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 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
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 Details
Allows 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 tools
If 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 Workout
After 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 / Notes
We 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.
4 Steps to creating a great course
- Step 1: Choose a route segment that avoids sharp turns and intersections
One 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 courses
When 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 goals
If 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 points
If 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.