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Created by cyclist, app sends your location to emergency contact if you stop moving for too long

A cyclist and app developer has come up with an iPhone app that sends out an alert if a disaster such as a crash happens while you're out for a ride.

Ross McCracken says the idea for Find Me Fast "came from riding in deserted and quiet areas alone whilst thinking: 'If I crashed over that barrier or into that ditch would anyone find me?'"

The way it works is simple. You activate the app at the beginning of your ride and if it doesn't detect motion for a set time it sounds an audible alarm on your phone. If you don't respond to that alarm, the app sends a text to your chosen emergency contact with your location  and a link to Google Maps.

There is also a manual SOS option. With two clicks the user can send the nature of their emergency and their location to call for assistance. "Easier, quicker and more accurate than trying to explain over the phone where you are!" says McCracken.

You can use location-sharing apps such as Glympse, or the ride-following function of the most recent Garmin GPS units so that someone at home can keep an eye on where you are, but we like the idea of an app that sends an alert if you're stationary for too long. Just don't leave your phone in your saddle bag at a pub stop.

Find Me Fast costs £2.99 from the Apple iTunes Store.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

23 comments

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TheSpaniard [100 posts] 2 years ago
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Great way to get a lift when you can't be bothered riding home from the coffee shop in the rain  24

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chrisl [51 posts] 2 years ago
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That sounds like just what I wanted the other day; I went for a lone mini-tour to Margate and opted for posting pics of my progress on facebook so someone might spot if I had a calamity, and would have half an idea where I might be. Android version too though please!

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anarchy [100 posts] 2 years ago
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my girlf gets GPS coords every now and then using Where's my Droid and has instructions to come and get me if I haven't moved for 30 mins, unless I'm at a pub

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alienmanfc6.wheresmyan...

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andymatthews [16 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice idea... but..

Does it work in areas with only GPRS? Or if you're even more remote then there's no signal at all so no text or data service.
Does it constantly use the GPS radio chip therefore draining the battery?

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TheStyx [14 posts] 2 years ago
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Will it work on Android

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lc1981 [56 posts] 2 years ago
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Sorry, posted on wrong story!

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leewalton [32 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd like to see an Android version of this app. But no mention in the article as to whether the developer has any plans to develop it.

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ToonSi [15 posts] 2 years ago
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There's a similar app I've downloaded called Road ID which is free.
You choose the length of the ride and can send a message out to up to 5 people beforehand and they can then track your ride, as well as receive stationary alerts.
The Road ID stationary time is 5 minutes, after which the app starts a 60 second countdown before sending out the alerts.

Maybe worth a look as I know firsthand it's definitely on Android (not sure about iPhone)!

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chokofingrz [407 posts] 2 years ago
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I've spotted a free Android app called Road ID which appears to have a similar functionality. Unfortunately it won't install on my phone, but I had a look on the tablet and it appears legit, if not quite finished yet.

Another app, Ride ID, is limited to a lockscreen display, without automatic call/text/email functionality. Useful but can be replicated by carrying ID or an information card.

Using a crash reporting app seems like a no-brainer to me, so if I can't find a decent one I may just have to code my own.

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jug_23 [62 posts] 2 years ago
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ToonSi wrote:

There's a similar app I've downloaded called Road ID which is free.
You choose the length of the ride and can send a message out to up to 5 people beforehand and they can then track your ride, as well as receive stationary alerts.
The Road ID stationary time is 5 minutes, after which the app starts a 60 second countdown before sending out the alerts.

Maybe worth a look as I know firsthand it's definitely on Android (not sure about iPhone)!

I tried this for a while and it didn't really work for me. This may be down to the way it works though: you have to initiate a session and send an "eCrumb" to your chosen contact, informing them that you're off out for a ride. This provides them with a link so they can track your progress, should you desire. The app says that if you don't move for 5 minutes then they will start the alarm (note - if you have headphones on, it doesn't override the sound on iOs!).

They must also have a backup system though, because when I used it my girlfriend was getting messages every half hour or so - I think if your phone doesn't "check in" every now and again they also send a message informing them you're out of contact. This is a massive pain, as you can imagine, as my usual routes go through areas with no signal. It sounds like this app is more sensibly designed, with everything being controlled from the phone - any chance of a review Road.cc before we part with our cash?

(one thing that is good about the RoadID app is that you have the lockscreen generator, as previously mentioned - if you have a code to unlock your phone, this can be made to add emergency contact IDs, special instructions, allergies etc to the lock screen - would highly recommend)

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Eebijeebi [102 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't have any means of being tracked, but it did dawn on me recently that if I were to be ill or injured nobody would be able to ID me as all I carry is a door key, some cash and phone (with lock on).
Had an ID alert bracelet made with some details on - maybe that's common?
Used to feel invincible when younger but not so now.

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SideBurn [890 posts] 2 years ago
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I am imagining more emergency service vehicles on wild goose chases because software has failed or rider has not switched of device.
Could be quite amusing if the riders wife gets the message and location and then turns up to find the rider with another woman  19

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RuthF28 [100 posts] 2 years ago
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Eebijeebi wrote:

I don't have any means of being tracked, but it did dawn on me recently that if I were to be ill or injured nobody would be able to ID me as all I carry is a door key, some cash and phone (with lock on).
Had an ID alert bracelet made with some details on - maybe that's common?
Used to feel invincible when younger but not so now.

Me too, and since I live alone, there's a good chance that no-one would miss me until I hadn't turned up at work for a day or two! So I got a Utag (see http://www.utagice.com/) - next of kin, contact details, health issues if any, etc etc. Hopefully it'll never be needed though!

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gorbie [14 posts] 2 years ago
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£2.99 for the app I can understand, then a further £2.99 for 10 SMS messages... Seems a bit steep. Does it come with an initial 5 SMS messages with the app?

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maldin [138 posts] 2 years ago
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Anyone who owns a iPhone already has a partial solution. Use the FindMyFriends app. Create an event that lasts for longer than the duration of your ride and invite your wife (who ever is at home) to the event. Every now and then they can check the app on their phone and see where you are. If you are not moving they can call to check. If you are moving at 60mph in the direction of a hospital, they can assume the worst. Its not as feature rich a solution as the app above, but its better than nothing and its already available on iPhones.

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maldin [138 posts] 2 years ago
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gorbie wrote:

£2.99 for the app I can understand, then a further £2.99 for 10 SMS messages... Seems a bit steep. Does it come with an initial 5 SMS messages with the app?

I'm inclined to agree with you, but then I thought that in theory, those message would only be use in the event of an incident. It comes with 10 initial messages according to the app store. I don't plan on having any incidents, let alone enough to use up the initial quota  1

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Anas.Z [10 posts] 2 years ago
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Saw this article before heading for a ride, didn't pay attention. 5 mins later crash, sirens and loads of people. Coincidence, think not  22

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maldin [138 posts] 2 years ago
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duplicate post.

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Anas.Z [10 posts] 2 years ago
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Apologies, I am new here.

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findmefast [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Hi,
I'm looking into an android version that I hope will be available soon.  1

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findmefast [4 posts] 2 years ago
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maldin wrote:
gorbie wrote:

£2.99 for the app I can understand, then a further £2.99 for 10 SMS messages... Seems a bit steep. Does it come with an initial 5 SMS messages with the app?

I'm inclined to agree with you, but then I thought that in theory, those message would only be use in the event of an incident. It comes with 10 initial messages according to the app store. I don't plan on having any incidents, let alone enough to use up the initial quota  1

Thanks for your comments, unfortunately it's not yet possible to get an iPhone to send texts without the user physically pressing the button. To get around this we have to use a text service that is triggered by the app. This costs per text sent hence the charge for more texts.

maldin, you are correct. Hopefully you wouldn't need any more texts than the 10 provided!  1

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findmefast [4 posts] 2 years ago
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SideBurn wrote:

I am imagining more emergency service vehicles on wild goose chases because software has failed or rider has not switched of device.
Could be quite amusing if the riders wife gets the message and location and then turns up to find the rider with another woman  19

Hi,
When the app is triggered the text sent encourages the emergency contact to try and make contact with the user. The next of kin can then make an informed decision. For example, if the user is in the local pub then they could assume it's a false alarm. If they are in a remote area and not answering or moving then.....  2

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findmefast [4 posts] 2 years ago
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TheSpaniard wrote:

Great way to get a lift when you can't be bothered riding home from the coffee shop in the rain  24

I must admit.... I've used it for that! Thats where the manual sos option came from. I was somewhere in the hills of Portugal and needed picking up but I had no idea where I was. Now, with two clicks I can send my exact location. Far easier than trying to explain where I was.  1