Navigating roads or trails while cycling can be a daunting task for many. It can be hard to know which direction to go in order to get where you're going without getting lost. That's why there are now cycling navigation apps that will show you the way.
There are many popular cycling navigation apps out there, but it's hard to know which one is best for you. We have the answer! Read on for an easy-to-follow guide on what makes a great navigation app and how to pick out your perfect one.
This article may contain affiliate links, please read our Affiliate Disclosure for more details.
Table of Contents
What Makes a Great Cycling Navigation App
There are many factors to consider when looking for a great navigation app. Below are the points I consider when looking for the best bicycle navigation apps:
Ease of use
The app needs to be easy to use and provide clear directions while riding.
Turn by Turn directions
It also should offer turn-by-turn navigation and point out roads and other obstacles that may not be visible at the moment.
The app you chose should offer offline navigation, in case you are cycling in an area with no cell phone recepetion.
Most importantly, it should be user-friendly. If you're intimidated by technology or looking for an app with a lot of bells and whistles, there are plenty of options available. Read on for the best biking navigation app based on your type of cycling.
How to Pick the Best Cycling Navigation App for you
When it comes to picking out a navigation app, here's my quick tip list of a few important things to keep in mind:
- The reliability of the app
- The quality of the navigation exprience
- Battery use while navigating on your bicycle
- How it feels to use the app - user interface
- Spoken and visual turn-by-turn directions
- Offline navigation
If you're looking for an inexpensive and reliable option to cycle around your town or city, Google Maps might be your best bet. The great thing is that it comes bundled with most mobile phones as standard!
If you are looking for detailed or more complex cycling route navigation, you may want to consider paid apps, that will allow you to do much more in terms of bike route planning. This is especially beneficial if you're biking in new territory.
To find out if an app is right for you, try downloading it and navigating with it for a day or two before making your decision. If the navigation is difficult or frustrating, then it's probably not worth buying.
look for apps that show a map of your location on the route in real time, with turn-by-turn directions and alerts for sharp turns or intersections ahead so you can navigate without getting lost or distracted from riding safely.
The Best Cycling Navigation Apps of the Year
There are many cycling navigation apps out there. Some of the most popular are inexpensive or even free. But there are pros and cons to each app. For example, Maps.Me is free while Strava costs about $5 per month, and one is good for detailed planning, while the other is better at logging sports activities.
My list of favourites is based on the type of riding you will be doing, so read the detail of each carefully below:
Gaia GPS - Best if you want to plan or find an off road or gravel biking route.
Wikiloc - Best if you want to search for an existing biking route or trail.
Ride With GPS - Best if you want to plan your own biking route in detail.
Google Maps - Best for finding the quiskest bike route in urban settings.
Komoot - Best if you want to plan your own bike tour routes fast.
Routzz - Best if you want a ready to ride multi-day bicycle tour guide.
Which one you choose will depend on your needs. But if you're deciding between two apps, it is important to know which features make a good navigation app before making your final decision.
Maps with turn-by-turn directions - A great cycling navigation app should have turn-by-turn directions that tell you which way to go until you arrive at your destination. It's also important that these directions are accurate so you don't end up getting lost or going in circles around the same block over and over again.
Voice prompts - Another key feature is voice prompts that alert you when it's time to turn so you'll never miss a direction again! This feature also reassures cyclists with their safety in mind because it eliminates the risk of being distracted by their phone or having to take their eyes off the road for too long when checking the map app on their phone screen for directions.
Mobile friendly - The bike navigation app should be easy to use on mobile phones so cyclists can navigate on the go with ease, which is why it's important that they are compatible with all smartphones and operating systems. You don't want to have an issue using your navigation app when you are in teh middle of a long bike tour!
Gaia GPS is a popular navigation app that gives you all the tools you need for cycling. It includes a map, which displays your current location and the trail ahead of you.
It also has a navigation mode that will show you how far ahead or behind your destination you are, as well as how long it will take to get there. Gaia GPS even has features like topography maps, which show elevation changes so you can plan your route accordingly.
The app also helps with offline mapping by telling you where to find the best water sources and points of interest along the way so you can plan your trip without an internet connection.
Wikiloc is a navigation app for outdoor enthusiasts. It was originally created with the intention of helping hikers and cyclists navigate mountain bike trails, but has grown to include many other types of outdoor activity.
With Wikiloc, you can plan or simply follow existing, peer reviewed routes. It also includes a social aspect that enables users to share their routes with each other and access routes from others in the community.
Ride With GPS
Ride with GPS is one of the most popular cycling navigation apps. Users can choose to use the free version or the premium service, which offers more features.
The app has a map that displays your course in real time, so you can see where you're going. It also tracks your distance, elevation changes, and many other factors about your trip.
It also offer one of the best bicycle route planners in the business, so if you want to plan and construct your own bike tour routes, this is an excellent tool for you!
Google Maps is a great navigation app for cyclists. It's a free app that offers a variety of tools to help you plan your cycling routes.
Google Maps has a built-in bike lane finder that will find bike lanes, bike friendly roads, bike shops, and more. It also tells you how far away from the next turn you are, which is super helpful if you're new to navigating without a car.
Also available on this app is offline mode, meaning that if you have poor or no service in an area where you plan to ride, it doesn't matter. You can still access all the information and directions the app offers with the use of offline mode.
Komoot is an app that many cyclists rave about. One of the best features of is its versatility. The app has various different options that allow you to choose the navigation style that fits you best. For example, there are routes that are created by other cyclists just like you.
You can also create your own routes for others to ride on and share them. Komoot also contains detailed topographic maps, which make it easy to take note of any twists or turns in the road ahead.
Plus, Komoot has a unique feature called "Smart Hints" where the app will make suggestions about what route you should take based on your route's elevation changes and distance.
While the Routzz app is not a planner as such, it is a very simple but powerful navigation app that offers cyclists of every level a great bike touring experience, with pre-planned, multi-day bicycle tour routes.
The routes are all created, reviewed and curated by experienced bicycle touring professionals for maximum enjoyment and lowest traffic. That means Routzz bike tour guide Apps make cycle touring easier and safer than ever.
The apps are designed to save battery life during navigation, with the screen turning off between cues, which makes the app optimal for multi day tours.
Inexperienced or less experienced riders benefit from clear spoken directions and on-screen directions, and no cell signal is needed for navigation.
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing a cycling navigation app. The map data, offline capabilities, turn-by-turn directions, integration with other apps, and the app’s usability are all very important considerations that can make or break your navigation experience.
Remeber that I’ve highlighted what I consider to be the best cycling navigation apps of the year to help you make your decision. Have you already tried some of the apps mentioned above? Let me know in the comments below!