Bike Hub has launched the free Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
The free application, launched only a few days ago, is already a top three navigation app on iTunes and promises to help cyclists find the quickest or quietest cycle routes.
Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner uses a Sat Nav style routing engine developed specifically for cyclists.
According to the developers, unlike standard Sat Navs, or Google Maps, the application can route cyclists along cycle paths, such as routes on the Sustrans National Cycle Network.
The application also routes away from up-hill slogs for cyclists who wish to avoid them, but gives a high priority to downhill routes. Users can choose between three route modes: quietest, quickest or balanced. Our initial test of the app reveals that it uses London's canal paths for fast, car-free routes across the city -- something Google Maps ignores.
'Quickest route' users are directed via roads - although not dual carriageways or motorways. 'Quietest route' guides cyclists along back-streets and cycle routes. The 'balanced route' aims to provide a good mix between the two.
The cycle routing is done via CycleStreets of Cambridge, a community-based group working on a not-for-profit basis. CycleStreets uses mathematical graph theory algorithms to quickly work out bicycle-friendly routes.
Mapping meanwhile, is provided by OpenStreetMap, the 'Wikipedia of maps'. OpenStreetMap is a community of 300,000 map enthusiasts worldwide who collaborate to produce the most up-to-date maps available. Changes made by members of the OSM community can be available online within hours.
The Bike Hub application was produced for trade associations the Bicycle Association of Great Britain and the Association of Cycle Traders. Bike Hub is the UK cycle industry's levy scheme. Cash from the voluntary levy has allowed the application to be free on iTunes.
As well as working out bicycle-friendly routes the app has a 'bike shop finder' button, calling up bike shops within a six mile radius of an iPhone. Directions are then given to the shops discovered, of which there are 2,500 across the UK. The database was supplied by the Association of Cycle Traders.
Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, Bike Hub Cycle Journey planner is free and requires the iOS 3.1.3 Software Update or later.