How to setup a bicycle route on your phone

One of the many new skills you get to learn when you ride gravel is how to navigate. There are three basic ways people usually navigate a race or ride:

  1. Cue sheet
  2. Dedicated GPS or bike computer
  3. Mobile Phone

In this post I’m going to describe and link to some of the ways to get a route onto your phone and use it for navigation.

Pay to play

All the routes for the Iowa Gravel Series are built with RideWithGPS. It’s been a good service for us and has made it pretty easy to export routes and make them available to people. But, there is a catch. If you want the easiest way to load a route from their service and get it on your phone, you have to pay for one of their Basic or Premium plans. If this is the first time you’re using the app, you can get away with just using their free trial and then canceling later. If you value simplicity and you know you’re going to use your phone a lot for tracking rides, RideWithGPS is a good option.

Send to phone with RideWithGPS

Here’s how RideWithGPS describes the process of loading a route. And, if you want a route to practice loading, here’s one of the training routes from the Glenwood Gravel you can use.

The short version of the process is… just click the send to phone button from a desktop computer or open the route on your phone once you have the RideWithGPS app installed.

Export route from RideWithGPS

The good news is you don’t have to use RideWithGPS, even though we do. If you have another app for route navigation, for example Strava or MapMyRide, you can export the route from the RideWithGPS link and add it to those other apps. Usually this has to all be done from a computer instead of a phone, but it’s a pretty easy process.

There are three little dots next to the “send to phone” button. Click that and select “more export options”. This will give you a list of all the different ways to export the files. You might have to do some searching around to figure out which format you need, but Strava and Map My Fitness seem fine with .fit files… so, I suggest you start there.

Once you have the file downloaded, you’ll need to follow the instructions for the mobile app you’re using to load it on your phone. Just follow the directions and make sure you have everything loaded and tested before the race. Many of the locations we’re using don’t have cell service, so you’ll want to be prepared before you show up on the starting line.

Let us know what questions you have in the comments and happy navigating!

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