As you’ve probably noticed, all my routes are on Ride With GPS. It’s a great platform–much better than Map My Ride–plus the guys running it are great at responding to questions and fixing bugs. At this point, though, there’s little to fix.
A friend who is new to using Garmin just asked me for directions on how to get a route into his device. Since I wrote it up for him, I thought I’d cut and paste the directions here for your edification.
Go to my Ride With GPS page.
Click “view” for the route of your choice. On the next page, you’ll see a map and 3 tabs on the right: overview, metrics, and photo. Click on overview, if needed (it should be the default tab), and below you’ll see more three tabs: comments, share, and export. Click on export. Right click on TCX course and save to your desktop.
Plug in your Garmin. A folder should automatically pop up (if it doesn’t and if you have a PC, go to Computer and click on Garmin). Drop the TCX course into the “New Files” subfolder. When you start your Garmin up next, [route name] will appear in your list of Courses.
When you turn on your Garmin, click on the route you just uploaded, then when the map comes up, click on the wrench icon. Turn on turn-by-turn directions (which are off by default), turn off virtual companion (which is on by default), and make sure that off-course warnings are on. This is important and was a source of considerable frustration when I first got my Garmin…I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t giving me directions!
You can also print the cue sheet using the print icon on the left. It prints as a PDF and is not ideal for riding. I copy and paste the text into Word in landscape mode, increase the font size, and improve the formatting. If you leave a 2″ margin at the top and bottom, after trimming with a scissors it fits into the map case of a Berthoud bag perfectly.
You can get most of the functionality of Ride With GPS for free, but I’d recommend paying for it. It’s inexpensive, you get some additional functionality, and you will be supporting the guys who created this useful tool.
Note that there is a second post in this series that deals with the proper Garmin settings for cycling.
PS: Read the comments for some useful information from a man who rides far more than me.
I agree wholeheartedly with your endorsement of RideWithGPS and the responsiveness of the developers. That experience contrasts vividly with the user-friendly and intuitive nature of Garmin’s devices (hopefully my sarcasm is obvious!).
I too find it bizarre that a nominal navigational device like the Garmin 800 (versus, say, the more training-oriented 500) should have turn-by-turn directions turned off by default. Note, though, while this is true for TCX courses and GPX _tracks_, it isn’t the case for GPX _routes_ generated by RideWithGPS. However – and there had to be an however! – GPX routes basically just contain straight-line segments between turns, so they are not particularly satisfying to use.
That said, a GPX route generated by Garmin’s own mapping software (which has the user-friendliness of a left-handed scissors being operated by this righty) manages to both have turn-by-turn directions turned on by default and to have line segments that follow the road. I think they accomplish this by creating a huge number of way-points, as my memory is that the 800 beeps incessantly as you travel down the road.
Returning to RideWithGPS, I actually prefer to use their GPX tracks instead of their TCX courses. The latter feature little arrows at turns, as well as the Garmin’s own large arrows (when turn-by-turn directions are turned on, at least) and can clutter the screen as you approach a complicated junction. The TCX course also creates a separate page for the cue sheet, in addition to the one that is available by tapping the top of the screen when in map mode. I find if difficult to “swipe by” the separate cue sheet page, needing instead to use the arrows at the bottom of the screen, which can be difficult when wearing gloves at this time of the year, so I am happy that the GPX track alleviates that detail.
Of course, the difference between TCX and GPX files, not to mention courses, tracks and routes is all made blindingly clear by Garmin’s over abundance of documentation!
Finally, thank you for your delightful inspirational prose and pictures. I shall definitely have to pay a return visit to the Catskills!
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