Tim Dawson devoted his whole 'Cycleguy' column in The Sunday Times to the levy-funded Bike Hub smartphone satnav app. Thanks to the coverage the app quickly went to third on the iTunes charts for navigation apps, behind a free satnav for cars and the London tube map.
"As I rolled up to a T-junction, the navigation app on my handlebar-mounted iPhone appeared to be saying “Ride into the hedge opposite” rather than pointing me left or right. I ignored its advice and started to make a right turn, only to notice an opening in the greenery directly ahead.
"Between the leaves ran a clear if narrow path that cut at least half a mile off my journey, and took me along a decent cycle track that I had never registered before."
This was a reference to the fact that many of the routes suggested by the Bike Hub app - the routing engine is provided by Cyclestreets of Cambridge - are cycle-friendly shortcuts, including bike paths.
"It can be unnerving to delegate all responsibility for your journey to a program that sometimes makes you feel as though you are on a magical mystery tour," wrote Dawson, "but if you stick with it, the rewards can be considerable."
"Bike Hub is not the only cycling smartphone software. The big players in car sat nav all sell apps that work well for cyclists, although some are quite expensive (TomTom’s is £49.99). ViewRanger (£10) offers access to Ordnance Survey maps, which is useful for cyclists who want to stray off road. But neither app can match Bike Hub for finding cycle-friendly paths through unfamiliar cities and generating circular leisure routes on quiet roads and tracks."
His review ended: "Come on, cyclists: join the Bike Hub revolution."
As can be seen in this new 'how it works' video, one of the app's core functions is to operate as a bike shop finder. The app locates nearest bike shops and can navigate customers direct to bike shop doors.
Dawson's full review can be read here.