Coming soon… route finding iPhone app for cyclists

Free app finds cycle specific routes and has a further handy trick up its sleeve

by Tony Farrelly   August 17, 2010  

Bike Hub home screen

There are loads of iPhone apps, there even loads of cycling iPhone apps but currently there are no cycle route finding iPhone apps. However, that's about to change and better still the new app will be free. Coded by the company behind Map My Tracks, which combines GPS and performance data and is used by Team Sky, the new app is funded by the Bike Hub Levy, and there will be an Android version coming soon too.

The Bike Hub app utilises the cycle-specific route functionality developed by CycleStreets  so that it works out the best route for you to take by bicycle to your given destination. The screen shots of the beta version (so these may change) of the search screen shows a choice of either the quietest,  fastest, shortest (not always the same as fastest) or a 'balanced' route.

As the name suggests the quietest route uses a mixture of mostly backstreets, and appropriate cycle paths as much as possible, while the quickest route takes you on the most direct road route – it won't take you on Motorways or dual carriageways though – while some experienced cyclists might be happy to take the latter, this app is obviously aimed at the widest possible uptake.

There's more, aside from helping you plot a route the Bike Hub app has another useful bit of functionality up its sleeve, should you need to find a bike shop in a hurry - it's got the Association of Cycle Traders' database of more than 2,300 UK specialist bike shops on tap and it'll offer you a selection of the nearest shops within six miles of your location, choose which one you want to go to and it'll plot a route. If you're in London it also contains route information for all the Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations, so it'll even find you a bike. 

The app was created to a specification devised by Carlton Reid editor of the recently launched Bike Hub website and you can read more about it there. Carlton tells us that Version 2 is already being planned which will include a synthetic voice option for turn by turn directions. Version 1 of the Bike Hub app is going through its final phase of pre-release testing right now and is expected to hit in the App Store in a couple of weeks time, we look forward to testing it.

The Bike Hub Levy is paid in to by members of the UK cycle industry and associated bodies. Members contribute a percentage of their turnover and the Bike Hub Levy uses the funds to help promote cycling in the UK.

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Looking forward to the (the Android version) as there seems to be a void for cycling apps available. How about adding a results service too?

posted by d198594t@hotmail.com [2 posts]
17th August 2010 - 13:05

like this
Like (1)

LOOKS GOOD TO ME.
CTC ARE ALSO DEVELOPING AN APP CALLED "FILL THAT HOLE" WHICH DOES EXACTLY WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN.
WITH THE LARGE AMOUNT OF POTHOLED AND BADLY SURFACED ROADS YOU CAN USE THE APP TO REPORT A DANGEROUS HAZED.
UNTIL IT'S DEVELOPED GO TO http://www.fillthathole.org.uk/hazards/report AND SAVE A CYCLISTS LIFE.

Ian of Woodford

winprint's picture

posted by winprint [119 posts]
17th August 2010 - 15:41

like this
Like (0)

I would like a mobile phone app that I can plot routes on my MAC in say google maps or similar and then load the GPX file or Similar onto Phone and follow route with my Pos on it, don't need Speedo or Heart rate already got that covered. Is this what this app is? Or is there a better one? Thanks.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
17th August 2010 - 16:07

like this
Like (1)

Dog72, Viewranger will do that, using OS maps. Currently the best selling paid-for gps app on iTunes, and rightly so. I use it on my Nokia 5800 and its excellent. You can also plot a route directly on the phone.

posted by amazon22 [143 posts]
17th August 2010 - 16:18

like this
Like (1)

The CTC's "Fill That Hole" funtionality is already covered by mysociety.org's FixMyStreet app.

Same engine, different branding maybe?

posted by effemm [92 posts]
17th August 2010 - 16:19

like this
Like (1)

Amazon22 is right, Viewranger does that and there are other apps that do similar.

Every week there's the release of yet another OS mapping, GPS tracking, calorie-counting app. I've tried loads. Some even work.

But there's nowt for newbie cyclists, showing them the way to nearest quiet roads and (good) cycle paths.

This app does that. It will also be good for enthusiast cyclists in towns new to them. And I know I'll use it to find bike shops when I'm in new places; on tour or when my Brompton gets a rear wheel puncture etc.

A new beta of the app comes to me tomorrow. This gets tested by a few people and then I hope we can go live with it next week.

Next addition (in version 2) will be a synthetic voice option for turn by turn navigation.

Bear in mind this app is based on OpenCycleMap and data crunching from Cyclestreets.net so is community-based. If corrections to bike shops, locations, cycle paths etc are needed, put them into OpenCycleMap so we all benefit.

The app is free and I've agonised over this. By rights, we should charge cos the app is useful but I want as many people as possible to benefit from the app so decided it should be free despite the crap connotations of making it gratis.

It cost a lot to build but all the expenses are covered by the Bike Hub levy, a weeny bit of cash British bike shops and suppliers pay to promote cycling projects.

Carlton Reid's picture

posted by Carlton Reid [108 posts]
17th August 2010 - 17:16

like this
Like (1)

Thanks both, for the helpful info.

posted by Dog72 [108 posts]
17th August 2010 - 17:29

like this
Like (1)

Great! Just needs a link to the CAMRA Good Beer Guide App and all will be perfect. Cool

wildnorthlands's picture

posted by wildnorthlands [23 posts]
17th August 2010 - 17:38

like this
Like (2)

Real Ale Wobble will be one of the events in the events section...

Carlton Reid's picture

posted by Carlton Reid [108 posts]
17th August 2010 - 18:14

like this
Like (1)

Yep, that's exactly what the main CycleStreets site can do, if you meant 'plan a route' rather than actually determine the route yourself.

www.cyclestreets.net

On the journey page once you've planned a route, the GPX output link will be there.

posted by cyclestreets [3 posts]
17th August 2010 - 18:49

like this
Like (1)

Check out Android BikeRoute, which also uses CycleStreets routing, though it's not got the amount of functionality that the BikeHub app has! http://bikeroute.nanosheep.net/

posted by cyclestreets [3 posts]
17th August 2010 - 18:51

like this
Like (1)

I hope the CTC's Fill That Hole app is better than the Fix My Streets app. That gets a pasting in the App Store. It's now quite dated and, apparently, you have to upload pix and reports in situ rather than when back on a wifi connection. Crazy.

I have faith in CTC. I'm sure it'll be a great app.

Carlton Reid's picture

posted by Carlton Reid [108 posts]
18th August 2010 - 11:19

like this
Like (0)