There are several well developed iPhone GPS apps available today for cycling, but what sets one apart from the others? Recently, I was asked to give Cyclemeter by Abvio a try, to see for myself what made them different.
At first glance, the price is a dollar or two higher than the others at $4.99, but after using the app only after a few times I realized it is worth every dollar and the old adage of “You get what you pay for.” applies here. Upon launching the app you instantly have in front of you your ride time, distance, speed, remaining distance, average speed and calories burned. These data points are all controlled by two buttons, start and done, with the ability to pause the ride if needed. You can name your route and as well notate what type of activity you are doing, cycling, mountain biking, et cetera, and finally at the bottom of the screen you can see your GPS signal quality.
One of the features that sets Cyclemeter apart, is that you can have it announce your stats via the iPhone speaker or headphones. This really is helpful if you are one, such as myself, that doesn’t want to look down at a computer while navigating through traffic or barreling down a technical trail. While on the subject of announcing, if you email, tweet or post your status on facebook, the app will post your stats every five minutes and even read to you what your family and friends are saying about your ride. These options are fully configurable and as well you maintain full control of whether or not it posts to email, twitter or facebook. The announcements can mute your iTunes and allows full control of your music while you ride. Cyclemeter, as most GPS apps do, utilizes Google map with the choice of Street, Satellite or Hybrid view.
Another feature is the calendar. The calendar keeps track of your rides, all your stats of that ride and as well you can add notes, pretty helpful if you ride in different areas and want to keep track of trail conditions, trail markers or an awesome burrito place you want to go back to. The calendar will also help you keep track of your mileage by week, month or even year and can sync to Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, AOL, Yahoo, MobileMe, and iCal.
Do you organize your rides? Ever wonder which ride was the one that had that super fast downhill or an awesome climb? Keep track of all your routes and be able to select them and it will guide you through. You can race yourself from your previous route rides and see your “old” self on the map and hopefully outperform and show improvement! Regardless of how you do, it will rank your ride as best, better, median, worse and worst than your previous route ride. Have you ever left your iPhone at home on a ride? You can manually enter your data so at the very least you can maintain the route and your mileage of the ride.
Finally, are you a data head? Well, I am, I love the graphs showing my speed and elevation gain/decent from my rides that the other cycling app have on their websites, Cyclemeter has it built in. I like being able to talk to friends or cycling acquaintances and while trying to explain the ride, I can pull out my iPhone and show them where to go, where to turn and what they can expect from the ride, is it flat or is it a crazy long climb? Now you might ask about exporting GPS raw data file, yes! Cyclemeter will also export to CSV files for your spreadsheet data compiling. Cyclemeter provides you all that you need to navigate, orgainize and train. The app is very easy to use and configure, and I found that everything I want and need from a cycling GPS tool, you will not be let down! Go out and download it on iTunes.