Strava - The Social Network for Cyclists
Free and available for Android and iOS. All you have to do is create a user profile and start using it on your cell phone by logging your activity (bluetooth sensors are not compatible with the app) or, more typically, by linking the app to a smartwatch or a GPS bike computer. You can follow other users, give them "kudos" for their activities and compare your times in the segments with other cyclists. Those are the features that have made Strava the Facebook of cycling.
Strava gets a lot of criticism for encouraging competition between users with their famous QOM or KOM (Queen/King of the Mountain) on segments. A little bit of healthy competition between friends is great, but in some segments there can be fierce battles. It all ends anyway when the pros arrive and leave the amateurs far behind, waiting for the tailwind.
The free version gives you access to your activities and the social network but you won’t be able to see all your data from the segments in detail. Besides, with the latest update (February 2021) the competition in the segments and other functions are no longer free. For full access you’ll have to pay €60 per year or €7.99 per month.
Wikiloc - The Best for Bike Trails
An App and a website created in Spain with over 21 million routes from 190 countries shared by almost 8 million users and with over 38 million photos as of today. It’s simple and highly functional in terms of sharing, searching, filtering and downloading routes from cell phones and other devices, which makes it one of the most popular apps for cycling and bicycle touring.
It’s free and available for iOS and Android. The premium version includes offline navigation, direct download to compatible GPS devices, live tracking to share your position with whomever you decide, ad-free browsing and other features. There is a 14-day free trial period and then the price is €9.99 per year.
Komoot - The Best for Bicycle Touring
This German application offers hikers and cyclists everything they need in order to explore, plan and share routes. The cycling category includes routes for bicycle tourists, mountain bikers and road cycling enthusiasts, focused on enjoying the surroundings and knowing what to expect and see along the way.
Komoot also offers a social component featuring user blogs that include stories, tips and photos with all kinds of information such as where to sleep, where to eat, recreational and cultural points of interest.
It's a free application on both Android and iOS. You can also buy maps of your area, a specific region or the whole world and have them available offline. In the Premium version (€60 per year) you get the functions and features that are not included in the free version, such as voice navigation so that you don’t have to be constantly looking at the map.
Garmin Connect - An Essential Addition
Garmin devices are widely used by cyclists and the app, free for both Android and iOS (there is also a website), is a must if you want to connect your Garmin to your cell phone to view and analyze your activity. The application is simple, intuitive and offers many features focused on training and performance. It is also compatible with other apps such as Strava, Wikiloc or TrainingPeaks.
The social component is also included in the application: you can follow other users, interact with them and see their workouts and routes. You can also join challenges or groups, create teams, win medals, and many more. If you like to explore you can also create routes although this function is not exactly the highlight of the app.
Trailforks -The Best for MTB
If you like mountain bikes or gravel bikes, this app is for you. It contains more than 300,000 routes and off-road trails shared by users, trail builders and associations or entities dedicated to mountain sports. The tracks are ranked by popularity, difficulty, type of terrain, current condition, best season to ride them, authorized activities, etc.
You can easily find, plan and share a route. You can also log your activity and report the conditions of the trails you have just been on, as well as provide other information such as points of interest. If you are a mountain trail builder, association or entity that operates off-road trails you can report on their condition using the application.
Google Maps and Apple Maps - The Essential Apps
You probably already have them installed on your Android or iPhone. They aren’t designed specifically for cycling but we can use them in countless situations making the most of all their functions (sharing locations, street view, downloading maps, lists of places of interest in the area where you are cycling, etc.).
You can plan specific bike routes, i.e. avoiding dangerous areas and prioritizing bike lanes. There are up-to-date topographic maps and satellite views to help you in your planning. If you ride a mountain bike, you’re fine, but be careful when planning routes for a road bike: the maps might lead you through terrains that are not exactly ideal for your thin tires.
TrainingPeaks - The Best for Training
If pure performance training is your thing, the TrainingPeaks website and app are what you're looking for. In order to correctly analyze all the information provided by the app you need some prior knowledge and expertise, that's why it is widely used by professional coaches. Learn and do your research to make the most out of every pedal stroke by reviewing and analyzing your performance to plan and organize workouts.
It is available for free for iOS and Android. The free version doesn’t offer all the tools and features of the paid version ($20 per month) used by many professional trainers, cyclists and triathletes.
RoadID - Digital Breadcrumb Trail for your Family
If you want your family or friends to have peace of mind when you go cycling, download RoadID on your Android smartphone or iPhone. This app allows you to share your position in real time with whomever you decide.
You can also add emergency numbers, your blood type, information on allergies, illnesses or health problems. Besides, it is useful not only when you go out for a bike ride, hike or walk the dog, but also when your children go to school alone or any other similar situation.
Wahoo Fitness - Combined with Sensors It Becomes a GPS Bike Computer
In addition to cycling computers, multisport watches and smart bike trainers, Wahoo offers a completely free app available for Android and iOS that turns your smartphone into a GPS cycling computer by pairing it with your Bluetooth sensors. To pair the ANT+ sensors you'll need a device called the Wahoo Key that connects to your phone.
In addition to having all the features available for free, the best thing about this app is that it connects easily with other previously mentioned applications such as Strava, Komoot or TrainingPeaks, letting you upload the data from Wahoo Fitness to these apps. You can also download your activities log in .fit format to analyze them wherever you want.
Bike Fast Fit and The Roadie Bike Fit - The Best for Bike Fitting
Finally, two apps to adjust your bike correctly to your measurements almost as if you went to a professional bike-fitter. We are talking about two apps because Bike Fast Fit is only available for iOS and The Roadie Bike Fit is only for Android. Bike Fast Fit is actually the best one as it includes videos and has many more features and tools. However, it’s not available for Android, so the best alternative on this platform is The Roadie Bike Fit.
They are not free. Bike Fast Fit costs $4.99 for the standard version and $9.99 for the elite version and The Roadie Bike Fit costs €4.69. For this price, with the help and guidance they offer for bike fitting and a little extra research you can easily fit your road bike, individual time trial (ITT) bike or triathlon bike at home.