Health Apps for iPhone

What is New in the Area of Health Apps for iPhone

Well, I have always been a believer that the iPhone offers a very versatile platform for tracking your exercise, your biking, walking, running…etc health related endeavors we all have.  As you know from this blog postings – I tried the Apple Watch and was rather frustrated with its lack of good repeatable measurements.  At the same time the iPhone has been relatively solid performer with a slew of applications – e.g. (in no particular order):

Earlier last week during the holidays, I decided to figure out how I can aggregate all the apps tracking information via the Apple Health application – why?  because I wanted to track all my walking, jogging, biking, hiking exercise as an aggregate.

Apple iPhone Health App

Apple iPhone Aggregation point

Apple iPhone

Next level of detail

So I tried to accomplish that.  Took me a while to figure out what applications actually interface with the Apple Health app.  

Well, turns out all of the apps have gaps in their ability to synch up with the main Health app

So I am using Argus, Bike+(b+), MountainBike-Pro, and Under Armor Record – all of these applications have the ability to measure relatively accurately the distance, steps, calories, miles of walking, hiking, biking,  BUT – there is the big disappointment – they all have gaps in their ability to interface, synch and feed into the iPhone Health app.

Here is the summary of what I have found so far:

Under Armor Record

The Under Armor Dashboard

 

Under Armor’s Record is the application which allows you to capture your Hiking, Walking and Biking exercise – but when I tried to synch up and connect the app with iPhone Health – I was able to, the apps connected – but I was only able to get the walking results into the Health app.

Why?

I could not tell…!

I tried all sort of options – but NO luck with getting the biking info into the aggregation app.

 

Under-Armor-Record

Dashboard for a ride on Under-Armor-Record

Here is the information from the Under Armor Record application – it properly captured the exercise info but no luck getting it into the Health App

The other issue that i found, although I would say that is a smaller issue as it only relates to how calories are counted.

The Under Armor Record captured my biking distance and calories at a much lower level vs what both Argus and MountainBike Pro recorded.

Again – no big deal as it just means one of them is more accurate – who knows.

 

Here are the other two (Argus, MountainBike Pro):

Argus Mountain Bike

Summary of a ride on Argus Mountain Bike

MountainBike Pro

Summary of a ride with MountainBike Pro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, net-net, Argus injected the information of calories into the Health App, Under Armor Record injected the Walking data, and the actual Cycling info from all three Apps (Argus, MountainBike Pro, Under Armor Record) never made it in…!  Very frustrating.  Next few days I will try Bike+(b+) to see if it will feed into the Health App – it is supposed to….!  I want to find the way to get all my excise data / results into one place….and I will find a way  to do it.

Will report on my progress in the next posting…

Biking Computer Applications on iPhone 6 plus

Earlier in the week I finally upgraded my phone from the very good and solid iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6 Plus.  In previous postings on this blog I have described how useful a smart phone – whether iPhone or one with Android – can be in terms of providing a biking computer platform for various navigation and exercise planning applications.

There are multiple options for how one can use the previous generations of iPhone 4, iPhone 5 and even iPhone 6 – here are several that I have tried and/or used on my mountain bikes over the last 4-5 years:
 

Now my new phone posed a larger (literally) challenge – being the iPhone 6 Plus – its size is pretty amazing when seen on the handlebars of the bike….But for that I will provide you with a better visibility over the next couple of days – we are preparing a through review of the Tigra mountain bike case for the phone.

Today, I tested the setup on my Trek bike and was pleased with the overall stability of the case and phone.  HOWEVER, I discovered a nuisance – several of the mountain bike computer applications did not change orientation when I turned the iPhone 90 degrees to be in a landscape format on my handlebars.   I rode as usual with the Runtastic Mountain Bike Pro application on and to my surprise it stayed in portrait mode even when I turned the phone 90-degrees to landscape.  Needless to say – this turned out to be pretty annoying fast.

Then I tried other apps – and surprisingly all of them – BikeBrain, BikeComputer, Cyclemeter, iBike, TheBike – did not change orientation….Strange!  To say the least.  iBiker was the only one of the bunch – of the ones I tested – that actually automatically adjusted to landscape mode when I turned the phone to be more aligned with my handlebars.

iBiker Bike Computer view of the iBiker Dashboard

So, with that in mind, the quest for the ‘perfect application’ needs to continue – this time with iPhone 6 Plus mounted on a mountain bike handlebars in mind!  Wish me luck and drop me a comment if you have a recommendation on a good Bike Computer Application.   Thanks in advance!

Bike Computer iPhone Applications

Earlier in the month  I was writing about the items you need to start in mountain biking.  One of those items – which brings you a feel of accomplishment — is a bike computer.  You could purchase a purpose built bike computer (for several hundred dollars) or you could opt for an application that is running on your iPhone and allows you to leverage it as a large screen computer.

To start on the path of getting your iphone in the role of a bike computer you need to take the following steps:

  1. Figure out how to get your iPhone on the bike in a most secure fashion.  One option for that is leverage my personal experience described here (in earlier blog articles);   There is always the danger that the iPhone can suffer some damage on your bike, but I personally have taken a good tumble with my mountain bike which resulted in bending the rear wheel of the bike but NOT damaging the phone which stayed securely in the braket.
    • NOTE:  you need to replace the cord that came as original on the caddy with a stronger elastic cord – I bought mine from REI
  2. Review options for iPhone applications to install on your phone; 

In this write up I will provide the list of iPhone applications I have tried;   Here is first the list: 

Application Assessment Cost
iBiker Easy to use; dashboard stays on; Review Free
TPCycleLite

Easy to use; some quirks; Review

Free
BikeComputer Limited capabilities; Review Free
BikeBrain Good capabilities; Easy to use; Review Free

Runtastic Mountain Bike Lite

Excellent application; Feature rich; Review

Free 

MapMyRide Very good application; Still need to decide; Review  
Argus Another interesting application aggregating several aspects of your daily routine; Review Free
BikeFree   Free
Cycle Watch Lite   Free
Cyclemeter   Free
Cycle Log   Free
iBike   Free
LiveRider   Free
MountainBike   Free
Strava   Free

Stay tuned – I will provide an overview of these applications – starting with iBiker first and continuing with the rest of the list over the next few days

How to Get Started in Mountain Biking

Last week I had a summary of the new mountain bikes coming up for 2014.  There are a number of interesting machines available for you to use.   But, for some folks new to the experience, there is also the mental block of how do I start…?  What is the kit I need to have in order to get started with mountain biking.  So, with that in mind, I decided to post a brief list of the basic and extended necessities for a beginner in the sport.  

  • A good mountain bike – there are multiple options
    • On the higher end for a beginner: Marin Rocky Ridge 
    • In the mid-range: Specialized Rockhopper
    • In the entry level: Trek X-Caliber 6 (will write about this bike in my next posting)
  • Biking helment – lots of controversy and opinions on what makes a good helmet and how important they are, but at the end of the day, yes, you need one…For many reasons…
  • Water bottle 
    • If your bike was not outfitted with a water bottle cage – you need to get it done – either get one from your bike store or any of the camping stores may carry it; They are fairly universal 
  • spare tube for your tires
  • pump – you can look into both portable and/or full size ones
  • Combo tool kit – those come in a form factor that fits like a pack under your seat
  • Next we go into the nice to have things:
    • bike computer

                 — OR —

This kit should get you going on your first mountain bike ride – if it is just in your local park as a start!

Product Review: iBiker – for Outdoor & Indoor Biking (with Heart Rate Monitor) – Another iPhone App to Have

In the previous few weeks I provided a review of the Cycle Tracker Application for Biking.  That application worked fine, but I decided to check out as many as possible and decide what will be my optimal choice.  So I started the quest…

The next one to test (after the Cycle Tracker) is the iBiker.  The application is intended for users with iPhone devices where they could leverage the GPS function and get pretty interesting functions — as seen below — covered by the application.  Here we go with the functions:

iBiker Software Views
iBiker Main Application Dashboard Summary of the cycling run Map of the Output Speed Pane

As you can see the application provides some very interesting views.  Included are also a health view where you can record your heart rate, etc.  All in all easy to use and convenient application.  I would recommend it