BikeHub Launch iPhone Navigation App

by singletrackjon 10

Industry association The Bike Hub has released a free iPhone app that helps cyclists navigate across town and country – and most interestingly for Singletrackians it will also route you down bridleways and other rights of way if you like. It’ll also guide you to the nearest bike shop using data from the Association of Cycle Traders should you be in dire need of an inner tube or similar. The standard press release follows, but as it’s free you really should give it a try – it’s available HERE on iTunes where it has already become one of the most popular cycle navigation apps.

Bike Hub stress you shouldn't be using it one handed while riding. Get a handlebar mount instead...

While you’re iTunes-ing there, take a look at the Singletrack Magazine App here where you can download and read current and back issues of the Best Consumer Bike Magazine 2009 and 2010. Check it out HERE

Press release below;

The app uses a satnav-style routing engine developed specifically for cyclists. Unlike standard satnavs, or Google Maps, the Bike Hub iPhone app can route cyclists along cycle paths, such as routes on the Sustrans’ National Cycle Network.

Malcolm Shepherd, Sustrans’ Chief Executive said:

“Over half the UK population lives within a mile of the National Cycle Network but how many people are aware that this fast, free and healthy transport option is on their doorstep? As the charity behind the Network we’re delighted to see it promoted as widely as possible as part of an iPhone app that will help people to get out more on foot and by bike for their everyday journeys.”

The app routes away from up-hill slogs for cyclists who wish to avoid them, but gives a high priority to downhill routes.

Users can choose between three route modes: quietest, quickest or balanced.

‘Quickest route’ users are directed via roads (although not dual carriageways or motorways). Those cyclists who don’t care to mingle with motorised traffic would choose ‘quietest route’ and would then be guided along back-streets and, where available and sensible, cycle routes. The ‘balanced route’ provides a good mix between the two.

The app was produced by Tinderhouse of Kent and commissioned by Carlton Reid, editor of, a newly-launched website owned by the two UK bicycle industry organisations.

Reid said: “Using the Bike Hub app is like being guided by a friend who knows all the clever short-cuts.”

The cycle routing is done via CycleStreets of Cambridge, a community-based group working on a not-for-profit basis. Cyclestreets uses mathematical graph theory algorithms to quickly work out bicycle-friendly routes. Mapping is provided by OpenCycleMap via OpenStreetMap, the ‘wikipedia of maps’. OpenStreetMap is a community of 300,000 map enthusiasts worldwide who collaborate to produce the most up-to-date maps available. Changes made by members of the OSM community can be available online within hours.

The Bike Hub app was produced for trade associations the Bicycle Association of Great Britain and the Association of Cycle Traders. Bike Hub is the UK cycle industry’s levy scheme. Cash from the voluntary levy has allowed the iPhone app to be free on iTunes.

As well as working out bicycle-friendly routes the app has a ‘bike shop finder’ button, calling up bike shops within a six mile radius of an iPhone. Directions are then given to the shops discovered, of which there are 2500 across the UK. The database was supplied by the Association of Cycle Traders.

The app went live on iTunes on Saturday night and has been downloaded by thousands of iPhone and iPad owners. Within two days of its launch, the app was third in the navigation category on iTunes.

iTunes reviewers have been overwhelmingly positive. iTunes reviewer ‘AndyGoodas’ wrote:

“I thought the roads on my South London commute were too dangerous for me to consider riding as an amateur, but this showed me a brilliant alternative route on quiet back roads I’d never thought of without the app. Going to ride to work most days now, wish I’d started ages ago.”

Andrew Norton of the Aarght art gallery in Oxford emailed with his praise for the app:

“I thought the fastest way to work was 18:40 minutes but after 2 years doing various different routes, you showed me a path and a couple of shortcuts that have reduced it to 16:50! Gob smacked!”

Reid added: “While the app was developed for newbies and hesitant cyclists, it’s proving useful for enthusiast cyclists, too. It can suggest routes up to 100 miles. I’ve used a beta version on family bike tours and it was a great way to feed accurate distance and time-of-arrival information to kids asking ‘are we there yet dad?’”

The Bike Hub app also features articles on cycling and the law, the Cycle to Work bike purchase scheme and is able to locate stands for the Barclays Cycle Hire bikes in London.

The app does not yet feature a turn-by-turn voice for directions but this will be added in an update. As well as a synthetic voice, the app will feature the famous voice of TV commentator Phil Liggett.

On iTunes, the Bike Hub app stresses that cyclists should not navigate with one hand and steer with another. Instead the app recommends the use of one of a growing number of iPhone handlebar mounts, stocked by the Apple Store and other outlets. The Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner requires the iOS 3.1.3 Software Update or later.

Comments (10)

  1. What’s the case/mount and is it waterproof?

  2. I downloaded it weeks ago, I haven’t found it that useful yet but possibly if I’m in an unfamiliar area

  3. Yes, it’s a Dahon/Biologic cover. Yes, it’s waterproof. That’s the 3G version; an iPhone 4 version is due out soon, Dahon tell me.

    And, yes, there’s a plan for an Android version. I commissioned this last week. It will have all of the functionality of the 1.1 iPhone app. It could be ready by the end of November. Keep an eye out on

    Version 1.2 of the iPhone app will have lots of tweaks and improvements, as well as true turn-by-turn navigation.

    Suggestions for new features are always welcome. The app will always be free and will be updated and improved regularly.

  4. Downloading now, sounds interesting…ideas gpx export/import

  5. It’s not a performance app so we didn’t include GPX export/import, although could easily do so. The app was produced for us by the company that does the Map My Tracks performance app.

    I felt there were lots of apps that already did this sort of thing. I didn’t want to duplicate, I wanted to create something that wasn’t available.

    So, the app will remain a bike routes journey planner and bike shop finder. Best bike cafes finder is being added, though…

  6. Cake and coffee rating feature? 😉

  7. My beef with some of my fave bike cafes is they only open at weekends in the winter. Boo!

    I listed 18 of the best UK bike caffs here (some are MTB):

    The way to get your faves on the map (and into the app) is explained in that article, but basically means adding to a new layer that’ll be created on OpenCycleMap.

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