The latest version of the Bike Hub cycle satnav app – which is free thanks to funding from the Bike Hub levy scheme – has been issued with a safety warning, similar to the disclaimer pop-ups on car satnavs.
Users of the routing app, designed for hesitant city cyclists, are told that use of the app requires a smartphone handlebar holder. Once rare, these handlebar holders are now commonplace, and are sold by bike shops as well as in Apple stores.
The Bike Hub website warns users the app should be "used safely and appropriately, especially on roads. We recommend the use of a handlebar mount for your smartphone."
The app offers on-screen directions as well audio and vibrate notifications.
A new splash screen pops up when the user decides to follow a route on the 3D navigation screen. The app routes users on roads – as per other satnav apps – but can also route on cycle tracks, Sustrans National Cycle Network routes, and bridleways, not something car satnavs can do.
Bike Hub adds:
"A handlebar mount for your smartphone means you can steer your bicycle with both hands (operating a bicycle with one hand, and cupping a smartphone in the other is not a safe thing to do) but it also keeps the smartphone in the optimum position for navigation. Smartphone gyroscopes and accelerometers and so forth can be confused when the Bike Hub app is not used when the phone is held flat. Left and right directions can be issued incorrectly if the phone is not placed horizontally."
The app is available for iPhones and Android phones. An update due within the next two weeks will allow the app to plans A to A routes, as well as satnav-style A to B routes. This will allow for cycle tour planning, with the Bike Hub routing ‘sticky’ to points of interest such as National Trust properties, churches, or, should the need ever arise, country pubs.