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iPhone App Review: Best Biking Roads

iPhone App Review: Best Biking Roads

July 20th, 2010 by

I am not a biker, and some of you may say that disqualifies me from having an opinion on this app. Some of you may even be right, so I won’t try to critique the actual content of Best Biking Roads. Even if I were a biker it would be impossible for me to actually go out and ride all (or even some) of these routes before writing a review, so I’ll stick to just reviewing the app itself.

Gotta love the straightforward start screens.

Best Biking roads is the companion app to the website of the same name. It boasts that it is the largest motorcycle routes site on the web, and has an impressive list of routes to back up that claim:

  • 1306 European routes
  • 215 American Routes
  • 29 Australian Routes
  • 10 African Routes
  • Thousands of route reviews and photos

While the app gives you access to the same information available for free on the website, it is intended to be easier, faster, and of course more mobile to access it in app form.

Features

The Best Biking Roads app features all of the same content as the website, including:

  • Ability to browse routes by text search, pinpointing an area from a map, or just searching your current area
  • Ability to create a route by dropping waypoints on a map
  • Commenting on already established routes in the database
  • Info on each route like length, visibility, hazards, and “police presence”

Pros

The app is quick and easy, starting up with  just a few essential buttons on the main screen (Browse Routes, Create Route, Login, plus a tiny info link and link to the website).

Actually not a good ride. Take 280 instead.

The options to browse are simple and intuitive: tap to search your immediate area, search by entering text, browse a list of areas in the world, or drag crosshairs around a world map and drop it where you want to find routes.

Route details are just like on the website. You can view detailed ratings and comments from riders who have been on the route more recently than when it was first entered in the database. You can also view most routes on a map (though the app currently includes no photos).

Creating a route is actually brilliant. You are first located on the map using location services, then invited to drag the map and drop a pin to start the route. You can drag the map freely and place as many waypoints as you like, then drop an endpoint. As you drop pins the app calculates the appropriate roads to travel to get to those locations, so be sure to drop as many waypoints as necessary to keep your route accurate. After completing the map portion you are then presented with an opportunity to rate the route’s criteria and enter comments on the ride.

Cons

The invisible box covers most of Europe, west to Nova Scotia and south to the Equator.

The app currently has some bugs that do not render it unusable by any means, but do make it sometimes a frustrating experience.

  • Selecting a route by country: this is the option that gives you a map and crosshairs and invites you to drag and select a country. The crosshairs however are bounded by an invisible box that roughly covers the Atlantic Ocean and Europe. As you zoom in closer you can drag around to more of the world map, though the box never quite goes away entirely. It just seems to get bigger.
  • The option to select routes “near me” should have a setting for distance. No routes turn up “near me” in San Francisco, though one of the best routes in the world begins just about 120 miles south from here, in Monterey. If I’m looking for a weekend ride I would probably be willing to start that far away.
  • When you bring up the route list “by area”, then select United States, the resulting list of routes sorted by state name is not quite sorted alphabetically. It almost is, but not quite.
  • Selecting “Washington DC” on the list of state names when viewing routes “by area” brings up a random list of routes from other places (scattered throughout the Midwest and the South).

These are strange little text-handling bugs or quirks that can be squashed easily I’m sure in an update, but right now they’re just strange sauce in an app that otherwise is well thought out and has very useful information.

Overall

Best Biking Roads is a great resource for any biker wanting to find routes nearby or when planning a weekend ride; or for letting the other 11,000+ registered users of the website know about that great new route you just created. Once the bugs are squashed (and maybe photos added?), it will only get better.

  • http://www.oxagile.com Anna

    Well, as i can see this application can be useful not only for bikers… I hope I'll give it a try:)

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