Smartphones are everywhere, and even those of us who ride to “disconnect” probably have one along any time we get on a bike. After all, bringing your smartphone on a road trip is great peace of mind, just in case you need to call the cavalry.
While there are many travel and riding apps available for smartphone users, these five useful apps can take your road trip to the next level. You can download the apps free for iOS and Android phones from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the features of these apps that can help make your next ride even better …
Free “We’ll stop at the next exit.” How many times have you said that only to find it’s deserted? Just like the name implies, with Road Ahead you can scan upcoming exits to see what services are along the way.
Traffic jams, accidents, speed traps and other roadside delays can ruin your road trip. Avoid the mayhem with Waze, a GPS-based traffic app that warns you in real time what troubles may lie ahead, thanks to crowd-sourced data about actual road conditions.
This app lets you search, share and rate the best motorcycle roads anywhere you ride with thousands of other riders. With routes in more than 160 countries, you’ll never be at a loss for a great ride.
Loud pipes save lives, but they can also get you hassled by the Man. Find out how much noise your V-twin is putting out with this app and maybe save yourself a few bucks.
Get started by entering details about your motorcycle and set your preferred “home” H-D dealer. You can also create a personal profile, and upload photos of you or your bike.
Hit the ‘filter’ button at the top of the map page to search for recommended rides in your area and other nearby points of interest like dealers, events, gas stations and restaurants.
Map a route and hit the road with GPS navigation. Add dealers, gas stations and waypoints to create the perfect route that stays on the best roads. Then save it and share it with friends. Now, not only can you access the Harley-Davidson® Ride Planner on a desktop, but also from the palm of your hand.
When you hit Start, the app will start recording your ride route on the map.
For riders without an onboard Boom!™ 6.5 GT Infotainment System, the app provides turn-by-turn directions and can sync to a Bluetooth headset to verbally guide you along your route.
At the end of your ride, hit Finish to save it. You can give it a name and add notes about your ride.
Locate any dealership quickly, add to a ride or start GPS navigation. Better yet, save your favorite dealer and always have a Harley-Davidson expert at hand.
Ongoing challenges let you compete against yourself and others to earn digital achievement badges for the miles you ride. It’s a great incentive to spend more time on your bike.
A mobile device is likely the last thing you want to be worrying about while hitting the open road, but they have become something of a necessity for trip planning, avoiding traffic, and contributing to a like-minded motorcycling community. So strap on a helmet, let the clutch out slowly, and make sure that you utilize at least one of these trusty mobile apps on your weekly ride.
A version of this post appeared in H.O.G.® magazine.