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.
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.
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.