Cyclemeter: A Back to the Future App

20 Jan

Since the 1970s until a few years ago someone always gave me a weekly desk planner for Christmas. They had laid flat on my work area; on one side of the plastic spiral binding was a lovely photo paired opposite with a page for the days of the week, each day having ample room to note the social and work events of my life.

I recently unearthed my 2005 calendar, the last I had used, featuring Heidelberg and published by Braus im Vachter Verlag in the same town. It included some exceptional photographs of the German city by Andrew Cowin. It was a gift from a friend who lives there. My copy was festooned with entries in my scrawl about most of my bike rides for that year. At a glance I could see the weeks when I was active or which ones I was sitting on my butt.

Sometimes in my notations I’d jot down where I went and how many miles. Seeing those entries again made me wish I was more diligent today about keeping track of my rides. Since 2005, however, I have not had a weekly calendar to immortalize my comings and goings. I have migrated my business and personal appointments to software calendars all synchronized on my desktops, laptops, and smartphones. But I no longer make daily notations of my bike rides. As a numbers-obsessed guy, I miss having that information about my bicycle workouts, though I am too lazy to log my rides day-to-day.

Now, with an iPhone app, I’m able to go back to those good ol’ days as I pedal into the future.

Cyclemeter 4.0, an iPhone app from Abvio LLC of San Francisco, collects the data of my rides and automatically tucks it away in my iCal app and syncs it with my iPhone, MacBook Air, and iMac calendars as well as my online calendar at me.com. And it keeps tabs on my rides by the week and month, which is a nice little touch. This feature alone makes the $4.99 price of the app worth every penny.

Cyclemeter is, as with almost every iPhone app I own, effortless to use. There’s no need for a manual or instructions to get going. You tap on the app, it opens to the Stopwatch screen with blank fields and big red “Start” button. Once you click the obvious, you’re on your way and the app is gathering volumes of data for your entire ride.

In addition to the Stopwatch and Calendar soft buttons, Cyclemeter has a Google Maps view of your ride as well as one that lets you see a list of the rides you’ve taken and saved. The More… button gives you another handful of options such as Remote Control, which lets you stop and start the app if your earphone has a remote control feature. You also can send mail and update your Facebook and Twitter accounts with a simple tap of the screen.

While the app launches in Cycle mode, the versatile app also tracks eight other activities, everything from Drive in your car to Walk, Swim, Skate, and more. It is a good general-purpose GPS tool. Because you can organize and track these activities, you can measure how you’re improving in them over time.

Although you can use Cyclemeter while listening to your On the Go music selection with the iPod app, using both is not as straightforward as it is in my MotionX GPS app. And if your earphones do not have a remote control button, getting to and from the music or answering phone calls involves a lot of back and forth between apps.

But for versatility of the device and its unique Calendar feature, Cyclemeter is an exceptional app for people who want to keep records of their active lives. As with the best of tools, it doesn’t just keep tabs of what you do, it motivates you to do them.

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5 Responses to “Cyclemeter: A Back to the Future App”

  1. dbl January 20, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Prefessional, detailed, useful (for the bikers among us, at least) review. And on the Web. Who’da thunk it?

    • Mark Everett Hall January 20, 2011 at 10:55 am #

      Yeah, that Web thingy is pretty cool. Although I used a photo for those among us who are nostalgic for those pre-Web times.

  2. Jeshii January 20, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    I love my Cyclemeter. I used to use Nike+, which isn’t designed for biking, but even still, the google calendar sync feature is brilliant. I also like that it can send an email out when you start you ride. I have it set to email my wife so she knows I’m on my way home.

    • Mark Everett Hall January 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

      That’s a great idea about sending a mail while en route. I might just steal it. 😉 The Calendar feature in Cyclemeter is very useful for me. As i said, it made the app worth it all by itself.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cheap GPS Hardware Beats iPhone Apps by a Mile | CyclistWriter - May 11, 2011

    […] I’ve written nice things about, say, the Cyclemeter app. And I used it regularly for months. But now I’ve quit. Just as […]

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