Urban Velo

Ride With GPS Route Planner Review

imagesImagine you want to plan out a long ride for you and your friends. How would you go about planning the ride? Get directions to somewhere with Google maps and drag some waypoints? Pull out an atlas? What if it got complicated? What if you wanted to upload it to your smartphone or GPS? There are a number of options in ride planners and mapping software available, but Ride With GPS is the best that I’ve yet tried.

Ride With GPS is a webapp that helps you plan your routes. It provides a map editor where you can click to plot out your route and generates a full distance and elevation profile of your route along with a fully editable cue sheet.

The editor is easy to use, and generates the cue-sheet as you go. It will auto-route between points using bike, car, or walking directions. Alternatively, you can simply click to do point to point routes for off-road sections, shortcuts, or where the maps don’t match the actual street condition. If you mess up, it keeps a deep undo history, so you can step backwards as many times as you need to fix any issues with your routing. It incorporates OpenStreetMap, Google Maps, satellite, topographic maps, and allows you to pop in and out of Google Street View where available while in the route editor.

You can add arbitrary cue sheet notes anywhere along your route. These, as well as all of the automatically created cue sheet prompts, are completely editable, so you can put in extra detail like “Turn at the church” or “Be careful, loose gravel around turns.”

While you can plan a route and print the cue sheet for free, $50/year Basic and $80/year premium members have some great customizable map and cue sheet printing options which are delivered as a PDF that you can send to your ride buddies.

If you use a Garmin or your smartphone to follow routes, you can export your route to TCX, GPX, or KML formats to load on to your device. The CSV (cue sheet directions and milage only) export is handy for creating detailed custom cue sheets for event or group ride planning if you’re into that sort of thing. Detailed instructions and recommendations are provided for how to use any of the Garmin Edge series devices with the site. Premium users can make this easier with the “Garmin Write” functionality. There is also power meter compatibility if you’re serious about training.

When you are done, you can share a publicly viewable link to the route with your friends and then go ride. www.ridewithgps.com

Contributed by Ben Voytko, friend and riding buddy of Urban Velo, and valued tech consultant when panic sets in.

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