PCTC Android App

The PCTC Android app allows you to download members' mobile phone numbers and emergency contacts to your phone before starting a ride. Those details are then always available to you even if you have no internet access. For members that have asked not to have their details available, only emergency contacts are downloaded and only if you are a ride leader.

Security of member details is protected - you have to enter your Portsmouth CTC web site credentials (not the Cycling UK ones) to see them.

Click any of these headings to see more information. Note that:

  • You can see larger versions of images by clicking on them
  • Android has many versions, and phone suppliers like to mess around with 'standard' Android - you might therefore encounter some differences from the messages shown or procedures described
  • I refer to 'phone' in this document to refer to either an Android phone or tablet
  • The images of phones all use portrait mode; the app works just as well in landscape mode
Allow your phone to install the app

NB some manufacturers have modified basic Android making it hard to find the setting described below. If you can't find it, skip this step. You will probably be redirected to the relevant settings page during the installation process.

The app needs to be 'side loaded" - that's the installation procedure that does not use the Google app store. For that to work, you have to change the security options on your phone or tablet. Go to your settings page and look for the 'Security' option under 'Personal'...

Tap 'Security' and look for 'Unknown sources'. Ensure the option is selected like this...

You will see a warning message asking you to confirm your change.

If you want, you can come back to this page later and unset the option (it's needed only while installing the PCTC app).

Install the app, or update to the latest version

Your phone needs to be running Android 5 (Lollipop, released in 2014) or later. You will see an error message if you try to install to an earlier version, so just try it if you are uncertain.

Navigate to this page on your phone and click this link to download the app. You will see something like this...

Click 'Download'. When the download completes you will see:

  • a message asking if you want to open it;
  • a notification in the notification bar that provides a link to open it; or
  • both.

Open the downloaded file. You will see something like this...

Click 'Install'.

You might see a rather unhelpful message like "App not installed" at this point. If you get the message try removing any previous version of the app from your phone (see below) and try again.

Even though you have allowed this kind of installation you will see a rather dire warning something like...

Click 'Install anyway'. You will then see a confirmation message like...

Click 'Open' to run the app straight away. You can also drag the app's icon from the list of installed apps onto a home page and run it from there. Look for...

Before you start a ride

You can use the app to download mobile phone numbers and emergency contact details to your phone. That way they will always be available even if you do not have internet access.

Start by running the app while you phone is connected to the internet. You will see:

Enter the username and password you use to log in to the Portsmouth CTC web site and either tap 'Download' or the 'Enter' key on your on-screen keyboard. While the app is processing, you will see message 'Working on it'. If there is a problem you will see an message. Otherwise you will see either a password request if your device is not protected (see below) or the search page...

The data has been downloaded, you are now ready to go on the ride. Do not close the app down or you will lose all the data.

During a ride

When you need to get a member's contact details, Open your phone. If the app is not displayed, rerun it from:

  • the list of apps;
  • an icon on your home screen; or
  • the list of running apps.

You will see either a password request if your device is not protected (see below) or the search page...

Enter some of the person's name - case is irrelevant - and tap 'Search' or press the 'Enter' key on your on-screen keyboard to make a search. So, for example, searching for "andy h" shows something like...

A member's phone number appears only if they have provided one and made it available to other members; otherwise it shows "Unavailable"

Emergency contacts show:

  • The contacts provided by the member if they have made them available to other members, or if you are a ride leader
  • "Available only to ride leaders" if the member has provided contacts but not made them available to other members, and you are not a ride leader
  • "Not provided" if the member has not provided emergency contacts

Note that if you see "Available only to ride leaders" you can ask a ride leader to retrieve the details either directly from the web site or via the PCTC App.

If the mobile number shows in blue, you can tap it to try to dial the number automatically. Note that it will use letters in the American style (A,B or C become 1, etc). In the unlikely event it cannot see a suitable number, the text is copied to the clipboard so you can paste it into the dialler.

You can long-tap text in the emergency contacts to see an option to copy text; you can, for example, copy an emergency number and paste it into the dialler.

If there are multiple matches to your search text, swipe up and down to see them.

If you don't see the person you want, update your search term and click 'Search' to try again.

Note that you should not close the app while on the ride or you will lose all the downloaded data.

After your ride

Close the app by clicking the 'Exit' button. You will see an 'Are you sure' message. Click 'Exit' again to close the app and remove all downloaded information from your phone.

If your device is not protected

The app detects whether your device is protected by a password, fingerprint, or similar mechanism. If your device is not protected, anyone getting hold of your phone while the app is running could get hold of sensitive information about members and their emergency contacts. To prevent that, you will need to re-enter your web site password before searching for members.

The app will automatically request the password after you:

  • Download member data from the web site (normally you would put your phone away at this point to start the ride)
  • Use the app to dial a number
  • Send your phone to sleep
  • Switch to a different app

The password request looks like this...

Re-enter the password you use to log in to the Portsmouth CTC web site and click 'Validate' or the 'Enter' key on your on-screen keyboard. You will then see the search page.

If you find it onerous to enter your password, you can change your web site password to something easier through your web site profile. Click here to go there now.

Remove the app from your phone

If you decide you don't want or need the app, go to your settings page and look for the 'Apps' option under 'Device'. Tap Apps to see a list of apps installed on your device. Scroll down to PCTC and tap the entry. Tap 'Uninstall' and confirm the app's removal.

Version history

When you run the app, you can see the currently-installed version next to the 'Exit' button on the initial display.

Version 1.3

This was the first version released to members.

Version 1.4

Implemented the following changes:

  • Removed the need to re-enter a password when searching if the device is already protected by a password or similar mechanism
  • Better handled a switch from portrait to landscape, or vice versa, so that a new password request is not generated by the search page and search results are retained.

Version 1.5

Implemented a better check for a protected device on older Android phones.

If you don't have an Android device

If there's significant demand I might be able to produce a Windows Phone version of the app.

It's unlikely I will be able to produce a version for Apple devices, however, because of the obstacles created by Apple.

If you are a ride leader you can use any device with an internet browser to download contact information to your phone for use on a ride. Click here to find out how to do that.