Embrace the ride with 7 essential bike apps for nav, repair, tracking and more

best bike apps biking
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Public transportation is hot and stinky, and sitting in traffic in your car sucks — just pray that your air-conditioner doesn’t break. Besides, summer is the season for fitness.

If you’re the kind that prefers running, take a look at these other fitness apps for Android or iPhone. If you like to bike, use that passion to become a full time commuter, or at least stretch your legs a bit on the weekends. These apps can help get you motivated and keep you rolling along, and if you’re already a regular rider, some of these suggestions will be sure to boost your biking experience.

The Roadie Bike Fit ($5)

Before you get out there — maybe even before you head to the bike shop for that big new purchase — make sure you have some idea of your bike fit range with the Roadie Bike Fit. This app isn’t meant to replace a proper fitting at the shop, but it’ll  give you a general idea of the frame size and geometry that should be good for you. As the name implies the Roadie focuses on road and cyclocross bike fittings, so if you’re a mountain bike rider, try another program. The app’s relative ease of use is a nice selling point — it only requires a couple of measurements and photos. Make sure you have something to hold onto and carefully prop your phone on while you’re taking the required selfies — or better yet, ask a friend for help.

Google play

Size My Bike ($6)

A more detailed version of The Roadie, Size My Bike requires more than the two measurements and quick pics of the first app. Again, it’s not a replacement for an in-person professional fitting, just an excellent starting point and pretty good for expert riders looking to tweak riding positions. The app also supports mountain bikes, unlike another almost-as-expensive program.

iTunes Google play

Bike Repair ($4)

If your bike has been sitting around since the first cold day last year, this app is perfect to help you, a DIYer extraordinaire hoping to save some bucks who would otherwise plunk down a wad at the bike shop. The free version of this is pretty limited compared to the full version. It’s essentially a repair how-to with a series of detailed photos and guides and a slew of quality photos so you know what to look for and how to go about fixing all those annoying squeaks and rubs. It also has handy purchase guides for parts, equipment and gear, so you don’t go out in 45-degree weather thinking you’ll be good in just a t-shirt (unless you’re in the Polar Bear club). Keep in mind, you might not have the tools to do everything that needs doing, and a good bike mechanic has years of practice and skills under his or her belt that make a trip to the shop once a season highly recommended.

iTunes Amazon Google play

Strava (free app + $6/month or $59/year Premium subscription)

Might as well address the elephant in the room. Strava’s app does pretty much everything for both cyclists and runners; it’s a fitness tracker and social media tool. You can use it to monitor speed, distance, pace, elevation, and calories, and it links to external sensors to measure your heart rate or cadence. Strava also links to your Facebook profile for bragging rights, shows your route along with pre-planned segments, and compares your times with other riders via public leaderboards. There’s even monthly challenges for rewards and bragging rights.

If you pay to go premium, you can filter leaderboards by weight and age (don’t be surprised if some guy in his late sixties is crushing it), set weekly mileage or speed goals, get performance results on the fly, and stalk your friends and other riders since you can see who’s out and about. Another premium feature, the “Suffer Score” analyzes your heart rate to see how hard you pushed yourself. If so inclined you can check out training videos and use Strava store discounts. It even works with Android wear, letting you use it to control the app without pulling your phone out — handy if you don’t have a phone mount or trust those silly rubber bands.

With recent updates — to the Strava app and to Android OS, meaning Lollipop — some of the kinks are still being worked out. On the bright side, Strava just partnered with Fitbit, meaning you can integrate your full fitness stats and sleep patterns with your run and/or ride data. Because of this and aforementioned connectivity in addition to the free features, Strava is definitely an excellent go-to for those trying to avoid plunking down money for a(nother) bike computer.

iTunes Amazon Google play

Next page: OsmAnd+, Wahoo Fitness, and MapMyRide

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