Last year I bought five or six GPS apps for my iPhone and was constantly disappointed—until I got Cyclemeter by Abvio. It’s not that Cyclemeter is just better than the other GPS apps, but it is so far advanced than the other apps that it doesn’t even belong in the same class.
Cyclemeter is the most user-friendly app you will find and it is easy to customize to suit your needs. I have mine set to “talk” to me every mile—a female voice interrupts my music to tell me my current average speed and elapsed time. You can have a lot of other information spoken to you, but this is all I need while I’m on the road. I ride with an Apple headphone so I can listen to music, but I cut off one of the earbuds (and wrapped the end with electrical tape) so I can still hear approaching cars (and dogs).
As soon as I finish my ride I click the stop button and Cyclemeter automatically sends an email to my wife and best friend to tell them all about my ride (miles, average speed, and a link to a map of my route). Again, there are many other options available, but this is I need. Cyclemeter also sends this information to my calendar application (iCal) so I can view the data on any of my desktop computers (all synced with Apple’s MobileMe, soon to be iCloud). You can also have your information published directly to Facebook or Twitter.
How accurate is Cyclemeter? As far as distance is concerned, it is incredibly accurate. Over the course of a 50 mile ride Cyclemeter will differ from my Garmin Edge 205 by less than a quarter of a mile. Part of this difference is due to the way I have my Garmin set up—any time I am traveling under 5 MPH the Garmin considers me to be stopped (this is a user controlled option). Accuracy for fastest speed is a different matter—the Cyclemeter app is never even close. This is the fault of Apple’s location services, not the Cyclemeter app. If you are really concerned about recording your fastest speed for each ride I would buy a cheap wireless bike computer (like the Cateye Vectra Wireless). If Apple ever fixes their location services for the iPhone this problem would be solved.
I have owned three different Garmin GPS units for my bikes and am certain I will never purchase a Garmin product again. It’s not just that Garmin units are overpriced, but their software stinks. Garmin has always treated Macintosh users (like me) as second class citizens and their customer support is miserable. By way of contrast, customer support at Abvio is among the best I have ever seen at any software company. A few months ago had a problem with Cyclemeter because of a conflict with iOS 4.3 for iPhone (the problem is now resolved). When I wrote to Abvio about the problem one of their tech guys, Kevin Wallace, spent a LOT of time with me getting the problem taken care of. The service was first-class and a lot more than anyone could have reasonably expected.
Cyclemeter requires an iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or an iPhone 4. The app is only $4.99 and is available for immediate download via iTunes. Folks, if this app sold for $50 it would still be worth every penny. At $4.99 it is a steal!