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Posts by Dave Wilson
After our exploration of iPhone apps for motorcyclists, we decided to check out some of the many apps available on the Android platform. After all, being a biker is not about fitting in, and who wants the same phone as EVERYONE else!
Although I’ve called it a top 10, the apps are not listed in any particular order, and it is important to note that, since I have written this from a UK perspective, in some cases, equivalent apps may be more suitable if you live somewhere else. If no price is mentioned then the app is free, and in some cases there are free versions of the paid-for app mentioned, albeit missing a useful feature or two.
In case you have not seen them before, the funny black and white blocks are QR codes aka 2D-Barcodes. If your phone has barcode reading software, you can scan these and you will be taken directly to the download. If you are reading this on your phone, the links for each app will likewise take you to the marketplace download. OK, let’s crack on.
Pay at the Pump
Find petrol stations with pay at pump facility, so you can save time and not have to strip off your gear – plus avoid being mistaken for an armed robber when you forget to take off your lid on the way into the kiosk. This is aimed at the UK market, and won’t work too well elsewhere, but there are other apps available that cover other countries.
Fuel Prices UK
Everyone needs fuel, and no-one likes to pay more than they have to. This app will help you save money on every petrol stop. It is powered by Experian, which collects data from all the fuel card transactions fleet drivers use, so the data should be pretty accurate. The data comes on an annual subscription, with £4.99 and £9.99 variants, the dearer app gives more details on exact prices. Assuming a 2p per litre saving on each fuel stops low mileage scooterists might struggle to break even, but if you ride a bigger bike, and especially if you run another vehicle too, this app should more than pay for itself. Incidentally, this is blatantly the same app (same developers) as the identically priced AA Fuel Prices iPhone App, but without the annoying AA branding.
The ultimate road trip app. Winner of the travel category in the 2nd Android Developer Competition. Use Trip Journal to record and document your travel experiences and share them with friends and family. You can track your route, record waypoints and photos and geotag everything with Google Maps and KMZ Export. The full version is well worth the €1.99, as it adds Facebook, Flickr and Picasa support as well as a useful backup facility.
This app helps you remember where you parked, and as well as cars, you can obviously use it to find your bike. Parked up at Box Hill on Easter Monday, and can’t remember exactly where you left your ‘Blade? Looking around you can see about 20! This app will guide you right to yours using your phone’s GPS. If you are in a Multi-Storey, you can set the Level, Section and Colour too. Finding your car is simple, with a choice of map or radar view. The paid version at $0.99 removes ads and adds a parking meter feature, so you know when your time is nearly up.
This app is an awesome way to share your own routes with mates. If you have a favourite ride out between two points, it may (unsurprisingly) not be the route Google Maps chooses. And giving directions doesn’t always work out the way you think. But this app goes beyond this, as you can integrate photos of custom waymarkers, (e.g. turn left at this pretty white cottage) and tag points of interest.
Geotag a meeting point and send it to your mate. Then you can go and get a cuppa while you wait for him to turn up. When he arrives, you get a message telling you he’s there.
Motorcycle theory test preparation
This app will be a great help to new bikers who are preparing for the theory test. Saying that, those of us with more experience could do worse than to brush up on our Highway Code knowledge. $4.99 (but don’t worry it is for the UK test). There is a car version too.
Ultimate gps speedometer. speed, max speed, ave speed, pace, altitude gain and loss, odometer, map, replay, charts. A pro version adds live tracking…
Augmented Views 2.0
There are plenty of traffic applications out there, and the RAC, Transport Direct, and some independent folks have decent apps, and you really should have one of them on your phone. But this app shows the future of real time traffic info. This free app takes your regular traffic info and supplements it with some unbelievable extras – live feeds from nearby traffic cameras, traffic and travel related tweets from users near you and speed trap warnings. It speaks to you as well, so you can use it on the move. For when you are not on the road, there is also an augmented reality view that orients you relative to local cameras and alerts. Some features are only available in certain areas, so you’ll need to check out what’s available for you. Incredible stuff, and the UK is fairly well covered, especially around London and Glasgow, along with various North American cities. In its current form, I would use it in combination with a more regular traffic app. The live pictures could really help you decide if it is worth carrying on and filtering, or if you would be better off making a detour.
Finally, time for some relaxing fun. An entertaining game with a motocross theme. Costs $1.99 and has a pleasingly retro feel to it.
I hope you have the opportunity to try some of these apps for yourself. On Android phones, if you delete a paid-for app within the first 24 hours you get a full refund, so there is nothing to lose by trying them out.
If you have an Android phone, and you have found another app that is useful for bikers, please let me and everyone else know via the comments.
If you are in the motorcycle trade you are probably already aware of the Motorcycle Expo being held at the NEC from this Sunday 24th to Tuesday 26th of January.
We will be there, of course, on stand 407, so please come and see us. The Bikesure Babes will be in attendance to hand out their new calendars, and, if you visit our stand, you can enter our competition to win VIP tickets to this year’s MotoGP at Silverstone.
You can also sign up to our dealer network if you haven’t already – and if you have been working with us already we’d love to catch up with you.
BANG! WHACK! K-POW! You can’t get cooler than Batman, but even those of us who grew up watching Adam West biff the bad guys from his Batcycle, would probably not don a lurid Spandex one-piece before hitting the road. And the revamped outfits of Messrs Keaton, Kilmer and Clooney were hardly any more appealing to the average man in the street.
In Christopher Nolan‘s re-imagining of the Batman franchise, the costumes are brought right up to date, and capitalising on this to the max are UD Replicas, with a range of biker gear based on the movie. You can get Bruce Wayne’s biker jacket, or sport the leather numbers worn by the Joker’s henchmen.
But the best is yet to come, with the imminent release of the Batman replica motorcycle suit, comprising gloves, jacket, trousers and boots. Comprising Kevlar body armour and moulded leather attached to a hard-wearing Cordura base, with Spandex confined to a supporting role, so that you can actually move your limbs.
All in all, if you want to scare old ladies and wow children, this is the outfit to be seen in on you bike, although admittedly perhaps not if you ride a Vespa! But if you’ve spent you hard earned money on a nice set of leathers, make sure they are protected with a decent helmet and leathers policy – and I mean decent, many inferior products on the market will not cover the amount that this suit will retail for. You can buy the suit soon at http://www.udreplicas.com/.
Image by wordman1 via Flickr
The post is attracting quite a lot of comment from bike fans, with debate over whether the awesome performance of the R1 on the track is down to the new crankshaft, or more to do with Valentino Rossi‘s riding skill.
Perhaps you agree, or maybe you think the equally innovative 6-caliper brakes played a part, either way you can pitch in with your comments on the Yamaha R1, or read up on some of Yamaha’s other motorcycle innovations, over the years.
These clips demonstrate why, in this country at least, we have not only CBT, but also require people to take a proper test when they want to ride something a bit bigger than a moped.
We’re not sure if this is a record, but a biker in Southampton has just been handed 39 penalty points for repeatedly speeding at speeds of up to 88mph in a 30 zone, as well as pulling a wheelie for the camera. He was also banned for 18 months and fined for his trouble – you can see the report here, or watch the local news report.
Of the seven times he admitted to in court, Steven Skilton was caught at speeds of 88, 82, 77, 72, 54, 58 and 83 miles per hour on his Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Anyone can make the odd mistake and go a bit too fast on a bike as powerful as this Ninja, but repeatedly flouting the law is sure to attract the interest of the plods, even if your numberplate isn’t visible. Sure enough, I hear they pulled out all the stops to catch this guy, and eventually tracked him down by his jacket – a rare Dainese number that was sold to only a couple of people in the UK.
It can be difficult getting motorbike insurance with convictions, but thankfully Bikesure can help in most cases, and you may even find, that for one or two SP30s, your quote might not be any more expensive than if you have a clean license, although if you have managed to rack up 39 points, I’m afraid you may be looking at a rather hefty premium for a few years.
Most churches don’t have any problem with bikers, even big hairy ones can find a welcome in many congregations, as Bikers for Jesus will tell you, if you can persuade them to stop sharing the gospel for a second.
Having said that, it might be a good idea to leave your bike in the car park…
Safety is always a more intimate concern for those who prefer to travel on two wheels than it is for those who favour four wheels and a metal box. With nothing between you and the road, any accident is potentially quite harmful to a motorcyclist.
All sensible bikers in this day and age should be wearing a decent helmet and a good set of leathers (or other suitably protective clothing). But now some of the fancy safety features standard on most modern cars are starting to become available to bikers.
Dainese have come up with an airbag that is incorporated into the rider’s protective clothing. They are currently testing and refining the technology on the track, but it is sure to become widely available in the next few years, so frequent riders could benefit from added peace of mind.
The idea is that the neck, head and chest are protected from any impact or scraping injuries, meaning you’re more likely to survive any injury suffered.
Whilst this is still very much early days, any technology to reduce injuries suffered by bikers has got to be a good thing. And whilst these outfits probably won’t be cheap, decent protective gear rarely is, which is why it’s so important to get a decent helmet and leathers insurance policy – ours gives £1,000 worth of cover for just £20 per year.
Jenny said: “After threats of legal action I wont include the picture of Grant sporting the very same outfit”
Well, frankly, I don’t care about legal threats from Grant – the public have a right to know! Plus, if Grant really wants to explain to a court what he was up to, so much the better.
I understand that no padding was required.
Rumours that Grant could be found running around the hotel corridors at 3am dressed in the outfit and whooping “Chase me!” in the manner of Duncan Norvelle remain unconfirmed.