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.

Why is “dyke on a bike” jibe worse than “behead cyclists” joke?

The Press Complaints Commission has just ruled in favour of Clare Balding after she claimed the Sunday Times columnist AA Gill had breached the discrimination clause of the Editors’ Code of Practice. In reviewing Balding’s TV programme Britain by Bike, AA Gill said Balding was a “dyke on a bike.”

The PCC’s adjudication reads:

“The right to legitimate freedom of expression is a key part of an open and democratic society and something which the Commission has sought to defend in the past. In this case, the columnist was clearly entitled to his opinion about both the programme and the complainant. As the paper had pointed out, the Commission has previously upheld his right to offer such opinions in his columns. Of course, freedom of expression is – and should be – appropriately restricted by the Editors’ Code of Practice. Clause 12 of the Code is clear: newspapers must avoid prejudicial, pejorative or irrelevant reference to (amongst other things) an individual’s sexual orientation.”

All fine and good but this is the same PCC which decided that a “joke” about decapitating cyclists in the same newspaper was perfectly acceptable. Columnist Matthew Parris wrote his hilarious column in December 2007, claiming that cyclists were the main cause of countryside litter and should be killed.

His column started:

“A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists.”

Now, should another columnist have written “A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate homosexuals,” it’s clear the PCC would have clamped down hard with its gummy mouth but calling for the death of cyclists was fair game.

In 2008, the PCC wrote:

“584 people complained about a comment piece article in The Times by Matthew Parris, published on 27 December 2007, headlined “What’s smug and deserves to be decapitated?”. The complainants were mostly cycling enthusiasts objecting to the suggestion that piano wire be strung across country lanes to decapitate cyclists, as a punishment for littering the countryside. The Commission said that the Code of Practice had not been breached, although it was pleased that Mr Parris had apologised for his comments.”

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.

EUROBIKE: iPhone holder, Cannondale e-bikes & Knog shocker

I was at Eurobike last week. This is the 13-hall mega show that dwarfs all others in the world of bicycles. As I was working on the Eurobike Show Daily, the officially-sanctioned English-language magazine, I wasn’t able to focus on much apart from my allotted news stories but, thanks to an iPhone 4, iMovie phone editor, and a wifi connection, I was able to post three rough and ready videos from the show.

When they go online, I’ll post the show dailies here but in the meantime here are the three vids (be warned, the Knog one is rather rude in places):

Out of the mouths of babes & cabbies

Axa, the car insurance company, doesn’t just have an iPhone app that stores insurance details and proffers crash info, it has commissioned a whole bunch of videos to promote its ‘Respect on the Road’campaign.

As well as a video showing typical ‘road rage’ language and behaviour acted out by tots, there’s a whole series featuring a cab driver. Yes, that paragon of road safety, a cab driver. Funnily enough, he hates speed bumps.

The AXA Respect On The Road campaign has a growing number of ‘Cab Cam’ videos featuring a taxi driver eliciting views from his passengers. At least two of the videos feature views about cyclists.

Michael likes bikes, but only in good weather:

Tony reckons cyclists cause accidents:

David is “not a big fan of cyclists”:

AXA Car Insurance is going big into the social media space. It has a Facebook presence as well as the YouTube microsite.

This is a sponsored post: clearly Axa wants its campaign to spread virally, including on blogs aimed at cyclists.

AXA said its campaign is to…

“…try and bring courtesy and respect back to British roads. All too often inexperienced drivers give themselves away behind the wheel of a car; they lose their manners and sometimes their marbles too. Respect on the road is an issue people genuinely care about; with your help AXA want to highlight the state of disrespectful and sometimes dangerous driving practices in the UK through debate and discussion which will be largely hosted on Facebook.”

And top marks to that cabbie: unbelieveably, he never once said “cyclists don’t pay road tax.”