you actually go out cycling.
Once you’re out and about, the app can give you turn by turn directions, including cycling paths in addition to roads. You can also choose between the shortest, fastest, and quietest routes when generating directions. You can even find nearby bike shops if you need any of their services.
While the app uses OpenStreetMaps to display the map, the information it uses for bike routes and bike shops come from a separate, UK-only source. That’s why the app doesn’t work outside of the UK.
Cadence Calculator for Cycling
If you’re out cycling for long distances, you should focus on getting your cadence at an acceptable level. The cadence is the amount of revolutions per minute you make with the pedals. Ideally, your cadence should be between 80 and 120 rpm so that you don’t put too much strain on your legs as well as move them too quickly.
With the Cadence Calculator for Cycling, you can calculate your cadence and gear inches by entering your front gear size, rear gear size, and traveling speed. In order to be sure that you’re using the correct measurements (and therefore receive the correct calculations), you’ll need to go into the settings and choose your wheel circumference, chainrings, and cassette. As such, the calculator only works if your bike’s parameters are supported, but the list is quite large.
These five cycling apps for Android should give you quite a start at tracking and optimizing your cycling outings. While I find Endomondo to be the most useful out of these 5 apps, you’ll be fine by using any of the others.
For more great Android apps, check out our Best Android Apps page!
What cycling apps do you use on Android? What feature is most important to you? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Jonas Tana
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