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The Ultimate Cyclist App?

Old 06-11-22, 04:47 AM
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BikerDev
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The Ultimate Cyclist App?

Hi all,

I was wondering what you guys and gals would suggest as the perfect cycling companion app.

if you had the opportunity to build an app from the ground up specifically for cyclists, what would you want from the app, what would be your top features?
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Old 06-12-22, 03:54 AM
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The app must take you directly to Strava.
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Old 06-12-22, 07:55 AM
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Sorry not to be of help with what might be a serious question. But with every entity that I purchase from or do business with trying to shove a phone app at me, I'd rather just have a cycling companion!

You might browse the gadgets and gizmos sub-forum and see some of the things people ask about in there.

Last edited by Iride01; 06-12-22 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 06-12-22, 08:58 AM
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I don't use cycling apps.
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Old 06-12-22, 10:01 AM
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Go through these and see what's missing.

https://www.google.com/search?q=the+...e-gws-wiz-serp
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Old 06-12-22, 12:10 PM
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Thanks guys for your responses.

I should have perhaps made myself clearer. Obviously there are many cycling apps out there but if this app was all about YOU, not what’s out there at the moment, is there something that you feel would really be useful as an avid cyclist?

in other words, if you had full control over what goes into the app, what would you love to see. Or perhaps you feel there is no such thing and you currently use apps that already meet your need and don’t feel there’s anything you’re missing.
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Old 06-12-22, 12:33 PM
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The 'OFF/ON' button on the side of my phone. Best 'app' on the darn thing.

Seriously, the only app I've ever downloaded is for guitar tuning, and it was free (I did have to give them my email address).
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Old 06-12-22, 12:53 PM
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I really only want to know two things: what time I started and what time I finished. I can figure everything else out on my own, without sharing my routes and data with the world.
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Old 06-12-22, 03:17 PM
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i wrote my own PC based application that i use with my trainer so maybe i can answer your question directly. I also use the paid version of the CycleMeter app on my phone when out on real rides. today sucked, very windy...20mph with 40mph gusts and getting stronger as the day gets longer so rode indoors.

I don't need an app that is customized specifically for me if that is what you are asking about. that sounds like a complicated app to deploy in the wild. all *i* need is location data, time, distance, speed, elevation is nice but not needed. those things are easy with GPS and a clock. also like HRM and cadence monitoring. i don't have a power meter but an app *should* support that (if you buy me one i'll test out your app for you).

after the ride i would like to see total time, avg/max speed, total distance, avg/max heart rate, avg/max rpm, temperature/wind direction/speed. i upload to strava so would want that and the ability to prefix a ride name with something that makes sense at the time of upload (wish CycleMeter had this feature), having every ride named "Reno - Afternoon Ride" is hard to discern from another ride with the same name.

i am not married to strava but it is a good repository for rides (although i do pull down every ride that goes up). the segment stuff is nice on strava so an app that allowed that would be cool. having named routes is a nice feature in CycleMeter and a long time ago it used to show my previous self along the ride so i knew when i was slower or faster than a past me, not sure if that is still there since my phone is in my pocket now.

I recently added a distance and elevation goal to my PC app and can track my progress with it...something like that might be nice to have. post analysis seems fall short with the phone apps i've tried and CycleMeter is no different. i think it comes down to the phone being too small. a companion app for a PC would be handy for this since it allows so much more. because i pull down every ride i've done it is easy to look at where i rode, how much time i took, and how much suffering i went through. i know there are apps that do this but i like to tinker so that is what i did. one of the unique features i added to my app was not only an elevation profile when i re-ride a saved ride but i also added a grade profile (the white line below) with local maximum grades printed. it is essentially a plot of ΔElevation/ΔDistance, it let's me know how much suffering i have ahead of me. this is purely a winter time feature for me.

if i can think of more i'll add more.


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Old 06-13-22, 10:58 AM
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Thank you spelger for such a detailed response. Fascinating to hear your insight, certainly something to chew over. 👍
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Old 06-14-22, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BikerDev View Post
Thanks guys for your responses.

I should have perhaps made myself clearer. Obviously there are many cycling apps out there but if this app was all about YOU, not what’s out there at the moment, is there something that you feel would really be useful as an avid cyclist?

in other words, if you had full control over what goes into the app, what would you love to see. Or perhaps you feel there is no such thing and you currently use apps that already meet your need and don’t feel there’s anything you’re missing.
So are you designing an app?
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Old 06-14-22, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I don't use cycling apps.
Wolfcavechild doesn't use cycling apps. What a surprise!
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Old 06-14-22, 02:55 PM
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so here is another thing, just yesterday CycleMeter crapped out on me during the middle of my ride so i needed to stop recording the ride and start again. but it was the same ride and i wanted the thing recorded as a whole. i think it would be too difficult to do in an app but an a companion PC application having the ability stitch these things together would be a good thing. guess what i added to mine yesterday...
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Old 06-14-22, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BikerDev View Post
Hi all,

I was wondering what you guys and gals would suggest as the perfect cycling companion app.

if you had the opportunity to build an app from the ground up specifically for cyclists, what would you want from the app, what would be your top features?
You do realise this is going to vary massively between rider types? What sort of cycling are we talking about here? We need an idea of the demographic you are aiming at. For example a Touring rider is likely to be more interested in route planning and logistics etc, while a racer will be focused on training and performance metrics. That's why there are already loads of different Apps on the market.
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Old 06-14-22, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Siu Blue Wind View Post
So are you designing an app?
In a word ‘yes’ Siu Blue Wind - in fact we’ve already developed an app that’s in the app stores but I didn’t feel it was appropriate to shove it down peoples throat on this forum.

There are 6 of us, mostly Microsoft employees who enjoy cycling and wanted to develop something that cyclists felt would be useful and add value. We’re not one of these big corporates trying to make tonnes of money off people, just a genuine bunch hoping to offer something to the community. I’d be lying if I said we wouldn’t need to make money as we will have overheads such as server costs etc, but that’s just the nature of the beast.
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Old 06-14-22, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
You do realise this is going to vary massively between rider types? What sort of cycling are we talking about here? We need an idea of the demographic you are aiming at. For example a Touring rider is likely to be more interested in route planning and logistics etc, while a racer will be focused on training and performance metrics. That's why there are already loads of different Apps on the market.
You’re absolutely right PeteHski 😉
I guess this is more about putting some feelers out in terms of a broader understanding to help determine if there are any common themes.
The other, probably a little too optimistic, was to help determine if there was some massively obvious hole in the market that all cyclists would like to see.
As I mentioned in my post above, we’re just a bunch of guys who happen to have the skills necessary to create something and hope to give something back to the community.
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Old 06-14-22, 03:40 PM
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What's the name of the app? Basically I use Strava, but always willing to look at other apps.

The one I'd like to see would be a collaboration between some hardware people and software people. Get the hardware people to make a pinion type gearbox or a Rohloff type hub, with gears as low as those two have, priced at $400-$500.

Then have an app that does all the GPS stuff of a strava, but doubles as the brains of an automatic transmission, docked in a handlebar cradle including cable pulling servo motors. Have the cable unpluggable so it can be inserted into a shifter for manual control.

Then you could tell your app what you're doing and have it give you cadence feedback etc while it shifts gears optimally for the path/trail you're on.
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Old 06-15-22, 05:16 AM
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This is a tough task.
Off-bike apps like route mapping/planning are well covered by existing apps and Strava is the 800 lb gorilla of social apps.

While-riding apps which use a phone as the display have short-comings
As phones have become larger, battery life and fragility are making it impractical to mount a phone on your bars.
Using a dedicated (perhaps older but smaller) phone will run into issues of battery life, water-proofing, screen visibility in sunlight and usage with gloves and in the rain. But if it is cheap enough, these shortcomings may be worth the trade-offs but it has to be really cheap.

Until recently I used an old Motorola Moto E from 2015 hacked to run Lineage (Android 10) with Komoot as an interface and it was a pretty decent bike computer for the $50 I spent on the phone and cheap Chinese garmin mount. But!! I also spent many hours installing & customizing Android/Lineage to maximize performance and battery life and I suspect most people would not be willing/able to hack a phone to this degree to turn it into an acceptable device.

The problem you will find is that your competition is cheap (and getting cheaper) bike computers. The Garmin Edge explore at ~$200 blows away any phone based device so that limits your pricing options. And Garmin software, bad as many people kvetch about, is way ahead of most competitors or apps and shows how difficult software development is, particularly mapping. Bryton, for example, makes great hardware but their software really, really sucks despite 10 years of trying and I presume they have a team of developers at their disposal.

I've thought if you could convince an android phone maker to manufacture a generic Android based device (say $200 max) which resembles a Garmin 1030/Karoo 2/Bryton S800 but has no software and you install your own (freemium or paid for) app (competing with RideWithGPS/Komoot/BikeComputer etc) it might have a market.

Or hack Bryton hardware to install a different system and I'm sure 99% of Bryton users would happily pay to ditch the factory software for something that works.
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Old 06-15-22, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by PDKL45 View Post
What's the name of the app? Basically I use Strava, but always willing to look at other apps.

The one I'd like to see would be a collaboration between some hardware people and software people. Get the hardware people to make a pinion type gearbox or a Rohloff type hub, with gears as low as those two have, priced at $400-$500.

Then have an app that does all the GPS stuff of a strava, but doubles as the brains of an automatic transmission, docked in a handlebar cradle including cable pulling servo motors. Have the cable unpluggable so it can be inserted into a shifter for manual control.

Then you could tell your app what you're doing and have it give you cadence feedback etc while it shifts gears optimally for the path/trail you're on.
There's no point in having cables AND servo motors. If you go electronic, then you get rid of all the mechanical cables - like with Di2 or eTap for example.
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Old 06-15-22, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BikerDev View Post
You’re absolutely right PeteHski 😉
I guess this is more about putting some feelers out in terms of a broader understanding to help determine if there are any common themes.
The other, probably a little too optimistic, was to help determine if there was some massively obvious hole in the market that all cyclists would like to see.
As I mentioned in my post above, we’re just a bunch of guys who happen to have the skills necessary to create something and hope to give something back to the community.
Okay, so the mobile phone Apps I currently use are:-

Strava - For keeping track of all my rides/training activities/mileage etc and for following friends activities and other bike related social stuff.
Garmin Connect - Paired to a Garmin Edge head unit as I find dedicated bike computers much better for on-bike data/display/GPS use. The Garmin Connect phone app gives me the ability to transmit my live position to other people I'm riding with or at home.
Pillar Training App - This is a new training app that tracks all my training metrics and generates a dynamic training plan geared towards my key events (Sportive/Gran Fondo century events). It links directly to Strava to pull in all my ride data.
Training Peaks - This is another training app, probably the biggest and most well known. But I've recently moved away from Training Peaks since I started using Pillar above (they are effectively competitors in the training segment).

I honestly don't think you will get anywhere trying to compete against any of the above or their direct competitors, but I recently came across another new App that I thought might be interesting and I don't think there is much competition:-

Cyclique - It's basically a cycling social App that attempts to pair up local riders for informal group rides. Sort of like a virtual cycling club. I haven't actually used it yet, but I think it differs from Strava in that anyone who joins Cyclique is actively looking to find other people to meet up and ride with. Strava doesn't make that key distinction.

That's about all I can suggest really. I can't think of any gaping holes in the market, especially when it comes to the major stuff like route planning, data logging/display and training.
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Old 06-15-22, 06:59 AM
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Am I missing out on something for not using an app? Is using an app beneficial for newbie like me?

Apologies for the stupid question haha I’m green when it comes to cycling.
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Old 06-15-22, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Wolfcavechild doesn't use cycling apps. What a surprise!
And he still uses downtube shifters and a 3 x 8 drivetrain.
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Old 06-15-22, 08:08 AM
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Strava and Garmin Connect cover all anyone needs. Developing a new app isn't going to provide anything better than what's already out there. Late to the party.
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Old 06-15-22, 12:46 PM
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Thanks everyone for all the interesting feedback. I agree with most of you that trying to develop an app that focuses on stats and routing etc is pointless. Going up against the likes of the big hitters such as Strava is suicide!

However, as an eternal optimist () I always think there are gaps in any market, this is how we evolve and improve. At least that's my thinking. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, "how come I didn't think of that", I'd probably be retired by now!

So the app that my colleagues and I have built focuses on the more social aspect of cycling, it doesn't involve stats or performance related data. There are 6 of us of and most of enjoy cycling and the reason for the app. The younger one of the group is semi-pro but he has young legs! Anyway I digress, the thinking behind it originally was that one of the team used to spend a fair amount of time herding his cycling buddies to arrange a ride at the weekend. The 2 main issues was that he'd use WhatsApp messaging, emails and other forms of communication and was constantly bouncing around texts and emails with his friends. The other issue being that when the the ride was finally arranged, everyone was coming from different directions and they would meet at different locations on the route.

So, we built an app that would allow for a quick way to share an event with friends. We built a friends list so that you can connect with your cycling buddies which requires accept and reject options when accepting someone into your friends circle. You can then create an event and invite specific friends. Details of the event include date/time, route if you have a GPX file and then an option to add custom markers along the route, such as where you might be stopping for coffee or a bite to eat and any meeting points, such as when you're meeting up with another friend coming from a different direction (only those invited to the event can see these markers). Once the event starts you can share your location in realtime with people you specify, preferably your cycling buddies who are attending, you can see their speed, direction of travel, whether they have network connection issues and it's a quick way to determine if one of your friends is running late or how far away they are. Many of us also share that with our wives/partners etc too so they have a rough idea as to when we might be arriving home.

This then developed into something more broad. Once we had everything working and the cyclists we tried this with (just a select few beta testers) found value in what we were trying to do. We started to develop it further but the focus was more on event organisers, how could they use this tool to create events with ease and keep track of everyone taking part in large events. Think of it like a dashboard for organisers. They could see if anyone was straying too far away from the route or whether there was some other issue that they might need help with so could determine their exact location.

We have an event happening this weekend in a place called Wargrave and they are using our app to power the event.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking...."if you already have an app, why are you asking for feedback?" - well the truth is, I really wanted to know whether there was something that we had missed. Was there something that cyclists would really like to see or find very valuable. We're really just a bunch of guys wanting to create something that we're passionate about, there's no ulterior motive just some down to earth guys putting their knowledge to use. We have no interest in selling data, keeping a record of cyclists movements, I have never agreed with any of that stuff. The only data we keep is the last known coordinate of a friend so we can display that on your friends maps. Once the event has finished or you decide to stop sharing, all data is wiped.

Anyway, I've been rambling for far too long and just wanted to give you some background and say thank you for the feedback and comments, it's very interesting and appreciate all your time.

Last edited by BikerDev; 06-15-22 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 06-15-22, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BikerDev View Post
Thanks everyone for all the interesting feedback. I agree with most of you that trying to develop an app that focuses on stats and routing etc is pointless. Going up against the likes of the big hitters such as Strava is suicide!

However, as an eternal optimist () I always think there are gaps in any market, this is how we evolve and improve. At least that's my thinking. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, "how come I didn't think of that", I'd probably be retired by now!

So the app that my colleagues and I have built focuses on the more social aspect of cycling, it doesn't involve stats or performance related data. There are 6 of us of and most of enjoy cycling and the reason for the app. The younger one of the group is semi-pro but he has young legs! Anyway I digress, the thinking behind it originally was that one of the team used to spend a fair amount of time herding his cycling buddies to arrange a ride at the weekend. The 2 main issues was that he'd use WhatsApp messaging, emails and other forms of communication and was constantly bouncing around texts and emails with his friends. The other issue being that when the the ride was finally arranged, everyone was coming from different directions and they would meet at different locations on the route.

So, we built an app that would allow for a quick way to share an event with friends. We built a friends list so that you can connect with your cycling buddies which requires accept and reject options when accepting someone into your friends circle. You can then create an event and invite specific friends. Details of the event include date/time, route if you have a GPX file and then an option to add custom markers along the route, such as where you might be stopping for coffee or a bite to eat and any meeting points, such as when you're meeting up with another friend coming from a different direction (only those invited to the event can see these markers). Once the event starts you can share your location in realtime with people you specify, preferably your cycling buddies who are attending, you can see their speed, direction of travel, whether they have network connection issues and it's a quick way to determine if one of your friends is running late or how far away they are. Many of us also share that with our wives/partners etc too so they have a rough idea as to when we might be arriving home.

This then developed into something more broad. Once we had everything working and the cyclists we tried this with (just a select few beta testers) found value in what we were trying to do. We started to develop it further but the focus was more on event organisers, how could they use this tool to create events with ease and keep track of everyone taking part in large events. Think of it like a dashboard for organisers. They could see if anyone was straying too far away from the route or whether there was some other issue that they might need help with so could determine their exact location.

We have an event happening this weekend in a place called Wargrave and they are using our app to power the event.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking...."if you already have an app, why are you asking for feedback?" - well the truth is, I really wanted to know whether there was something that we had missed. Was there something that cyclists would really like to see or find very valuable. We're really just a bunch of guys wanting to create something that we're passionate about, there's no ulterior motive just some down to earth guys putting their knowledge to use. We have no interest in selling data, keeping a record of cyclists movements, I have never agreed with any of that stuff. The only data we keep is the last known coordinate of a friend so we can display that on your friends maps. Once the event has finished or you decide to stop sharing, all data is wiped.

Anyway, I've been rambling for far too long and just wanted to give you some background and say thank you for the feedback and comments, it's very interesting and appreciate all your time.
Your App sounds similar to what I think Cyclique are trying to achieve. Maybe this actually is your App?
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