Mapquest for the iPhone: A Perfect Motorcyclist’s Companion

I just recently added this update to our Motorcycle App Review section, but I thought I’d give it a new dedicated post as well since I thought it was such a great app.

Mapquest– Free turn-by-turn directions.

This is an absolute must-have app. I only discovered this while on my 2 month trip around the US but it was a huge time saver. Obviously a bit issue with being on a motorcycle can be figuring out directions. There’s always the option of having a gas tank mount to hold some directions and a map, but that can’t be always safe looking down while driving trying to figure out if you have to make that exit approaching at 70mph. Of course memorizing them is not very reliable and you’ll find yourself second guessing yourself more often than not at the last minute.

I found the Mapquest app to be a perfect solution to this. I typically like to listen to music when I ride (a decision which some might question from a safety standpoint, but that’s for another post), and this app work perfectly in the background with the new iOS 4.0 in my iPhone as it would unobtrusively turn down my music and announce on-coming directions and then turn the music back on when it was done. It also has an auto reroute feature if you get off course, automatically adjusting its directions. There are options for shortest time and shortest distance, as well as the options to avoid highways, toll roads, and “seasonally closed” (all of which are nice for motorcycle riders).  Since it is built in with Mapquest capabilities, you can search for restaurants, hotels, campgrounds, etc. and get directions to them as well.

I found one important feature missing was that there was no option to turn on warnings. This was big on a motorcycle because you couldn’t just look down and check what the status is (unless you had a mount for your phone, but I carried mine in my jacket pocket), so I would find myself in the familiar trap of second guessing myself and my phone’s battery power only to pull over on the side of the road and discover I was still 5 miles from my turn. It looks like they might have added this option though in a recent update with “Walking Directions Alerts,” though I haven’t had the chance to test it out. I would recommend however not totally relying on the app, quickly reviewing the directions before stowing your phone away, as sometimes it can crash or your battery may die, leaving you endlessly waiting for the next turn (the walking alerts may do a lot to alleviate this concern though).

Oh, and did I mention the best part? It’s free!!

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