What is your favourite route planning app? 🗺
Jack_Luke Posts: 22 Assistant Editor
edited May 2020 in Road general
Dear readers – we're interested in putting together a roundup of the most popular route planning apps and want your input.
- What app do you use to plan cycling routes? 🗺
- What features make that app stand out for you? ⭐️
- Do you pay for its premium features? 💌
Assistant Editor for BikeRadar.com. Keep up to date with my latest work here.
- My head
- Good old OS maps
- Google Maps
If I need to, then it's directions and/or place names on a route card (Post-it or scrap of paper). Much easier to pull put and read than unlocking the phone, open the app, hope for an update if you have a signal etc.
It works for me giving TBT so there's no need for me to try and be clever finding alternatives.
I am not sure. You have no chance.
I don’t use ‘apps’ per se the phone is too small to use to plan a route (can be handy though if stuck while out), a computer with a decent sized monitor or two is best. Using a combination of maps to cross reference, ie google or Open Street Maps and OS.
Strava has too many errors to be reliable on routes, RidewithGPS is fairly good but not perfect, but is the best cycle dedicated on-line one I’ve found so far – always willing to learn or try new things... so I await the finished article with interest
You'll probably get a better response if you post it in CyclingUK.
They all have strengths and weaknesses. I ride on road, and I ride off road, but separately. ie when I am planning a road route, I want tarmac and lanes or roads. Off road, I want to see bridleways, I may need to string bridleways together with sections of road. I am not totally averse to riding on a footpath, but I know it isn't right and make sure when I do I am careful and especially polite and friendly.
There is an online version of OS maps I use to look for bridleways, but it is really hard to use it on a phone. On a pc it is good, but there is a zoom level where the colour coding disappears so you keep having to zoom in and out to see if the trail you want to ride is bridleway or not. Someone said a map was easier to pull out than a phone, but I would question that, especially if it is windy or raining!
To make matters worse, I have a Giant bike computer, which is a good bit of kit, but there app is awful, and I haven't find a way of getting any other route files into it. I just accept that I can plan a route but when I get out there I may well have to adapt it.
I’ve also Just started to use the (new) Strava route-builder (paid subscription) but find the heat map routing seems to send me off in odd directions at times, and when I try to “correct” the route to be more direct it seems to send me on a u-turn or hugely unnecessary circular detour.
Whatever method I use I invariably go back to OS Maps on either ViewRanger or OSMaps (I subscribe to both) to check the road types to make sure I’ve avoided major highways, footpaths, and other inappropriate routing.
OS map is definitely useful, I'd not disagree with that. Having Explorer or Landranger quality OS maps every time I might want to cycle somewhere new would be a bit expensive though.
Strava I find generally OK, the new features might be very useful but I haven't had chance to try them out really yet. Being able to toggle by road surface could be quite handy; Google has routed me onto some gravel paths that aren't exactly ideal for cycling before. Google also has a nasty habit of putting you onto canal towpaths etc. which are fine for a trundle around but not much good if you're riding at typical road cycling speeds.
What would be really handy would be to integrate Streetview somehow into the Strava route planner - I've quite often when planning long routes in the past had Streetview open on one screen and the Strava planner on another, checking junctions and trying to judge road suitability etc.
Most of the time it's not an issue riding from home as I know the roads fairly well, so I can see when I would prefer something slightly different to Strava's default suggestion, but for longer trips or riding in new areas it is very useful.
Yes I know Komoot can show you the sections which are major roads, paths etc (that’s an option I do use frequently to allow me to re-route where possible), but it’s an extra step rather than routing “correctly” at the outset.
I guess it’s like everything in life, different options suit different people! I prefer to choose my routes based on my preferences, whereas others may like to be routed along the most popular routes, so there’s options for everyone available.