Tech Review: Biking apps help you go the distance

Apps that help users stay connected. Apps that help users stay connected. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images

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Whether it's a loop around Heckscher State Park, navigating the Bethpage Bike Path, crossing over the bridges on the glorious ride to Jones Beach or just a short spin around your neighborhood, autumn is a perfect time to get back in the bicycle saddle. These apps will help you find places to bike while pumping up your fitness.

MapMyRide

(iOS, Android; free)

MapMyRide has a good selection of nearby routes, but since they are all within a few miles of your GPS location, if you live in, say, Valley Stream and want to bike on the East End, you can't map out a route in advance. After your ride, you do get pertinent information about how far you pedaled, the amount of calories burned and average speed. Pro versions with more features are available for $2.99.

Endomondo Sports Tracker

(iOS, Android; free)

Don't know good places to ride? The app suggests nearby routes recommended by local bikers. During your ride, Endomondo tracks your performance with information about distance ridden, calories burned, average speed and the steepness of hills climbed and descended. Endomondo also can track your performance in more than 50 activities. Pro versions with more features are available for $4.99.

Runtastic Road Bike

(iOS, Android; free)

Runtastic had the least amount of features of the biking apps we tested, at least in the free version. To get a list of routes, you must buy the pro version ($4.99). The company says you can access thousands of routes at its website (runtastic.com), but when we searched for "Jones Beach," a map with a starting point near Syracuse popped up. The app did a good job tracking our performance via GPS when we hit "start" and took off on our own route.

Bike Repair

(iOS, $3.99, Android $2.92)

This recently updated app can help with all kinds of repairs, but for weekend wheelers it is most useful as a guide to get you rolling after common on-road pitfalls. Got a flat but never changed a tire? The app will guide you through the process. Just make sure you have a spare tube, tire inflater and the necessary tools before you set out on your ride.

 

 

Tech Bytes

 

 

Bing's new thing

 

Hoping to narrow the gap with Google, Microsoft's Bing search engine has unveiled a new interface and new features. Microsoft says the new Bing is "focused on simplicity, speed and visual appeal." Bing is the second-most popular U.S. search engine, with a 17.9 percent share, but it trails far behind Google, which holds a 66.9 percent share, according to market research firm comScore.

 

YouTube to add offline viewing

 

Grumpy because you can't watch the latest Grumpy Cat video on your smartphone when you descend into the subway? YouTube says it will begin allowing mobile-device users to store videos for offline viewing for a "short period when an Internet connection is unavailable." Currently, mobile users must have a live Wi-Fi or data connection to access YouTube videos. YouTube says the new feature will be unveiled in November.

 

New health site for veterans

 

Veterans often have specific health problems and concerns, and a new online site is geared toward giving them the advice and the tools to manage their conditions. Veterans Health Library (veteranshealthlibrary.org), from the Department of Veterans Affairs' My Health-eVet service, has more than 1,500 health information sheets and videos covering such topics as post-traumatic stress disorder, Agent Orange exposure and traumatic brain injury.

-- Peter King

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