My Favorite Android Weather Apps For Planning a Ride

With the cold and wet Spring we have been having, knowing the weather forecast can be very beneficial for picking the best days and time of day to get in a ride.  There are several apps that I use on my Android phone to help me choose.  I will also visit 2WheelWeather's MORC Weather Blog put out by meteorologist, Kristin Clark who is an avid cyclist and gears her weather forecasting towards cyclists.  But when I need hyper-local up-to-the minute forecasting, I turn to the following apps to find out the temperature, wind speed, precipitation chance and radar images for the area I plan to ride.  This way I can wear the appropriate cycling apparel to be comfortable in adverse weather conditions.

1Weather is a very useful app with a beautiful display.  I use it frequently to find the best days and time of day to avoid a rainy ride.  The map feature can be customized to your liking in regards to base layer, weather layer (including weather layer opacity) and a severe weather layer.   Features include:
  • Real-time local weather - any location in the world (Current + 48-hour)
  • 7-day & hourly forecasts
  • Follow my location - Updated weather when you're on the move
  • LIVE animated radar and extreme weather warnings (US only) with layers
  • Enhanced Cloud Layer for International locations on Radar Screen
  • Animated sunrise, sunset, and Lunar phase (Phones only)
  • Save multiple locations to access quickly and easily
  • Customize with multiple weather theme backgrounds



1Weather is available for free on Google Play.

NOAA Weather Free is one of my favorites because of its detailed hourly graphs that include Temperature, Wind Speed and Probability of Precipitation.  When rain is in the forecast, this app can help me pinpoint when to avoid it.  Store up to 3 locations or it will automatically detect where you are and gives you weather details for your current location.  Features include:
  • NOAA point forecasts from your GPS location to get the most localized weather available
  • Nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi networks can provide location
  • You can also enter a location manually
  •  To provided highly localized forecasting, NOAA Weather uses point forecasts from the National Weather Service (NOAA/NWS)
  • If there is severe weather you will see a red warning icon in the corner of the current conditions icon, press this icon for more details
  • There are differently sized widgets available which can be placed on your homescreen to provide some basic weather information, without the need to open the app
  • This is the ad supported free version of NOAA Weather and is limited to 3 saved locations

NOAA Weather Free is available is available for free on Google Play.

Weather Underground has a beautiful, easy to read display that has all the weather information you need neatly put together on one page.  The layout can be modified to display the current conditions from your selected weather station, map, extended forecast, conditions, daily or hourly graph summary and sunrise/sunset in the order you choose.  The weather radio feature is a big plus with this app, you can select NWS Radio stations for your current area and listen to the current weather, forecast and get details on severe weather in your area.  Features include:
  • Status notification: instantly view your current temperature and condition on the notification bar
  • Current conditions from your local weather station include temperature, feels like temperatures, wind speed & direction, humidity, dew point, visibility, pressure, gusts and moon phase
  • 10-day Forecasts including text summary
  • Hourly Forecasts including sunrise and sunset
  • Historical data 
  • Interactive Map showing all the personal weather stations in your neighborhood with animated radar, satellite, webcams and much more data
  • List view of saved Favorite Locations and Recent Searches
  • Crowd reporting feature empowers users to verify our data and send their own Sky Reports and Hazard Reports
  • Hazard Reports allow users to share dangerous road conditions in their area
  • Choose Light or Dark mode
  • Customize your experience by sliding the weather information up and down
  • Switch between Best Forecast™ & NWS Forecast
  • National Weather Service Radio

Weather Underground is available for free on Google Play and for IOS on iTunes.

Weatherbug is an app that I have been using for a long time on my computer and smartphone.  I can add weather stations from a list of multiple locations for a given area to get hyper-local weather information that is very useful.  The display is laid out nicely and is easy to read and navigate.  The map is highly customizable with many map layer weather overlays to choose from.  The 10 day forecast will help you plan in advance which are the best days to ride or what apparel you'll need to wear for a specific day.  Features include:
  • NEW Spark™ Alerts – Unique and beautiful, Spark™ turns your smartphone into a personal lightning detector
  • Real-Time Enhanced Pin-Point Forecasts for 2.6 Million Locations Worldwide
  • Exclusive DTAs & Severe Weather Alerts 
  • Extended 10-Day Forecast 
  • Enhanced Interactive Maps 
  • Live Weather Cams 
  • Lifestyle Forecasts 
  • Customizable Home Screen 
  • My Location – Automatically updates your weather information based on the closest weather station to you in your neighborhood through GPS 
  • Multiple Saved Locations – Save all your locations without any restrictions

Weatherbug is available for free on Google Play and for IOS on iTunes.

The Fox 9 Weather app has all the weather information you need on the main page and is easy to navigate by simply tapping on the item of your choice.  My favorite feature is the hourly forecast which shows the conditions, precipitation probability, wind speed and temperature on a scrollable page.  I can check the night before a morning ride and determine whether it will be pouring rain or chilly so I can plan accordingly.  Features include:
  • Highly responsive interactive map optimized for 3G and WiFi performance
  • Vertical and horizontal map display with looping
  • NOWrad, the gold standard for radar in the weather industry
  • Highest resolution satellite cloud imagery available
  • Exclusive patent pending Road Weather Index
  • Color coded weather alerts arranged by severity
  • Fully integrated GPS for current location awareness
  • Integrated compass overlay
  • Most accurate 10 day forecasts with both daily and hourly detail
  • Ability to easily save your favorite locations
  • Storm Track Plotting
  • Watch/Warning (Alert) boxes on map
  • Ability to acknowledge Alerts from within the app
  • Audio, LED, and vibrate for Alert Notifications
  • User controllable alerts - Allow the selection of all alerts or just critical alerts
  • Future Radar
  • Satellite/Radar combined layer

Fox 9 Weather is available for free on Google Play and for IOS on iTunes.

Rainy days helps me determine the track of a storm for my location.  With an animated radar, it gives me a good idea of whether I can get in a ride before inclement weather arrives or if it's soon moving out of my area.  Features include:
  • Shows weather radar doppler images from buienradar, meteox, vaderradar, eumetsat and nws using Google Maps
  • Pick animation length: short, normal, long for up to 3 hours of data
  • New gestures: double tap and hold, then move up or down to quickly zoom in or out. Swipe from bezel to scrub through the animation
  •  Map now follows your location when you are moving
  • Tweaks to conserve battery power and increase application performance

Rainy Days is available for free on Google Play.
Any of these free apps can be useful weather tools when planning for your next ride.  Get informed before you head out on the bike and avoid being unprepared for the elements.  This will make your ride more enjoyable and when you are wearing the proper clothing for the conditions you'll be able to ride longer, too.

*All images shown are from the Android version of the app.


Gravelmap Launches Interactive User Submitted Gravel Route Database


Gravelmap is a new website that launched on April 1st and comes to us from a web developer/cyclist from southern Oregon.  After first learning of Gravelmap, I saw huge potential for this budding new resource and decided to get in touch with the site's creator to learn more about it and to give a little feedback about its current features.

Theo responded filling me in on all of the details of Gravelmap and even implemented several of my suggestions to make the site better and even more user friendly.  He proceeded to tell me, "Last year, I acquired an interest in "gravel grinding," as many others have done. Here in Oregon we have lots of gravel, but finding it can be a challenge. Though the roads are plentiful (BLM/USFS roads, logging roads, etc.), when planning a route using Google Maps or topographic maps, it's not always clear if a road is accessible, legal to access, traversable by bike -- or if it even exists. As I explored, I found many great roads, not to mention a few dead ends here and there. But, more than that, I began to contemplate the idea of a resource to help other cyclists find the roads I was enjoying. As more and more people acquired cross bikes and began searching for gravel, I began to hear the same question from friends on Facebook and elsewhere: 'Does anyone know where the gravel roads are?'"

"While out on a ride about a month ago, I had the idea to build a site that would allow users to "draw" and save routes over a live map. Google Maps offers a very powerful interface for extending and adding to its functionality, and the fact that I had worked with it before made it an easy choice to use as the basis for the tool. I spent a series of late nights and a weekend or two building the route mapping engine (the components that make it possible to click, drag, and delete points on the map to create a route), followed by the pieces surrounding it -- the database on the back end, site pages, user login/registration functions, and so on. Eventually I had something that was bare-bones but functional, and I leased a hosting account and launched the site on April 1." 

Because Gravelmap is so new the route database is very limited, but that's where you come in.  Your added gravel routes will be extremely beneficial to the growth and usefulness of this great new resource.

"Most people who find the site simply want to know where the gravel is in their area, and new routes will help make that happen.  My sole intent in building the site is to help share the passion that I have for gravel and backroads cycling. I check the stats and the route database multiple times per day and I get genuinely excited when I see new signups or new routes added -- it feels great to know that people are participating."  

I am always looking for new gravel roads to ride and Gravelmap now allows me to find other user's routes in my area and I can share mine.  Getting started is easy, simply click "Log in" on the top navbar and sign up instantly using Facebook or create a user name and enter an email address with a password.  That's it, you're ready to start sharing your routes, voting on routes and leaving comments on routes you've tried.

Using Gravelmap is easy, visit the Gravelmap Help page for an overview of how to browse the map, add your first route and to see what the guidelines are for adding routes.  Once you have added a route to the Gravelmap database or found a route you would like to try, click anywhere on the route to display more details including:
  • Description 
  • Overlapping routes
  • Elevation profile (including reverse direction, if desired) 
  • Export a GPX file for the route
  • Vote on the route
  • Leave a comment
  • Embeddable route profile (copy and paste a HTML snippet to display a route on a webpage or blog)

Future plans for Gravelmap include user profile pages (click on a user's name to see the other routes they've created) and route editing.  Gravelmap is also compatible with Android devices and is iPhone friendly.  Images below are from an Android phone.

Sign up today to be a part of this fledgling resource and help with the growth of its interactive database of gravel/dirt roads and paths.  After getting to know Gravelmap you may find a bug or have an idea to make the site even better, feedback is welcomed from the developer.  Visit the Feedback page to voice your ideas or problems.  For more information, news, terms & conditions and privacy policy, visit the About Gravelmap page.  Follow Gravelmap on Twitter (@Gravelmap) or "Like" on Facebook.
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