iPhone map app

Wayne E

New Member
Region
USA
Hi,

I'm looking to see if anyone has experience with or can recommend one of the following apps (or even one not listed ) for planning and executing a bike trip:
  1. Strava
  2. AllTrails
  3. Outly
We live in an area where there are a lot of BLM trails and interesting things to visit, but finding the trails that lead to the destination and being able to see how steep they are is basically what I'm looking for.

I have a desktop Windows computer, an iPad and an iPhone. Only the iPhone travels with us on the trip.

I have done single-track, but if I'm traveling with my wife, we need to be able to find things a bit less challenging.

Feedback as to whether the subscription is really useful is also great.

Lastly, do you use a satellite beacon or messenger (like Spot) in case you get lost/injured?

Thanks a bunch,

Wayne
 

VoltMan99

Well-Known Member
Region
Asia
City
Tokyo
I'm looking to see if anyone has experience with or can recommend one of the following apps (or even one not listed ) for planning and executing a bike trip:
  1. Strava
Strava sucks for route planning and navigation etc. - A waste of money in my opinion. It’s more of some game where you can compete with others or share a ride status etc. , also it has supposedly ride tracking beacon but it’s worthless from a safety aspect for that because the map displays is crap and they don’t give you an absolutely latitude longitude in case your contact needs to send emergency services.

RideWithGPS has fantastic route planning - the best that I can find for Japan at least. I’m relying on my Apple Watch for impact (fall) detection and and sharing my current location to my wife’s iPhone.

I don’t have Spot but I do have a Garmin InReach type device which I use however mine also has aviation specific features not needed for biking. I highly recommend that if you’re riding alone on narrow roads without good cellular coverage like in mountainous areas. I might try to see if Spot can ship to Japan. On the back roads here its definitely possible if not highly likely you’d be tossed into the forest should you be clipped by a passing vehicle. Of course that still leaves the chance that you’re unconscious and can’t trigger the device but at least you won’t die in the woods with broken legs being slowly eaten by a pack of wild boars or a bear in a conscious state.
 

Air2air

Member
Region
USA
Reading good things about the Gaia app but perhaps it's more trail-oriented, haven't used it yet.
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Northeast Pennsylvania
I don't use a smartphone or apps for bike navigation. There is often no cellular coverage in many of the remote or rural places I ride. Loading all the maps needed for GPS only use would chew up most of the smartphone's memory. Your cell phone data plan is also a consideration. GPS use also drains the smartphone battery fairly quickly and can require an external power source. All of this of course depends on where you ride and your smartphone & data plan.

With over 20 years of using various devices for bike navigation, I settled on a stand alone, handlebar mounted GPS unit. In my case, I use a Garmin Montana 650T with preloaded topo maps. It's batteries last several days and the unit requires no cellular coverage. I do all my trip/route planning on my PC at home with Garmin's Basecamp software. I download all routes, tracks and waypoints to the GPS before heading out.

There are many PC based programs like Basecamp that let you build trip/route files from external sources and download to a GPS. I use a variety of internet sources to build and check my GPS files. They include Google Earth, Google Maps, Traillink.com , gpsfiledepot.com and a host of others.

Obviously, this takes a bit of time. I enjoy the process though and usually do it during the off season or during inclement weather when I can't ride.

If you're looking for a quick & easy solution and are willing to address the smartphone issues, then an app might be the way to go. Hopefully others will offer more suggestions.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your search. If you find something that works, by all means, post your experience!
 

dodgeman

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Macomb, Illinois
I posted a similar question a few weeks ago. I downloaded “Ride With GPS” and “AllTrails”. I used them a little bit at first but not since and not while riding. I liked AllTrails look and feel but the problem is people submit random rides that show up. Say you know there is a bike trail in Springfield Illinois but dont know the name. You search in that area but get 50 random rides. If you know the name of the trail it works better.
 

Wayne E

New Member
Region
USA
I don't use a smartphone or apps for bike navigation. There is often no cellular coverage in many of the remote or rural places I ride. Loading all the maps needed for GPS only use would chew up most of the smartphone's memory. Your cell phone data plan is also a consideration. GPS use also drains the smartphone battery fairly quickly and can require an external power source. All of this of course depends on where you ride and your smartphone & data plan.

With over 20 years of using various devices for bike navigation, I settled on a stand alone, handlebar mounted GPS unit. In my case, I use a Garmin Montana 650T with preloaded topo maps. It's batteries last several days and the unit requires no cellular coverage. I do all my trip/route planning on my PC at home with Garmin's Basecamp software. I download all routes, tracks and waypoints to the GPS before heading out.

There are many PC based programs like Basecamp that let you build trip/route files from external sources and download to a GPS. I use a variety of internet sources to build and check my GPS files. They include Google Earth, Google Maps, Traillink.com , gpsfiledepot.com and a host of others.

Obviously, this takes a bit of time. I enjoy the process though and usually do it during the off season or during inclement weather when I can't ride.

If you're looking for a quick & easy solution and are willing to address the smartphone issues, then an app might be the way to go. Hopefully others will offer more suggestions.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your search. If you find something that works, by all means, post your experience!
Thanks! That's really helpful. Will be checking this out.
 

mschwett

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I don't use a smartphone or apps for bike navigation. There is often no cellular coverage in many of the remote or rural places I ride. Loading all the maps needed for GPS only use would chew up most of the smartphone's memory. Your cell phone data plan is also a consideration. GPS use also drains the smartphone battery fairly quickly and can require an external power source. All of this of course depends on where you ride and your smartphone & data plan.

With over 20 years of using various devices for bike navigation, I settled on a stand alone, handlebar mounted GPS unit. In my case, I use a Garmin Montana 650T with preloaded topo maps. It's batteries last several days and the unit requires no cellular coverage. I do all my trip/route planning on my PC at home with Garmin's Basecamp software. I download all routes, tracks and waypoints to the GPS before heading out.

There are many PC based programs like Basecamp that let you build trip/route files from external sources and download to a GPS. I use a variety of internet sources to build and check my GPS files. They include Google Earth, Google Maps, Traillink.com , gpsfiledepot.com and a host of others.

Obviously, this takes a bit of time. I enjoy the process though and usually do it during the off season or during inclement weather when I can't ride.

If you're looking for a quick & easy solution and are willing to address the smartphone issues, then an app might be the way to go. Hopefully others will offer more suggestions.

Welcome to the forum and good luck with your search. If you find something that works, by all means, post your experience!

There are definitely pros and cons to using a phone for bike navigation - but the storage thing is simply not true. Anyone with rideWithGPS can check this out - take a look at the amount of storage it’s using, download a bunch of routes, and look again. On my 512GB iPhone the dozens of offline routes I’ve downloaded (which gives you the map and the routing with elevation, cuesheet, etc) are less than 300MB. It would take (literally) thousands and thousands to make a dent… and of course, they’d all have to be in different parts of the world. Simply not an issue.

There are drawbacks, of course, but some of your other critiques are also a bit out of date. The total data usage of these apps pales in comparison to what most people do with their cell phones (we have 30gb shared data per month, and of the last 311GB of data my phone has downloaded, a whopping 168mb is rideWithGPS (1/2000 of my data usage!). A modern iPhone can also run both a bike computer app (like specialized’s mission control) and rideWithGPS for 8+ hours. I’ve done 80+ mile rides and never ran the phone’s battery down.

I also enjoy the planning process, checking out the various routing options for elevation and surface type in rideWithGPS, referencing alltrails or trailforks for off-road sections, or sometimes google maps to see the conditions of a road or it’s bike lane. A very nice feature of rwGPS is that anything you’ve planned on the web app is automatically on your phone or any other device you have…