Top Apps for Cyclist in 2018

January 18, 2018

Looking in the rear view mirror – there are the holidays.  Sure, it was fun. The festive spirit of the holidays, time off from the bike, spending time relaxing and enjoying are all good things.  

But now, as we look towards the future, we are well into the New Year and many are greeted with a few extra pounds, poor weather, and perhaps a lingering feeling of dread to get back into cycling shape.  

Motivation can be hard this time of year, but with smart phones and technology, motivation is only a finger tip or two away.  Apps that is – and not the type that you eat! Following are our picks for fitness apps  and cycling apps to help you stay the course.

The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App lists the top indoor training apps including Zwift, Rouvy, and the Sufferfest.  It’s a  great read and we suggest taking a look at it for the pros and cons each app has to offer for indoor riding.  Off the bike, there are apps to support your training goals as well.  Whether your goals are to drop a few pounds, stay hydrated, get more sleep, there’s an app for that.  Following are our favorites from our post, Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off Season Fitness Gains

Lose It! What It Is: Want to drop some pounds? Lose It! users get a customized weight loss plan and then use the app to track food, measure activity levels, and connect with peers for group support to reach their goals.Why It’s Cool: Lose It! can sync up with most of the popular fitness tracking devices and wireless scales on the market. It also has a large food database for easy reference.

Pumping Weight What It Is: Weight training can get complicated, but Pumping Weight helps to make tracking workouts simple with an easy to follow, smooth interface. View your workouts in calendar mode to see the weekly sweat schedule, and record individual reps and sets with their intuitive tracking system.  Why It’s Cool: While Pumping Weight keeps things looking simple, the app gives users access to a goldmine of data on their progress. The app graphs strength gains over time and can remind you what muscle groups you’ve been neglecting.

Strava  What It Is: Track bike rides and runs without lifting a finger. Strava lets users upload data from their iPhone, Android, or Garmin, and the app automatically logs workouts in its personal system. Users can then compare their workouts to previous runs and bike rides or see how they fare against other users.  Why It’s Cool: This hugely popular app makes it easy to track progress in biking or running, with the option to get a little competitive. Other fancy features include the ability to find the most popular routes in a new location and to record the age of gear and equipment to know when it’s time to get some new stuff.

Sleep Cycle  What It Is: Waking up is hard enough, but this app makes it a little less traumatic by analyzing users’ sleep patterns and rousing them when they’re in the lightest phase of sleep. Plus users get to go through troves of data showing how well (or poorly) they slept during the night.  Why It’s Cool: Most sleep-tracking devices are pretty pricey and involve some fancy headgear. But Sleep Cycle’s just about the app. Users place their smartphones in their beds and the app senses what phase of sleep they’re in based on how much or little they’re moving.

Cardiio  What It Is: Cardiio gives users insight into their health and fitness via one simple tool: heart rate monitoring. The app’s dashboard allows viewers to track their heart rate throughout the day, before and during various activities, and across the course of weeks, months, and years.  Why It’s Cool: The app works by what can only be described as “magic” (or, you know, advanced technology). To measure their heart rates, users simply look straight into the front camera of their iPhone (4 or higher) — no chest straps or finger clips involved. The app also analyzes users’ heart rate data, assigns them a fitness level rating, allows them to set personal goals for their resting heart rate, and even estimates potential life expectancy.

iDrated  What it Is: A hydration monitor, water log, drink alarm designed to keep users hydrated.  The app is easy and simple to use. Thanks to a built-in tutorial, users don’t have to waste their time trying to figure out how to use it. Once launched, users must select either male or female. With the tap and press of a finger anywhere on the screen, users can then begin filling bottles with water to the appropriate amount of water that they just consumed by sliding up or down. Water may be measured in either liters or ounces.   Why It’s Cool: The app then tells users how much more they need to drink along with an actual time estimate for when they should drink more water. iDrated keeps track of the current week’s hydration levels, and users earn medals for staying hydrated.

BikeFit App and Bike Fast Fit  What are they? Apps to help you with a bike fit.  The BikeFit app is designed more for professional bike fitters; however, the Bike Fast Fit app is a bit more useful in that it enables you to capture a video clip, measure key riding position angles and distances use video analysis tools to find the ideal riding position that’s both powerful and comfortable.  Keep in mind, if you are using these apps, most likely to get the best fit, you’ll need to replace bike parts and cycling accessories. For all your cycling needs, check out our online store BikeParts.com.

Overall, apps will never replace the joy of cycling and training outside; however, they can help you stay on track with your fitness goals and give you data driven feedback to keep you motivated. Do you have any favorite apps you would add to the list?  Let us know! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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How To Create Your Own Spring Training Camp

March 6, 2014
Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

Joshua Murdock climbing Old Three Mile Highway in Linnville, North Carolina.

Many cyclists like the idea of using a training camp as a perfect way to get into shape for the cycling season.  Yet, due to cost, work and family responsibilities, traveling to a designated week long training camp is not always a viable option.

If you are looking for a spring cycling camp to really challenge yourself and get in some great base miles, consider creating your own spring training camp.

There are a few factors to consider especially the overall goal of the camp. Sure, getting quality training miles is a goal, but more importantly, you may want to focus on improving ride skills and techniques as well as race tactics and strategy. With that in mind, you’ll need to decide how many cyclist to include in your camp.  Evaluate each other’s fitness levels, strengths, and weaknesses and commit to bringing together a group in which all participants have something to contribute, but will also leave having learned something too.

You will want to decide on a local or remote location.  Of course, weather plays a role in this but more so does your goals.  Are you looking for climbing opportunities?  What about long rides on quiet country roads for race scenarios?  Look ahead to your early season races and consider matching the topography of your camp destination with that of your upcoming races.  One way to stimulate race scenarios is to keep it competitive and fun.  Use Strava to track your progress and challenge your friends.

Optimize your time off the bike too.  Grabbing a few beers and some laughs builds camaraderie but sharing bio feedback, heart rate information and evaluating ride power analysis as a group can offer feedback and insights into your training and performance which may have been overlooked otherwise.  Take the time to discuss nutritional requirements – find out what works and what doesn’t for others and maybe add a few suggestions to your upcoming preparations as the season progresses.  And last but not least, focus on a mechanically sound bike.  Rides don’t happen if your bike isn’t it good working order.  Have replacement bike parts, tubes, and cycling accessories on hand to keep you in the saddle and benefiting from your training camp.

Creating your own Spring cycling training camp can be a fun adventure that gets you into shape.  Teaching and learning, challenging rides and  lots of laughter are all key ingredients to fuel the sprit for a successful 2014 cycling season.


Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off-Season Fitness Gains

November 14, 2013

How important is managing your training and nutrition in the off-season?  Is it a time of cross training, weight training, and core-strength training?  Is it a time for the non-competitive or transitional season of your cycling plan?  Or, does the off-season mean all fitness and weight control efforts are optional?

You’ve spent most of the year working hard, putting in long hours on the bike, sacrificing ‘bad’ foods to keep your weight down, and done your utmost to get as fit as possible. Surely, that affords you a good rest period; those long training hours must keep your fitness for quite a while, right?

Well, what you do in the off-season can mean the difference between winning and losing during the cycling season. Maintain your fitness just enough to avoid weight gain and you’ll set yourself up for a slow start. But if you use your time off the bike to gain strength, speed and stamina, you’ll power out of the gates when the weather warms up.   What can you do to maintain fitness?  The obvious answer is to keep training. However, for many people, the off-season will means taking a break.  But, with a little help, managing the off-season can be a little easier. Following are 5 +1 bonus fitness apps  to help you stay the course.

Lose It!
What It Is: Want to drop some pounds? Lose It! users get a customized weight loss plan and then use the app to track food, measure activity levels, and connect with peers for group support to reach their goals.
Why It’s Cool: Lose It! can sync up with most of the popular fitness tracking devices and wireless scales on the market. It also has a large food database for easy reference.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS, Android, Kindle, and Nook.

Pumping Weight
What It Is: Weight training can get complicated, but Pumping Weight helps to make tracking workouts simple with an easy to follow, smooth interface. View your workouts in calendar mode to see the weekly sweat schedule, and record individual reps and sets with their intuitive tracking system.
Why It’s Cool: While Pumping Weight keeps things looking simple, the app gives users access to a goldmine of data on their progress. The app graphs strength gains over time and can remind you what muscle groups you’ve been neglecting.
Cost: $2.99. Available for iOS.

Strava
What It Is: Track bike rides and runs without lifting a finger. Strava lets users upload data from their iPhone, Android, or Garmin, and the app automatically logs workouts in its personal system. Users can then compare their workouts to previous runs and bike rides or see how they fare against other users.
Why It’s Cool: This hugely popular app makes it easy to track progress in biking or running, with the option to get a little competitive. Other fancy features include the ability to find the most popular routes in a new location and to record the age of gear and equipment to know when it’s time to get some new stuff.
Cost: Free for iOS and Android.

Sleep Cycle
What It Is: Waking up is hard enough, but this app makes it a little less traumatic by analyzing users’ sleep patterns and rousing them when they’re in the lightest phase of sleep. Plus users get to go through troves of data showing how well (or poorly) they slept during the night.
Why It’s Cool: Most sleep-tracking devices are pretty pricey and involve some fancy headgear. But Sleep Cycle’s just about the app. Users place their smartphones in their beds and the app senses what phase of sleep they’re in based on how much or little they’re moving.
Cost: $1.99. Available for iOS.

Cardiio
What It Is: Cardiio gives users insight into their health and fitness via one simple tool: heart rate monitoring. The app’s dashboard allows viewers to track their heart rate throughout the day, before and during various activities, and across the course of weeks, months, and years.
Why It’s Cool: The app works by what can only be described as “magic” (or, you know, advanced technology). To measure their heart rates, users simply look straight into the front camera of their iPhone (4 or higher) — no chest straps or finger clips involved. The app also analyzes users’ heart rate data, assigns them a fitness level rating, allows them to set personal goals for their resting heart rate, and even estimates potential life expectancy.
Cost: $1.99. Available for iOS.

iDrated
What it Is: A hydration monitor, water log, drink alarm designed to keep users hydrated.  The app is easy and simple to use. Thanks to a built-in tutorial, users don’t have to waste their time trying to figure out how to use it. Once launched, users must select either male or female. With the tap and press of a finger anywhere on the screen, users can then begin filling bottles with water to the appropriate amount of water that they just consumed by sliding up or down. Water may be measured in either liters or ounces.
Why It’s Cool: The app then tells users how much more they need to drink along with an actual time estimate for when they should drink more water. iDrated keeps track of the current week’s hydration levels, and users earn medals for staying hydrated.
The most impressive feature about this app is the design and layout.
Cost: $.99 Availavle for iOs.