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From ride tracking to finding new coffee shops the right apps make your phone the ultimate cycling assistant

[This article was last updated on November 7, 2017]

  • There's a vast range of cycling information and help available through your smartphone, from navigation to planning and tracking your training.

  • Your smartphone can take the place of a bike computer or GPS — and take calls as well (remember those?).

  • Data from your rides can be saved and uploaded to websites linked to apps so you can monitor your progress and compare your rides against others'.

Smartphones have revolutionised cycling. With more capability than the humble bicycle computer, the smartphone allows you to easily track and record rides, plan routes, keep on top of your training, and much more besides.

This is a list of some really useful cycling apps currently available. From navigation to planning routes and fixing your bike, there's something for everyone here.

Read more: 13 personal training and coaching apps to help you get fit

Beanhunter — free

beanhunter app.png

beanhunter app.png

Beanhunter started out in Australia and the app has now grown to offer a pretty comprehensive database of cafes worldwide. Just download the app and search for either cafes nearest to you or anywhere else by name and/or location. You can share your experiences by uploading photos and opinions on the cafes you've visited, leave reviews and read reviews from others if you're looking for an extra-special cafe stop to impress your ride group. If you find a previously unlisted cafe that deserves shouting about you can upload a listing yourself, and to find cafes the app redirects to your default mapping application. 

Read more about Beanhunter

Beanhunter is available for both Android and iOS devices

Bike Citizens — city guides from $3.99

bikecitizens.jpg

bikecitizens.jpg

Bike Citizens is a navigational app and a travel guide in one, providing a huge, constantly updated database of maps worldwide and plenty of tips and points of interest for making the most of your visit to a new destination if you plan on getting around by bike. It won a Eurobike Award in 2015 for being a 'must-have' innovation, so isn't without plenty of recommendations.   

The Bike Citizens map material is based on OpenStreetMap, which is always evolving and you can also add routes to its database yourself; meaning there are plenty of interesting user-submitted rides to check out on the app. The route planner has voice commands so you needn't be staring at your phone while trying to navigate, and it will choose routes with varying levels of gradient according to what your preferences are. There are over 450 European cities on its database, with many others worldwide. 

Read more about Bike Citizens

Bike Citizens is available for both Android and iOS devices

Komoot — free for one region, additional maps from £3.99

komoot.jpg

komoot.jpg

Boldly proclaimed as "the world's best route planner", Komoot turns your phone into a proper sat nav with voice commands. You can key in your location and where you want to get to before your ride, which Komoot saves as a planned journey, and then it records your activities as 'completed tours'.

Where it differs from other navigation apps is the routes, as Komoot will often give you numerous options for reaching your destination, that aren't always the quickest. It's a good app choice for the more adventurous bike tourer, off-roader or just a long commuter who wants to explore a new route home. 

Read more about Komoot

Komoot is available for both Android  and iOS devices

Bike Gear Calculator — £1.99 or free for basic version

Bike Gear Calculator 2.jpg

Bike Gear Calculator 2.jpg

Bike Gear Calculator is a quick way to compare different gears on your bike and on setups you’re considering, and for seeing how fast you’ll be travelling in a given gear at a particular cadence (pedal revolutions per minute).

You just add details about your bike and all the maths is done for you. Of course, you could do the calculations yourself, or use something like Sheldon Brown’s Gear Calculator, but this app makes things fast and simple.

A free version of the Bike Gear Calculator is available, with £1.99 getting you a more advanced edition.

Read more about Bike Gear Calculator

Bike Gear Calculator is available for both Android  and iOS devices.

Relive — Free

Relive Cycling

Relive Cycling

Relive captures your ride data from Strava, Garmin Connect, Endomondo or Polar and transforms it into a stunning moving map. Any ride of 10km or more for a duration of 12 hours or less can be uploaded. After your ride has been shared to your logging service, Relive sends you an email with a link to your video. 

Read more about Relive

Available for Android and iOS devices.

Bike Computer — Free

bike computer shot.JPG

bike computer shot.JPG

Doing what it says on the tin and then some, Bike Computer is a refreshingly simple app that turns your phone into a GPS bike computer. This free app is available on both iOS and Android( app stores and tracks basic metrics including pace, distance, route and elevation.

It’s compatible with Bluetooth-ready heart rate monitors, and all your rides can be shared straight to Strava or Facebook on completion. There’s a dark screen mode which reduces battery use and makes it viewable on night rides; plus Bike Computer Co. claim their app is also 12% more battery-efficient than any other mobile fit tracker on the market, reducing the chance of running out of charge on a ride.

Read more about Bike Computer

Bike Computer is available for Android and iOS devices.

Strava - Free, in-app purchases

strava app.png

strava app.png

We’re starting with the most obvious app, the one that needs no introduction. Yes of course, we mean Strava. Since it launched in 2009, Strava has gone on to become hugely popular and for many, it's the go-to app for all cycle rides. The smartphone app tracks and records your ride, providing distance, speed and other metrics, but it’s how your rides are presented that sets it apart. ‘Segments’ show your times on leaderboards so you can see how you compare to others who have cycled the same road, and the social functionality that allows you to follow the weekly progress of cycling friends, join clubs and take part in challenges that really is the reason for Strava's unrelenting popularity.

Available for iPhone and Android. You can also join clubs, road.cc even has a club, you can join us here

Read more about Strava

Garmin Connect Mobile — Free

Garmin Connect Mobile App 2 - 1.jpg

Garmin Connect Mobile App 2 - 1.jpg

If you use a recent Garmin Edge GPS unit, then you'll find Garmin Connect Mobile useful. It can connect to your device to upload your rides to the Garmin Connect website, which can then share your data with Strava and MyFitnessPal. You'll need it if you want to use Garmin's LiveTrack feature and let someone know where you are while you ride. 

Garmin Connect Mobile can send stored workouts via Bluetooth to most current Garmin Edges too, though you'll need to create them on the Connect website first.

Most people will probably find that the app’s most useful feature is its calendar. If you own a Garmin Edge cycling computer – a 520 or an 820, for example – the calendar allows you to review rides you’ve done in the past, using the app as a detailed training diary. 

Read more about Garmin Connect Mobile

Available for Android, iOS devices and Microsoft Windows 10 Mobile.

Cyclemeter

cyclemeter.png

cyclemeter.png

Cyclemeter is a really useful app that turns your iPhone (not currently available for Android) into a cycle computer, which is really handy if you mount your phone to your handlebars, providing plenty of information at a glance. It integrates maps for navigational duties and can be customised in many ways, including providing audio alerts for a range of metrics.

It’s also available on the new Apple Watch if you have one of those.

iPhone

Google Maps - Free

smartphone apps1.JPG

smartphone apps1.JPG

There are many mapping apps available but one that you might have on your phone already, and not realise it, is Google Maps. The latest version has offered cycling routes for some time, and works very well. It can provide turn-by-turn navigation instructions if you want it as well.

iPhone | Android

Endomondo - Free, in-app purchases

endomondo.png

endomondo.png

Endomondo is an activity tracking app with many fans, and part of its appeal is in its simplicity compared to other similar apps like Strava. It tracks duration, speed, calories and can be used with a heart rate monitor, and will keep a full training log allow you to easily analyse your training.

Android | iPhone

MapMyRide - Free, in-app purchases

mapmyride.png

mapmyride.png

MapMyRide has been around for quite a while and is a very popular way of plotting routes or finding other routes in your area, with a large database of routes available, making it a good option for those wanting to explore a part of the country. It’s free but there is a premium version which gives you more advanced tools and mapping.

Available for iPhone and Android.

Fill That Hole - Free

fill that hole.png

fill that hole.png

Cycling UK launched the Fill That Hole service for reporting potholes to local authorities a few years ago (when they were still called CTC), making it easier than trying to find the right department at your local council to flag up a dangerous pothole. The app lets you easily report a pothole, so you could do it from the side of the road instead of waiting until you get home and logging onto the website.

Read more about Fill That Hole

iPhone | Android

St John Ambulance First Aid for Cyclists - Free

first aid app.png

first aid app.png

What do you do in an accident? It’s not a position anyone really wants to be in, but the First Aid for Cyclists app by the St John Ambulance aims to equip cyclists with essential and basic first aid skills to combat the most common cycling injuries, whether it’s road rash, cuts or head injuries.

iPhone | Android

BBC Weather - Free

bbc weather app

bbc weather app

This is without doubt the most popular app on my smartphone. You can’t be a cyclist in the UK and not obsessively track the weather forecast before a ride, looking for any hint of rain on the horizon or a change in wind speed or direction. The app is free and really easy to use, and provides a good level of hourly and daily detail.

Available for Android and iPhone.

Rain Alarm - free

rain alarm.png

rain alarm.png

Unsurprisingly weather apps are popular with cyclists. Who doesn't check the weather before getting dressed for a ride? Rain Alarm uses real-time data to warn of approaching rain, and provides precise detail on a clear map.

Available for Android and iPhone.

YR.No - free

yr.no_.png

yr.no_.png

This is a very popular weather app, with lots of fans. It's a service from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and NRK and provides weather forecasts, textual forecasts, meteograms and extreme weather warnings.

Available for Android and iPhone.

Santander Cycles - Free

santander cycles.png

santander cycles.png

This is the official app for the Cycle Hire London for Santander Cycles bicycle hire scheme and allows you to find your nearest bike and docking station. As well as that, it can plan routes for you, able to offer either the quickest or quieter roads depending on your preference, with handy turn-by-turn instructions. The app usefully has a built-in timer so you can keep on eye on any usage charges that might occur.

iPhone and Android.

CycleStreets - Free

CycleStreets.png

CycleStreets.png

Planning routes is where apps can be really useful. This one lets you plan routes from A to B anywhere in the UK with three routing modes to suit different types of cyclists, from commuters to beginners.

Available on iPhone and Android.

Ride With GPS

ridewithgps.png

ridewithgps.png

Here's a very powerful route planning app, and very popular with cyclists planning long-distance rides. As well as really good route mapping tools, the app can be used as a cycle computer t provide navigation and live tracking, and even supports Bluetooth accessories for adding heart rate, cadence and speed data.

Available for iPhone and Android.

Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal - Free, in-app purchases

myfitnesspal 2

myfitnesspal 2

MyFitnessPal aims simply to help you lose weight by making it easy to track calories on a daily basis. A database of over 4 million foods makes it easy to track how many calories your meals are providing. It can also has a recipe counter for tracking homemade meals too.

Available for iPhone and Android

Bike Doctor - from £1.79

bike doctor.png

bike doctor.png

Maintaining, servicing or fixing your bike can be a little daunting at first, and that’s where this extremely useful app come comes into its own. It provides step-by-step instructions for fixing any sort of mechanical problem on your bike. It’s been designed to be easy to use, with clear instructions that even a complete beginner can follow.

It costs £3.99 on iPhone and £1.79 on Android. Cheaper than visiting the bike shop though

Size My Bike - £3.77

size my bike.png

size my bike.png

Determining the right size road bike, especially if you’re a beginner or buying a bike online, can be a tricky decision. Size My Bike is a bike fitting app that uses six body measurements to help you choose the right size road bike. It also works for mountain bikes too.

It costs £3.77 on Android and $4.99 on iPhone.

Bike Fast Fit - £3.99

Bike Fast Fit.jpeg

Bike Fast Fit.jpeg

Here's another bike fitting app. It lets you capture some riding video, on a static trainer, and measures key riding position angles and distances to provide analysis of your position.

Available on iPhone only

Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner - Free

Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner.png

Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner.png

Routing is made easy with Bike Hub, an app that can find the quickest or quickest route for you to cycle home or to the office. With a route loaded, the app can provide 2D and 3D satellite navigation and turn-by-turn instructions, just like you’d get in a car satnav, with audio announcements if you want them. Another useful feature is the ability to locate your nearest bike shop.

Available on iPhone and Android.

CycleMaps: Cycling Route Planner & Navigator - free

CycleMaps.png

CycleMaps.png

If planning routes and also using shared routes is of interest to you, then CycleMaps could be worth checking out. It's being constantly updated with a large database of routes. It lets you store favourite routes and import GPX and KML routes, and shows all cycle paths. It's also compatible with the Apple Watch.

Available for iPhone only.

Want more cycling apps? Check out all the cycling apps we've featured

Are there any smartphone apps you use regularly for cycling? Let's hear about them in the comments below.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

33 comments

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iUpham [177 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Strava for Social
Garmin Connect for reviewing data
Training Peaks for scheduling workouts

I like the look of the Fill that Hole app. Would be very useful between Southampton & Portsmouth.

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vbvb [621 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Used to plot routes on google maps on pc, then recall them on the iphone, but it doesn't work anymore.

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rowes [96 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

If there is another person, other than me, out there with a windows phone, try Run The Map. Good when your out, works offline, easy to compare and trend rides, climbs and speed. Also easily integrates with Strava.

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JoshCroxton1 [30 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Weather's never that nice in Birmingham. 

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huntswheelers [108 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Strava for the usual social and recording......  

Rain Alarm for current live rain forecasts....  

Weatherbomb for 10 day weather modelling ....

Osmand+ with the new Topo maps for rides....

CycleStreets for city routing...

Yr for 24/48hr Forecasting

works for me

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handlebarcam [1076 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

I like the mental challenge of navigating and pacing myself without a screen constantly telling me where I am or what calories I am burning. But I do appreciate being able to use online weather and mapping services beforehand. What I think would be useful would be a comination of the two in one app or web site. Something that would colour-code each section of your route as you plot it, based on the forecast wind direction and strength at each point, given a start time and estimated average speed which you enter. You could then adapt your route to avoid block headwinds, or reverse it if a change is predicted later in the day. Alternatively, you could save a collection of favourite routes, then choose which to take based on a weighted score calculated from the conditions if you start now. Quite possibly Team Sky already have something like this, seeing as they've recently gotten much better at getting into echelons.

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LastBoyScout [363 posts] 1 year ago
9 likes

I pulled up at a set of lights next to a middle-aged chap with a smart phone mounted on his handlebars running what looked to be some sort of mapping app, so asked him what it was.

"Pokemon Go", was the answer.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Strava and Fill that Hole don't mix angel

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Man of Lard [341 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

What about the WindowsPhone users? (No love for either of them? I'm not one but one of them will be along sooner or later to complain that they've been missed out again )

edit: I see he's already been past smiley

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djfleming22 [41 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

 

If i started to use fill that hole in Scotland that 30 miles ride would take 10hrs ..so no thanks

 

Strava -  good

Rain alarm - really like

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randomeur [8 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

I've been using komoot for the past 2+ years and I'm really satisfied with the ease of use and the pace of its development.

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jimhead [16 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Remember that Google Maps can download map areas for offline use so you can locate yourself even if you've no signal/data.  

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multimodal [56 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

The Santander Cycles app is almost useful for finding docking stations, in all other respects it's useless. The available spaces are never, ever accurate.

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spindi [10 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

ViewRanger

Excellent for plannig routes and navigating...

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.augmentra.viewranger.android

Maps.me

Downloadable country mapping to save on data. Cycle specific route planning...

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mapswithme.maps.pro

It's also good for driving in foreign countries if you have no network coverage.

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nniff [216 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

OS Maps and OS Locate work well for me - when I've got lost or the planned route needs to be changed.  Paper OS maps now come with a code that allows you to put an offline copy of the map on your phone.  I find it far easier to understand what I'm going to be riding on a OS map than Google maps.

As for trusting Garmin to take me on a sane route .......I don't think so.

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gsavill90 [34 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

You missed off Uber - for when things really don't go to plan!

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ClubSmed [539 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Anyone used BikeComputer Pro on android?

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fabriciomrtnz [12 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

Havent seen anyone talk about windyty. For those of us with deep wheels and when to bust out the 38mm or the 80mm tubulars yes

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Bob F [43 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I agree with Strava forthe social and other metrics. For route planning, particularly off the beaten path, it sucks. 

Ride with GPS absolutely pounds it for planning and map cashe-ing [is that a word?]

 

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Julia from Bikemap [1 post] 1 year ago
1 like

Do you know Bikemap, our app and website (http://www.bikemap.net)? Based on Open Street Map data, we have over 3 million routes and are available worldwide. Our basic services are free, but the optional Premium membership gives you additional cool features like offline regions and offline navigation. Any questions, ask away!

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pakennedy [185 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Bob F wrote:

I agree with Strava forthe social and other metrics. For route planning, particularly off the beaten path, it sucks. 

Ride with GPS absolutely pounds it for planning and map cashe-ing [is that a word?]

 

 

Caching.

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srchar [717 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

A mate of mine has written an app, "KOM with the wind" which, for those who like to go out KOM hunting, will use current wind data to tell you which segments you'll get the biggest tailwind on.

It also allows you to see how much wind-assistance those who nicked your KOM got.

http://komwiththewind.apphb.com

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Leviathan [2904 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I am getting a bit irked by Strava Live on an Android phone always tagging the wrong segment. I often find I am tracking a 'popular' segment and not the starred one I am interested further down the road. If I don't look down and see the notification it will start tracking the wrong thing. I have tried toggling between the timing screen and map screen and pausing and starting recording, neither of which stop the segment tracking, I keep going back and forth between the screens without stopping the segment. I often have to stop recording altogether to split up my rides to stop tracking the wrong segments, but uploads really kill my battery. I have even cycled past the start of a segment (on a cross road for example) and turned to start the segment to find I am already 90s down before I've even started [not useful on a sprint.]

Does anyone know if there is a combination of buttons to press or am I just stuck having to go round in circles until I get a clean start?

Avatar
davel [2055 posts] 8 months ago
1 like
Leviathan wrote:

I am getting a bit irked by Strava Live on an Android phone always tagging the wrong segment. I often find I am tracking a 'popular' segment and not the starred one I am interested further down the road. If I don't look down and see the notification it will start tracking the wrong thing. I have tried toggling between the timing screen and map screen and pausing and starting recording, neither of which stop the segment tracking, I keep going back and forth between the screens without stopping the segment. I often have to stop recording altogether to split up my rides to stop tracking the wrong segments, but uploads really kill my battery. I have even cycled past the start of a segment (on a cross road for example) and turned to start the segment to find I am already 90s down before I've even started [not useful on a sprint.]

Does anyone know if there is a combination of buttons to press or am I just stuck having to go round in circles until I get a clean start?

Up, up, down, down, left, right, A, B. Then ride around in circles til the segment appears in front of you.

Or obsess less over segments.

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spindi [10 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Viewranger (great for following routes, downloadable maps)

Maps.me (great for making cycle specific routes on the fly, downloadable maps so good abroad)

I use them all the time

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a1white [73 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Bikehub has been remade now. It can be a bit buggy and eats battery now (so only really good for half hour rides, or so, unless you can recharge on the go), it's still a good turn-by turn though as it uses Cyclestreets routing  which is infinitely better than googles. A good option is to use the Cyclestreets website to plan the journey and then export the route as GPX file into the Viewranger app. Viewranger is much easier on the battery.

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MuddyGoose [53 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

I use IpBike on android as a cyclecomputer, I find it has the best sensor compatibility and can be configured to show just your chosen data fields.  Also really good with battery as the background default is black.  Then at the end of the ride you can use it to upload to multiple servers all in one action (strava, trainingpeaks etc...).  Works fine running alongside Strava (for route following).

Then when out on mtb I will usually use OSMaps for route tracking.

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les tocknell [13 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Windows phone +1

I use PhoneMaps with Cykloatlas when visiting the Czech Republic. Very detailed on and off road cycle friendly routes. Great country to ride in.

 

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BC1973 [5 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes

Aw man. I must see a XX Best Apps for Cycling every couple of weeks. It's always the same with a random like the St. John's app...

Strava, Cyclemetre, google Maps... yadda yadda yadda...

Avatar
Leviathan [2904 posts] 8 months ago
0 likes
davel wrote:
Leviathan wrote:

I am getting a bit irked by Strava Live on an Android phone always tagging the wrong segment. I often find I am tracking a 'popular' segment and not the starred one I am interested further down the road. If I don't look down and see the notification it will start tracking the wrong thing. I have tried toggling between the timing screen and map screen and pausing and starting recording, neither of which stop the segment tracking, I keep going back and forth between the screens without stopping the segment. I often have to stop recording altogether to split up my rides to stop tracking the wrong segments, but uploads really kill my battery. I have even cycled past the start of a segment (on a cross road for example) and turned to start the segment to find I am already 90s down before I've even started [not useful on a sprint.]

Does anyone know if there is a combination of buttons to press or am I just stuck having to go round in circles until I get a clean start?

Up, up, down, down, left, right, A, B. Then ride around in circles til the segment appears in front of you. Or obsess less over segments.

Chocolate teapot level answer.

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