BikeNav featured in Bicycling Magazine

It is always nice to see when other people like and use the software you release. I remember when I launched the first version of BikeNav back in March of this year and saw it listed on the App Store, I certainly felt a big feeling of accomplishment. However, the joy was even bigger when I found out that a magazine publication took notice.

A couple of weeks ago I got contacted by someone from Bicycling Magazine, which has been providing the bike community with bike gear and equipment reviews, training plans, maintenance how-to’s and more for 47 years, that they would like to feature my application in their December issue. This was great news and really the best thing that could have happened, considering the state the development process was in. I had hit some technical difficulties when working on an update version of the application back in May and combined with higher load at work and less free time, I had lost interest a bit in improving the application. The interest from the magazine, combined with the news that the piece will be contributed by Ray Maker (whose blog should be your #1 destination if you are interested in any kinds of gear reviews when it comes to outdoor and endurance sports), gave me the spark that I needed to continue working and improving the app.

Motivated by this attention that I had received, I spent huge chunks of my spare time since to improve the app, which led to the release of version 2 of BikeNav on pretty much the same date—incidentally—as the publish date of the December issue of Bicycling Magazine. And just today I was able to pick up a copy and found, with great joy, a little paragraph about my app in the upper right hand corner on page 20. Nothing big. Nothing fancy. But still something.

BikeNav 2.0: The tech details

What was holding me back a little bit since the release of version 1 was that I was an earlier adopter of jQuery Mobile, having used their first alpha release for my initial version. The upgrade to a more stable version always seemed too painful and time consuming and so I kept adding hack after hack on top of an understandably buggy (in parts) version of the framework. In addition, I was also using a 0.9.x release of phoneGap to power BikeNav.

With version 2, both of the frameworks were upgraded to their most recent version. In addition, I also gave the application a bit of a UI overhaul, abandoning the black & white look from the initial version and introducing a new splash screen, updating the logo to feature a blue color tone instead of black and cleaning up the interface in general. I also introduced new features, like the ability to search for points of interests along a route using the CloudMade’s Local Search API and being able to add custom location pins to the map.

The attention that I got from the magazine and from the occasional user who emails with his feedback certainly motivates me to keep working on BikeNav. In addition to being a very useful app for bicyclists, it is also a great playground for me to see how far I can get with the hybrid mobile application approach, where the majority of the heavy lifting is done using web technologies.

So if you are a cyclist and haven’t checked out my app, please do so. And after you are done, feel free to send me feedback.

6 comments on this post.
  1. Bob Abramson:

    Can’t find your bikenav app on App Store.

  2. Klaus:

    Yeah, unfortunately I was not able to continue development on the app mid last year. I also did not renew my Apple Developer membership, which is why Apple removed it from the App Store.

  3. Chris:

    This news, that there is no BikeNav to be had is most distressing! If I could go back to the previous Operating System where I had bugs and problems, but still had BikeNav, I would do it in a heartbeat!

    What are the chances that you will again offer this fantastic Application? I’ve been without BikeNav for less than 24-hours and already I feel that my interface with my phone is diminished, and when I go to Germany later this month I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do!

    Please! Bring back BikeNav!

    Sincerely, Chris Büdel

  4. Klaus:

    First, let me thank you for your kind words. It really means a lot that you found my app useful and helpful throughout your travels. That was really my intention when I first published this app in 2011.

    Now, unfortunately, I won’t be able to republish the app to the App Store. My personal priorities shifted over the last two years and I can’t afford the time it takes to keep developing the application. I am really sorry about that but that is how it is.

    On the bright side however, I am pretty confident that the Google Maps iOS app provides what you need (and their map functionality was what powered BikeNav as well). If you install their app on your iPhone, you should be able to select “Bicycling” in their display and routing options. I don’t see any reason why this should not work in Europe, since they specifically mentioned adding bicycle routing support for Europe to Google Maps in a blogpost from July 2012.

  5. Chris:

    Thank you for your reply!

    I looked at the Giant Octopus’ application just now and still miss (fondly) BikeNav: there is no elevation of Routes (key in planning a Route!); the Routes chosen seem to NOT be intuitive (and I entered some beginning and ending cities where I’m intimately familiar with the Routes between); the type is TINY for these 54-year old eyes; the surrender of personal information (my take on “smart”phones? “You are watching Big Brother” and google is the Biggest Brother of all) leaves me cold.

    I believe the Bicycle pulls people together and is the catalyst for the inter-connectedness of future generations to say nothing of a tonic for the current mess we find ourselves in, and we must keep it unfettered, intuitive and fun. I shall truly miss BikeNav. If you ever reconsider, ever get the wanderlust to rekindle the fire of the slow traveling transport of two (or three) wheels and again offer BikeNav, I will be eternally in your debt. (Not to put too fine a point on it.) if I knew the first thing about programming or code or the realities of keeping such an undertaking afloat I’d offer to buy the thing and promote it as the tool you don’t know you need until you’re traveling across unfamiliar territory and your maps are just lines on paper, but alas, that ain’t me.

    I’ll keep checking…

    –Chris Büdel

  6. Chris:

    Also, the google site is not Bicycle specific and as such when you’re looking at a given area the Bike Routes aren’t shown until you seek a Bicycle Route; and you cannot tell when you’re being Routed onto a Bike Route as their Route color obscures that of the dark-green of the Bike Route. Also, identifying the distance if a given Route is an extra keystroke (or several), falling back onto the useless ‘time to destination’ (loaded? Road Bike? Mountain Bike? Weather?) without telling you the criteria used to arrive at this number.

    Conversely, BikeNav, being Bicycle-specific would show the designated Bicycle Routes of a given area when you would dial-in, and while your Application would also (partially) obscure the green of the designated Bicycle Route, you could still see it under there. While BikeNav also included this largely useless ‘time to destination’ number, as I recall it also included the distance right there along side.

    As I said previously, I’ll eventually shut up and quit bugging you, but I want to compare and contrast your superior Application to what I guess I’m now relegated to in the feint (faint?) hope you’ll see how much better BikeNav was and perhaps bring it back, even in some limited form!?!

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