No bells and whistles --- just mileage recording!
September 19, 2014 9:23 AM   Subscribe

So I try to log my daily bicycle usage, mostly for my own curiosity. I want a lightweight, simple Android app to do this. This is a very simple requirement but somehow I have not found an app that quite meets it.

I used to use a pen and paper to write down my daily mileage off my cycloputer, but I keep losing notepads, and I'd just as soon combine the purposes of my many single-use devices, so I want an Android app which is as easy to enter a beginning-of-day (or end-of-day) mileage into as a notebook. Ideally, it would be something which, when I open it, has a field to enter the current odometer reading, and a date (or date-and-time) field, defaulting to 'now' but adjustable. Mile Agent is very nearly what I want, but requires a "Destination" and "Purpose" field on each entry, and doesn't allow fractions of a mile.

Thnigs which are necessary:
* manual-entry orientation --- almost all of the ride-tracking and vehicle-tracking apps are GPS-based, and I don't want that, because that involves turning it on and off and on and off every time I get on or off my bike when all I really want are daily totals.
* export to some useful format: I'd like to be able to make graphs or whatnot, and that means eventually exporting to a computer. CSVs of dates and numbers are fine.
* simple interface: I don't want the manual-entry tucked way back in a tangle of menus. Hitting a button for "add a log entry" is fine by me, but after that I want to be able to just type in a number, possibly tweak the date/time, and be done.
* local storage: I frequently disable mobile data, and this is something I really shouldn't need the cloud for.

The app I want seems like a simple thing, and there are hundreds of apps which do it and more and end up not being what I want because there's simply too much to them and manual entry is a kludge onto a GPS-based system rather than the purpose of the app. Surely someone out there has made a no-frills 'enter one number each day' recording program?
posted by jackbishop to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why not just set up a Google Sheets spreadsheet (on your phone) and input it into that. Then, you can graph it and manipulate the data as you see fit.
posted by 724A at 9:29 AM on September 19, 2014

There basically is not really going to be a fitness tracking app that *only* allows entry manually. This is mostly because
a) it's too easy to do in a spreadsheet type app
b) it's too easy to add GPS tracking, so every app worth it's salt will do that

There *are* some bike apps that are meant to approxiately record biking mileage without you having to turn them off and on. Google now does this I think, I'm pretty sure there are some others. The accuracy of these varies a lot.
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:34 AM on September 19, 2014

Seems to me that the Google Sheets idea is halfway there -- if mobile-accessibility weren't a requirement, you could use Google Forms to make a little input form which would accrue data in the Google Sheet. I've tried to do a similar task to optimize my commute & avoid traffice; editing the Google Sheet directly is a little clunky and is also network-dependent.

It also seems to me that recording mileage from the fitness tracking app isn't what jackbishop is asking for; the bicycle is a red herring. What we need is easy simple database entry.
posted by jeffjon at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2014

Agree that the actual activity (biking) that generates the data is not so relevant if you want to track it manually. I actually use OfficeSuite pro (from Mobi Systems) on my Android phone, not Google Docs, and it saves files locally so you could save locally and sync the file when you have conncectivity or whenever you wish to sync. It saves files in several formats including Excel file format (*.xlsx) The data entry is the same as any program on a phone; it is dependent on your keyboard program and your fat fingers.
posted by 724A at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

With several caveats - have you tried RunKeeper?

It does have the full range of bells and whistles, sorry - but it does allow what you're asking for with minimal extra steps. On my iPhone, I regularly use Start -> Log -> Walking -> enter date time length -> Save.

But I do occasionally use the GPS tracking features, so there are probably simpler apps that suit your purpose. I agree with responders above who suggest that you don't need a fitness app, you just need a simple database logger.
posted by RedOrGreen at 12:44 PM on September 19, 2014

Strava is GPS based, but allows you to manually enter events. If you want to graph things, it has some great visualization tools on their website. The only thing I see missing is a way to export data. (That feature might be there, and I'm just not seeing it.)
posted by slogger at 12:57 PM on September 19, 2014

I've been using Strava for a while, and the other day I was delighted to find that it now auto pauses when you stop moving. That makes it dead simple for "just mileage" recording.
posted by markjamesmurphy at 8:24 PM on September 28, 2014

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