A to A routing is now on the Bike Hub app

As far as we can tell, the new A to A routing feature is a world-first for a satnav app. Arrive at a destination, fire up the app, input your desired mileage, add points of interest to see along the way, and wait for a few seconds for a suggested route to be summoned. Tap ‘follow this route’ and off you go!

This will make the app into a tool for cycle tourists, for day tours and for longer duration trips. The app can currently plot a route of 200 miles.

Version 3.0 of the Bike Hub app is now live. It can be found here for iPhones. The Android app gets the same functionality.

The app is a standard satnav in that it routes from A to B, albeit a satnav specific to cycling. Version 3.0 adds A to A circular routing. This makes the app into a tour-suggestor tool.

You can ask for a tour with or without Points of Interest: such as parks, castles and so on.

We’re hoping to link up with National Trust properties in the future, adding their locations to OpenStreetMap. The PoI dataset is still patchy in places, but it will grow and get better over time.

Bike Hub app v3 A to A feature

Bike Hub app v3 A to A feature

Bike Hub saved routes

Also in version 3.0 – and a much requested feature – is dynamic route recalculation. Stray from the route and the app will suggest you make a u-turn. Stray a bit further and the app will create a new route, on the fly. This is standard on car satnavs, and it’s finally on Bike Hub version 3.0, thanks to app coding work from  app developer Tinderhouse and routing tweaks by Cyclestreets.

Bike Hub app v3
Version 3.0 also makes the cross-hair icon a little bigger and shifts it left so fat-fingered folks no longer press ‘cancel’ when they want to hit the ‘locate me’ button. There’s also has tighter integration with Cyclestreets, adding a box to input a Cyclestreets journey number. This will be useful if you prefer to pre-plan your routes via desktop and then want to transfer the same route to your smartphone.

Bike Hub app v3 Map cache feature
The most requested feature from users is added in version 3.0. This is map cacheing. Map tiles can be downloaded to a smartphone when in range of wifi or a good 3G signal. Users will still require a phone signal to call down the route from Cyclestreets but maps – which can take a while to download in a poor signal area – can now be stored locally. (And deleted later, if wished).

The app has evolved greatly since launch and will continue to evolve, thanks to funding from the Bike Hub levy fund. If you have other features you’d like to see added, place them on the forum.

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.

bikebizaward 259

Bike Hub iPhone app gets an update

Version 2.1 of the iPhone cycle satnav app is now in Apple’s appstore on iTunes. It features the addition of Points of Interest, pulled from OpenStreetMap. These PoIs will be fleshed out over time: right now not all are populated with tons of data (for instance, search for castles in Northumberland and very few are shown).

This is an interim update. Version 3.0 is due soon and will include the A to A routing option. This will enable you to plan bike tours between ‘sticky’ Points of Interest: say, ‘ruins’ or ‘cafes’. We’re working on including all National Trust properties.

Other additions for 2.1 include the ability to email a GPX file of a route, a much requested feature. And the 3D ‘ride this route’ display now features a current speed at the base of the screen.

Bike parking PoIs

Cycle parking sites in Norwich

Ruins near Alnwick

Cinemas in Norwich. The blue letter Cs are bike parking stands; the yellow bike is a bike shop; the see-through red line is Sustrans Route 1.


Ride the route in 3D, with voice/vibrate instructions, or email details, including a GPX file of the route for loading into Google Earth or other maps.

The app works best when placed on bicycle handlebars in a designed-for-the-job holder. This is our disclaimer.

NOTE: The Android app will get the same updates soon.

Smartphone app updates due soon

We’ve been working hard to bring you a more robust Bike Hub smartphone app, and one packed with even more features. We can now announce there will be two updates in quick succession. The first will arrive sometime next week. We can’t be more specific as uploading a new version to iTunes doesn’t result in instant availability.

A tweaked version of the Android app was released a couple of weeks back. This was a fix for a map problem: the app wasn’t sucking down maps properly. We switched to a new, faster server from OpenCycleMap. iPhone users will get the same speed and reliability upgrade next week.

Version 2.1 of the app will include:

Modify the distance that audio notifications are made before junctions
This was a common gripe with the app from otherwise satisfied users. The distance has now been amended. Sorry, we can’t make the voice louder.

Change speed options to 16kph, 25kph and 30kph (and the equivalent in MPH)
The speed merchants among you said you went faster than we thought you did. So, we’ve boosted the top speeds: the ETAs will now be more accurate.

New map server
Maps will download faster.

Point of Interest (POI) search
Bike shops are the standard POIs on the app; more POIs will be added.

GPX export by email
When we created the app we envisaged it would be used, mainly, by people wanting traffic-free routes via back-streets and short-cuts and so on. This is still the core user of the app but there are plenty of users who want to use the app as a training aid and want to see where they’ve ridden. By adding a GPX upload function you will be able to email yourself a file that can be loaded to training software, other GPS devices, or online route sharing services. Or, if the fancy takes you, fly along your recent route via the magic that is Google Earth.

‘How to’ screen
New users of the app will get a quick run-through of the app’s functions and there will also be a satnav-style tick-box requesting that the user acknowledges that using the app while moving is potentially dangerous and should only be done so with a smartphone handlebar device.

The navigation screen will include your current speed.

Version 3 will add even more features.

Map tile caching
You’ll be able to download maps to your device so you will always have maps whether or not you have a data connection. Drawing down maps via a low phone signal can take quite a few seconds. The live routing functionality will always require a phone signal. The new map file suck-down feature will be useful for loading local maps to devices, but can also be used for downloading maps of a new, unknown area. Download when you’re in a wifi hotspot.

A to A routing
Right now the app offers A to B routing, which is standard for satnavs. A to A routing will offer suggested on-the-fly circular routes, perfect for circular cycle tours. This will be an exclusive feature on the Bike Hub app. You will also be able to choose to follow sticky POIs, ie points of interest, such as National Trust properties. More and more POIs will be added over time. How about a bike tour sticky to CAMRA-recommended pubs?

Car satnav-style re-routing
When you stray from the Bike Hub app’s route suggestion, you get a ‘too far from destination’ message. The current app doesn’t re-route on-the-fly. Version 3 will offer dynamic route recalculation.

Routing by numbers
You will be able to retrieve a route from Cyclestreets.net and the Bike Hub online route planner by entering its route ID. So, you can plan your routes in advance, take a note of the route plan numbers and then use them to retrieve the route on your device.



The Bike Hub smartphone app is still the world’s only 3D cycle-specific voice-and-vibrate satnav. The app’s maps work all over the world but routing is available for Britain and Ireland only.

Paid for by the Bike Hub levy on all UK bicycle sales, the free Bike Hub app routes users away from busy roads and even avoids hills where possible. Unlike car satnavs, the Bike Hub app knows all about bike paths and quiet roads that cars can’t use as rat runs.

If you like the app, please consider leaving a review on iTunes and on the Android Marketplace.