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Old 12-18-13, 11:12 AM   #1
bbbean 
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Ride With GPS

I'm a big fan of tracking and gadgets, so I use my Garmin and log all my rides on Strava and Map My Ride, and have lately been playing with Ride with GPS.

While the differences between Strava and Map My Ride make each of them suitable for specific uses (Strava for competition and social riding, Map My Ride to give my wife live tracking when I'm riding solo), I haven't yet found anything that Ride With GPS does that one or both the other apps don't do as well or better. I've read people brag on Ride With GPS's mapping abilities, but in the current version, all threee apps seem to have essentially the same tools (with the same strengths and weaknesses)

So - Ride With GPS fans, what am I missing out on? Are there features I'm missing out on?

On a semi-related note - is there a mapping service that can distinguish between gravel and paved roads? I get tired of having to zoom in to sattelite views to plan rides that won't put me riding my road bike on gravel in rural areas.

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Old 12-18-13, 01:11 PM   #2
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I use RideWithGPS for planning new rides. It is very fast and lightweight and you can share your maps with friends that do not have accounts. I gave up on MapMyRide because the web site was so sluggish and they started restricting important features to people with paying accounts.
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Old 12-18-13, 01:36 PM   #3
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I use RideWithGPS for planning new rides. It is very fast and lightweight and you can share your maps with friends that do not have accounts. I gave up on MapMyRide because the web site was so sluggish and they started restricting important features to people with paying accounts.
^^^ +1

In the past, I've done this on my android phone using a USB OTG adapter to connect a mouse to facilitate laying out the routs and to transfer files to/from my Garmin. A few months ago they screwed up the site so it no longer displays properly on the phone. They've said they are going to fix it, but haven't yet.
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Old 12-18-13, 01:49 PM   #4
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FWIW, I have paid accounts on RWGPS, MMR, and Strava. In my opinion, the mapping features are so close to identical on each of them that mapping isn't a reason to prefer one over the other.

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Old 12-18-13, 02:18 PM   #5
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I started with Mapmyride, then went to RWGPS because it was a better platform at the time. They have seemed to leapfrog each other over time, but I stick with RWGPS because the UI is familiar. I use Strava to record rides and it has the best social networking features, but its planning function is, surprisingly, very week, as to be unusable.

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On a semi-related note - is there a mapping service that can distinguish between gravel and paved roads? I get tired of having to zoom in to sattelite views to plan rides that won't put me riding my road bike on gravel in rural areas.
BB
All of these access public databases put up by local agencies, like city and county road and highway departments. The road data for the US is managed by the U.S. Census bureau. That is were the problem lies. The data is mostly pretty good, but there are glitches, and MMR, and RWGPS really have no control over that.

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Old 12-18-13, 02:57 PM   #6
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I started with Mapmyride, then went to RWGPS because it was a better platform at the time. They have seemed to leapfrog each other over time, but I stick with RWGPS because the UI is familiar. I use Strava to record rides and it has the best social networking features, but its planning function is, surprisingly, very week, as to be unusable.
Have you tried planning trips on Strava recently? They upgraded this fall, and I honestly can't tell a difference between their planning features and the others. If you took out the logos, I'd have a hard time telling one from the other.

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Old 12-18-13, 03:02 PM   #7
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I really like the mapping with MapMyRide... when drawing routes it autoplots much more accurately to bike paths and such with minimal manual fuss. Strava is awful in this regard...
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Old 12-18-13, 03:25 PM   #8
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FWIW: I used to use MMR, but about a year ago or so they started generating gpx files with way to many trackpoints that took way too long to load or would crash on my Garmin. I could still use their files by running them through TCX converter and limiting the trackpoints to something reasonable, like 2000 or less. Except for that, MMR is good.
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Old 12-19-13, 02:25 AM   #9
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I just tried Strava's route feature for the first time. I really like their UI. I think the UI is better than MapMyRide, however Strava is not nearly as good at auto-routing. In many places I would click a bike path and it would take me down the road rather than the path. Another feature I like with MapMyRide is I can create a route then use my iPhone on the ride to see where I am on that route. It doesn't look like Strava has that feature yet. Does RideWithGPS? I hope Strave improves the routing. I will say, one annoyance MapMyRide on the iPhone is if I delete a route from the web site it doesn't delete from my phone.
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Old 12-19-13, 06:12 AM   #10
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Strava's autorouting defaults to using the route ridden by others. There is a slider that makes it less dependant on that. RWGPS also has problems with bike paths, but I think they inherit that from google
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Old 12-19-13, 06:34 AM   #11
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I just tried Strava's route feature for the first time. I really like their UI. I think the UI is better than MapMyRide, however Strava is not nearly as good at auto-routing. In many places I would click a bike path and it would take me down the road rather than the path.
Did you go into the map settings and turn on the "use bike paths" option?
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Old 12-19-13, 07:25 AM   #12
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The biggie for me with RWGPS is sharing the routes for free to a larger group. If that's just as easy with the others I would consider trying them.
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Old 12-19-13, 07:39 AM   #13
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So, as someone who is new to an area and new to riding with a GPS device, is there one service (preferably the free version) that anyone would recommend to me to help me get out and explore the area finding good routes to ride (ie not dropping me on highways)?
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Old 12-19-13, 08:52 AM   #14
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On all the major cycling mapping sites you can search for routes done by other riders per locale, distance, etc... Also, the LBSs will have rides or recommended routes. I'd suggest doing a few of those to get the lay of the land and then start exploring on your own. Lay out your own routes and go ride them. That's basically what I do.
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Old 12-19-13, 09:26 AM   #15
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The biggie for me with RWGPS is sharing the routes for free to a larger group. If that's just as easy with the others I would consider trying them.
They will all let you export to various formats, and they all have groups and clubs that will allow you to share routes and rides.
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Old 12-19-13, 09:27 AM   #16
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So, as someone who is new to an area and new to riding with a GPS device, is there one service (preferably the free version) that anyone would recommend to me to help me get out and explore the area finding good routes to ride (ie not dropping me on highways)?
Best bet is to check out each of them and see which one is most popular in your area.
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Old 12-19-13, 09:52 AM   #17
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Did you go into the map settings and turn on the "use bike paths" option?
I did set it to use bike paths and also tried it with "Use Popular" turned off, though in this case the path I was trying to route is very popular. Map My Ride routes on this path correctly. I'm still going to fiddle with it a bit more. I definitely feel the Strava user interface is better. From a UI perspective I think Strava > Map My Ride > RWGPS.
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Old 12-19-13, 09:59 AM   #18
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Mapping with Strava

Here is an example where I cannot get Strava to route onto the bike path. This is a location in Seattle. I am able to easily route onto this bike path using MapMyRide. If they can fix this issue on Strava and provide a means for viewing the route on an iPhone while also showing your current location then I would switch over from MayMyRide.

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Old 12-19-13, 11:36 AM   #19
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Here is an example where I cannot get Strava to route onto the bike path. This is a location in Seattle...
Yes. I find STRAVA routing to be funky. I just tried your route in Strava and couldn't get it to work either, but on RWGPS it routed onto and followed the bike path without issue.
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Old 12-19-13, 11:54 AM   #20
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Yes. I find STRAVA routing to be funky. I just tried your route in Strava and couldn't get it to work either, but on RWGPS it routed onto and followed the bike path without issue.
Thanks for testing the route. I'm glad it's not just me. I too can get it to work on RWGPS. For now it's RWGPS or MMR for me. Strava's routing is in beta now so hopefully it improves.
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Old 12-19-13, 12:51 PM   #21
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Here is an example where I cannot get Strava to route onto the bike path. This is a location in Seattle. I am able to easily route onto this bike path using MapMyRide. If they can fix this issue on Strava and provide a means for viewing the route on an iPhone while also showing your current location then I would switch over from MayMyRide.

I get similar problems routing on the BGT and SRT in Seattle, for some reason Strava likes to randomly move me off the dedicated path onto roads that I do not want to be on (like Lake City Way, wtf?!)
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Old 12-19-13, 12:55 PM   #22
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So, as someone who is new to an area and new to riding with a GPS device, is there one service (preferably the free version) that anyone would recommend to me to help me get out and explore the area finding good routes to ride (ie not dropping me on highways)?
RWGPS MMR, and a host of others, supplemented by visiting the appropriate BF Regional forum to ask for specifics. Or if you're feeling adventurous, exploring on your own. I carry my smart phone and if I hit a spot that is iffy, or sometimes interesting I GoogleMap my current location.

Keep in mind that satellite and street view imagery may be out of date.
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Old 12-19-13, 01:26 PM   #23
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To address the original post, what I typically do if I want to travel a new route is first get a sense of where I want to go, then, similar to what CommuteCommando said, I use several tools to plan a route:
  1. Use google maps with the bicycle overlay to identify bike paths, lanes, or suggested routes. Or, I'll do this in MapMyRide since it has the bicycle overlay.
  2. Once I narrow down a few options I will sometimes use Google satellite view and street view in areas that could be troublesome to determine if I'm comfortable with a particular section of the route.
  3. Once I have it mapped out in MapMyRide I save the route. Then on my ride I open the route on my iPhone and it shows the map, my route, and where I am. It doesn't provide turn by turn, but it gets the job done.
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Old 12-20-13, 09:24 AM   #24
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It doesn't provide turn by turn, but it gets the job done.
I am fifty something and did just fine for many years without it, and am amused by all the people I see-many of them my age-who act totally dependent on it.
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Old 12-20-13, 10:13 AM   #25
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I'm over 60, riding for over 40 years, and though not reliant on it, I find it very advantageous. I can lay out a new route and go out and hammer without slowing/stopping to deal with navigation. It also depends on where I ride. Living out West, routes were simple. A quick look at that map or route sheet beforehand and I was good to go. In the Northeast, routes can get very complicated with all the twisty short little roads. For example, the second ride I did here has 27 turns and different roads in 25 miles. It certainly would be less problematic for a native familiar with the area but as a newcomer I could spend more time navigating than pedaling.

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