Are you interested in learning about the best cycling apps to use with Apple Watch? Do you want to keep track of your bike rides? The Apple Watch has quickly emerged as one of the best options for anyone who wants to keep an eye on their training sessions, and this is especially true for cyclists.
While the race is clearly in Apple’s thoughts, the apps for monitoring cycling activities via the smartwatch of the Cupertino house have steadily improved over time, thanks above all to the release of a series of apps that work very well with the device. And thanks to new features like built-in GPS, giving you the ability to leave your iPhone at home. We’ve spent some time learning how Apple’s smartwatch works and picked the best cycling apps that we think can take full advantage of this wearable device.
Popular Cycling App: Strava
Free (subscription not included). Works without iPhone: Yes Strava took the time to develop some standalone features for the Apple Watch, and it has now become a very reliable option, particularly for cyclists. The initial problems it faced with GPS reliability have been fixed, and now some of the best post-workout metrics you can find are provided. During and after training, you will have the ability to view all basic information – distance, time, speed, heart rate, elevation, and calories – and Premium users also can view the analysis in their heart rate zones.
This means that your Apple Watch activities can be ranked through Strava’s Suffer Score, a metric determined by the duration of your heart rate in each heart rate zone. However, suppose you are cycling with a power meter. In that case, one of the main reasons for tapping into the top tier of Strava is the power zone analysis, which essentially breaks down the data the device collects. Once synced, your run is plotted throughout, and you are given weighted average power, power curve, training load, and intensity indicators.
Unfortunately, none of this external sensor data is delivered in real-time via the Apple Watch, but by combining it with heart rate data and more basic details of your run, Strava helps you build a clearer view of your run. And don’t forget the Strava community, which includes perhaps the most active user base in all fitness apps and its segment data, another feature that helps those who walk the same paths see how they are improving and compare themselves with the others.
Works without iPhone: Yes, The pre-installed training app isn’t the most exciting option for cyclists, but Apple’s system for tracking your rides is the ideal way to get started. During and after the ride, you are not overloaded with information, but you get just enough to have the main measures of your activity. We found GPS tracking to be less accurate than our bike computers. Plus, you’re free to scroll through menus to control your music and pause/end your workout.
This app isn’t the easiest to navigate when you’re wearing gloves or find yourself with sweaty hands and may benefit from using the Apple Watch or Force Touch buttons. Another option is to use the indoor cycling app called Training. Accuracy isn’t great, as is the case with most devices that try to track your movements while being essentially stable, but it’s something that will no doubt improve over time.
Unfortunately, there is no option to pause workouts automatically. The data you receive when you return to the app at the end of the workout is not as thorough as you might wish – you will get your heart rate, time, and average speed. Still, chances are you will feel the need to look for more comprehensive alternatives after using the Workout app for some time.
Free (subscription also available). Works without iPhone: Yes, Endomondo, owned by Under Armor, is a great all-around fitness app and perhaps most useful for cyclists who want an alternative to Strava and its higher subscription rates. For the most part, you’ll get pretty much the same in-app data screens and the ability to pair additional sensors, though, of course, you’ll have to do without Strava’s metrics and instead have to make do with Endomondo’s heart rate zone monitoring.
The important thing to note is that Endomondo now officially uses the Apple Watch’s standalone GPS support, so you no longer have to carry your iPhone with you. When done, you can even sync data with Apple Health. Think of this cycling app as a good option halfway between Apple Workout and Strava.
Free (subscription also available). Works without iPhone: Yes, While other apps aim to track your every move, Aaptiv acts like a personal trainer, giving you the choice of over 2,500 audio-based fitness classes, many of which are intended for indoor cycling. The programs are also on the Apple Watch, ready to start and download, whether you are a beginner looking to do some indoor cycling or a triathlete looking to improve your Training. Whichever case you find yourself, the key here is that you will have a coach at your disposal who pushes you to give your best.
And thankfully, there are several different trainers/voices to scroll through if you don’t find the one to your taste. The workouts in this cycling app are based on intensity or even the type of music you want to listen to. Once done, you will receive basic feedback regarding the activity you just completed (e.g., distance or calories burned). It is not the richest option of statistics among those addressed in our list, but it is certainly the most satisfying one for those seeking help through an in-app guide. And remember to bring your Bluetooth headphones so you can control the music entirely from the Apple Watch.
Free (subscription also available). Works without iPhone: No, In general, the data screens shown during the ride do not vary excessively from one app to another. But that’s not the case with Cyclemeter, which is at the top when it comes to giving you cycling stats right on your wrist.
In total, you can set up your pages to track over 200 metrics, which include everything related to power, speed, heart rate, cycling cadence, and more. A nice touch is an app that takes advantage of the Watch’s Force Touch to help you access various settings, while notifications can also be set to prompt for details on time, distance, intervals, or preset goals.
Full immersion in your run doesn’t end at the wrist either. Once the app information is displayed, everything tracked on your Apple Watch is amplified and supported by training programs and route planning. All in all, this is one of the most comprehensive cycling apps for the Apple Watch currently available and certainly the one that detail-loving cyclists will love the most.
However, one of the downsides is that it won’t work properly without your iPhone is in the range – keep that in mind and consider other options on the list if you want to drive with just your watch.
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