Featured Features

Hydration Apps

Adequate hydration can be key to training and racing, but remains surprisingly easy to get wrong with even mild dehydration quickly contributing to a drop-off in performance.  Whilst truly techie solutions such as those being developed by BluFit with their ‘smart’ water bottle, which can communicate and sync to a dedicated app, are still in the pipeline (no pun intended) there are already a number of less complicated solutions for smartphones available. Cyclo filled up a bidon and fired up the phone to put some of the best to the test.



Developed by Sport Physiologist Stephen Fritzdorf, who has worked with the Danish Olympic Team since 2008, Quench is a deceptively simple iPhone app, which allows the user to relatively quickly gauge their hydration requirements. To use Quench you have to weigh yourself (preferably naked) before your training session and input this information along with the amount of water you have in your drinks bottle. Post workout you simply repeat the process and the app tells you four key pieces of information: your hydration status (under-, perfectly- or over-hydrated), how much fluid you need to take on immediately, how much needs to be taken on over the next four hours, and how much would be ideal next time – basically so that you can learn from your mistakes. The interface is clean and crisp and the one thing it aims to do, it does perfectly and without fuss or clutter. Quench, which is free, is available for iPhone only at



A really well designed and frankly quite pretty hydration app, iDrated is basically a log system to record how much you are drinking – and when – with options to prompt you when it feels you are falling below the ideal requirements. It requires relatively little set-up, just the inputting of basic data such as age, weight and ‘exercise level’, before going to work as a sort of water-based diary. The interface and gesture controls are notable with nothing overly complicated to get in the way of reminding you to drink the correct amount at regular intervals and there’s an option to review your hydration status from the last two months – although really techie number-crunches would probably like a liker back-calendar. iDrated is iPhone only and sells at £0.69 – available at


HydrationTemple Wellness and Fitness

As the more expansive app name suggests Temple Wellness and Fitness goes beyond simply measuring hydration and allows the tracking of exercise and fuel intake too. Set-up takes only a few seconds but there’s plenty of customisation to be done should you wish – for example it’s possible to redefine a ‘small meal’ as whatever calorific value you see fit or change fluid measurements from ounces to litres; for a fee of 69p you can also pick a different graphic ‘theme’ for the app. Once set-up Temple is basically a diary entry system for whatever you get up to in terms of exercise, food and drink – tap and swipe to tell it what you are doing, eating or drinking and it logs everything and displays all the results in neat tables and graphics. Although there is a ‘reminders’ feature to nag you if you fail to eat, drink or move regularly enough (or make entries to say you have). Temple really works on the principle that if you can remember to log things in an app it will work as a self-motivating reminder to stay hydrated and fuelled too. Temple Wellness and Fitness is iPhone only, free and available at



As simple as the spot-on name suggests, Hydrate is a log (water log?) for Android which is quick and clean to set up and just as simple to use. Enter a daily target for drinking fluids (with a choice of US or metric units) and then it’s just a case of simply logging what you have when with a tap of the app. Working along similar – though simpler – lines to Temple, Hydrate encourages you to remember to drink right just by the fact that you are remembering to log your activity. Historical data may not be as beautifully presented as in other apps, but it’s perfectly functional and uncluttered so revisiting training sessions and seeing if results tally to adequate hydration couldn’t be easier. Hydrate is available free for Android at



Cycle Ireland App Launches

cycle ireland appCycle Ireland, the website that provides online route guides for cyclists of all ages and abilities, has announced the launch of its new smart phone App. Intended to make exploring Ireland by bike quicker and easier The Cycle Ireland App features 100 of the most scenic routes in the country passing many of Ireland’s top attractions and covering 6,800 kilometres of ride. Featuring 100 routes – 50 circular, 50 point-to-point – it includes turn-by-turn directions, which reference visual landmarks without the need to consult maps, missed turn alerts and details of local attractions with photo and video additions.


James Harrington, creator of the Cycle Ireland App, says of the launch: ‘The popularity of cycling is exploding in Ireland. Visitors who cycle here spend €200 million per annum mainly in rural areas. The Giro d’Italia Big Start in May will showcase our countryside to millions of cycling fans across Europe. Our huge network of back roads is a superb cycling resource but is under-utilised as they can be difficult to find and navigate. We need to get the message out to the key markets of the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands, online and on mobile, just what is available to cyclists here. We want to create millions of memorable cycling trips with the Cycle Ireland App.’


Available for both iPhone and Android the ‘Lite’ version of the app is free to download and includes 4 routes, whilst the full version retails at £2.99 on iPhone and £4.14 on Android.


Further details on the Cycle Ireland app including links to downloads at


Chris Boardman Launches OS Ride app

Chris BoardmanThis July, the world’s best road cyclists will descend on Britain for the start of the Tour de France. Le Grand Depart in Yorkshire sees the start of 600kilometres of the UK’s toughest terrain before the finish of the third stage in London and a new, free, iOS app allows keen cyclists plenty of time to test themselves on the actual tour route before the pros get here.


British cycling legend Chris Boardman has picked out his favourite sections of the three UK stages of the Tour and has joined with Ordnance Survey to launch the OS Ride app, which contains mapping for all three stages being held in Britain, as well as high quality route maps for historic stages of the TdF when it came to Great Britain in 1974, 1994 and 2007.


Each stage comes with a mapping option allowing cyclists to ride smaller segments making the app truly suitable for all levels of road cycling. The app is also loaded with accurate elevation and height data and includes the option for cyclists to track their speed, distance and time across the challenging stages. The app also includes five bonus routes selected by Boardman, featuring some of his favourite rides from across the country, including Aviemore, Lyme Regis, Llandegla, the Peak District and the Lake District.


Boardman comments: ‘OS Ride allows keen cyclists to record, track and share their stage achievements for both the 2014 stages and historic stages from previous tours. I especially like the option to ride smaller segments of the stages, making it accessible for a wide range of abilities and a great tool to support training programmes. This app is a must have for any keen road cyclist with unrivalled mapping accuracy showing added detail including height and elevation data. The digital maps also feature valuable tourist information for those planning to make the most from the areas surrounding the tour stages.’


Watch the video below with Boardman giving his tips and advice for cyclists on testing out the GB Tour stages as well as more information about the app.


Download the OS Ride app here

Reviews Tech

ithlete for Heart Rate Variability

ithlete heart rate variability app and heart rate monitor chest strapHeart Rate Variability (or simply HRV) can be a key indicator of fitness. Daily measurements taken, crucially, at the same time each morning can be charted in order to build up a picture of the overall ebb and flow of training stress on the body and, through analysis, work as an early indicator of when ‘enough is enough’. Anyone taking training seriously is well advised to listen to the heart and plotting the HRV should be at the top of the list when it comes to determining over-training limits and planning rest days or periods. Enter – at least for true tech lovers – the ithlete for Heart Rate Variability, a small ECG receiver that plugs into Apple and Android phones/tablets and picks up the signal from compatible heart rate straps. In turn this is analysed and charted by the ithlete app, which keeps a running record of the HRV and displays the results in colour-coded form.


The principle is excellent and the thlete receiver is dinky and reliable, but the app (a separate purchase at £6.99) lets the process down somewhat by being graphically clunky and limited in both function and flexibility. To expand first on the aesthetics: the design of the graphic interface is either deliberately retro or just simply ugly and whilst looks alone may not be that important it also has an impact on functionality with both the chart and list being difficult to comprehend (who uses the dating system ‘2012-10-08’? That’s almost exactly the reverse of what we need to know…)


At its simplest – and the ithlete app doesn’t go much beyond ‘simplest’ – things work just fine. Strap up, wait for the signal (an impressively fast connect), hit ‘start’ and breath slowly in and out in time with the (ugly) graphic for one minute; then save the result. The app displays both that day’s heart rate and the HRV value – the higher the better – in list form or on a chart along with a daily, weekly and monthly change values. Depending on results either a blue/green, orange or red indication will be given suggesting that normal or lighter training be considered or that a rest day is in order.


Unfortunately the app doesn’t really allow for any user annotation beyond adding an optional ‘training load score’ (you can make up your own system, 1-10 for effort for example, but can’t mix and match.) Repeatedly we found ourselves wanting to add some detailed notes to a day’s results; to record the fact that a heavy road session had been followed by a lack of sleep or that jetlag was almost certainly a factor – but whilst any online training log worth its salt easily accommodates this, the ithlete app doesn’t. A widely missed opportunity, especially as the ithlete’s own manual lists everything from work-related stress to dehydration and diet being contributory factors.


HRV is a crucial tool for anyone looking to improve their overall performance (and downright essential for those who love to crunch every available number) and the ithlete is a brilliantly simply way of collecting the data. A shame this is let down buy an app that really needs to be thoroughly updated in order to deliver real user satisfaction. Certainly the pros outweigh the cons, but a reworked and much more user-friendly app (one that also includes the ability to record HR during exercise – currently a separate app of another £6.99) is needed to help propel the ithlete into the realms of the indispensible.


ithlete ECG receiver £39.99, or bought in combination with the Cardiosport HR chest strap £59.99 – chest strap available separately at £29.99 and ithlete app retails at £6.99.


Further details and online purchase via


Note: v2 of the app allows fuller notation on each record made, along with a sleep quality score of 1-5.

Featured Reviews

Tour de France 2012 App

Looks like Cyclo spoke too soon this year when we said there wasn’t an official Tour de France 2012 app (for iPhone/iPad); at the eleventh hour one has appeared, but has it improved over last year’s bug-ridden crashtastrophe?


Given the paucity of effort that had gone into last year’s app things could surely only be an improvement; and so it’s proved to be. Looking like it has been reworked from the ground up, this has yet to crash three days in, which, give or take, is three days longer than the 2011 app.


The opening menu offers up four main choices: Standings, Route, Teams and Photos/Videos – all pretty self explanatory. Standings runs the user through all the general classifications (individual, sprinter, team, etc.) and lists current withdrawals, whilst the Teams tab takes you through each team and, via sub menus, individual rider information, although this is fairly limited rather than full biog. The Photos/Videos option is an extensive gallery which is added to and updated daily with a combination of pictures, interviews and mini-features but it’s vital to note that a wi-fi connection is required here (as elsewhere) to view anything. Anyone assuming they are looking at embedded content could end up with a truly shocking data roaming bill by the end of the TdF.


The hub of the action – and where this app really comes into its own – is in the Route tab. Maps and profiles of each stage are listed along with neat little write-ups on each start/end location, which seem scooped from local tourist offices and come complete with some wonderfully florid language; all adding something of a homely touch to what otherwise could be a technical exercise in number crunching. Start and checkpoint times (estimated across a range of predicted speeds) are given for upcoming stages and the ability to track riders live during a stage has, thus far at least, proven stable and useful if you don’t have access to TV.


Two downfalls of the app, one minor, one downright annoying. The minor niggle is that the ‘start town’ icon on the route maps and profiles looks exactly like a ‘play’ button, so no matter how many times we try to remember that it doesn’t actually do anything here at Cyclo we keep jabbing a sweaty finger at it anyway. Far more annoying is that once a stage has been completed all the map, profile and highlights information is no longer available; replaced instead by results and interviews. A separate results section and or sub-menu would surely be preferable, and the Profile option that appears once a stage has been run just produces a half-rendered graphic…


So, not perfect and certainly some issues to sort for the 2013 app, but with such a quantum-leap improvement from last year’s dismal effort that this positively shines in comparison. At 69p – compared to last year’s hefty £2.99 – good value for money too.



Oz App for Balckspots

Australia’s Green party have continued to roll out their Bike Blackspot campaign and interactive map with the extended launch to Melbourne of their increasingly popular Bike Blackspot App. It gives cyclists armed with smartphones a tool to warn other riders of a variety of risks from continuing road dangers to cycle path potholes whilst also sending the information to Transport and Roads Minister Terry Mulder and his federal counterpart, Anthony Albanese.


A potentially powerful lobbying tool (in a time when cycling projects are facing severe cutbacks) the app also allows users to ‘dob in’ dangerous drivers and even nominate ‘cycling utopia areas’. The earlier Perth version of the app, established by Greens transport spokesman Senator Scott Ludlam back in March, has already identified 250 black spots in the West Australia capital and it is hoped that the Melbourne initiative will prove similarly popular. Feedback either from the app or via email is all forwarded to the Victorian Transport Minister and Greens MP Greg Barber, who is campaigning to reverse the Victorian Governments bike funding cuts.


Reviews Tech

iTire Pressure App

Smartphones have become so ubiquitous and so, well, smart that it’s sometimes easy to take a new app’s description at literal face-value; Take the iTire Pressure app from renown Italian manufacturer Vittoria, which promises to calculate desired tire pressures whatever the conditions; how could that possibly work? Use your smartphone’s camera to take a picture of the wheel and let the app compare it to an exhaustive database? Record the sound of air rushing out of the valve until the pitch is just right? Of course the answer is both more mundane and more practical than that.


Download the free app, fire it up, enter some data and hit ‘Calculate Tire Pressure’; the results display for front and back in both BAR and PSI. This works for road and mountain bikes – the choice having been made on opening screen – asking for input in four fields (dependent on Bike/MTB) such as ‘Casting’, ‘Version’, ‘Combined Weight (Bike + Rider)’ and, finally, ‘Road Conditions’.


The iTire works absolutely perfectly but is depended on two crucial (and fairly obvious) things. Firstly this is not aimed at the absolute novice or casual rider who is unlikely to know what ETRTO size is or if their casing is ‘Nylon 60tpi’ or ‘Corespun 290’. Secondly that you have the ability to actually measure your pressure, something only usually found in your garage/base pump on the likes of the LifeLine High Pressure Floor Pump (a Cyclo favourite.) These are mere quibbles; if you’re likely to find this app of value you are also likely to have both the knowledge and the kit to put it to use.


The app is available for iPhone and Android from


Books Reviews Tech


When the original (paper would you believe?) edition of ‘Cyclepedia – A Tour of Icon Bicycle Design’ was published last year by Thames and Hundson we snapped up a copy here at Cyclo – spending hours poring over the delicious images and wishing we could start our own vintage/classic bike museum. Imagine our delight then at the release of the interactive iPad edition, and what a thing of beauty it is – as sumptuous and desirable as the bikes it covers.


The 100 bikes covered in the digital version – everything from the Skoot to the Lotus Sport 110 – are beautifully illustrated and supported by 360º ‘spinnable’ models with detailed close-ups of components and hundreds of pages of original brochure and promotion material, engineering sketches and far more besides.


Arguably there are some omissions (this being slimmed down from the print edition) but Cyclo feels this is more than adequately made up for by the wealth of interactive swiping and tapping available – our favourites being the animated fold-ups that can eat up hours of what would otherwise have been productive time.


As an overview of the evolution of cycling the app works wonderfully and the ability to reorder and catalogue content adds a personal touch that’s hard to beat. £6.99 is a price that at first seems steep for an app, but as the iPad continues to evolve as a means of content delivery it’s really time to start thinking in terms of coffee-table book comparisons (the print edition will cost you double). Buy it, play with it. Love it.


For further details see:


And while you’re there don’t forget to drop by and pick up a copy of the Cyclo app too: