Apps covering London cycling must fill one of the more populous niches in the Apple Store. Following the launch of the bike hire scheme, countless applications, of varying quality, were wheeled out into the market.
London Bike Rides is different. It has nothing to do with bike hire. Instead, it's aimed squarely at recreational cyclists who want ideas for interesting routes around town.
The app contains 30 different routes − enough to keep even the keenest cyclist going for months. The courses covered are diverse, both in geography and theme. Reading the titles is enough to get your legs jangling in an anticipatory pedal motion. Wandle Trail, Quirky London, Alpine London, Traffic-free Loop of the Lea Navigation, Discovering the Epsom Downs...the guide really does reach all corners of the capital, and then some.
Novice bikers can start out with a five-mile wheel around 'Fashionable London, while the saddle-hardened buttocks of more advanced riders might be tempted towards the 'Dunwich Dynamo', a 120 mile slog out to the Suffolk coast.
Each ride comes with a detailed map and description, and ten of the routes feature a video preview. Bundled in, you'll also find sections offering advice on bike safety, carrying cycles on public transport, and attaching your iPhone to your handlebars (although you can, of course, keep your phone in your pocket and refer to the app intermittently, if you prefer).
The app was put together by Andreas Kambanis, trusted author of the popular London Cyclist blog and (full disclosure) sometime contributor to Londonist. He's done an admirable job here, keeping the format simple and putting in the research. There's little to be said by way of criticism, other than noting that a copyedit might be in order for the next release (and, yes, who are we to talk?). That one wobbly spoke aside, London Bike Rides should be on the wishlist of every iPhone wielding cyclist.
London Bike Rides is available now from the iTunes app store for iPhone, price £1.79.