Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Now that the restrictions around lockdown are finally beginning to lift, you may have found yourself recently thinking about dusting off the old bike and heading off an adventure.
Whether it be the Flume Trail, Lake Tahoe, or Copper Harbor Trails in Keweenaw Peninsula, America is home to a number of incredible cycling routes, after all. So, what better way is there to encapsulate the country’s beautiful scenery than via a scenic ride with friends, family, or both?
Before you set off though and embrace a new, improved sense of post-lockdown life, it always pays to be well-prepared in advance. Are your tires flat? Does your chain need oil? Are the gears still working?
Only once you feel confident that your bike is safe to ride can you then think about the fun stuff – the route you’re going to take, the day/days you’re going to go and the route tracking apps you’re going to use along the way.
This last point is what we’ll discuss in this article.
From one app designed to track your routes in fine detail to another which brings the outside in, listed below are the best route tracking apps for cyclists to have.
We start with the biggest and arguably the best route tracking app currently available on the market: Strava.
While in lockdown, you will have likely seen many of your friends posting their Strava cycling routes over social media, showing detailed statistics on their activity. This is because the app has been designed around social use – enabling riders to upload their rides and use the app to see what their friends are up to.
By invoking this social camaraderie, cyclists can use the app in a similar way to Facebook, following their friends, seeing where and how hard they’re riding, writing motivational comments, posting photos, and encouraging a healthy sense of competition.
Price: Free or Premium.
While you may have found yourself coming up with more and more wacky ways to survive coronavirus as a cyclist recently – from investing in a Peloton bike to building a mountain bike trail in your garden – thanks to Zwift, now you don’t have to worry.
This online virtual platform has truly revolutionized the world of indoor cycling, enabling users to travel through real-life cycling routes that make you feel as if you’re actually there.
Whether you’d rather use this app on our list of route tracking apps as a training tool, a gaming device, or a social platform to meet other cyclists, the choice is entirely down to you.
While it won’t get you out and about in the same way as other outdoor-focused apps, it’s certainly one worth having on those days when the weather isn’t looking so great or, of course, those times you’re forced to self-isolate during a pandemic.
Price: Subscription-based service at AUD 19.99 per month. Also offers a free seven-day trial.
3. Google Maps
Google Maps is one of those route tracking apps you can’t really live without nowadays – regardless of whether you’re a cyclist or not.
Allowing you to explore new places seamlessly, the app is completely free and has only got better and better as time has gone on.
While you may think it is mainly for drivers, it is also incredibly accommodating to cyclists, offering customized bike routes and specialist directions. If, for example, you’re tired of cycling along main roads back to your house, Google Maps can offer you a selection of routes to choose between, so you only ever travel how you want to.
Similar in several ways to CycleMeter – another great route tracking app – MapMyRide edges it slightly thanks to its parent company’s extensive background with route-mapping software.
In essence, the app does exactly what its name suggests, mapping rides and tracking a whole host of stats and data along the way.
However, the app’s crème de la crème comes through its added ability to track other health-related information, such as nutrition, weight, sleep, steps, and much more.
There is also a premium version available if you can’t hack the annoying adverts the free version gives you.
Price: Free or Premium.
Google Maps is to road cyclists what Viewranger is to mountain bikers.
The perfect app for cyclists who love a bit of off-road exploring, Viewranger comes with a free OpenCycle base map of the entire globe, making it easy to search for and save any routes you come across.
Better yet, the app also allows users to purchase large-scale topographical mapping for many different countries, using the phone’s GPS and storage facilities to save the maps and avoid the need for a data connection.
Price: Free and Premium.