Best phone satnav for beginning cycling

I've just got my bike and I intend to start commuting a very long and busy journey into West London from Surrey.

I've got a phone holder for the handle-bar which will allow me to see my phone whilst cycling, which I'll need as a sat-nav. Currently using Google Maps but is there a better one out there for cycling?

The reason I mentioned the word 'beginner' is because I am not fully confident on the roads yet. I'd rather the app told me when there's a cycle path next to the road it's suggesting I go down as I'd likely choose this for the time being until I feel fully comfortable being on busy main roads during rush hour. I know there will be roads I cannot avoid but if I can specify ahead of time as much of my journey by cycle-paths as possible, it will really help my confidence.

Maybe there is a setting that Google Maps will clearly show you the cycle lanes, if not, are there better GPS downloads for phones out there that are specifically built for cycling and this purpose? Thanks.
 

vickster

Legendary Member
You can plan routes on the tfl site I think and gives different options on road types

where precisely are you going from and to? Sutton starting? To Brentford? (That may have been someone else!)

here is an example
https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/results?JpType=cycling&InputFrom=Sutton+(London)+Rail+Station&From=Sutton+(London)+Rail+Station&FromId=1001286&InputTo=Brentford+Rail+Station&To=Brentford+Rail+Station&ToId=1001032&Via=

go out early on a Sunday morning and practice your route when the roads are quiet
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
Best not get a (checks phone for spelling) Huawei.
Leaving aside the govt telco ban, my wife's Huawei has a customised Android called EMUI which keeps killing GPS tracking apps and Huawei don't let you unlock and reflash to other Androids any more, which sucks, so I'm not sure it's fixable. Shame because the spec is good on paper.

My cheap Redmi is better.

For apps, Osmand is the top nav app, but I prefer AAT for tracking and maps. Trekarta is close third. All better than Google.

Generally, planning online somewhere like https://cycle.travel and copying GPX to phone is easier than routing on phone.
 
I wouldn't use Google maps at all. It's really not great for bike navigating.

I think it's best to think in two stages;
The first is route planning
The second is route following.

In my experience apps are either good at one or the other, rarely both.

I think https://cycle.travel/ is simply the best route planner out there. Plan, revise and save your route online at home.

A free (at least until you travel far from home) app to navigate is Osmand.
It's not the most intuitive app or the easiest to learn but it is very useful.
It will also create routes for you - but I still think cycle.travel is superior.
It has turn by turn navigation, automatic route recalculation when off course, energy saving options and works offline.

In your scenario, you'd create the route in cycle travel, download it and open the saved route in Osmand. Then off you go.

If you're apprehensive about cycling on roads I'd suggest doing a few trial runs of possible routes on quiet times to get a feel for them. Explore around and see if there are quieter, safer options.
When going "live" give yourself lots of time so you are under no pressure.

I came to love commuting on bike! I'd arrive to work fresh and awake, ready to get going. When I left, no matter how bad a day it was, within 10 minutes on the bike I'd be as happy as larry.^_^

It wasn't always easy and I started off only commuting a couple of days a week until going full time.

Good Luck!
 

Phaeton

Grumpy Old Barstool
Location
Oop North (ish)
No matter what software you use, make sure you have your eyes where you are going, if you need to look at the screen I suggest you stop then look, don't get fixated with the phone & put yourself in danger
 
From my experience, Komoot is the best.
At home, komoot has directed me along the most direct route. On my work commute it ignored a quiet route through a national park on bike only paths in favour of bike paths beside busy roads because the route was 500 meters longer (on a 20 km route).

Away from home it has directed me into walls, forests and the "road of death"! It's handy in cities with good cycling infrastructure though.

Trial and error is the key to figuring out what works best for each of us.

An honourable mention for RideWithGps. Without a sub it's possible to search routes. You may be lucky and someone else has plotted a good route that meets your needs.
 

Lauris

Active Member
At home, komoot has directed me along the most direct route. On my work commute it ignored a quiet route through a national park on bike only paths in favour of bike paths beside busy roads because the route was 500 meters longer (on a 20 km route).

Away from home it has directed me into walls, forests and the "road of death"! It's handy in cities with good cycling infrastructure though.

Trial and error is the key to figuring out what works best for each of us.

An honourable mention for RideWithGps. Without a sub it's possible to search routes. You may be lucky and someone else has plotted a good route that meets your needs.
Did you adjust on what type of riding you want?

There will be a difference of route selection from komoot if you choose to say; road cycling which will be more direct. Mountain biking will include more paths and similar to bike touring. Which will pick quieter roads.
 
Location
Brussels
I am with HobbesonTour on thinking about this as a two stage exercise.

For planning I like https://www.cyclestreets.net/ as it gives you route options quiet, intermediate, busy and these are a good starting point. I then make a cuppa:cuppa: sit down and use google maps streetview to "ride" the route and see how it looks and if there are things I want to avoid, complicated junctions, major roundabouts etc. Doing this a few times also means that you are familiar with the route before you ride it and need to look at directions less.

Familiarisation is useful for me, as the second part of the process, following the route, usually sees me printing off directions and putting them in a ziplock sandwich bag which I shove in my back pocket:blush: (I don't do GPS)
 

icowden

Über Member
Location
Surrey
I've had no issues with Google...

But - if you give us approximate start and end points the collective mind-hive will almost certainly be able to suggest some good routes.
 
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