Developed with the support (and funding) of the UK government, iBiker is a handy resource to have in your pocket, no matter what or where you ride. The app has global appeal and is available on both the iPhone and Android platforms. Having tried both versions, I can recommend iBiker as a carefully thought out, well designed and well coded app.
Perhaps a little UK centric for now (understandable given the source of funding), iBiker does a lot more than just tell you about recommended (and rated) rides in your vicinity.
Using your current location (as determined by your handset’s GPS), routes are listed based on proximity and provide user reviews/comments, ratings and can be viewed on a map. Very handy if you’ve set out for a ride without a firm plan of where to go or if you venture into unfamiliar territory.
Perhaps even more useful are the POI’s (points of interest) you might want to check out while on your ride. POI’s are grouped into 12 categories including motorcycle shops, biker friendly cafes, meeting points, campsites, accommodation, petrol/gas stations and even speed cameras.
On a serious note, the app provides potentially life saving safety information, including accident hotspots with both their locations and videos (taken by experienced police riders with local knowledge and intelligence of biker routes) of how best to tackle them on your bike. In addition there are videos featuring former motoGP and WSB rider James Toseland covering topics such as first aid, bike maintenance, cornering and braking. One of the key principles underlying the development of iBiker was to support national campaigns encouraging responsible and safer and fun motorbike riding
Favourite Routes, POI’s and videos can be easily saved for future reference. Add to this a 5-day weather forecast and useful biker links and you have all you need to help plan your next day out on the bike. Plus you can share all that information with the motorbiking community/friends via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social networking channels.
iBiker is not free, but I feel the worldwide pricing of around $2 (you are flat out finding a cup of coffee at this price) represents good value for money.
A couple of things iBiker won’t do. It is not intended to be a SatNav so it does not provide directions, nor is it designed to be used as a navigational aid while riding (and should never be used when riding or driving as you will be reminded when you open the app). iBiker also does not record your route as you ride and appear data hungry for those of you on capped mobile data plans. Viewing videos and maps using a mobile connection can be frustratingly slow and you may be better waiting for a wi-fi connection in some instances.
But the key with apps like iBiker is the quality and depth of user contributions. As contributions increase, usefulness increases almost exponentially. So visit the Android Market or App Store and download iBiker, set up a user profile and get involved. Create and share your favourite routes and POI’s so that the motorcycling community can benefit from your experiences.
iBiker’s developer proudly boasts that the response to the app has been incredibly positive with the international motorbiking community playing an important role in the app’s development: through the DfT’s Think Bike Facebook page (35,000 fans), the bikers chose the name of the app, the design, and some of the features. Perhaps best of all the Developer encourages customer feedback – honest reviews and what they’d like to see in future updates.
I like that iBiker has been designed purely for use on mobile devices – it is not a website based resource with a mobile interface. So you can’t check Routes or POI’s your laptop or desktop, but you can watch the videos on ibikerapp’s You Tube Channel.
iBiker has been rated 4 on the Android Market and 4+ on the App Store, so why not check it out and take a little bit of tech with you on your next ride.