Why your iPhone is your new best cycling buddy

Cycling is a great way to get exercise, reduce stress, and get to where you want to go. While it can be fun to get on a road or trail and just get lost in an adventure, sometimes it’s nice to have a plan that includes detailed cycling directions to get you to where you want to go — be it a restaurant, path, or point of interest.

Apple Maps and Guides are making that easy with recent updates and features that help you “discover great places around the world to eat, shop, and explore” on your iPhone. These guides are automatically updated when new places are added, and the app continuously updates routes on bike paths, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads. You can also “preview the elevation for your ride, check how busy a road is, and choose a route that best avoids hills,” according to Apple.

man riding bike on road
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Here’s how it works

Once you jump on your bike and are on your way, Maps is now enabled to speak cycling-specific directions. To date, cycling directions are only available in select areas, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, and multiple cities in China. More will be added automatically over time.

You can access the information in a couple of different ways. You can either ask Siri by saying something like, “Get directions to the nearest coffee shop” or “Give me directions home” (just make sure you have your home address set). You can also tap a destination (like a landmark or a marked pin), touch and hold any spot on the map, and tap Directions on the information card. You can also turn off voice directions, change the volume, or change the audio output device.

Map Guides

Guides from trusted brands and partners are also now available in the Maps app. To open one of the Guides, simply tap the search field, then either tap a cover that appears below Editors’ Picks, tap See All, or select an option at the top of the All Guides card, then tap a cover.

From there, you can save it, share it, or return to the search field to search additional locations. Currently, guides are available for select cities, including San Francisco, New York, London, and Los Angeles, with many more cities coming soon.

iPhone bike mount

Safety first

When you’re using an iPhone while cycling, make sure you have a handlebar mount for your phone so it’s secured to your bike and visible. Your eyes will remain on the road in front of you. You can also use the updates with your Apple Watch, but again, be sure to do so when it’s safe (and don’t forget your helmet).

You also spend a lot of money on your phone, and the thought of it falling and shattering into pieces can add unneeded stress during a time when you should feel relaxed. If you log a lot of miles on your bike, you’ll want peace of mind knowing you’re protecting your investment with a bike mount that keeps it safe and secure.

Other apps to make your ride more interesting

There are a number of apps available for iPhone users that offer an array of logging functions that can be uploaded to an online profile for review.

Apps like Strava are free and can be used to keep track of your ride stats, including speed, time, and distance. These apps can also show you where you’ve been around town. Once you’re back home, you can also see how many calories you burned and what elevation you climbed so you can monitor your workouts over time.

Cycling gives you the opportunity to explore a new city or be an explorer for the day in your own. Some cities are better than others at providing bike paths, park trails, and dedicated spaces for bikers to cycle safely, but the continued updates in Maps and Guides allow everyone to find new places they may not have known about or get around their city in a new way.

So, grab a friend or cycling partner and get out on the road. Now, more than ever, we could all use time to be outside, explore the world around us, and relieve daily stressors.

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