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Create annotated bike rides with Spotcycle mobile app

Spotcycle was already a pretty useful app for BIXI users in Toronto (and other cities), but it didn't exactly stand out in terms of its features. Like a number of other apps, it allowed bike-share users to locate nearby stations and to monitor the availability of bikes and docking spaces within the system. That's nothing to shake a stick at, I suppose — the app was free and my version wasn't particularly "buggy," so no complaints.

The most recent update to the app, however, ups the ante significantly. Now instead of merely using it to track down BIXI bikes, you can plot out annotated bike rides with your favourite cultural sites, restaurants and assorted retail. Where Spotcycle was formerly only useful to BIXI members, this new feature set opens up the app to anyone who rides a bike. Using the the GPS capabilities of one's phone — it's available on all three of the major platforms — the app will create a live map as you ride, which you can categorize and annotate when you're done.

Unlike the blogTO app, you'll have to do all of the annotation work yourself (sorry, I had to), but the ability to highlight placemarks along a given route could be quite useful for sharing amongst friends, those who are new to the city or a neighbourhood, or simply for helping you to navigate a confusing route on a return visit. You can also use the app as an odometer and/or speedometer, though I'd suggest the latter might be dangerous while riding a BIXI bike.

Here's a video demonstration of how it works. Too bad winter is upon us!


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