For those who don’t know me too well, I’ll come straight out and admit it: I’m a massive geek.
In particular, I like gadgets and stats and stuff like that. I also like to see how I’m progressing in whatever I’m doing. For cycling, that means stuff like logging my mileage and time, and often wanting to know where I’ve been and how I got there.
And this is where Runkeeper steps in. It’s really a gadget in two parts – one, a rather nifty smartphone app (available for Android, iOS and my current phone platform Windows Phone 7) which uses the GPS chip built into nearly all modern phones to track where you’ve ridden, then uploads it to the web app so you can log in, review your rides, and see all sorts of stats:
It’s really nothing groundbreaking, and I’m sure my usage only scratches the surface, but it’s still pretty nifty. Apparently it can give you audio cues as you ride (or run) for a bit of motivation but I’m not keen on cycling with earphones in – Swindon’s resident knuckle-dragging Audi drivers are dangerous enough when I can hear them coming!
Obviously it’s not perfect – I’m not convinced of the accuracy of the GPS altitude readings, it can chomp through battery life like you wouldn’t believe, and I don’t like the idea of mounting my smartphone to my bars so it sits unattended in a jersey pocket until I get home. Because of this, it’s no replacement for a standard bike computer (mine’s a Cateye Velo Wireless mounted to my stem) and I don’t use it for every ride, just where I’m interested in the “where was I?” question as much as just “how far?” and “how fast?”. But for a free app, it’s a bit of fun and it’s worth a tinker with.
What are your must-have cycling gadgets?