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If you need an app to navigate you around a new city, or just want to find a cool place to go by bike, then Bike Citizens will get you there without rinsing your battery life

What is it? 

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.  

Cycling app of the week: Endomondo
Cycling app of the week: Cycle Now    

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. 

How can it help me? 

Whether you need a route planner, or just an app that will tell you some cool places to go in a new destination, Bike Citizens is a pretty useful tool. It can help you find somewhere new, how to get there and also has features to make the routes most suitable for your preferences. You can choose between leisurely, fast or most convenient routes, and you can also tell it what type of bike you're using so the route will avoid surfaces that aren't suitable for your bike (if you're on a roadie, for example, the route will avoid trail and cobblestones). You also don't need an internet connection to use the navigation tool once you've downloaded the map material, so you save on phone battery while you're finding your way without the risk of using up data abroad. 

 

bike citizens screen.png

bike citizens screen.png

The app informs you of points of interest too, making it a bike navigator and city guide in one. 

 

What makes it unique? 

A unique feature I'm a fan of is "Cycle to Free" -  detailed routes for cities have to be bought as in-app purchases on Bike Citizens, but to get around it, instead you can 'just' ride 100km in the chosen area within a 30-day period and you're rewarded with all routes for free! If you're visiting somewhere for a day or two this might be a bit of an extreme measure to take to save yourself three quid, but if you have a long city break planned or have moved somewhere new it's a rewarding way to earn your city guide... 

 

Where can I get it? 

Bike Citizens is available on both Android and iTunes. As alluded to before, the app is free initially but there are a number of options for purchasing city guides: you can buy all of them together for €19.99, or buy individual guides for between $3.99 and $4.99. You can also get a subscription for $4.99 a month which gives you access to all city guides and profile customisation options. Visit bikecitizens.net for more info. 

 

 

After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since.  He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake. 

3 comments

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kieren_lon [45 posts] 3 months ago
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It's a cool idea, especially as it can be used offline. 

I tried it about 6 months ago through West London and the routes took me on lots of roads with intersections and dog-legged crossings.  I stopped using it and went back to google maps with audio directions.   I might try it again to see if it has improved.

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janusz0 [70 posts] 3 months ago
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kieren_lon wrote:

 

I tried it about 6 months ago through West London and the routes took me on lots of roads with intersections and dog-legged crossings.  I stopped using it and went back to google maps with audio directions.   I might try it again to see if it has improved.

How do you find "Google Maps" compares with "CycleStreets" in your area? It seem to me that Google is not aware of many of the cycle routes that its Street Cars can't negotiate. I see that my city is on the list, so I'll be giving "Bike Citizens" a go.

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kieren_lon [45 posts] 3 months ago
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janusz0 wrote:

How do you find "Google Maps" compares with "CycleStreets" in your area? It seem to me that Google is not aware of many of the cycle routes that its Street Cars can't negotiate. I see that my city is on the list, so I'll be giving "Bike Citizens" a go.[/quote]

Well, it's been a while but I found both wanted to take me via the canal and ad 15% onto journey distance when selecting bike for google and (I think) middle value for BC.  BC threw me the wrong way down a few one ways which to be fair is probably more to do with open street map.

I prefer google maps however take that with a grain of salt.  I cycle between 22 - 26 mph typically and prefer to take the shortest route / main roads and ride in traffic.  I think if I was on a city bike and between 15 - 20 mph, I would prefer bike citizens from what I rememeber.  It routes (I think) like strava heat maps.  It is a high standard and worth trying, even if you have to pay