This is a selection of our favorite useful apps for bike travel. Life on a bicycle can get as simple as planning a route, finding a place to sleep.

Useful navigation apps for bike travel

Offline navigation app: OSMand 

Navigation is by far the most important app on a bike trip. Although we still have paper maps with us for general route planning, the digital maps and navigation features are extremely useful for day to day navigation.  We have tried various navigation apps and in our opinion none can compete with the functionalities provided by OSMAnd+. You can download the map of the area of interest on your phone and all data is available offline. The app let you easily create routes or import GPX files. 

  • The best feature of the OSMand app is that it displays the elevation profile of the route with very detailed information on total altimeters ascending and descending. 
  • It has a offline search option for points of interest (POI). Looking for a supermarket? A hotel? or an ATM nearby? All information available in the open street map is available and searchable in the app. 
  • The map display can be customized including contour lines and hillshades and colors extra overlays. In fact there are so many features that the app might be overwhelming in the beginning. 

Note that not all the OSMand features are available for iOS. In particular the elevation profile of the route (status 2019) is a feature we use a lot on the android phone but unfotunately the elevation profile is not available for iPhone. 

costs: free + $10 if you want to download all mapdata of the world

Offline navigation app Mapout (Iphone)

Where OSMand beats all navigation apps for Android, Mapout is a real cool navigation app for Iphone. Mapout has a simple user friendly interface that makes route planning easy. You can simply ‘draw’ a route with your finger on the offline map and it provides the distances and elevation profile. Mapout uses information from open street map and it provides all the information you need for cycling in back country with contour lines and with hiking trails.   Nice additional functionality of mapout is that with good information on elevation but there is even a function you can see the map in 3D. You can st

costs: one-time payment of $4,99

Weather app

YR – weather forecast app

We are always interested to know what to weather conditions will be. Can we expect rain? Freezing cold nights? Or will we be lucky and have a very sunny day? For our bicycle travels in South America we have good experiences with YR, a Norwegian weather forecast app. It displays data in table format, but especially handy when you are cycling, provides a quick overview of weather in map format as well.

costs: free

Accomodation app

iOverlander app for wildcamping

The iOverlander app has been mainly developed for overlanders but is also very useful for bike travelers. In particular for wildcamping spots and accommodations outside the tourist areas and big cities. It’s a user-generated global database of points of interest – including bike-friendly hostels, campsites and wild camping sites. We found some really cool wild camping spots that were recommended by other travelers on iOverlander. A useful category we often check the ‘category’ warning to see if there is any information reported on road conditions. In particular in peru, it has warned us and helped us to detours because of landslides.

costs: free

Language app

Google translate offline 

Most people will know google translate, but there is an option to make the google translate app available off line. You simply select the languages you want to have available offline and it will download a whole language. We had complete conversations in Kyrgyzstan using this app!

costs: free

Useful apps for bike travel

And then

Strava

Strava is an app to record your runs, hikes, cycling adventures.We also like to keep record of our rides, it will record the route, elevation, time etc, all offline. Handy if you want to share information later on. It lets you add a description and photos, to your recorded ride, a good to way to keep friends and family posted on all the adventures! Note: if you phone is in energy saving modes, strava does not record the routes

costs: free

Facebook ‘Bicycle touring and bikepacking’ and ‘long distance cyclists’ group

Not really an app, but we discovered there are quite a lot of useful facebook groups for the bicycle travel community. One of these groups is … “Bicycle touring & bikepacking” with over 45.000 members. If you have a question, need advice you can ask your questions here and with such a large community there is always someone with an answer. 

costs: free


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