The 8 Best Apps for Cyclists You Should Install

The Best Apps For Cyclists

There is a good chance that you own a smartphone and you have used a mobile app before. Did you know that there are almost 3 million different apps available on the Google Store? This number is insane! It isn’t easy to find apps that are worth it… But not anymore.

I selected the most important cycling apps categories and best cycling apps for beginners and experienced riders based on my experiences and research among my friends and pro cyclists. I also use most of them myself.

Let’s dive in!


The Most Important App Categories

If you expected that I would compare the apps from the same category, you are wrong. I decided to take it from another end. I selected the 8 most important app categories every cyclist should install.

Once I set the categories, I chose the best app from my point of view. You can learn more about how exactly I proceeded in the next section.

1. First Aid

When you ask your friends what is important to them in life, you will probably hear values such as family, honesty, creativity, loyalty, etc., and, of course, health.

Although cycling offers many benefits, sometimes an accident can occur. And you need to be prepared to take care of yourself or someone else. If you have not taken a first aid course, some apps will tell you what to do.

And since I consider health to be one of the most important values ever, I will start this list with a first aid app.

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2. Weather Forecast

Before you even go on a bike trip, it is always good to check the weather. You don’t want to be surprised by rain, strong wind, or even snow.

Therefore, every cyclist should have a weather forecast app installed on their phone. This will easily prevent you from having to call a pick-up.

3. Route Planning

Once you check the weather, you can plan your trip. This brings several benefits.

  1. You will save time by wandering and trying to find the way.
  2. You can better estimate the time spent on the bike.
  3. You will not miss places worth visiting.

PRO TIP: If the wind is strong, plan your route so that you return with a tailwind.

As you gain more experience, you may stop planning your trips in the app and plan them only in your head. Yet, I recommend planning trips in an app due to the reasons mentioned above.

4. Training

Before the ride, cyclists turn on apps that record various metrics such as the distance covered, average speed, meters climbed, etc. More sophisticated apps offer features like ‘segments.’ Once you finish it, you can compare your time with the times of others.

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In addition to the training log, these apps have another side effect – and that is motivation. Based on your performance and others’ performance, you will be motivated to achieve even better results.

5. Virtual Training

With the development of technology, the popularity of home training apps has also grown in recent years. Cyclists all over the world use these apps, especially in winter or during the lockdown. The apps also slowly entering the professional peloton.

Did you know that the first virtual Tour de France took place in 2020?

The virtual training apps work on a simple principle. You move through a virtual world by pedaling on a smart trainer. You can also compete against your friends if they are connected to the same race.

6. Nutrition Tracking

Tracking of burned and received calories may seem completely unnecessary. However, the opposite is true, especially if you do not want to lose muscle mass and strength.

According to a Harvard University study, a normal person weighing 185 lb burns an average of 311 calories when riding a bike with a moderate effort for 30 minutes. This is the equivalent of around 3 bananas.

So, what does this mean for you? After long bike rides (3+ hrs), it is important to replenish the energy you spent with nutritionally rich food. Feel free to read the article What to eat after a ride by bicycling.com.

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7. Bike Maintenance

You should also not neglect the maintenance of your bike. If you don’t know how to do it, don’t worry. There are also mobile apps where the best practices are explained.

If you do not have the necessary tools yet, you will choose them from my article The Best Bike Tool Kits. Once you have both the app and the tools, feel free to start taking care of your bike. It deserves it.

Don’t you have a bike yet? Check my other article on how to choose a bike that also includes an interactive guide!

8. Motivation

The right kind of motivation is one of the cornerstones of any activity you want to do regularly. And mobile apps can be one of the sources of motivation.

There are several motivational elements in similar apps. You can share your performances with friends or compare them with your results or other cyclists’ results.

Lack of motivation? Check this video

Are you a competitive person? Cool, this kind of motivation will be especially effective for you. Because…

“If you wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best.”

This will force you to train harder, which leads to improving your performance.


How Did I Choose the Best Cycling App?

Before I could declare any of the apps as the best, I set the criteria according to which I assessed the individual apps.

Disclaimer: These criteria (sorted by importance) are purely subjective and may not reflect your preferences.

Ease of Use & Design

Ease of use and design is one of the most important factors for me. When I install a new app, I don’t want to learn to control the app for several days. A well-designed app should be intuitive so that even a child can handle it.

Design goes hand in hand with usability. I especially appreciate simple and clean graphics. The overall impression also plays an important role for me.

Price

Most of the apps in this selection are available for free. Of course, some of them offer in-app purchases. Some of the below-listed apps are also paid.

When reviewing the paid apps, I assessed them more critically because I expect more from them than from free apps.

Availability for Android and iOS

The most used mobile operating systems include Android and iOS. Due to the low market share of other operating systems, I considered only these 2 operating systems.

The availability for both Android and iOS was important for me. I also ensured that the app is well optimized for both systems based on user reviews and my experience.

Privacy & Data Security

Privacy & data security is more relevant today than ever before. For some users, it may even be the primary factor in choosing an app.

So, I took a quick look at the privacy pages of all apps in my selection. I also did a quick research on the internet to find any controversy – and if I found some, I did not include the app.

Popularity

The app can be good. But, if a few people use it, it may not reach its full potential. Therefore, I also took into account the popularity of the app.

I derived popularity from the number of downloads and user reviews on Google and the App Store. And I can tell you that every app in my selection is pretty popular.

So, let’s finally answer the question…


What Are the Best Cycling Apps?

ApplicationCategoryEase Of UseDesignAndroid / iOS
Red CrossFirst AidVery EasyGood✅ / ✅
WindyWeather ForecastVery EasyVery Good✅ / ✅
KomootRoute PlanningEasyGood✅ / ✅
TrainingPeaksTrainingVery EasyVery Good✅ / ✅
ZwiftVirtual TrainingEasyGood✅ / ✅
CronometerNutrition TrackingEasyGood✅ / ✅
Bike RepairBike MaintenanceEasyBad✅ / ✅
StravaMotivationVery EasyGood✅ / ✅

My subjective evaluation of selected apps.

1. Learn First Aid with Red Cross

First Aid by Red Cross
First Aid App by RedCross.org

The official app from Red Cross provides you with easy-to-understand guides on how to take care of emergencies. It can be bleeding, a broken bone, head injury… Anything that can happen on a bike ride.

I recommend you get familiar with the app navigation in advance. Yet, the app is easy to understand enough, so even if you open it during an accident for the first time, you will be able to find a solution.

You can also study and prepare yourself for emergencies. Once you feel prepared, test your knowledge with the included tests and if there is something you don’t understand, feel free to get back to the topic.

All info is hosted on the app itself, so you don’t need an internet connection to use it. The app is the same across different countries. The only thing that varies is the language.


2. Get Weather Forecast with Windy

Windy weather forecast app by windy.com
Windy weather forecast app by windy.com
  • Website: windy.com
  • OS: Android, iOS
  • Costs: FREE (premium subscription available)

Windy is the best-looking weather app out there. It uses beautiful colored visualizations that are detailed and intuitive.

But, the precision of weather forecast is more important when using a weather forecast app. You can be sure the data provided by Windy are accurate and reliable.

Windy provides you with 40+ different metrics, including wind, rain, temperature, humidity, pressure, CAPE index, and much more. If you subscribe to Windy premium, you get the newest 1-hour data.

This app is trusted by sailors, professional pilots, storm chasers, simply by those that need to know what the weather will be like.


3. Komoot – The Best App for Route Planning

Komoot route planning App by komoot.com
Komoot route planning App by komoot.com
  • Website: komoot.com
  • OS: Android, iOS
  • Costs: One map region for free (You need to pay for other regions)

Komoot belongs to one of the best route planning apps for hikers, bikers, and runners. The initial setup is super easy, and the app is very intuitive.

When planning a route, it takes into consideration the type of activity you choose. This means if you choose a road bike, the app chooses tarmac surfaces.

If you have a mountain bike and want to enjoy rougher terrain, choose the ‘mountain bike’ option. The app will recalculate the route.

The estimated times are calculated based on your fitness level, which is pretty cool. I especially like the route profile visualization. It is very useful if you are in an unknown location.

You can also take inspiration from others’ routes and let the app navigate you with a voice.

Overall, the Komoot app offers a lot of features and options. So if you are a ‘hardcore’ planner, this app is for you.


4. Reach New Levels with TrainingPeaks

Training Peaks training app by trainingpeaks.com
TrainingPeaks training app by trainingpeaks.com
  • Website: trainingpeaks.com
  • OS: Android, iOS
  • Costs: Free (14 days of premium trial), premium subscription available

TrainingPeaks is an app for those of you that want to push their performance to another level. It offers you personalized plans, accredited coaches, and power tools.

In the beginning, you choose whether you want to get a training plan or a coach. To track your progress, you can connect apps like Zwift and devices from brands like Apple, Fitbit, Garmin, Polar, Suunto, Wahoo.

Connecting with an app or a device is important for getting feedback. TrainingPeaks provides you with detailed feedback after every workout so you can see your progress.

If you take cycling seriously, this app is worth its price. Just remember, if you want to get a specific training plan or a coach, you have to pay for it/him/her because they are not included in the subscription.


5. Train in a Virtual World by Zwift

  • Website: zwift.com
  • OS: Android, iOS
  • Costs: Paid (subscription)

If you ever hear of virtual racing, you have probably heard of Zwift. I remember how excited my friend was when he started using Zwift. What bad news it was for me when we rode together after winter. He kicked my ass.

Training on the indoor bike trainer is boring. However, apps similar to Zwift make a game from indoor training. And thanks to the connection with other people from all over the world, all competitive cells will be awakened in you.

In virtual training, the initial higher costs can be a problem because you need to have a power meter or a smart trainer. But I can guarantee you will enjoy Zwift and your performance will increase.

You can choose from 1000+ different workouts, 10 worlds, and 130+ different routes. And the Zwift developers work hard on bringing you more.

Remember, the app is paid in the form of a monthly subscription, and it is better to use it on larger screens to make the most of the virtual world.


You might also be interested in the best indoor cycling apps.


6. Track Your Nutrition Using Cronometer

Cronometer Nutrition Tracking App by cronometer.com
Cronometer Nutrition Tracking App by cronometer.com
  • Website: cronometer.com
  • OS: Android, iOS
  • Costs: Free (premium subscription available)

I was introduced to Cronometer by my friend. I was surprised by how much data you can track with it. Of course, you cannot be lazy like me to input all the info about your nutrition, but once you do…

You may find that your nutrition is not vitamin-rich enough, for example. Once you learn how to work with the app and change your shopping and nutrition habits, you can reach better results.

It needs to be said that developers tried hard to make it as easy as possible for you. This means you don’t have to calculate almost anything, and you can choose from pre-filled meals. This makes the data input much easier.

You will take the most from the Cronometer app if you use it in the long term. You can see the progress of metrics like weight, body fat, etc. This way, you will be able to adjust your nutrition as you need.


7. Repair Your Bike with Bike Repair

Bike Maintenance App by bikerepairapp.com
Bike Maintenance App by bikerepairapp.com

Repairing a bike may be a mission impossible for newbies. I remember myself. I was not even able to change a tire. Naturally, I was happy when I learned how to do that.

But bike maintenance did not stop with changing tires. With Bike Repair, you will know exactly how to service your bike. It contains 58 repair guides and 95 tips and tricks.

The guides are well explained and illustrated. As a bonus, the Bike Repair App also contains tips on dressing for different temperatures, cycling news, and other useful info.


8. Increase Your Motivation with Strava

Strava multisport training App by strava.com
Strava multisport training App by strava.com
  • Website: strava.com
  • OS: Android, iOS
  • Costs: Free (premium subscription available)

My list would not be complete without the Strava app. This is the first app I’ve been using when I started cycling. It immediately caught me and never let me go.

The Strava is ideal for tracking your cycling activities. It is a social network for athletes, where you can interact with other athletes, including professionals.

However, Strava is no longer just about cycling. You can record 30+ different sports in it. For me, the Strava segments are one of the most motivating features. Thanks to them, I am often able to squeeze the most out of myself.

Segments are sections created by you or others, where you try to achieve the fastest time. Your time is later compared to others so that you can benchmark your fitness level.

Of course, the diet offers much more than just segments. To make the most of it, I recommend connecting it to a heart rate sensor or wattmeter.


Conclusion

I explained what app categories are useful for cyclists. It is not always just about the training itself. You should know how to provide first aid, plan a route, calculate calories, maintain your bike, etc.

It is up to you what app you will download in the end. Even if you download only one app from my selection, I will be happy to provide you with a useful tip.

Honestly, I also don’t use every app (even if I did before). I have my favorites – Strava, First Aid, and Cronometer.

I would also like to hear from you what cycling mobile apps do you use and why? What are the best cycling apps for beginners? Let me know in the comments below.


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