iPhone Apps That Might Make Your Bike Ride Safer, Certainly More Fun

stop.jpg

Wired gives us a look
at a number of bicycle-related applications for the iPhone, including
Back Light, which allows you to tell cars following too closely on your
back wheel exactly what you think they should do with themselves
("Stop!," of course). I’ll admit I would put a lot of other choice
statements there, but that’s because I’m not as sensible as you, dear
readers.

skidder.jpg

Another
app, Brake Lights, which accomplishes essentially the same thing but
won’t get you in as much trouble with someone behind the wheel of a
three-ton vehicle, is a simple brake light activated when the phone’s
accelerometer senses your movement slowing. Likewise, there are several
apps that intend to mimic your blinky, but I’m pretty sure nothing
could get as shockingly bright as a Planet Bike Superflash (do not hold that up to your face and look into it, please).

For
the fixie kids, there’s an app that helps you figure out the ratio for
your gears and shows you where on your tire all the skid-stops are
going to wear it thin. It also lets you know how fast you’re going to
travel at different RPMs, depending on your tire size. A bit arcane for
me, but obviously there are folks who find this interesting.

One
of the apps that didn’t make Wired’s list, iMapMyRide, tells you your
speed and distances traveled, and allows you to map your rides and keep
a record of them both on the hand-held device and online.

We’re curious to know what other apps out there that you find useful or interesting? Let us know in the comments.

  • Will Campbell

    I was using REI’s Bike Your Drive app for awhile but all those mapping apps are just monster battery drainers.

  • angle

    An iPhone as a rear blinkie? What’s next, a caviar Clif Bar?

  • David Galvan

    I use the TrailGuru app to map my rides (and hikes). It basically acts like a GPS tracker. Just turn it on, do your ride, then when you are finished you can post your GPX track to trailguru.com (it can be publicly viewable or only viewable to yourself) and download the GPX file, which you can later use to geotag photos you took with another camera. Or you can just look at your tracked route on a map. It also displays plots of the elevation gained or lost, and your speed during the route.

    Here’s a publicly viewable track of a ride I did from Downey to Long Beach on the L.A. River Bike path:

    http://www.trailguru.com/wiki/index.php/Track:718E

    TrailGuru is free, but requires an iPhone 3G or later.

    Oh, and to save on battery drain, here’s a trick: You can keep the app running even when the screen is turned off (locked iPhone) by doing the following: Before launching TrailGuru, go to your iPod and start a song playing. Then go back to the home screen (the song will keep playing in the background), and open TrailGuru. Start tracking, and then press the iPhone’s lock button to turn the screen off (without exiting the app). If you don’t want to listen to music, just turn the volume all the way down. Just make sure that you’re using a long playlist or your whole music library, because when the music stops, the trailguru app will stop as well (it’s not meant to keep running when the phone is locked, but this trick allows it to. Saves battery life because the screen is off.)