Have you ever heard yourself or a friend say they have no idea where to go on a bike ride? While some of us love to explore and make up routes as we go, others need more than encouragement, they need a defined route to follow. With Ride with GPS, you can access countless rides that cyclists all over the world have recorded on their RWGPS mobile app.
You can do that with pretty much any GPS mapping platform, such as Strava, Map My Ride, and Gaia GPS. In this article we suggest RWGPS because that’s the platform our customers need to have downloaded on their mobile devices in order to access the RWGPS Experience created for their tour. Also, you don’t have to be going on tour to download and use the RWGPS app. You can create an account online, download the mobile app, and access basic functionalities on either platform without spending a dime.
So let’s look at how you can access a bike ride someone has recorded near your current or desired location.
The first step is to create an account for yourself and perhaps the easiest way to do that is to head to the sign-up page on thee RWGPS website. You will be prompted to select the type of account you prefer. The “Starter” account is free and lets you record rides, create your own routes, and upload and sync to GPS devices. Most importantly and for the purpose of this article, the free account allows you to look for rides that other cyclists have recorded. This is significant because RWGPS is used worldwide. To give you a sense of this scale, on a recent search I did for an area in Cornwall, England, RWGPS found more than 90,000 routes.
To find a route that someone has recorded and uploaded, log into your account and head to the dashboard. From there you’ll be given choices for what you’d like to do next. Click “Find Routes”:
The “Find a Route” section of the RWGPS website lets you search for rides based on several criteria:
The section also lists several routes uploaded by RWGPS Ambassadors who are vetted organizations and individuals that freely share their knowledge of where to ride. You can even link to the RWGPS Ambassador directory to dig further into their route libraries and connect those routes to your own device – be it GPS or phone. When you click through to any RWGPS Ambassador route you find, you’ll see mileage and elevation stats, a map of the ride, a button to send the ride to your device and a list of ride detail that offer more insight on the ride. This level of detail is particularly helpful for rides that are located in places you’ve never ridden before. Here’s an example:
Keep in mind that the majority of searchable routes in RWGPS are not posted by ambassadors but every day riders like you and me who just want to keep a record of their ride. These routes don’t provide the level of detail you see above, but they do show you the map and you can send the ride to a device (iPhone, Android, Garmin Edge or Wahoo). If you choose to send the ride to a device, RWGPS will walk you through the required steps. The process is easy and painless.
For a seamless route “sending” experience, first download and install the RWGPS app on your phone (if it isn’t already) and log in to your account before trying to send a route to your device from your computer. If you haven’t done either of those steps, RWGPS will prompt you to so before you can do anything else. If you run into any issues, RWGPS has an extensive how-to library you can consult. They also have a YouTube channel with ton of helpful videos, but don’t crawl too far down the rabbit hole!
Lastly, if you want to bypass searching for a route on your computer, you can do so as well from the mobile app. Just click the “Explore” icon on the bottom menu of the app:
This article from RWGPS on using the mobile “Explore” feature will walk you through the finer points of searching for a ride on your phone.
Now go forth and find somewhere to ride that you’ve never been before and tell us how it goes!