Bicycle your way to better health with these Android apps

by Larry Sullivan

Instead of running or jogging, I plan pedaling myself into shape in 2013. Last weekend, I rode over 8 miles and realized I needed a way to keep track of my rides. What better way than using an app on my phone? After sifting through apps in the Google play store, I found a few that fit the bill.

Move! Bike Computer (Free)

Move! Bike Computer is an easy-to-use app to track your biking progress. The app opens up with a main screen that displays speed, total time, distance and more. After doing some checking, you find out that there are 10 concurrent, user-configurable readouts. If you press down and hold an area, then a menu pops up with options. The screen is laid out very nicely and big so you can take a quick look while out on the trail without taking your eyes off your route.

There is a good online manual for the app that provides all of the settings and terms details. The app also allows you to record your tracks and save it to review later. There is a pro version of the app which has no ads in it, but the ads in the free version aren’t distracting.

MapMyRide GPS Cycling Riding (Free)

MapMyRide app is associated with the mega popular website MapMyFitness. To use the app you need to login with Facebook or your email address. You can do a lot more with the app than just track your bike riding. You will have your own profile and make friends through the app. You can record your route and the distance, time, speed and pace. With the information you provide you can see how many calories you burned and track any weight loss.

With the accompanying website you can see your routes, plus those of others in your area. You can see where they went, the elevation, and distance. You can send these to your phone so you can reproduce the route when you ride. On the website, you can find events, connect with others, and more. There are even BMI and calorie burning calculators.

Strava Cycling (Free)

As with MapMyRide, you need to set up an account and use the app for biking or running. You can access the associated Strava website, but the app tracks all of your rides and saves your times, distances, and average speeds. You can track your progress in your rides and see how you compare to your friends. The app has a lot of components for “competitions” and adds personal achievements to the mix.

You should explore the app and website before signing up, as it is free to join, though there is a Premium Membership. In addition to tracking yours and your friend’s progress, you can see others areas nearby where folks have ridden. You will need to have the GSP on, even when you are not riding, to access the maps. The Premium account packs power zone and heart rate analysis, filtered leaderboards, and advanced comparisons.

AllSport GPS FREE (Free)

The AllSport GPS Free app is associated with Trimble Outdoors. The app is setup to record your activity in a number of different activities, one of which is biking. You can use the app, but to get the most out of it, you should create a free account. When you first open the app, it will ask for your weight and preferred units of measure. The app has built-in local weather and an assortment of different settings you can adjust: cache maps, sounds, autostart, to name a few. Once you have set the app up, pick your activity and go!

The app records your rides and provides summaries of the week’s activities. To start a new ride, you select “new ride” and then a map of your GPS location will appear. Hit the start button when you begin. You will get on-screen info regarding distance, speed and time. The app has a media area where you can take photos or videos during your ride. There is a pro version available via an in-app purchase which will allow you get terrain and topography maps, record laps, and remove ads.

Cycling can be an intense yet very enjoyable form of exercise. If you are trying for better health and weight lose, you will want one of these apps to track and encourage you along the way. When you are riding, just make sure your phone is secure and the GPS is on!

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