Wednesday, 24 July 2024

Fitness

How To Use MapMyRide: An In-Depth Review and Guide

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About MapMyFitness

Launched in 2007, the MapMyFitness suite of apps has quickly gained in popularity with millions of health and fitness enthusiasts worldwide.

The MapMyFitness apps are now some of the most popular on iOS and Android, and include MapMyRun, MapMyRide, and MapMyWalk.

All of the basic features, including access to 160+ million routes, are available with a free registration.

But if you’re looking to get the most from your bike rides and want access to power output data, cadence analysis, and heart rate analysis, it’s worth taking a look at their MVP premium membership.

To help you get the most out of MapMyRide we’ve put together an in-depth guide to all of the latest features, from route creation through to the achievements on course leaderboards.

We’ve also added a section dedicated to answering some of the most frequently asked questions about MapMyRide, which includes data transfer to Strava, and importing workout data from Garmin Connect.

How to create a MapMyRide account

How to discover new cycling routes

Logging workouts and nutrition

Achieving and sharing fitness goals

How to join and create cycling events with MapMyRide

Features of the MVP paid subscription

MapMyRide frequently asked questions

5 Minute Registration Process

MapMyRide offers you two options for sign up. You can either sign up using your Facebook account, or via an email address.

If you’re looking to get setup as quickly as possible, you’ll want to choose the option to sign up with Facebook.

This simply means that MapMyRide will be able to access the information from your public profile, email address, and birthday, and doesn’t allow the app to post to Facebook without your permission.

The information it pulls from Facebook really acts as more of a template, and you’re free to make any changes to the information before completing the sign up.

Signing up to MapMyRide with a Facebook account
Signing up with Facebook saves time, and means MapMyRide can accurately calculate your maximum heart rate

We just mentioned that MapMyRide doesn’t post to Facebook without your permission, but if you do want to post, you have complete control over who sees it.

Having high level of custom privacy means you can choose to share your progress with as few or as many people as you like.

This is ideal for if you only want to share progress with your personal trainer or close friends and family.

6 Steps to Profile Personalization

If you’re in a rush you can choose to skip this step entirely, but we would certainly recommend adding some basic information – particularly for the Location and ‘Height & Weight’ tabs.

This is because having access to your location makes it much quicker to create custom routes later on, and knowing your height and weight improves the accuracy of workout performance metrics, such as the total number of calories burned.

  • 1. Adding a profile pictureAs with most of the social networks, MapMyRide lets you upload a profile picture. If you’re camera shy this doesn’t have to be a photo of you, and could even be a picture taken during a recent ride.
  • 2. Connecting social media accountsMany of the MapMyRide features are based around creating a strong and supportive fitness community that you can share your goals and achievements with.

    If you’ve already built up a following on Facebook and Twitter, this can be a great way to connect with any that are already using the service. You’ll be able to invite them to events, follow their progress, and even participate in challenges.

    Connect to Twitter and Facebook to find friends that use the MapMyRide app
    Connect to Twitter and Facebook to find friends that use the MapMyRide app

    Clicking on either the Facebook or Twitter tabs will allow you to search through all friends that you have on those social networks, who also have a MapMyRide account.

    You can then select ‘Add Friend’ to send them a friend request.

  • 3. Setting your locationIf you’re going to be riding a lot of routes with the same starting point, it’s worth setting this as your location.

    This doesn’t have to be your home address, but having a location set here will really cut down on the time it takes to setup new routes. That’s because whatever you enter here is used as the default start location.

  • 4. Choosing your preferred display unitMapMyRide allows you to monitor various information relating to your rides and body composition, including bodyweight and total cycle distance.

    This stage of the setup process lets you define the measurement used when displaying this information.

    You can choose from Metric (kg/km), English / American (lbs/miles), or a hybrid of the two with the Hybrid / Canadian setting (lbs/km).

    As well as defining the units of measurement, you can also choose to start your week on either a Sunday or a Monday.

  • 5. Setting your height and weightAs we mentioned earlier, these measurements are purely for calculating the number of calories burned more accurately.

    Weight is the main figure used in this calculation, but there’s also another calculation for your maximum heart rate which requires your age.

    Although there’s no ‘Age’ field at this stage, it could conceivably be calculated from your Facebook profile information, or a new field added at a later stage. This would help store heart rate analysis alongside your other cycling information, bringing it more in line with what we’ve come to expect from indoor cycling bike consoles.

  • 6. Adding your favourite activitiesThe final step in the profile creation process is adding your favourite fitness activities.

    We would expect ‘Bike Ride’ to be one of your top choices, but you can also choose from dozens of others, ranging from running and hiking, through to the leg press, barbell squats, and pull-ups.

    MapMyFitness apps allow you to select your favourite fitness activities when creating your profile

Mapping Your First Route

From your profile dashboard, one of the options you have available is to ‘Create a Route’. This lets you manually configure a new cycling route, or import one from an external file using the ‘Upload a GPX or TCX file instead’ option as the page is loading.

Uploading From File

If you’re already using another device to track your cycling, this allows you to import a selection of the files that they create.

File formats include FIT, GPX, HRM, JSON, and TCX. These relate to the many different devices that MapMyRide is compatible with, from companies such as Nike, Garmin, Polar, and PowerTap.

For this example we’re going to be taking a look at the GPX file upload, which is a file format containing only waypoints. This means you can import the route you took, but will have to manually enter any duration information.

You can upload files exported from external devices in .FIT, .GPX, .HRM, .JSON, and .TCX formats
You can upload route files exported from external devices in .FIT, .GPX, .HRM, .JSON, and .TCX formats

The type of activity will default to a bike ride, but you can adjust this to be a little more specific, with options including Hybrid Cycling, Mountain Biking, Road Cycling, and Track Cycling.

In many cases you can even select the intensity of the cycle, ranging from ‘Commute’ through to ‘High Intensity’.

After giving your route a name, you can then choose to save the data, and your route will be created in MapMyRide.

Editing a Workout

With the data now uploaded, you’re given the option to provide more information and create a workout around this route.

This can be as simple as adding a name and date, but you also have some much more advanced options, including the ability to specify any gear you used.

You’re also able to provide information on start and end time to have a record of the duration, as well as the weather conditions, which can be useful when you’re comparing workout performance.

In addition to their own ‘How I felt..’ option in the advanced details, MapMyRide have also started giving you an option to Rate Your Workout using badges.

A badge can be assigned to each workout, giving it a rating based on the difficulty and intensity
A badge can be assigned to each workout, giving it a rating based on the difficulty and intensity

The icons alone aren’t completely intuitive, but each one has also been assigned a description, which shows underneath when they’re clicked.

With the duration calculated from your start and end times, and the distance calculated via the waypoints in the file we uploaded, you can then get an idea of your average speed and pace.

When you’ve entered all the information you need, you can choose to share your workout on Facebook and Twitter before saving.

Creating a Route via the Maps Interface

When the route creator loads, you’ll notice that the location we entered in our profile has been pulled through as the starting location, which is where the map view will be centered around.

Directly underneath the location you have the option to ‘Import’, which essentially walks you through all of the same steps we mentioned above for importing .tcx, .gpx, .fit, and .hrm files.

But if you want to create the route directly through the route editor then there are four steps you’ll need to follow.

  • 1. Route DetailsAllows you to provide a name for the route and describe the activity. You also have the option to send the route directly to your phone.
  • 2. Create your route using the map and toolsIf you’ve used Google Maps in the past to plan a journey, you’ll notice that MapMyRide works in a very similar way.

    To map your route you create a series of points that will automatically join together in the sequence they were created.

    You still have the option to move the points and adjust the path the route takes if you want to, but having this feature really cuts down on the time it takes to setup, particularly if it’s going to be a long ride.

    Each point that you create also provides a wealth of information about the terrain, such as elevation, latitude, longitude, and its distance from the starting point.

    This is probably more useful to mountain biking or hiking trails, but it’s still a nice feature to have.

    If you have all of your points in place to get from A to B, but still need to plan your journey back to A, you have two options.

    You can click on the first point that you created and select ‘Loop route to this point’, or you can expand the map tools window and use the ‘Out + Back’ option.

    However, it’s worth bearing in mind that these will provide very different results.

    Loop route to this point – This will find the route with the shortest possible distance between B and A.

    Out + Back – This will create a similar route as the one you’ve created to take you back from B to A. Although it won’t be identical, it will pass through most of the same waypoints.

    With your points all mapped out you can get an idea of the total distance by checking the header of the Tools and Markers window. (This will be displayed using the same unit of measurement as we specified when creating our profile).

  • 3. Log as a WorkoutAfter creating you route on the map, you can then decide whether this is something you want to log as a completed workout, or a route that you plan on cycling in the future.

    If it’s for the future, you can select a date and save your route from here, which will also create a workout template. You can then go back and complete the workout details once you complete the ride.

  • 4. Directions / NotesWe found this to be an option that was fun just to play around with when creating our points, but it also provides detailed information on the route you need to take.

    At each stage you’re given detailed directions until you reach your destination. Clicking on any of the directions will zoom in to that location on the map, including your destination, where you can extend the route if you need to.

Route Creation Tools and Custom Map Markers

If you’ve used MapMyWalk in the past, one of the main differences you’ll notice is with the settings window that hovers above the map.

For MapMyRide, the ‘Bicycle Paths’ option is enabled by default, and the mode is set to Bicycling instead of Walking.

This helps you to find routes that are better suited to cycling and helps to identify routes with designated cycle paths to improve your safety.

Map Markers allow you to highlight points of interest along your cycling route that may not automatically appear on the map by default.

Unfortunately this is one of the features that’s only available at an MVP level, meaning you’ll have to sign up to the premium subscription service to use it.

How to Create a Course With MapMyRide

Before you can start creating courses, you must first have a route setup that contains the intended course path.

Courses are portions of a route, meaning once you have found or created a route you like, you can select ‘Create a Course’ at the top of the page.

This is where the goal and achievement side of MapMyRide comes into play, with reward points allocated based on how your time stacks up against others completing the same course.

Even if you’re not too worried about your placing on the public course leaderboard, you can still get a motivation boost from beating a personal best course time or completing a monthly achievement.

You can find out more about the achievements on offer at the MapMyRide courses page, or keep reading to find out how to setup a course of your own.

Creating a course with MapMyRide

4 Steps to Creating a Great Course

  • Step 1: Choose a route segment that avoids sharp turns and intersectionsOne of the main goals for any course is to complete it in the fastest time. To achieve fast times safely, you’re going to want to avoid too many stop signs and intersections.
  • Step 2: Choose a route long enough to support multiple coursesWhen you view any route, all of the courses contained in the route are displayed alongside.

    If you want to avoid overlapping courses and have easy access to a large number of courses in a similar location, it’s best to create them all as part of a larger route.

    We recommend using the manual route creation tool rather than Route Genius as this offers much more control over the direction the route takes.

  • Step 3: Adjust the length of the course to suit your training goalsIf you’re training for a long distance cycling event then it makes sense to create a course that challenges your endurance more than sprint speed.

    By pushing yourself for quicker speeds over the same distance, and brining in the element of competition created by public leaderboards, you’re much more likely to see the best results on the day of the event.

  • Step 4: Select easily accessible start and end pointsIf you’re looking for a large number of people to participate in your course and challenge you on your time, it’s important to position the start and end points in easily accessible locations.

After deciding on your chosen route, the course creation tool will let you adjust the start point, end point, and distance using a simple slider tool. This also shows any changes in elevation.

As soon as you save your course, a leaderboard will be created and you’ll be able to import your workouts. Over time once people start to complete the course, achievements will be distributed, which are usually based on fastest time.

There’s also a ‘Guru’ achievement for the rider who completes the course the most times in the space of a year, but points can only be earned if you complete the course at least 4 times each month.

What is the Gear Tracker?

When you’re creating a workout, one of the key pieces of information you can provide – alongside a name and date – is the Gear Used.

The only downside is that you need to have created the gear prior to logging your workout, as there’s no option in the dropdown to create anything new at the same time.

That’s where the Gear Tracker comes in.

Gear Tracker is a useful feature to have, but more tailored towards running than cycling
Gear Tracker is a useful feature to have, but more tailored towards running than cycling

Gear Tracker is something we first covered in our guide to MapMyWalk, where we were able to add our choice of footwear, and provide a lifespan for the shoes.

The benefit of providing a lifespan is that when you log a workout and select those shoes as your gear, the distance of the route is subtracted from the lifespan.

This can be used as a useful reminder for when your shoes are likely to need replacing.

Unfortunately we don’t find this to be such a useful feature with MapMyRide, as the wear rate on shoes won’t be influenced as much by distance.

Footwear is also the only gear that you’re able to add to the Gear Tracker at the current time, so it really has limited use from a cycling perspective.

We’d like to see more cycling-specific components being added as a way to measure performance between different setups and workouts.

This could also be useful for anyone looking to complete the route in a similar time, and who would like some advice on the bike configuration.

Gear Tracker allows you to assign a lifespan to your shoes, but this isn't going to be accurate for miles cycled
Gear Tracker allows you to assign a lifespan to your shoes, but this isn’t going to be accurate for miles cycled

At the moment the tool is powered by Zappos, so it’s understandable that there’s a heavy focus on footwear. But hopefully this is something that Under Armour choose to expand on in future.

Logging and Importing Workouts

From the ‘My Workouts’ page you can create workouts by either manually entering all of the details (logging) or uploading from files you exported via external devices or fitness services (importing).

Log a Workout

MapMyRide lets you enter a wide range of information when it comes to recording your cycling workouts, but you can also choose to submit a ride with as little as the start time, end time, and name.

You can then search for the route you followed, which pulls up a window with access to all the routes you’ve done, have bookmarked, or have defined as a route you wanted to do in future.

When logging a workout you can choose from a history of saved routes
When logging a workout you can choose from a history of saved routes

Based on the start time, end time, and route, MapMyRide automatically calculates the distance, duration, average speed, and average pace. Average heart rate is also available if you transmit data to the app using a compatible pulse monitor.

Splits are also available for more advanced workout logging, but in most cases it’s going to be difficult to accurately remember the duration, distance, and calories burned for each section.

Import a Workout

MapMyRide can import files and sync with other fitness data services ranging from TomTom and Withings through to JawBone and PowerTap.

You can choose to ‘Import Workout’ directly from the ‘My Home’ menu option, which will bring you to the ‘Connect Accounts & Devices’ page.

From here you can connect to the following accounts and devices.

Accounts:


  • FitBit
  • Fitbug
  • Garmin Connect
  • JawBone
  • Misfit


  • MyFitnessPal
  • Nike+
  • Polar Personal Trainer
  • Sunto
  • Withings

Fitbug, Nike+, Sunto, and Withings will all automatically sync the past 30 days of data into your MapMyRide account after you authorize their connection to MapMyFitness.

Devices:

  • Magellan – Imports files from the Magellan Switch and Switch Up watches.
  • TomTom – Syncs activities from their GPS watches.
  • PowerTap
  • Timex
  • WeGo

How to Create a Food Log

As well as being able to log and import workouts, create routes and courses, and perform heart rate and power output analysis (MVP), MapMyRide also allows you to create a nutrition plan.

Similar to the heart rate analysis, the ‘My Nutrition’ page will pull your age from your Facebook profile (if this is how you signed up), as well as your gender.

Based on this information MapMyRide calculates a daily caloric intake total, then splits this into percentages of macro nutrients such as carbs, proteins, and fats.

This calorie ‘budget’ is then weighed up against the number of calories consumed, as well as the calories burned based on workouts logged for the day. The result is the total number of calories you can consume during the day to maintain current bodyweight (entered during profile creation).

Logging Food

As important as knowing your daily caloric intake and expenditure is, it’s often difficult to accurately log each meal with tools like these, as serving sizes and macronutrient composition can vary.

That’s why MapMyRide gives you the option to ‘Create a Food’, which simply requires a name, category, serving size, and the amount of carbs, protein, and fat per serving.

Although this takes slightly longer to setup in the beginning, it’s certainly something we recommend using, as each food you create is then stored in a section called ‘My Favorites’.

If your meals are part of a plan that’s fairly routine, this makes it easy to quickly select the same serving size of food and add it to your daily food log.

Creating your own foods stores them in favorites, making it much quicker to update your food log with meals
Creating your own foods stores them in favorites, making it much quicker to update your food log with meals

Your daily snapshot updates automatically, including your daily intake totals and number of calories remaining.

Unfortunately this only seems to let you analyse one day’s nutrition at a time, and you can’t look back at a historical view over the course of a week, month, or year.

However, you can take a historical look at your lifetime activity stats from your workouts dashboard on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly level. You can even export this data to a CSV file for deeper analysis. These are both features we would like to see added to the nutrition side of MapMyRide.

There also doesn’t seem to be any way to export this data to MyFitnessPal in the same way you can with your workouts.

Hopefully this is something MapMyFitness are working on with Under Armour, and it will perhaps be part of the release that lets you set calorie burn and weight loss goals.

Ideally we would also like to see a ‘Weight Gain’ goal, although this doesn’t seem to be something that FitBit or MyFitnessPal are offering at the current time either.

Logging Your Daily Water Consumption

We like the idea of being able to log and monitor your daily water consumption, but hope that this can be simplified.

At the moment you can use the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons to adjust the number of glasses, which causes an item to appear below, similar to the way the food log works.

But when you consider the number of fluid ounces is a constant, as is the calories, fat, carbs, and protein, do we really need this much information on the screen?

We would prefer to have access to the ‘Edit this Food’ section straight away, where we can select a number of servings and time of day. That’s really all we need, and it would save time on adding items, then going in to edit each of them individually.

Logging water consumption with MapMyRide
Logging water consumption with MapMyRide

Although the current system is already quicker than logging the same in MyFitnessPal, there’s still some room for improvement.

Create a Goal

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, increase your endurance, or simply improve your overall health, you’re going to want to set some goals.

By setting and achieving realistic goals in both the short and long term, you’ll achieve higher levels of motivation that act as encouragement for achieving future targets.

When we first wrote our guide to MapMyWalk there were only four goal setting options available, with the calorie and weight focussed goals still in development.

MapMyRide makes it easy to keep track of both short and long term goals

Unfortunately nearly six months on and they’re still also shown as ‘Coming Soon’ on MapMyRide. We’ll be sure to update this section as soon as they’re released, but for now here’s our guide to the other four goals.

4 Fitness and Health Goals

  • 1. Work Out More Although this may sound like it’s related to resistance training, the steps are perfectly relatable to cycling as well.

    Creating this goal is a three step process:
    Step 1: Select the total number of workouts
    Step 2: Select the goal length. This is the period of time during which you want to complete the number of workouts chosen in step 1
    Step 3: Give your goal a name. A default is automatically created based on your selections in the previous two steps (e.g. 10 workouts in 4 weeks), but you can also create your own

  • 2. Go FartherSimilar to the goal above, Go Farther is less concerned about frequency and more about reaching a set distance. Default options start at 50 miles, but if you’re new to cycling you can start with just 1 mile using the custom setting.

    This is also a three step process:
    Step 1: Choose your target distance
    Step 2: Select a target duration for reaching this distance. This can range from 1 week all the way up to a year, depending on whether it is a short or medium-term goal.
    Step 3: Assign your goal a name. Default names are usually good enough, but you may also want to include the end date.

  • 3. Increase My PaceThis can be a particularly important goal to have if you’re racing competitively or as part of a club.

    Similar to the MapMyWalk app, this looks to measure the time taken to cycle one mile. Default options are from 2 to 5 minutes, but you’re probably going to want to make use of the custom option for more gradual but consistent improvements.

    Step 1: Select your total minutes per mile
    Step 2: Select a target duration for reaching this pace. Similar to the distance setting goal. ‘Go Farther’, this can be anything from 1 to 52 weeks.
    Step 3: Assign your goal a name.

  • 4. Walk MoreThis is the only goal that feels like it should be unique to the MapMyWalk version of the app. It’s not really a goal unique to cycling, and isn’t something that could be measured or achieved unless you logged walking in your workouts on a regular basis.

    Ideally we would like to see ‘Walk’ as an option, like it is with the other goals, but with ‘Bike Ride’ as a default.

    Perhaps setting a target for exploring a certain number of new cycle routes by a specific date. Although it’s not strictly improving your fitness on its own, having a target to explore new parts of your city can bring many of its own benefits.

For MapMyRide the activity for each of these goals defaults to ‘Bike Ride’, compared to the default of ‘Walk’ for MapMyWalk. If you’re already used to creating goals with another of the MapMyFitness apps, the goal setting process should feel very familiar.

Viewing Your Goal Progress

Active and past goals can be viewed from the ‘My Goals’ screen. This gives you a clear overview of current goal progress and what you’ve achieved so far.

Using the target duration for each of the goals above, MapMyRide is able to provide a countdown of how long you have left to achieve the goal, as well as displaying your progress as a percentage.

MapMyRide currently supports 4 types of fitness goal
MapMyFitness are looking to expand their goal types to include Calorie Burning and Weight Loss across their full range of apps

If you have many different types of short and long term goals running at the same time, this lets you prioritize any that you might be falling behind on.

Finding Local Cycling Routes and Events Near You

One of the great things about an app like MapMyRide is that it’s used by a large community of cyclists who are based across the United States and around the world.

This means that if every you’re in need of some inspiration for your next ride, you can always visit the ‘My City’ page, which will display a full list of cities that have routes already mapped to them.

For a larger city like New York this means thousands of routes and courses are available. However, not all of these will be for cycling.

After clicking through to your city from the options provided, you’ll have the option to ‘Search For Routes’. This is where you can filter the thousands of routes down to just the ones you’re interested in.

You can filter the results to only include bike rides in your city, and set a minimum distance or range of distances that you would like to see routes for.

You can discover new cycling routes in your local city, many of which have been created with Route Genius

After finding a route you’re interested in, you have a range of options available, including zooming in on the map for a closer look, viewing a 3D flyover of the route (requires the Google Earth browser Plug-in), or viewing the route details.

By taking a look at the details this gives you a much better idea of the different stages, which can be displayed as a list of directions. This also gives you the option to send the route directly to your phone.

Events, Groups, and Local Bike Stores

As well as being able to view local cycling routes that have been created in your city, you can also discover local bike shops and join groups of people that share your passion for cycling.

  • GroupsIf you find a group you want to join, this is where you can send a request. Alternatively, you might want to create a group purely for your friends to share their routes in one place. We’ll take a look at exactly how to do this later in the guide.
  • EventsIf you’re looking to host or take part in a cycling event, you’ll be able to find any that are local to you from the main ‘My City’ page. To find out more about how to create an event, please skip ahead to our event creation guide.
  • Cycling storesIn terms of the MapMyFitness range of apps, this is a feature that’s exclusive to MapMyRide.

    Clicking through to any of the bike shops listed will provide you with more information, including their contact number and directions to get there. You’ll also find cycling routes and courses that are close to the bike shop, and a list of other nearby stores.

    Another feature you might not notice initially is that many shops actually have an interactive photo above their listing, allowing you to take a virtual tour. For shops where this isn’t possible, a street view is provided courtesy of Google Maps, which should help with locating them.

Event Creation Guide

MapMyRide Events are a great way to attract entrants to local and national races, fund raisers, and even city tours.

By default the ‘My Events’ page will show all types of events, from running and walking to cycle rides and endurance challenges, such as Tough Mudder.

However, these results can quickly be filtered down to show events focussed around a specific activity, which in this case will be ‘All Cycling’. This will include charity rides, recreational cycles, and road races.

You can search for cycling events local to your area
You can search for cycling events local to your area, or create one of your own

It’s best to start with just a Type and Location, then filter down on a keyword and event date level if needed. If you can’t find any events in your local area, you also have the option to create your own.

At first glance the event creation form may seem quite extensive, with 30+ fields available. Fortunately only 10 of these are required, meaning you can get the basic information down in just a few minutes.

Required Event Information:


  • Event title
  • Brief description
  • Full description
  • Event classifications


  • Location address, country, city, zip code
  • Contact person
  • Contact email

Surprisingly the required fields don’t extend to the start date and time for the event, which is certainly something you’ll want to include.

However, with such an active community we were surprised to see so few cycling events available in larger cities like New York, particularly during the summer.

Having the long form with no visual incentive to complete it may be off-putting, and we would like to see the sections broken down into stages that you can move between. This way the form would only need to be 20% of the height it is now, and you might be more motivated to log an event as you complete the different sections.

Benefits of Going MVP (Paid Subscription Plan)

Each of the features we’ve mentioned so far is available with a free subscription to the MapMyRide service.

But while these are all extremely useful features, if you really want some specialist analysis of your cycling data, then you might want to take a look at MVP.

As their premium monthly subscription service, this starts at $5.99 per month, or you can sign up for a bulk discount of $29.99 per year.

Not only does this remove all the external advertising, but it also gives you access to a wide range of advanced features. This includes some that are unique to MapMyRide, and which are perfect for monitoring your cycling performance.

Premium features include Heart Rate Analysis, Power Analysis, Cadence Analysis, Custom Splits, Advanced Maps, Interval Training, and Route Genius, a major time-saver when it comes to creating new routes and courses.

We’re now going to take a closer look at these features, to give you a greater insight into what to expect, and whether or not they would be beneficial to your own cycling and fitness plan.

Route Genius

If you’re happy to handover all the customization options and control that the standard ‘Create Route’ option provides, Route Genius is an incredibly useful tool.

When we were browsing through many of the saved routes under the ‘My City’ page earlier, we noticed that many of them mentioned they were created with Route Genius.

There’s no custom map markers or map tools here, just the ability to provide a starting point and target distance.

A complete route will then be mapped out for you, with a small amount of control via a number of optional settings. This includes whether you have a preferred direction, and whether you want to avoid highways.

Route Genius quickly creates a new route based on your desired location and target distance
Route Genius quickly creates a new route based on your desired location and target distance

If you don’t like the first route that’s created, you can always click ‘Recommend A New Route’, and you’ll have a new route to follow within seconds.

Once you find the one you want to use, you can choose to either save it for access later, or send it to your phone to follow now.

If you choose to save your route, you can find it alongside the ones you create manually or have imported from files.

Heart Rate Analysis

Whether you’re following a strict high-intensity fitness program, or looking for of a steady-state cardio approach, your heart rate can be a useful indicator of how much effort is being put into a workout.

When we created our profile earlier, we mentioned that the profile creation fields included your height and weight, but not your age.

Yet when we view the data on our ‘Heart Rate Zones’ tab, MapMyRide clearly knows our age, and has already used it to calculate our maximum heart rate.

From there it’s also gone on to calculate the equivalent beats per minute (BPM) for 90%, 80%, 70%, 60%, and 40%.

Heart rate ranges can be automatically calculated using the age from your Facebook profile
Heart rate ranges can be automatically calculated using the age from your Facebook profile

As we thought, this is from data that’s been pulled from our Facebook profile when we linked accounts earlier.

If you measure your maximum heart rate with a trained physician and know it to be different to the number provided, you do have the option to override this.

What’s also interesting is that MapMyRide don’t subscribe to the traditional calculation for maximum heart rate, which is 220 – Age.

Instead they follow a similar calculation to what we’ve seen on some of Precor’s fitness machines, which recent studies have proven to be more accurate.

That formula is: 208 – (0.7 x age).

But to feed your heart rate back to MapMyRide from your cycling workouts, you’ll also need a heart rate sensor, such as a Polar H7, Wahoo TICKR, or the MapMyRun Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor.

MapMyRide requires a compatible heart rate monitor to sync data to the app
MapMyRide requires a compatible heart rate monitor to sync data to the app for analysis

The MapMyRun model uses Bluetooth(R) Smart technology to transfer your heart rate information to the MapMyRide app without the need for additional adapters. While this does work with iPhones, you’ll need to use a model later than the 4S. For Samsung Galaxy users you’ll need model 3 or up, with Android devices requiring the 4.3 operating system for them to connect.

Once you’re wearing a compatible heart rate monitor for your bike rides, your heart rate data will sync back to your workouts page, where you can analyze your time spent in each heart rate zone.

Although you’re profile divides your maximum heart rate into percentages, the graph on your workouts page converts this into more meaningful zones such as Warm Up, Fat Burn, Cardio, Training, and Max.

Power Analysis

Similar to heart rate zone monitoring, Power Zone analysis is available on your workouts page, providing you’re using a compatible power sensor or power meter.

A power meter’s function is to measure the torque applied to the bike and multiply it by the speed at which the wheels are rotating to provide an accurate power output measurement (Watts) regardless of conditions.

MapMyRide requires a compatible power meter to sync data to the app for analysis
MapMyRide requires a compatible power meter to sync data to the app for analysis

Unless you’re quite specialized about your cycling, you may never have heard of a power meter before, which may mean that you never actually benefit from this feature.

However, if you want to have a power meter fitted to your bike, there are a range of units we recommend considering.

We’ll avoid going into too much detail here, as they certainly deserve their own in-depth guide, but we would suggest taking a look at PowerTap (usually the most cost effective), Garmin, SRM, Quarq, and Look. Essentially start with any that provide ANT+ wireless connectivity and start filtering down your options based on requirements.

Differences you’re looking for include battery life, attachment area, claimed accuracy level (most will be +/- 2%), and the ability to update firmware.

The reason you’ll want to look for a power meter with ANT+ connection is because there’s a whole host of companies developing products that are compatible with them. This includes Garmin, with their Garmin Edge bike computers and Forerunner 301XT multisport.

With a power meter fitted to your bike and wireless connectivity setup to your phone and the MapMyRide app, power zone data will then be recorded alongside the rest of your workout information during each ride.

You can then monitor time spent at the various stages, which includes:

  • Active Recovery
  • Endurance
  • Tempo
  • Lactate threshold
  • VO2 Max

FAQs

Hopefully we’ve managed to answer any questions you had about the MapMyRide app. But after putting together the above guide, we did come across a number of questions that we felt would be best answered in their own section.

The questions below are mainly related to transferring workout data from MapMyRide to Strava, MyFitnessPal, and Garmin Connect, but should hopefully cover most other situations.

If there’s anything you feel we’ve missed and would like to see added to the FAQ, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Can My Workout Data Be Imported to Garmin Connect?

We’re going to give a similar response to our Strava import answer here and say, in theory, yes.

Unfortunately in practice there’s an issue with the .TCX export for MapMyRide, and the .GPX files don’t contain time data.

That being said, you can still sync your Garmin Connect account with MapMyRide by following the steps below.

Garmin Connect activity data can be synced directly to your MapMyRide profile

Export from Garmin Connect to MapMyRide:

  • Step 1: From the ‘Improve’ menu option in your MapMyRide profile, select ‘Device Connect’ from the dropdown to view connected accounts and devices
  • Step 2: Select the ‘Import From Garmin’ option, then authorize MapMyFitness access to your data on Garmin Connect. You may also need to login to your Garmin account at this stage.
  • Step 3: Once access is authorized, you should be taken back to the ‘Accounts & Devices’ page on MapMyRide, where you’ll see a message confirming the connection was successful.

That’s really all you need to do. You won’t see a prompt to ‘Sync Data’ like you do with MyFitnessPal, as your data will export from Garmin Connect to MapMyRide automatically.

Export from MapMyRide to Garmin Connect:

  • Step 1: Go to the Menu
  • Step 2: Select Activities
  • Step 3: Select the Import button
  • Step 4: Choose the file you’d like to import from your computer.

We should point out that although Garmin support .TCX, .FIT and .GPX files, the GPX files must include time information.

Unfortunately this is something that’s missing from the MapMyRide .GPX files, meaning you’re unable to transfer workouts or routes from MapMyRide to Garmin Connect at the current time.

Error message when uploading .GPX data from MapMyRide to Garmin Connect
Error message when uploading .GPX data from MapMyRide to Garmin Connect

This is the same reason why data can’t be transferred to Strava, and is something we hope MapMyFitness can fix with a working .TCX export in the near future.

How Can I Export My Routes and Courses as a Gpx File?

GPS Exchange files (GPX) are used by a wide range of Garmin devices, including their popular eTrex and Edge collections.

If you discover a route on MapMyRide, either via the standard ‘Create Route’ option or using Route Genius, you can export the data to a GPX file for use with your Garmin device.

The quickest way is to navigate to the ‘My Routes and Courses’ page from the main menu, then select the route that you want to export from the list of saved routes or courses.

In the sidebar for this route or course, you’ll see a section called ‘Route Info’, with an option to ‘Export this Route (GPX,KML)’.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll then be given the option to save or open the file. By choosing save you can then pick up the exported file and import it to your GPX compatible device.

Step-by-step Gpx/kml Route and Course Export:

  • 1. Locate the route or course you want to export
    Each route and course can be exported to a GPX or KML file
  • 2. Export to a GPX or KML file
    Download a .GPX file of your course or route

Can I Export MapMyRide Data to Strava?

In theory, yes. Strava is compatible with GPX, TCX, and FIT format files, and MapMyRide can export to GPX.

However, the problem is that Strava require the GPX file to have a timestamp, which is something that isn’t exported with the MapMyRide file. Without timestamps Strava are unable to calculate speed and time on segments.

The only workaround that’s currently recommended by Strava is to use a third party GPX converter tool to export your MapMyRide data to a TCX file (another of the formats Strava is compatible with).

This will contain the GPS, time, heart rate, and cadence data.

If you try to upload a MapMyRide GPX file and see an error relating to ‘Time information missing from file.’, then it’s worth giving this conversion a try.

Importing .GPX files to Strava fails due to missing time data
Importing .GPX files to Strava fails due to missing time data

Unfortunately, the website for the conversion tool recommended by Strava wasn’t working when we tried, and similar conversion software proved unreliable.

We’ll update the guide as soon as we find a working conversion tool, or when MapMyRide make a working export to TCX.

Useful Resources:

  • 1. You can find a full list of devices that are compatible with Strava here.
  • 2. You can also find a similar list of MapMyRide compatible devices here.
  • 3. For any similar problems you might be having with uploading files to Strava, it’s worth checking their Knowledge Base Forum for the latest solutions and updates.

How Can I Import Data from MyFitnessPal?

Even before MyFitnessPal was bought up by Under Armour, you were able to import nutrition and workout data directly into your MapMyRide profile. The import itself is a two step process:

  • 1. Connect your MapMyRide and MyFitnessPal accountsFrom the My Workouts page you have an option to ‘Import Workouts’ in the top corner next to ‘Log A Workout’. You can also get to the import page directly from the ‘My Home’ menu dropdown.

    From here you’ll see a whole range of accounts and devices that MapMyRide is compatible with, from JawBone and TomTom through to Garmin and FitBit.

  • 2. Authorize MapMyRide to connect to MyFitnessPalThere should be an option to ‘Import From MyFitnessPal’, which takes you through to an authorization page requesting permission to pass data between the two accounts.

    This is essentially just granting MapMyFitness access to your food and exercise diary for the data sync, and it won’t post anything to your profile.

    If you choose the ‘Allow’ option, you should see a screen similar to the one below when you return to the ‘Connect Accounts & Devices’ page of MapMyRide.

    MapMyRide data can be synced with a range of accounts, including MyFitnessPal and Garmin Connect

    If you want to disconnect the accounts at any time, there’s an icon in the top corner that will let you do this. Otherwise you can sync data whenever you need to using the ‘Sync Data’ option.

    This will do two things. It will import your MyFitnessPal exercise and nutrition data into MapMyRide, and it will export your workout and nutrition data from MapMyRide to MyFitnessPal.

Workout data exported from MapMyRide to MyFitnessPal
Workout data exported from MapMyRide to MyFitnessPal
Workout data imported to MapMyRide from MyFitnessPal
Workout data imported to MapMyRide from MyFitnessPal

Does MapMyRide Give Directions?

Every route that you create, whether it’s using the ‘Create A Route’ option or using Route Genius, includes a wide variety of useful data.

As an example, our 3.37 mile route around Yosemite Village contains information for:

  • Elevation (Starting, Maximum, and Elevation Gain)
  • Climb ratings
  • Notes on how to reach the start of the route

However, if you’re looking for directions, you’ll need to first click the ‘Edit’ option from the main route view, then expand the ‘Directions/Notes’ node on the side menu. This provides you with a turn-by-turn account of the navigation required to complete the route.

Directions are available for each route and course, but only via the 'Edit' option
Directions are available for each route and course, but only via the ‘Edit’ option

Ideally we would like to see this same expandable ‘Directions/Notes’ section below the map on the main route page, as it’s not exactly intuitive to have to click ‘Edit’ when you don’t intend to make any changes.

This is only really an issue when looking for route directions outside of the app, and if you choose to send the route to your phone, then the next direction will become available while you’re riding.

Overall Impression

After taking an in-depth look across every feature of MapMyRide, including those that are only available on a premium membership, we have to say this is an app that has some incredibly useful functions.

We Particularly Liked:

  • Being able to analyse workout data on a historical level
  • Viewing changes in heart rate and power output
  • How quickly you can find inspiration for your next ride with Route Genius
  • The integration of achievements and a sense of competition with courses
  • Being part of a large and active online community
  • Having the option to sync data between other fitness services
  • How flexible the manual route creation tool is

However, we also came across a couple of minor issues and areas that could potentially be improved upon.

If they can fix a few of the bugs around TCX file exports for workout sync to Strava, the export option for displaying routes on web pages, and make a couple of their goals more cycling specific (as well as the Gear Tracker), then we can certainly see the popularity of MapMyRide growing even greater.

We would also like to see an improvement to the user interface surrounding event creation, with the current long single form broken into stages that you can move between.

One final improvement would be to offer a historical view of nutrition data on the same level as workout data, where you can view changes in caloric and macronutrient intake over the course of a week, month, year, or even lifetime.

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