I remember the days before GPS bike computers were on everyone’s handlebars – way before smartphones and fancy apps, it wasn’t that long ago, but it had a number of drawbacks.
Going out on a ride quite literally meant getting lost in the wilderness whenever you wanted to check out a new route.
The reality was (for me anyway) not finding that many new routes, but sticking to the old reliable ones and sometimes heading off with a friend down a different road to somewhere entirely different.
But in 2018, we have a wealth of tech at our fingertips.
Smartphones can simply do anything (except make and then bring me a coffee).
And my recently purchased Wahoo Elemnt Bolt will take me on new routes (once I’ve programmed them in) and even show me the quickest route home if I do get lost (and have my smartphone with me).
Not only does it do all things mapping, it’ll flash and beep to make sure I know when to turn and when I’ve gone wrong (which happens a lot…)
But what do I use to make my rides that little bit smoother and enjoyable that I couldn’t live without.
Actually, live without is a little bit of an exaggeration – I’d be fine without them, but if I named this article
“The 5 Apps or Programs That I Could Survive Without But It Wouldn’t Make My Rides As Enjoyable”…
I doubt many people would read it…
Also, just to note, NONE of the things I have recommended in this article will make me any money, theres no reward from Wahoo for recommending their product, nor are there any affiliate links below to make me some extra cash – these are all genuine recommendations based on what I genuinely use. Honesty is the policy here.
With that out of the way, lets get cracking:
This online software is free to use and is available as an app too. Personally, I use it on my laptop as you can’t create routes using the phone app.
I create my route, save it to my Ride With GPS profile and it automatically shows up on my Wahoo Elemnt Bolt for me to use on my next ride (providing the Bolt is connected to Wifi or Bluetooth).
I hate the saying Game Changer – but I’m going to use it here as a special one off.
This route creation and simplicity of using it on the bike computer has been a game changer for me and my rides.
I pretty much live my life on this app and program these days. My coaching plans are created through it and my own personal training diary is stored on here too.
It’s without a doubt the most powerful tool for analysing your training, and if you love planning then the calendar view is exactly like viewing your work calendar in that you can see each day of the week and then start scheduling in your training for that week/month/year.
You can use a free version (this one prevents you being able to plan in future sessions, so it’s purely for storing your exercise data), but the premium version opens you up to a wealth of planning and analysis.
To get to where you want to be, you need to track and manage. This goes for training and it goes for nutrition too.
Lindsey (our resident Sports Masseur and Nutrition Coach) has been tracking my food intake (minus Christmas…!) to ensure that I am consuming the right types of foods and sticking to good habits I need to (like drinking 3 litres of water each day and consuming a higher amount of protein than I used to).
It’s not a diet, but careful management and sticking to good habits.
But this particular app makes tracking food intake and analysing it so much easier. And the easier it is, the more likely I am to stick to it.
My Fitness Pal becomes that little voice in my head that keeps me accountable and do the things I said I would do.
Well, I couldn’t not write about Strava – this one app does everything training wise that Training Peaks lacks.
Social Accountability, plus you see what your mates are up to and check out their routes as inspiration for your own.
It even matches each ride you do to previous ones, so that you can check back year on year to see if you are faster or slower than before, you can select your favourite sections of your routes and race yourself on them and turn your easy rides into fast rides.
Providing you can use it without getting jealous at “that person” who seems to be out during the day having the time of their lives whilst you are stuck in the office, theres little wrong with it.
Except you might have to learn to put that competitive monkey on your shoulder away once in a while as going out and racing yourself each ride won’t do you any favours!
One other thing to note is to pay attention to your security settings too, it won’t take the smartest burglar to realise you go out for a ride every Sunday at 9am so make sure you click into the settings and under privacy go to the option that says “Hide your house/office on your activity map” – pop your address in the box and your home will be hidden with a 1km radius so no one will know where you start your rides from.
You need a Strava/Garmin/Polar/MapMyRide log in to use Relive, and as simple as the idea is, I’m a bit addicted to it.
In short, post ride, you can see (in Relive) a fly through of the course you rode in full 3D, it’ll show things like the elevation profile, plus details about your speed too.
I don’t use it for every ride I do, but on some of the longer, epic rides it’s nice to look back and see what I have just achieved whilst I scoff back some cake as part of my recovery process…
In the HURTBOX studio, we swear by using PerfPro, we can hook all of our riders in the studio up to the same program. The program will read the sessions we write in house and then control our machines to ensure that each person individually works out to their correct intensity.
How it all works is beyond my coaching head, but for creating training sessions and then ensuring our members have a great workout it’s a very powerful piece of software.
We are also able to create courses and import them into the software, so for our members who are off riding some epic mountains later this year, we’ll be aiming to replicate these climbs in the studio so they can get some practise on them.
So, there you go, these are the 5 apps and programs I find myself using the most at the moment.
But what do you use the the most? Let us know in the comments below.