Smart Living | Lifestyle

Lifestyle | 17 Aug 2022

The best UK cycling apps for 2022

Get on your bike with these wheelie good apps that will help you plan your route and get fit.

It seems everyone’s getting on their bike right now. Government data suggests that there has been an explosion of weekend cycling in the UK, up 60% in some areas of the UK.

It’s not hard to see why. Cycling is good for our bodies (burning body fat and building muscle) and (with rising petrol prices) our pockets, too. And then there’s the environment. A 2021 study found that cycling is up to 10 times more important than electric cars for UK cities to reach net zero.

You don’t even have to own a bike to get pedalling. A total of 22,789 bikes were available for hire in the UK last year, facilitating an average total of 41,599 trips each day, according to a recent report by Collaborative Mobility UK. Their research found that each hire bike user cuts out four miles of car use a week. That’s 1kg of carbon emissions.

Blind cyclist hurtles down mountain road guided by partner over Vodafone 5G

  Christos Sandalakis was born with a rare condition that meant he lost 99% of his vision. Vodafone superfast 5G has enabled him to cycle down a mountain solo, guided in real time by his sporting partner. If you liked this video, check out how we reunited British Winter Olympic legends using the power of … Continued

Whether you’re a bicycling beginner, or a cycling pro, there’s a host of apps (plus a handy mobile website) to help you on your journey. Here are the experts with their recommendations and favourites.

Darren Henry, Commercial Director at British Cycling, the main national governing body for cycle sport in Great Britain:

Love to Ride UK [iOS-only] do a fantastic job with councils and workplaces to support people to commute by bike. By logging your rides on the app, you can help planners and advocacy groups make better decisions about infrastructure in your towns and cities and potentially win some great prizes while doing so!”

Joe Russ is Digital Products Manager at Sustrans, the charity making it easier for people to walk and cycle

“Ordinance Survey’s OS Maps app [iOS and Android] is great for exploring, with on- and off-road route planning abilities and reliable Right of Way information. With just a few taps, you can view and follow routes created by other walkers, runners and cyclists. You can also plot your own routes and share them with friends. OS Maps enables you to view the National Cycle Network’s on-road and traffic-free sections and explore hundreds of suggested routes.”

Komoot [iOS and Android] is another superb app for exploring routes and getting out into the outdoors. You can calculate the most efficient route for you based on your active travel type and fitness level. Routes of all different lengths are hosted on the app, so is great for a leisurely family cycle in the countryside or a more challenging long-distance cycle ride.

“The app also has an active community of users who share their journeys so there are routes for every level of ability.”

Karen Gee is part of the husband-and-wife duo behind Cycle Sprog, a website all about cycling with kids

“Free for children aged five to 15, Zwift is an indoor cycling app [iOS, iPadOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Apple Watch and AppleTV] – really helpful in the winter months. You do need a turbo trainer of some sort to connect [your bike] to your computer but you can get set up relatively cheaply.

“I suspect that in a few years we’re going to see Olympic medallists who got the racing bug during lockdown thanks to this offer.”

Strava [iOS and Android] is great for children over 13 years who want to start going off cycling on their own. As well as tracking their own progress they can set a ‘Beacon’ which can be sent to a parent or other adult. This plots on a map where they are at all times, which helps reduce the worry.

What3Words [iOS and Android] is an app that helps you locate places (and yourself) at all times. Brilliant if you’re not great at map reading!”

Sam Jones, communications delivery manager at cycling charity Cycling UK:

“The Cycling UK journey planner is my go-to when I’m deciding on the best route to get from A to B, and I’m looking for the route with the least motor traffic. Not only does it plan my route for me, it also shares the elevation, estimated time, distance, calories burned, CO2 avoided as well as allowing me to choose the levels of motor traffic I’m most comfortable with.”

And finally…

There are no national apps for bicycle hire, so you will need to search locally. But if you find yourself in a spot of bother with chains or tyres, this iOS and Androidapp full of repair tutorials could come in handy.

Get pedalling!

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