iPhone app aims to be your clever mate

Bike hub app

The iPhone app I commissioned for Bike Hub, the bicycle levy fund, went live late on Saturday night. Amazingly, on Sunday, the app was used to plan 898 cycle journeys; 22,543kms of back-streets, cut-throughs and, of course, roads of all sorts.

This back-end data was supplied by Cyclestreets, the clever routing service.

Using the Bike Hub journey planning app is like being able to call on a friend who knows all the clever short-cuts. And the nearest bike shops.

It’s iPhone only for now but, if the app is a screaming success (you could help, please rate it on iTunes), then there will be an Android version, too.

Planning a cycle journey with Bike Hub’s iPhone app

Bike Hub Icon 1

Tomorrow I’m heading to London for the Knog party at Look Mum No Hands, the new bike shop cum espresso emporium that seems to get more than its fair share of launch parties (so must be doing something right).

I know where it is. Roughly. And I could easily find it with Google maps on my iPhone. But why use car-centric mapping when I can use the Bike Hub cycle journey planner? I commissioned this app and am bursting to get it out there. I have a beta version installed on my iPhone. Bike Hub Version 1.0 is submitted to the iTunes App Store later today and all iPhone users will be able to get their hands on it very soon.

It’s a free app yet actually cost a load of cash to develop. iPhone users can thank the Bike Hub levy for the freeness of the app. [Next task is to create an Android version of the app so other smartphone users can be happy, too].

As well as the cycle journey planning – which, of course, uses Cyclestreets.net and OpenCycleMap – the app locates nearest bike shops. Here’s a few screenshots of how I planned a cycle journey from Kings Cross to Look Mum No Hands.

SEARCH (using placenames, although could have also used postcodes):


QUIETEST ROUTE (routing engine here uses some waymarked cycle routes, but not religiously):


SAVED FOR USE TOMORROW (I’ve favourited ‘quietest’ and ‘fastest’ and will see how late I’m running tomorrow before choosing which route to take):


ELEVATION PROFILE (I have some climbing to do):


LONDON CYCLE HIRE POINTS (the app has lots of extra features like this, such as feature articles on the Cycle to Work scheme, cycling and the law, and other such goodness):



Follow Bike Hub on Twitter (it’s me) to get first news of the app’s successful release and info on updates.

Put a sock in it

SockGuy socks: Police and Share the Road

I love these new socks from SockGuy. Both pairs are controversial. The Share The Road logo is seemingly benign: of course, cars and bicycles should share the road. But some motorists think such signs mean cyclists should ‘share’ the road by getting out of the way.

It would be great to think you could scare such drivers by pointing to your ‘Police’ socks but, of course, pretending to be a cop is punishable in just about every jurisdiction on the planet.

Wearing the word ‘Polite’ is perhaps the next best thing. Years and years ago a small clothing company produced a cycling jacket emblazoned with ‘polite’. When written in big, bold white capital letters on a black background the word made motorists do a double take. I’ve searched in vain for the originator of this idea so I produced a sweatshirt version:

I sent one to Dr Ian Walker, a pro-bike blogger and British competitor in the World Wife Carrying Championships. He’s the academic from the University of Bath who used sensors and a video camera to measure how close cars passed him when cycling.

“At the kinds of speeds and distances that cyclists are overtaken on our city streets, reducing the gap between cyclist and vehicle can have life-threatening safety implications,” said Dr Walker in 2006.

Dr Walker famously donned a blonde Brian May wig to see if drivers give women (or hippie?) cyclists extra room when passing. Apparently, they do.

Dr Walker’s ‘polite’ sweatshirt may also gain him a couple of inches, if you get my drift. He said:

“As we now have good evidence that drivers are sensitive to a cyclist’s appearance and adjust their overtaking based on what they see, there’s every reason to believe [the POLITE printing] could work to offer a safety advantage. However, I’d be very interested to hear what the police think of it! I could imagine them worrying about a backlash, whereby drivers become wise to cyclists wearing these and so effectively become ‘blind’ to police officers?”

Incidentally, the front of the ‘polite’ sweatshirt has a ‘one less car’ logo on the front:

If you like the sweatshirts, they are available on the UK and US Spreadshirt.com sites for £22.90 or $32.90.

Are you winding me up? Good

Wind up bike lights

On the pre-Christmas Spokesmen podcast I recommended the solar-powered Anklelite and Baglite LEDs from Pedalite. I’m using them lots as on-the-body lighting. Staying on the no batteries theme, I’d now like to recommend the Swallow wind-up LED set.

Crank the handle for 30-45 seconds or so and front and rear blinkies are juiced for half an hour. I bought them for fitting to my kids’ bikes but I liked them so much, they now grace a commute bike and my road bike.

The front and rear lamps are connected by a long wire. A crank handle on the front light powers the rear too. The unit can also be used as a charger for cellphones.

In the UK the Swallow is available from the Ethical Superstore.