Roadbike before sunset
Photo by Flo Karr on Unsplash
How it all started
2020/09/19 - Michael Niedermayr

Cycling is my great passion - whether racing bike or mountain bike, the main thing is being on two wheels outside in nature. I even participate in cycling races from time to time. I'm already a bit too old for the top positions, but I always set myself a certain time I want to reach and then I train for this time in the months before the race.
Fortunately, my job gives me a certain flexibility and so I can adapt my training sessions to the weather. After all, it's more enjoyable to cycle in sunshine than in a rain shower.
Unfortunately, that also means that I usually have to train alone. On a bad day, I don't have anyone to kick my ass and motivate myself. On a good day, I don't have a challenger to push me to new best times.

For the last few years I have been training with a well-known cycling app to record my training progress and compare myself with other athletes virtually. The only downer: you couldn't compete with other riders in real time, you could only compare the times afterwards.
When the manufacturer of that app removed this feature from the free version in June 2020, it was clear to me that I needed a new training app. I tested several other apps, but was not really happy with any of them. I wanted an app that would act as my virtual training partner and keep me motivated during training. Honestly, I don't really care if I can compare myself with other cyclists afterwards or share my ride on social media.

After weeks of unsuccessful search, I finally decided to develop the one training app for myself that I had always wanted. After all, I'm a software engineer.
On a weekend when I had some free time - the weather was bad and my girlfriend was with her family - I started my personal hackathon. The aim was to develop the prototype of the app within one weekend. At first I didn't want to invest much time, but rather test early on whether my approach is useful and convenient for cyclists.
My idea: During a training session, the app should compare my current time with my previous performances on the same route and give me feedback in real time. Similar to the legendary Ghost function in Mario Kart.

Mario vs. Ghost - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario vs. Ghost - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (source:

After a weekend in front of my computer, with little sleep, too many pizzas and countless energy drinks, the prototype was built and ready for the first field test.
I named the app Bike Karotte (english carrot), because the way it works always reminds of the famous carrot that you hang in front of a donkey’s head to keep it moving. I imagined the app to be something similar for me.

Mario vs. Ghost - Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Donkey vs. carrot (source:

Then the moment of truth came, I tested the app for the first time. I mounted my smartphone on the handlebar of my race bike and rode my favorite training route in Vienna several times. On the first ride, I recorded the track. Afterwards I could already compete against my first ghost.

Smartphone on bike
Smartphone mount for bike
Left: Smartphone on my race bike, right: Smartphone mount (source:

I tested the app over several weeks and improved it again and again. But I quickly realized that it is really fun to train with my Ghosts. My motivation increased dramatically and my times got better and better.
At first, I just developed the app for myself and didn't even think about releasing it. But since it worked so well for me, I decided to publish it after all in hope that others might find it as useful and fun as I do. You can find it on Google Playstore.

I hope you enjoy training with the Bike Carrot. Any feedback is welcome (