Cycle satnav app now finds British Cycling clubs as well as bike shops

Bike Hub’s cycling satnav smartphone app finds quickest or quietest cycle routes & now geo-locates nearest cycling clubs, too.


The Bike Hub cycling satnav app for iPhones and Androids finds quickest or quietest cycle routes in UK and Ireland. It was released in 2010 and has always been able to geo-locate a user’s nearest bike shops (and navigate them there). The latest version of the app – version 3.3, released last week – now also locates the nearest British Cycling clubs. This is to support the Bicycle Association/Bike Hub sponsorship of Go-Ride, British Cycling’s youth cycling programme.

The media has recently reported on cyclists routed on to motorways. This is probably because the cyclists were using car-centric satnav apps. Bike Hub is cycle-specific. The cycle routing is done via Cyclestreets of Cambridge. This A to B bicycle journey planning website uses mathematical graph theory algorithms to quickly work out great bike routes. It uses OpenCycleMap, a cycle-specific map based on the community-generated OpenStreetMap.

The Bike Hub satnav uses roads and cycle paths, including Sustrans’ off-road bike routes. The app – provided free of charge by the industry organisation, the Bicycle Association – features turn-by-turn navigation, with voice instructions and vibrating alerts. Bike Hub recommends a user operates the app with a handlebar smartphone cradle. These are now widely available in bike shops and in gadget stores.

National Rail Enquiries app gets a cycling-info upgrade

The Association of Train Operating Companies’ has worked with National Rail Enquiries to upgrade its app – available free for iPhone and Android – so that people planning to cycle to a rail station or take their bike on a train can get the information they need in a couple of clicks.

The new function is an update to the existing app. It provides information on cycling facilities at stations, such as cycle parking; the rules for taking bikes on trains of different rail companies; the number of cycle spaces on the train; and whether it’s necessary reserve a space for a bike.

The app upgrade is a joint project by the Cycle Rail Working Group and has been funded by ATOC, the Enabling Innovation Team, the Department for Transport and, via the Bicycle Association of Great Britain’s Bike Hub levy fund. The app has been developed and tested in partnership with CTC and Sustrans.

Train operators have varying levels of demand and capacity for carrying bikes and so have different regulations and restrictions. The new function will make it easier for people to check cycle carriage rules and plan their journey and will encourage more people to cycle to and from rail stations.

Conrad Haigh, Head of Integrated Transport at ATOC, said: “Cycling in Britain is booming and the rail industry is playing a key role in its success, as more people than ever want to cycle to the station. Bike facilities on the rail network are improving all the time and it is important that cycle-rail passengers know what facilities are available.”

Since 2009, the number of cycle parking spaces at rail stations has more than doubled to over 53,000, with plans to add almost 16,000 further spaces by the end of 2015. Over the same period, the number of cycle-rail journeys made has increased by 14 million to a record 39 million a year.

Cycle satnav app: a video ‘how to’ guide

A video describing the functions, and benefits, of the Bike Hub cycle satnav app has been uploaded to YouTube. The eight-minute video stresses that cyclists can easily find quiet – or quick – routes using the Android or iPhone versions of the app.

The Bike Hub app uses clever routing algorithms from Cyclestreets to work out the best routes for cyclists, either A to B in towns or A to A for circular cycle tours.

The video describes a ‘search and rescue’ function of the app: the ability to quickly locate, and be navigated, to bike shops.

The app is free and was paid by the Bike Hub levy.

Help MPs to get cycling in London

Boris Bike number 15547

There are no Cycle Hire docking stations near the Houses of Parliament. But there ought to be. If MPs – and peers – started to use so-called Borisbikes they would better appreciate what cyclists in London experience every day.

In a round-robin email Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London’s Director of Environment & Digital London, said:

“Many Parliamentarians have raised the issue of having a Barclays Cycle Hire docking station near to the Palace of Westminster.  Therefore, I am pleased to inform you of the proposals for a docking station planned in Westminster on Abingdon Green. This is located directly opposite the House of Lords.  A planning application has been submitted to Westminster City Council by Transport for London and I am writing to ask for your support to ensure it is delivered.

I apologise for the short notice, but if you would like to support the installation of the docking station at Abingdon Green, here is the link to the online application with suggested text if you want to add comments. Comments can be submitted until Sunday 27 November 2011.”

And here’s the boilerplate text that could be placed in the comments section:

I support the installation of a Cycle Hire docking station in this location as it may get parliamentarians to use bicycles for short-distance travel in London. There is currently a lack of available docking stations in the immediate vicinity of the Palace of Westminster and this location will provide a solution for this gap in the scheme network. It will encourage more cycling among those who live and work in the surrounding area and would also be useful for tourists.

The link above has long list of documents supporting the application, including this wonderfully evocative archeological assessment of the site.

Last year, Sir George Young, Leader of the Commons said: “I would encourage all MPs and peers to try them, and if they enjoy cycling, to go on to purchase their own bikes. There’s no faster, cheaper or greener way to get round.”

Currently, the nearest docking station is a wee walk away from the Palace of Westminster.

Demands for a docking station nearer to Parliament were led by Lord Butler, the former Cabinet Secretary and head of the civil service.

Lord Butler has cycled throughout his 30 years in government. He told the Evening Standard that he and his wife often used the “brilliant” Cycle Hire bikes.

Lord Butler, who wrote a report on the intelligence surrounding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, said of TfL’s iconic bikes:

“I use them about once a week. My wife uses them two or three times a week. What we very often use them for is going out in the evening. You can go one way and come back by cab or bus.”

Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, said:

“The Barclays bike scheme is excellent – but there are holes in it. One is at Parliament, so MPs, who we want to champion cycling, cannot use them to get to work. We must fix this!”

Via a points-of-interest menu, the Bike Hub cycle satnav app has location details for all of the current Cycle Hire docking stations. The free app routes cyclists on back streets and via cycle tracks. It is available for Android and iPhone.

Bike Hub smartphone app wins award

BikeBiz award for Bike Hub app

The Bike Hub app for iPhones and Androids won a major gong at an awards ceremony at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham on Wednesday night. At the fourth annual staging of the BikeBiz Awards, the cycle natnav app was voted the best ‘Retail Marketing Initiative’ of 2011.

The app is a voice-and-vibrate cycle-specific satnav and among its other features it also locates nearest bike shops to a user’s location.

Developed by Tinderhouse of Kent, and commissioned by the Bicycle Association and the Association of Cycle Traders, the free app is paid for by the Bike Hub levy.

The BikeBiz awards are organised by BikeBiz trade magazine. 200 guests were at the awards night. Winners included Rutland Water Cycling, Madison, Cycle Systems Academy, and Brompton.

The runners-up in the Retail Marketing Initiative category were Raleigh’s Red or Dead brand; the Specialized Concept Store in Covent Garden; DVDs from Seventies; BM7 displays; a retail program from Altura; and a ride promotion with Eddy Merckx.

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