Best Cycling Apps for Training & Bluetooth Communication
January 25, 2019
Thanks to the internet and modern smartphones, cyclists now have a plethora of wonderful apps to choose from when attempting to get the most out of their cycling experience. However, because there are now so many options, deciding which app to use can be a daunting experience.
After all, searching the iOS or Android app marketplace for the perfect cycling app will yield thousands of results, so unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, choosing an app can quickly become a painful game of “eeny meeny miny moe”.
To help streamline the decision making process, we’ve scoured the web for the best Android and iOS apps so you don’t have to, and below you’ll find our top picks for the best cycling apps for training, communication, and route exploration!
The Sena RideConnected App turns any smartphone into a Bluetooth intercom of sorts, allowing cyclists to seamlessly communicate with friends and other cyclists from around the world.
Unlike traditional Bluetooth intercoms, RideConnected allows cyclists to communicate with members of their riding group at any distance so long as everyone using the application is connected to a cellular network.
And because the RideConnected application uses cellular data, cyclists who might have riding buddies in other parts of the world can still use the app to communicate while training—pretty cool right?
What’s more, the RideConnected app seamlessly integrates with Sena’s line of Smart Cycling Helmets, like the R1 and X1 helmets.
This means users can communicate through the RideConnected app over the helmet’s built-in microphone and speakers, negating the need to purchase any 3rd party equipment.
Zwift has been making quite a name for itself as of late, and for good reason: no other company has gone to such lengths to “gamify” the indoor cycling experience
And when we say gamify, we literally mean that Zwift turns indoor cycling into an exhilarating video game experience that you can “play” form the comfort of your own living room.
So how does Zwift work?
In short, Zwift is an application that runs on your computer, iPad, iPhone, or Apple TV, and through it, riders can explore over 100KM of virtual pavement, complete over 1,000 structured workouts, and even ride, in real-time, with thousands of other Zwift fanatics.
Data for the Zwift application is collected via a turbo trainer equipped with either an ANT+ or Bluetooth speed sensor; however, it’s important to note that the system works best when the trainer is equipped with a power meter.
In addition to all the on-screen excitement, Zwift also offers a mobile bicycle app for both Android and iOS, so riders can see important performance metrics like total power output, lap times, heart rate, speed, and distance traveled, all while enjoying the on-screen excitement.
In terms of “pure” bike riding apps, MapMyRide by Under Armour is one of the most feature-rich, cycling navigation apps available for iOS and Android.
What makes MapMyRide so special?
First, route recording and sharing apps are only ever as good as the people that support them, and as it turns out, MapMyRide is powered by one of the world’s largest fitness and cycling communities around, providing users with over 70 million unique routes to choose from.
What’s more, MapMyRide makes it incredibly simple to add your favorite cycling routes to the database, so the app is always getting better.
But MapMyRide isn’t just a route finder; on the contrary, MapMyRide also allows users to set up personalized goals and to challenge other members of the MapMyRide community.
Finally, the MapMyRide app is fully integrated with the ever-popular MyFitnessPal mobile application, so users can not only keep track of their cycling workouts, but also of how many calories they’re consuming on a daily basis.
Another staple among running and cycling enthusiast is Strava.
Like MapMyRide, Strava is a full-featured fitness tracker that transforms your mobile device into a sophisticated running and cycling computer, helping users keep track of important metrics like heart rate, power output, elevation, speed, etc.
However, while these training metrics are important, the best feature of Strava that keeps users coming back for more is something called “Segments”, which allows users to keep track of their performance for different sections of their ride, but what makes this even better is that users can also compare their performance to other Strava users through an integrated “Leaderboard”.
This competitive aspect of Strava is one of its most compelling features, as users cycling in a specific area can see how they measure up to others in their neighborhood, which as you can imagine, often results in encouraging riders to push themselves harder than they normally would to achieve better results.
No discussion of cycling applications would be complete without the inclusion of Garmin Connect.
Although Garmin Connect only works with Garmin fitness trackers (Note: Users can manually import data from Fitbit), it’s still worth talking about in this article since so many serious cyclists prefer Garmin fitness trackers for their accuracy, ease of use, and form factor.
Indeed, if you truly want to dive into the nitty-gritty of your cycling ability, it doesn’t get any better than a Garmin cycling computer hooked up to Garmin Connect.
With these two elements working in tandem, cyclists have access to all sorts of important performance metrics, like average speed, power output, performance over time, calories, distance, elevation, weather, etc., etc., making Garmin Connect one of the most powerful cycling training apps on the market.
In fact, there’s so much data available through Garmin Connect that it can be a bit cumbersome to sift through it all on a day to day basis, that is, unless, you’re into that sort of thing.
And like Strava, Garmin Connect also offers users the ability to compete against others in the community with a feature called “Garmin Segments”, though, it hasn’t grown in popularity as much as Strava’s segment feature has.
Finally, Garmin Connect allows you to report your location, in real-time, while out and about on your bike through a feature called “LiveTrack”. This is especially useful if you happen to be cycling somewhere remote where there’s the possibility of getting stranded, as your chosen friends or family members can check on your status and location at any point during your ride.
Ride with GPS
If you’re the kind of cyclist who loves spending countless hours creating and exploring user-made routes, it really doesn’t get any better than Ride with GPS.
More than just a bike mileage tracker app, Ride with GPS features some of the best route planning tools of any app on the market.
Starting with the Ride with GPS website, users can use a simple point, click, and drag interface to create a cycling route of their choosing. This interface also allows users to add custom points of interest, customize cues and colors, and plan for multi-modal trips. And for users who want to plan an “Out and Back” style trip where the route is essentially reversed, Ride with GPS can accomplish this task and others like it with a simple click of a mouse.
Since route creation is Ride with GPS’ specialty, this app features a bunch of map views powered by Google maps, which also means that Ride with GPS makes it easy to get a street view of a specific point of interest on the route.
Finally, the mobile app offers cyclists turn-by-turn voice navigation, live logging, offline maps, and the ability to create Ride Reports—a cycling journal of sorts where users can create a visual and/or written account of all their cycling adventures.
Let’s face it: we could also use some words of encouragement from time to time, which is why Endomondo is a top pick.
While Endomondo offers users the ability to set training goals, monitor performance, and create training programs, these features aren’t what make Endomondo unique. Indeed, what makes Endomondo unique is its emphasis on coaching and providing positive feedback.
For example, while out on your ride, the built-in coach can provide you with details about your distance traveled, duration, calories, lap time, etc. Additionally, Endomondo has a cool feature called “Pep Talks” in which a friend can send a personalized message of encouragement that you can listen to while cycling.
Please note that these coaching features are only available in the paid version of the app, though, the free version still offers cyclists of every skill level a ton of value.
Ride with Sena!
As the industry leader in Bluetooth cycling helmets, we take great pride in providing customers with the most innovative and technologically advanced products on the market—and we’re always looking to do more!
Take our latest and greatest smart cycling helmet: the R1.
Equipped with Bluetooth 4.1, the R1 cycling helmet allows riders to take calls, hear GPS directions, listen to music, and even hear training cues from their favorite fitness app.
Additionally, the R1 also has a built-in Bluetooth intercom, allowing cyclists to connect with 3 other riders over a half mile distance. And with Sena’s patented Advanced Noise Control Technology, users can filter out wind and white noise so that your riding companions only hear your beautiful voice in HD quality.
Finally, the R1 also comes in a version featuring Multi-Directional Impact Protection (MIPS) for an extra element of safety and protection.