Good vibrations from bike satnav

Bike industry org makes world's first vibrating cycling satnav. App turns phone into bike satnav with voice directions
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The Bike Hub levy fund released an iPhone app two months ago. This free app was a bike shop proximity locator and journey planner, enabling cyclists to find quickest or quietest bicycle-friendly routes through urban areas. The journey planning function will now soon be joined by turn-by-turn voice directions, just like a car satnav.

The Bike Hub app paired with an iPhone creates the world's first vibrate and voice turn-by-turn bicycle-specific satnav. An Android version of the app will be out in December.

Cyclists with iPhones could navigate with the TomTom app or any the other multiple satnav apps available for the iPhone, but none of these can guide users via bike shortcuts and cycle paths. The Bike Hub app uses bike routing from Cyclestreets. Unlike with standalone GPS units such as the new Garmin 800, there are no maps to buy; the app loads maps from OpenCycleMap.

Bike Hub 2.0 has a 3D satnav function, with either a male or female voice to announce directions. Prior to turns, and when right upon them, the iPhone also vibrates, a feature not found on any other satnav app.

A user can attach an iPhone to handlebars and use the app with full-on 3D map mode with all the usual satnav info, or the iPhone can be hidden away in a pocket with voice guidance and vibration alerts only.

Bike Hub 2.0 also has other improvements such as adding 'via' waypoints for A to B to C route finding. There's also now the option to add a 'home' location. And the route line is now opaque so street names are visible. The voices on the updated app say street names out loud.

The current version of the Bike Hub app - which is free, thanks to the Bike Hub levy - is already available on the iTunes app store. The update was submitted to Apple yesterday and will be available to users soon.

The Android version of the app will be introduced before Christmas. This will be a journey planner only to begin with and will get the satnav functionality in January. As with the iPhone app, the Android app will feature the bike shop locator function, listing 2500 bike shops across the UK. This list of bike shops was supplied by the Association of Cycle Traders.

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