Over the last couple of weeks I’ve tried out a couple of iPhone apps to track bike rides or runs:

The basic functionality of these apps is broadly the same, and without extra sensors they use the iPhone GPS to track location, speed and elevation. The distinction between running and biking apps seems mainly a marketing one and all can do both sports.

RunKeeper and MapMyRide are quite closely integrated with social media style websites and upload and store your workouts under your account at that website.  Cyclemeter stores your workouts on the iPhone, but you can export them using standard GPS route formats.  All three allow you to post workouts (and even progress info) to Twitter or Facebook and email you with summaries of the workout and links to the workout on the site.  All three allow you to map out routes on Google maps as well as import routes from other sources.

All of these apps will integrate with “Ant+” standard heart rate, speed, cadence and pace sensors, and even crank power meters if you have a dongle or case for the iPhone. I got a heart rate monitor, combined speed and cadence sensor from Wahoo! Fitness that seems to be a very solid product.

RunKeeper. Has the most pleasant integration with the website, which is not too in your face. However it wont handle cadence.

MapMyRide. The website integration feels too in your face and commercial.  The rides are only stored in summary, whereas the other store all the waypoints so you can analyse how quick you went up that hill this time etc. It also seems to keep on forgetting your sensors which is irritating.

Cyclemeter. Although it doesnt have the website integration, it is extremely configurable and it is very easy to upload the workout file to the Runkeeper site.  It also allows you to race against a selected route file.

So I think for now the preference is Cyclemeter App+Runkeeper Site combo.  If I were just running RunKeeper would be my choice.