Bike Hub app ‘how to’ video, some reviews and some answers

The free Bike Hub cycling satnav app for iPhones and Androids finds quickest or quietest cycle routes in UK and Ireland. It also locates nearest bike shops in UK. It has been featured on Treehugger.com, Macworld.co.uk, The Register, BikeRadar.com, Road.cc, The Sunday Times, and BBC.co.uk.

A car satnav uses roads, the Bike Hub satnav uses roads and cycle paths, including Sustrans’ off-road bike routes. The app features true turn-by-turn navigation, with voice instructions and vibrating alerts.

The cycle routing – note: UK and Eire only – is done via CycleStreets.net. 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 app can cache maps so users can download sections of the map to their phones for even faster screen loads. There’s also an exclusive feature: A to A routing via ‘sticky’ points of interest, such as pubs or churches. This makes the app into a leisure route suggester.

The app also has an online version on this site.

The following video runs through the app’s main features and how to use them:

Here are some of the latest reviews of the app on iTunes. We really appreciate these reviews and the star ratings. As there’s no mechanism to reply to reviews on iTunes it’s impossible to provide solutions to those people who report problems, and leave one star reviews.

A common complaint is that the app thinks the user is in the North Pole! This is easily fixed by allowing the app to know a user’s whereabouts in ‘location settings’ on the iPhone. When the app is first opened after downloading a pop-up message asks for the user to allow the app to know the user’s location. Some people click ‘no’ and wonder why they can’t see polar bears… And to that reviewer who said he/she has tried to open three accounts but still can’t log in, we’re flummoxed: there’s no account creation option on the app.

If the app is eating your battery by staying on even when you think you’ve turned off the app, get the 2.01 update, this fixes the issue. When the app says you’re too far away from the route suggested that’s because you have strayed from the route, or taken a wrong turning by mistake. At the moment the app doesn’t offer dynamic re-routing: this is a feature in the next version of the app.

Android users have issues specific to certain Android phones. Android is an operating system that’s available on lots of different devices: we haven’t been able to test the app on every single Android smartphone. The app works fine on all the market-leading, ‘standard’ Android phones but there are some niche ones which may have screen sizes that aren’t well suited to the app. This is frustrating for owners, and frustrating for us too, but there’s little we can do. Sorry.

And to those folks asking whether we’ll bringing out a Blackberry version the answer is no. The platform isn’t suited to third-party mapping apps.


And there are no plans to extend the routing overseas. A common complaint is wonky routing. We suspect these reviews are left by people outside of the UK. The app description in iTunes stresses that the app routing only works in the UK and Ireland, but we get a surprising number of downloads from the US, Japan, South Korea and a long list of other nations. Users not in the UK or Ireland can use the bike shop finder (as this is fed by the bike shop layer of OpenStreetMap) and will see maps, but the routing-engine is only able to plot routes in UK and Ireland.

The Bike Hub iPhone app is available – for free, thanks the Bike Hub levy – on iTunes and in the Android marketplace.

Stunned by how good this is! – ★★★★★
by Andy Murray Version 2.0.1 – 15 July 2011
I didn’t beleive a free app would work do well. This app got me through Kingston via the back roads and cycle paths. I did an awesome 10miles without having to deal with fast traffic. I used to deliver pizza around Kingston and thought I know the road well, but this app showed me routes cars can’t do, but bikes can AWESOME! Planning to follow the app on a 25 mile route next.

Not too bad - ★★★
by Scourgelord – Version 2.0.1 – 12 July 2011
So, got the new road bike to pick up from Notting hill, need to ride it back home to sunny East London. Trip is allegedly 12-13 miles, don’t know the route so relied on bike hub getting me home. Good news bike hub got me home. However .. Turn points require you to be riding at a snails pace. Other wise you’ll over shoot and end up ” too far from route” Audio works but it would be better if it simply said “turn left/right/straight on to x road/street/etc” rather than the yard count down. Voice itself needs more clarity. No issues with crashing, the app is free and not aware of any other iPhone apps that give route planning and voice directions. So a decent app, just need to be patient to use. Hopefully dev’s can improve on it.

Good new route finder - ★★★★
by MuckerIT – Version 2.0.1 – 09 July 2011
This is very good app. I have used it to try new occasional commuting routes from St. Albans to Central London. It gave me a completely different route from the one I had planned. Safer, more enjoyable and 30 minutes quicker than my current route. The ability to upload gpx routes would make it even better but the developers say it is coming fairly soon.

Useless – ★
by Ifoundmysoul - Version 2.0.1 – 05 July 2011
Iv created 3 accounts and still can’t log in!

Got me to my destination, Good App – ★★★★
by Big mazza – Version 2.0.1 – 26 June 2011
So I decided to use the bike hub app today to get me in the uk from bath to Glastonbury, 35 miles and back again. So here is my opinion on it.. Good points; Gets you there! Takes you off the main roads and makes really good routes, you can chose fast routes as well if you want to brave the traffic. It works in parallel with runkeeper so I can get directions and record my progress. The battery consumption gives you about 6 hours. Points to improve; The speed options only go to 15mph, on a racer this is too slow, 20, 25mph should be also in there. Sometimes the message to turn happens after you’ve passed it! Maybe I’ve went too fast?! If you go off track completely then it doesn’t tell you. The beep is not great to listen to, the voice sounds depressed! Voice level would be good to be adjusted, also fade in fade out if you have music in the background. You’ve got to check the map occasionally to make sure you’ve not missed the voice cue, particularly if it’s a right immediately by a left or vice versa. Overall though great product! It took me on a sweet route today:)

Will be great – one day – ★★
by xyz100 – Version 2.0.1 – 22 June 2011
This has the potential to be good app and it will be really useful. However, at present the location finder is not working so it thinks I live at the North Pole rather than in the Home Counties….

Just what I’ve been looking for – ★★★★
by Wimblepool – Version 2.0.1 – 15 June 2011
I tested my route from home to work on the balanced option and it is almost identical to what I normally take, so it’s a great fit for me. I can’t agree with the other reviewers so far on this version. I’ve had no problems with crashing, loading or directions on an iPhone 4; obviously it may be different on other devices. I did have a problem with being able to hear the directions, but sorted that by changing the settings on my phone. However I wish it would stop going into a silent huff if I don’t follow its instructions to the letter