By Mike Blewitt - Team Subaru-MarathonMTB
This is something you just wouldn't have read all that long ago, while replacing punctured tubes, adjusting your V-brakes, and lining up your bar ends. Technology marches forward with bikes, and with our phones. Just about everyone has a smartphone, as much as it can be a nuisance when you want to ride, it can also become a MTBers best friend. There are lots of apps out there for finding trails, tuning suspension, tracking your performance and more. But these are the six that have found a place on my phone, either for usefulness or just for fun.
While it's easier to use a dedicated GPS unit to record your training and racing – Strava have a pretty useful app. With just about all the functionality you could want, you can view your rides, share them via social media or email, and in general see how you compare to others. It's heavy on battery life, so I tend to stick to using my Magellan Cyclo 505 – but the app is a great backup for a forgotten unit, or to show rides to others when not near a desktop. This one is great for regular cycling too.
Who likes to get wet on a ride if they don't need to? There's a time and a place for training in the rain – or so I've heard. This free app lets you set your radar location so you can have a quick check of the rain radar before leaving the couch, office – or your warm bed. You can change the location easily enough to look at a destination you're planning on heading to, or just for your local trails.
Capturing some footage for a 'sweet edit' isn't something for everyone. But if you like to make videos of your rides or adventures on the bike, you are probably familiar with the limitations of not having a view finder on a GoPro.
The app uses wifi to connect to your phone, so you can see what you're shooting, and even control the main functions. It helps for setup, or just making your editing work easier later on. Very good for use with a mini tripod if you’re filming mates. Plus there are video and photo of the day sections, for your amusement.
This is a personal favourite. Sure, my GPS will tell me how high I am. But will it tell me the boiling point of water? Possibly more useful for bragging rights and annoying my girlfriend with stories of rides past, and how this isn’t really that high compared to the time in 2008, when I was in Colorado and…
You can modify this one to where you live, but it is put together by the Kowalski Brothers for all the trails at Sparrow and Kowen, near Canberra. If you're not local, or didn't build them, you are probably likely to get lost in the maze of singletrack. This app acts as a guide, with a map and a locater on it that uses the GPS on your phone. There's some history and other articles in there but the gold is the map and locater. Obviously trails get updated, and there are a couple that need catching up on. This one isn’t free, but think of it as a donation to having trails built for you. There are similar apps for Rotorua.
Everyone has to do something to pass the time. I was introduced to this one by US Pro Jasen Sager, during some down time at the Mongolia Bike Challenge. It was cold, we were huddled into our gehr killing time while a goat was slaughtered for dinner. So we put moustaches on photos he had on his phone. About a week later when I had reception again, I just had to download the app. Idle minds...
These apps are all available for iPhone, but most are on Android too.