A tour by bike needs to be well-planned. Thanks to practical apps, you can get more than just weather information or the route profile – in an emergency, the smartphone can even save lives.
Comparing different routes, recording details such as the altitude profile, route length and time traveled – these are the achievements of tracking apps. They use GPS signals on the smartphone to record the route traveled. You can also use them to discover new routes and plan trails, if you study the maps and your own trips closely. They are a nice-to-have for your daily commute, and practical if you are planning longer tours – alongside other key apps.
Today, cycling is connected and digitalized. And not only that: It has become safer, more efficient and more social. If you are a regular cyclist, you should know about these apps:
Erste Hilfe des SRK/Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Bonn/Malteser Erste-Hilfe App
These apps are similar in how they are used and in their functions, but they all serve one aim: Help in an emergency, with key tips on treating wounds through to lifesaving, if the situation is really serious. As an analog add-on, a small first-aid kit is recommended – you can even get these specifically for cyclists.
Sharing your location via WhatsApp or Google Maps: If touring solo through forests, there's no harm in sharing your live location with a friend or acquaintance. You can do this easily in the familiar apps WhatsApp and Google Maps, and in an emergency it can save the rescue services a lot of time.
Komoot: The maps app from Potsdam is the uncontested leader for route planning and navigation in the open countryside. And no wonder, because the app is clear, intuitive and reliable. komoot thrives above all by its users, who create routes and rate them. komoot also provides inspiration itself, with great tips for cycling tours of all kinds .
Trailforks: The Trailforks app is the challenger to Komoot. Its design is vaguely reminiscent of websites from the 1990s, but it works perfectly. This app, too, is brought to life with the help of its users, who rate routes and upload trails. The "trail" element indicates that the app is geared to off-road cycling. For cycling tours on made roads, you are better off using komoot or Google Maps.
Windy: No-one wants to get soaked while out cycling or, even worse, pedal through showers while wearing the wrong clothing. For that reason, before any trip, you should always take a look at a weather app. Windy is one of the most detailed of these on the market: Here, you can call up a display e.g., of the amount and type of precipitation threatened. Wind strength and direction are also displayed. The weather forecasts are given using three-hour intervals.
RegenRadar: For anyone who likes things less complicated, a quick look at Regenradar is generally sufficient to know if rain is about. Similar offerings are available from other providers. RegenRadar from WetterOnline is one of the most popular weather forecast apps in Germany.
BikeComputer : This app, programmed by Robert Oehler, is pared back to the essentials: BikeComputer "tracks" trips and helps with navigation. Nothing more, and nothing less. In this, the app is a winning one, with adaptive elements, clear presentation, and excellent map materials worldwide. If any problems are encountered with the app, there is an option to get in touch with the programmer directly.
Strava: Here, tracking is skillfully combined with elements familiar from social networks. Strava is considered the most successful sports app in this area, with 73 million users worldwide. You even find professionals using it, recording their rides in competitions. The thrilling thing about this app is that active users are able to motivate one another, make arrangements via the app and ride together. In the basic version, Strava primarily records trips, enabling riders to plan routes and to compare personal best times on certain sections. It's an incredible motivator, and helps riders to meet fellow cyclists.
Zwift: The best option for making the most of bad weather is Zwift. Here, using a smart trainer, your bike and a screen, you can ride on realistically-reconstructed digital routes or through fantasy worlds, competing against other users anywhere in the world – or simply with friends who similarly don't fancy getting soaked. Other options are programs such as RGT Cycling and the fitness platform Peloton.
(Stage photo: © Strava)
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