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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:59 am 
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Joined: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:32 pm
Posts: 7514
Location: Los Angeles / Glendale, California
Hi,

Let's have a thread that will helpful to others instead of whinging about 1st world problems, yeah? Honestly we're fairly privileged to have the freedom, and relative wealth, to ride recreationally and use technologies, often free or provided by a business, to enhance our ride experiences so let's try to help each other out and get some perspective on our living experiences. If a person is of an older age being able to ride and be healthy is even more of an amazing privilege and quality, let's focus on the positives and get out there and ride...

What websites, or methods, do you use to plan your routes?


Typically I use ridewithgps.com (often referred to as RWGPS). I've found the interface to be better than most and I can export the routes to a Garmin (if necessary).

RWGPS
Positives:
-Really easy to use
-Can highlight a an area of the route and it will automagically 'zoom' onto that portion both on the map and on the elevation graph
-Creates a very thorough elevation graph
-Routes can be saved with a free account, both 'private' and 'public'
-Auto-creates a turn-by-turn route slip
-Three modes: cycling, walking, driving which can be nice to go in between and take routes that are often considered 'not normal' for road riding.
Negatives:
-Frequently gives a pop-up when you click near an intersection on the road...
-The route slip should be double-checked before you actually use it, it isn't perfect
-Routes can be saved 'public' or 'private' but you can't sent the link to others for a 'private' route... so sharing can often be difficult unless you are ok with having your route public (but, I mean, really... who cares?... or maybe you do, I don't)
-Will sometimes refuse to make a route connection when you know there is one there, so you have to switch to a 'draw line' mode temporarily.

Also: MapMyRide.com (MMR).
Can someone do a positives/negatives/experience about this one? I haven't used it in years, but I do remember that it would mark portions of a route with 'category' of climbs, which is nifty.

Also: Strava
Apparently they changed from using Google Maps to Open Street Maps. This removed the ability for a person to get a 'street view' of a route without having to go to maps.google.com (or . your country's tld) and just seeing the 'street view' by that method. Bummer.
Anyone want to do a positives/negatives/experience about this one?

What about others?


One of my best riding partners has her own method: she takes out an actual, physical map, points to where she wants to go, then we make a mental note of which roads to take and read the map's geographic markings to determine ascents/descents, and just go out there and ride. Yes we both have computers and smart phones, but honestly this method has always turned out to have the best ride experiences by far compared to the other methods with other people. No 'segment' hunting, no "oh no there's a mountain! i'm not ready" kind of stuff, just riding, getting a killer workout, and exploring :lol:

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Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:59 am 


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:45 am 
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I'm with you on the final option. Strava is useful to get a rough idea, but more often that not a better/more interesting option is available.

To be fair, I don't really care about the change to OSM or whatever, don't think I've ever used street view to work out a ride. Probably just privileged with location.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:16 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2011 8:20 am
Posts: 430
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
I use Strava route planning, but I'm with you on the real maps. I probably spend a bit too much time looking at Ordnance Survey maps(really good/detailed maps for the UK) but it's helped me find some great roads and routes that strava/RWGPS/ whatever other website hadn't pointed me at previously. Plus, there's just something nice about real maps, or is that just me?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:46 am 
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Posts: 75
I don't use computer navigation while riding. This is my process though:

Strava Segment Explore to find new climbs to climb.
Strava segment leaderboards: I click on the date of someone's ride and find interesting routes that way (sometimes)
RideWithGPS to bring a route together, and for an idea of elevation on a route.
Google Streetview to check landmarks along the route.
Pen & paper to write down notes for directions.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:34 am 
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Have found Garmin Connect to be the easiest to use, although it doesn't display elevation gain data. Gives a route profile though, usually.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Location: Shetland, Scotland
Switching on the heatmap in Strava route builder will let it autoroute on popular routes that are not on mapped roads.
You'll have to do the check that it's suitable for your bike/ride though.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:20 am 
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I use ridewithgps exclusively now. I tried strava, mapmyride, garmin but it's been a long time so I can't recall specifically what pushed me back to ridewithgps. It sometimes has consistency problems reporting grade between routes that cover the same hills, as well as under-reporting elevation gain (but I recall it used to over-report). On the public/private subject, it seems like I used to be able to send out a link to a private route/ride and recipient could view it, but apparently they changed that. Supposedly if the recipient is your "friend" on the site, they can view it, but I haven't tested that. I just make them public now. The one fear I have about public routes is that almost everything departs from my house, so if I get too exact (basically you can start a route right in your driveway), somebody could conceivably target you for bike theft. Not a big worry where I live, but other places maybe. I've mapped routes all over the world, even a 3500 mile tour just to see the real total miles and elevation, and it loads beautifully. I get a kick out of the elevation profile of a continent.

It's also great for uploading rides. I do like physical maps as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 368
Location: California
swooped from my post in that strava thread:

Quote:
For map viewing (non-satellite /street imaging), the standard view in OSM is not as good as Google. But OSM's cycle map mode has been my favorite online map reference for a while now.

useful features of the OSM cycle mode include:

    * Larger (busier) roads are easily distinguishable
    * smaller roads are better mapped and more accurate than Google
    * trails and property lines are easy to see
    * elevation contour lines and mountain peaks are visible
    * points of interest (restrooms/water)

Of course Strava doesn't have OSM's Cycle mode as an available map viewing option...

I'm with prend on ride planning at least. I usually have OSM in cycle mode open in one tab as reference and RidewithGPS to do the actual route planning. Strava's own route planning features are too sluggish and simplistic for longer more complicated routes, at least for me.


I also do like using physical maps. I've been venturing around park trails more recently and always stop at an information kiosk to pick up a map and trail guide.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:43 pm 
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Location: Dela-Where?
RimClencher wrote:
I don't use computer navigation while riding. This is my process though:

Strava Segment Explore to find new climbs to climb.
Strava segment leaderboards: I click on the date of someone's ride and find interesting routes that way (sometimes)
RideWithGPS to bring a route together, and for an idea of elevation on a route.
Google Streetview to check landmarks along the route.
Pen & paper to write down notes for directions.


pretty much exactly what I do but I usually plug into the RWGPS to my garmin. Strava can give you a really good idea of use and safety (based on use levels). I've even used strava leaderboards to figure out if a road would be ok given the time of year. When it comes to mapping you just can't beat ride with GPS, I've learned to break out the street view as well when I'm concerned about road surface (gravel).

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:58 pm 
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interesting thread :thumbup: since I don't use computers or GPS on a bike (even abroad or in places completely unfamiliar) I've never used Strava or any of the mentioned sites. but they do look interesting and will maybe give them a try

for me it's just google maps and street view. I like to 'get lost' while riding in new places, I've a pretty darn good sense of direction so checking basic directions, names of cities/villages is enough for me. I like the road to surprise me, I feel like a kid being first time away from home. anyway, I often check weather services more carefully than maps, especially the wind direction, just to get an idea which way to go first.

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Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:58 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2015 1:28 am 
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Posts: 225
I travel once a month for work and always bring my bike. I picked up a Garmin edge touring plus computer. Has full maps and turn by turn directions. The best part is the round trip planning feature. Plug in a distance and it will give me 3 route options with elevation profiles. Hasn't steered me wrong yet and keeps me on quiet roads. If i see a road that looks good mid ride i just turn on it and it will recalculate. If I'm planning a ride for a group i will use Garmin connect.


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