Are you a serious cyclist? If so, without geeking out too much there are some tools you MUST add to your toolkit. These services are even more important if you often cycle "off the grid" like my recent rides in northern Minnesota and the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel. While I'll admit that the Channel Islands have cell phone coverage, your American smartphone might not connect (or be too expensive dur to roaming charges).
Here are the tools I recommend (reviews included below):
- Google Maps Android Download
- Wikihood (iPad)
- Garmin software
The first requirement is Google Maps for Android. Users may now download up to ten regional maps (10 square miles) to your smartphone. Even if you lack a 3G connection, your GPS will work. While both cycling this month on the Isle of Jersey, and in northern Minnesota, this combination helped avoid getting lost, and adjust bike rides on the fly! See my screenshots (click to view full sized). Here are two screenshots from Google Maps and my Android smartphone. Even though there is no cell phone service in the area of Northern Minnesota where I was cycling, via these maps and GPS I always knew where I was, and even changed my route twice on the fly! Underneath is a photo taken of Turtle Lake on Sunday's ride using my smartphone (another good reason for bringing it along!). The black outlines show the area maps I have downloaded.
and the Tour de Turtle!
Showing myself to be an equal opportunity operating system user, before taking off on a ride, try out Wikihood for the iPad. It is really cool how you can explore Wikipedia entries for stuff located near your present location. With this data you can plan cool rides that visit locations you learned of via Wikipedia. Here is an iPad Wikihood screenshot I took just prior to a ride in Rothley, England.
Finally, at the end of my ride I like to see where I've really biked ... what roads? what elevation changes? etc? Enter my trust Garmin in combination with SportTracks Software. You'll find a video tutorial I created a while back which shows SportTracks in use while I cross-country ski. Here are just two screenshots from my recent Tour de Turtle!
I would love to hear other folks favorite cycling apps. Ping me, or leave a comment. In closing here are a few photos from our cycling holiday on the Isle of Jersey. Click to maximize.