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What is your favourite route planning app? 🗺

Jack_LukeJack_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? 💌
Let us know your thoughts and it will guide which products we review in the roundup.
Assistant Editor for BikeRadar.com. Keep up to date with my latest work here.

Posts

  • me-109me-109 Posts: 1,778
    An app?

    I use:
    - 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.
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 22,891
    Garmin Connect.
    It works for me giving TBT so there's no need for me to try and be clever finding alternatives.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • Charlie_CrokerCharlie_Croker Posts: 1,583
    Pretty much agree with what me-109 says. Off road, can’t beat OS (Ordinance Survey) for accuracy, probably on-road too come to that, I guess there’s hardly a walker in the land that doesn’t have one or two of these in their backpack. Google Maps is good for checking out things like junctions and links (things may get close, but can you get across).

    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
  • OS as above. Better than all the rest.
  • navrig2navrig2 Posts: 1,774
    You'll get a better response if you post this in one of the active forums rather than this dusty, tumbleweed section.

    You'll probably get a better response if you post it in CyclingUK.
  • davep1davep1 Posts: 834
    I think Strava is brilliant at showing possible routes. Was trying to show an off road climb to a mate recently, he was using Komoot and couldn't see the start of it. Strava showed it perfectly.
    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.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    edited May 2020
    Ride with GPS. Free subscription. I also have paid subscription Strava, but find their elevation over estimates.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • fatted864fatted864 Posts: 66
    Plotaroute
  • aberdeen_luneaberdeen_lune Posts: 545
    I use Mapmyride to plan routes. Quite user friendly and it’s great for working out a route length and total elevation. I tried Komoot the other week but found it tricky to use and it kept taking me on to off road cycle paths when I wanted to stay in the road. Ride with GPS is also good but keeps forcing you on to cycle paths. Yet to try Strava routes will give that a go next.
  • Charlie_CrokerCharlie_Croker Posts: 1,583
    fatted864 said:

    Plotaroute

    I've never heard of this one (Ploaroute), just tried it. Still new to it of course, but impressive so far for an on-line plotter


  • s_j_pwmbs_j_pwmb Posts: 75
    I use Komoot with the free local area map, but find it often sends me down gravel tracks on my road bike but I like it’s simplicity and integration with my Garmin head unit.

    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.
  • s_j_pwmbs_j_pwmb Posts: 75
    As a case in point, here is a screenshot of a route near me. Komoot’s route comes in at around 40km but sends me along a gravel footpath at the side of a dual carriageway, Strava sends me along a heavily-used concrete mixed-use path along the sea wall which is 10km longer but the blue heatmap lines obscure all the detail. The OS map shows me what sort of roads and terrain I’m dealing with and allows me to make an informed choice.




  • Ride with GPS is a b*gger for routing along footpaths etc. I set it to drive mode rather than cycling mode. Then it sticks to the highway.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 10,627
    edited May 2020
    s_j_pwmb said:

    As a case in point, here is a screenshot of a route near me. Komoot’s route comes in at around 40km but sends me along a gravel footpath at the side of a dual carriageway, Strava sends me along a heavily-used concrete mixed-use path along the sea wall which is 10km longer but the blue heatmap lines obscure all the detail. The OS map shows me what sort of roads and terrain I’m dealing with and allows me to make an informed choice.

    You know you can toggle the heatmap lines on and off right? You can even see the button to do it in your screenshot - under Map preferences on the left.

    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.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Ride with GPS I toggle between road and walking if I want to use an alleyway short cut. Doesn't take more than a few seconds to toggle back and forth.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • I use Strava, both when it was free and now the paid model. I don’t think you can go far wrong. If I’m unsure of a road or pathway that’s where google street view comes in handy.
  • Surely with Komoot, you just look at the waytype/ road surface indicator for your plotted route? It will show you what % and where....eg unpaved sections are. You just then edit your route/ waypoint to avoid this section. That's what I do anyway....
  • s_j_pwmbs_j_pwmb Posts: 75
    Maybe it’s just that I’ve been brought up with OS maps, and visually I can absorb the way type by the road colour (Blue, green, red, yellow, clear) and the track shading (byway, bridleway, track or footpath) more easily than Strava/Komoot’s everything-(nearly)-the-same approach.

    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.
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