Category Archives: Development

Why the Bike Doctor app is the easiest to follow bike maintenance guide you’ll ever find

Bike maintenance books

At home I have a big pile of bike maintenance books. I’ve got links to resources such as Sheldon Brown, bookmarks to YouTube videos and eBooks.

Whilst I’ve never been very good at anything technical, I always wanted to be good at bike maintenance.

I could picture having a bike that runs perfectly, with no squeaks. I could picture my family and neighbours coming round and helping them with their repairs.

However, every time I’d try, I’d end up getting frustrated.

The bike maintenance guides never explained things clearly.

They never seemed to have all the information I needed in one place.

They’d miss out on crucial little details.

I’d take my bike to the local bike shop and they’d say “These brakes are on back to front, they have directional indicators”

What? Why on earth wouldn’t the author include that little detail!

I felt silly,  like this is something I should just know but I didn’t. Maybe it was just me?

Eventually, it put me off maintaining my bike. As I didn’t have money for the bike shop, it fell in to disrepair.

Around about that time, the first iPhone appeared. I thought – wow, this would be the perfect little device to have a bike maintenance guide on.

Bike Doctor was created with one important difference to anything else out there: Even a complete beginner could follow the repairs inside the app.

How did I know that?

Because I was a complete beginner.

When I created Bike Doctor I knew only the basics to bike maintenance. Using all the maintenance books, videos and resources I’d collected, I would attempt repairs. Inevitably, things would go wrong and then I’d look up where I went wrong. Afterwards, I’d include those extra details inside the instructions, as if I went wrong there, someone else might too.

Instead of writing the guide as a pro bike mechanic who’s been doing this for years, I created it as a beginner.

Over time and after many revisions, this created a really easy to follow set of instructions.

Every guide I created, I ran by a local bike shop owner, who’d check through the instructions.

When we first launched, I got this feedback:

I read somewhere about truing wheels and it said don’t bother unless you are a pro, but I’ve just sorted my wheels out a treat. The app paid for itself straight away!

5,431 downloads later and after being featured by Apple, we created an Android version of the app.

We kept adding repairs and now, 14,233 downloads later, we’ve launched our iPad edition!

Bike Doctor on the iPhone, iPad and on Android devices

To get a copy of the app just seek it out in the app store or follow one of the links below:

Android app on Google Play Download Bike Doctor on the app store

Tour of the app

View of Bike Doctor being used on iPad

To find the relevant repair you can either use our bike view or you can select from one of the categories.

Choosing a repair

You flip through the guides until you find one that interests you.

Bike Doctor one of the repair steps

Then you follow the step by step instructions to complete the repair.

Bike Doctor iPad splash screen

Bike Doctor coming to an iPad near you..

The year is 2013. Lots of people own iPads and lots of people ride bikes. Those bikes needs to be maintained.

Introducing Bike Doctor iPad!

Bike Doctor iPad splash screen

Drum! Drum! Drum!

In the next week or two pending Apple’s approval, all users of Bike Doctor 2 will be receive a free copy of Bike Doctor iPad. All you need to do is download it from the app store.

Why is the new version so epic?

  • Looks sexy
  • You can search for repairs
  • The images are bigger and clearer so you can see the detail more clearly
  • We’ve added buy buttons so you can easily grab any tools you are missing
  • The app is a joy to use (you’ll see when you download it!)

Also, we’ll be giving away access to a set of bike maintenance videos we’ve filmed. For the giveaway, I filmed this little video that will be appearing inside the app. Here it is, in all its outtake glory:

I had to film this about 50 times to get it right – I’m not a big fan of talking in to a camera lens!

Many of the upgrades you see in the iPad version will eventually make their way in to the iPhone version too.

How we moved our users from our old app to our new one

The funny message we used to move Bike Doctor App in the app store

At the beginning of June we realised we had a problem. We needed to move our app from one account in the app store to another. Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t include the facility to do so. Therefore, we needed a messy transition. Here’s how we went about doing it.

We released a new version of Bike Doctor in the app store. We called it Bike Doctor 2 and Apple didn’t seem to have any issue with this. The app had a similar icon, with a 2 added in the corner.

With the app in place and free to download, we issued an update to the first version of Bike Doctor. In there, we included in-app notifications to alert users to the need to get the new app.

We also added this message for when the user loads the app:

Bike Doctor as you know it is being retired. It’s off to live out the rest of its days playing bingo with the old folks, reminiscing about all the good times it spent on your iPhone. Fortunately, there’s a shiny new Bike Doctor to replace it. We’ve cleverly named it Bike Doctor 2. Great name right?

The good news is you can transition to the new app up until the 31st of July 2012 for free! After that we are going to have to start charging again so you need to be quick. So why the change? It’s because we need to setup the app on a new account on the app store.

Fortunately, this means we’ll be able to issue more frequent updates with extra repairs. To start with, we’ve added a new repair to Bike Doctor 2 and we’ll shortly be adding instructions to bleed disk brakes. We’re also working away behind the scenes to give it a 21st century makeover. To get the new version simply tap “Upgrade now”. See you in the new version!

We hoped that by using a light hearted message to users we’d be able to convince them to move over to the new app and not be too mad at us. After all, we understand it’s a bit of a pain!

We’ve also decided to extend the amount of time the app is available for free to download, as we release some users will take longer than others to update. Therefore, as opposed to the original 31st of July deadline, we’re leaving the new app free until the end of August.

So how is our method for moving users over to the new iPhone app working?

We’ve had a lot of updates to the old app. Over 7,199 in just under 2 weeks. However, it’s difficult to say how many of those users have actually opened the app and seen our update message. Alternatively, they may also have seen the message we left in the update text box.

Moving app in app store

In the graph above you can see the downloads of our new free app in blue. A very large percentage of them are from before we launched the update to the old Bike Doctor. Many of these users may have discovered the app as it topped the free category and in fact they may never have known about the old Bike Doctor.  You can see the updates to the original Bike Doctor in yellow. We can also see that it has positively effected downloads in the long run.

Despite our app no longer being featured by Apple or actively promoted through London Cyclist Blog, we’ve seen high levels of downloads.

It’s difficult to assess how many of our users have moved across. Since records began on App Figures, we’ve had 6,427 downloads of the original Bike Doctor. We’ve seen over 7,199 updates in the past two weeks. That’s encouraging. However, we don’t know of those how many have opened the app to see the important message.

For Bike Doctor 2 we’ve had 5,626 downloads in total since we launched three and a half weeks ago.

We are waiting and hoping our users will move across before we phase out the first edition of Bike Doctor.

I hope this is useful for any developers who are considering a similar move. The only thing I’d do differently, is include a tracking button in the update notification so that you can see how many people have tapped to move across to the new edition.

Bike Doctor 2.0 – get it while it’s hot!

We’ve got some pretty big news today. Bike Doctor 2.0 has been added to the App store. The original Bike Doctor is going to be retired at the end of this month. You need to search the app store for Bike Doctor 2 and get the new version while it is free to download!

Eh? Who? What? Why? When? Oh? Uh? Boing?

Yep, I know it’s a little confusing. Why not just update the old copy of Bike Doctor?

The old copy of Bike Doctor is on Ron Forresters App Store account. Ron no longer wishes to be part of Bike Doctor as he’s busy with a lot of other projects (That’s what happens when you are an awesome developer who is in demand).

Therefore, we need to move Bike Doctor out of his account and safely in to mine. Unfortunately, there isn’t a capability within the app store to simply transfer users over.

Hence why we’ve released a new version of the app that’ll be free for a few days only to give all our users a chance to move across. Then, we’ll be bumping the price back up to the normal level.

How do you get the new copy?

Search the app store for Bike Doctor 2 or follow this link:

Is this good news or bad news?

Good news! With the app in my account I’ll be able to issue really frequent updates. For a start I’ve got a target of hitting 40 repairs in Bike Doctor by August the 16th. My birthday!

Also, I’m going to be focusing on bringing a new design to Bike Doctor as I’m not a fan of the old one. The new look should be very cool and make you want to use the app to repair your bike more than ever!

What can I do to help?

That’s very nice of you! Please grab the new copy of Bike Doctor and leave a review in the app store.

When are the updates coming?

Well, my birthday is August the 16th, so by then we’ll have added a load more repairs. The new version already has instructions for how to prevent a puncture and we’ve got instructions for how to bleed disk brakes which we’ll be adding now and sending off to Apple for them to give it the thumbs up!

Get Bike Doctor 2.0 now while it’s free – thanks!

Let your friends know when you’ve successfully completed a repair: Bike Doctor can now Tweet your repair!

twitter-setup-bike-doctorWe’ve added Twitter support to Bike Doctor iPhone.

All you need to do to use it is update to the latest version from app store and then head to the settings screen to enter your Twitter details.

Once you’ve completed a repair (hitting done on the final screen) you will be prompted if you want to Tweet your repair.

We hope you like this new functionality and we’ll also look into adding it to the Android version.

Next up: More repairs!

Version 1.0.2 of Bike Doctor

We’ve submitted version 1.0.2 to Apple for approval:

Here is the list of fixes:

– Added Road Brake Pad replacement tutorial
– Added Mountain Bike Mechanical Disc Brake Pad replacement tutorial
– Should install and run on OS versions 3.1.2  and later (please email support if you find this not to be the case)
– Minor fixes (content and code)
We’ve responded to the overwhelming amount of people who emailed us about Disc Brake repairs and have added this first one. Plenty more are still to come..

See also: Bike apps for the iPhone

Dreaming of version 2

It’s early days still for the Bike Doctor iPhone app but we’re already dreaming of version 2.

The number 1 most requested feature so far is to port the App over to the Android. Therefore if you are an Android developer please do get in touch!

Here’s some more ideas we’ve been given or were working on:

  • Bike safety check that you can do before every ride
  • A monthly bike maintenance schedule that can automatically be added to your calendar/push notifications
  • More repairs
  • More roadie repairs – Staring with taping the handlebars and brake replacement
  • An iPad version?
  • Quiz that helps you discover the problem with your bike
  • “On the road” repair tips if you don’t have all your tools with you
  • Way of keeping track of the maintenance you have done
  • More languages (German, Chinese, Greek etc..)