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Cycling App of the Week: Garmin Connect Mobile

Garmin's app allows you to check out past rides in detail but it's not the best for planning

Garmin Connect Mobile app is designed to help you track your fitness and health via the measurements made by Garmin devices that you use.

Calendar

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. 

Click on any activity and you can see a map of your ride along with the distance you rode, duration, average speed, elevation gain and so on, plus any other data you’ve measured on your Garmin through connected sensors, such as heart rate and power. You can see lap data and view the measurements as charts for a picture of how your performance has varied over time.

Read our review of the Garmin Edge 820 here.

You can also see how you performed on any Garmin Segments (portions of the ride, similar to Strava Segments) against other users. People certainly compete for Garmin Segments but they haven’t caught the cycling public’s imagination to the same extent as Strava Segments which appeared on the scene first.  

Check out 19 of the best smartphone cycling apps for iPhone and Android.

Check out our buyer’s guide to cycling GPS units.

LiveTrack

If your Garmin supports LiveTrack – and most current Edge computers do – you can set that through the Garmin Connect Mobile app. LiveTrack allows people of your choosing to see your ride on a GPS map in real time, perhaps to reassure them that you’re safe or just to check your progress.

When you start a LiveTrack session, you’re asked to give permission to track your mobile device. People you invite via email, Facebook or Twitter receive a link to a webpage that includes the position of your phone or connected Edge. 

These followers can also see elapsed time, distance, speed and elevation, plus any data from ANT+ sensors you have connected.

Other features

You can use Garmin Connect Mobile to send stored workouts via Bluetooth to most current Garmin Edges (not the Edge 20, nor older models such as the Edge 500) although you need to visit Garmin Connect online to create more workouts. The same applies to courses: you can transfer them from the app to a Garmin Edge if they already exist, but you have to create them via a computer.

The lack of tools for planning and scheduling is one of the Garmin Connect Mobile app’s biggest weaknesses for users who want to get the most from their training. It’s a reason for many Garmin Edge users to switch to third party training apps.

Other features include the ability to compare certain aspects of your cycling performance, such as your average speed, with that of other users, although that’s of limited value. You don’t know how the terrain you ride compares to average, for example. 

Check out our review of the Garmin Edge 520 here.

Where can I get it?

The Garmin Connect Mobile app is free. Download the iOS app or the Android app
 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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