Toronto cycling apps
Toronto cycling apps won't be at their most useful until this pesky snow/ice makes its complete departure in the coming days, but because spring has technically sprung, it's about time to review the ones out there designed to aid local riders. Unfortunately the apps currently on the market are all designed for the iPhone, which is why it's fortunate that Google finally implemented cycling directions on their Toronto maps last year. These might not be as snazzy and function-rich as some of the apps below, but they get the basic job done.
As more apps enter the market, we'll update this post accordingly.
Toronto Bike Map
Main functions: Maps, directions, bike lane/path identification
Review: Given that it's free, there's not much to dislike about this app. Spotting bike lanes and paths is easy thanks to its colour-coded identification system. The recent addition of directions (which come courtesy of Google) is also useful, though the fact that these aren't offered via text or in a step-by-step version might make them a bit difficult to follow if you're in an area that you don't know very well or if you're taking a route that involves lots of turns.
Ride the City
Main functions: Maps, directions, nearby bike stores, multiple cities.
Review: This is the Cervelo of cycling apps. Not only do I find Ride the City's directions the best around (thanks mostly to user feedback), but from a functionality standpoint, this app has the most on offer. In addition to directions (offered in both map and text form), users can pull up a list of nearby bike stores if they're in need of a fix. But perhaps the best part is that your $2.99 gets you these features in over 20 international cities, something that'd be super useful for those inclined to vacation/travel with their bikes.
Main functions: Store location service
Review: This app does one thing, and it does it well. Should you need to find a bike store, it'll show you how to get there. While there are no directions per se (something that Ride the City has), by plotting all the stores out on a main map, it's pretty easy to plot your route. Also nice is the inclusion of operating hours and a photo of the store (so you know what you're looking for). For more info, check out our original review. For something similar that's freely available on the web, check out BikeFixFinder
Main functions: Information on closest BIXI stands, bike availability, multi-city support
Review: Although this is not yet available for Toronto's BIXI fleet (which won't arrive until May), expect the app to updated soon after BIXI's official launch. And if you're a BIXI member or someone who expects to use the bike sharing program occasionally, this is a virtual must have. As great as the directions to the closest BIXI stand are, the key feature here is the info on how many bikes are available at a given location, information that'll help you determine both where to pick up and drop off a bike. If you're a regular visitor to Montreal, it's also nice that the free version of the app gives tracking info for all participating BIXI cities.
Lead image by DdotG in the blogTO Flickr pool.