Route Planning 101

  • Updated

You are here, and you want to get there there. Use our Route Planner to find the best route for your trip, whether you're on a bike, on your own two feet, or even driving a vehicle. We’ll show you the way, the amount of climbing you’ll endure, and more. 

Access your routes through the Ride with GPS mobile app, and get turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. Advanced Route Planning tools and voice navigation are both unlocked with a Premium membership

Go to our Mobile Route Planner for info on planning with the Ride with GPS app.

Create a Route

To get started with the route planner feature, click Route Planner at the top menu bar of the website.

Jump to a Location

Click anywhere to place your start point. Enter an address to jump there, add a marker on the map, and have the system automatically generate a start point to that address.

If you've set your home location in your profile preferences, you can click HOME into the location bar.

Add to Route

To plot your route, use the Add to Route button and select a routing style (cycling, driving, or walking) to get started. Clicking on the map along your desired path, or between two points, will generate a route line that snaps to nearby roads and paths. This also builds a cuesheet, which contains turn by turn directions for use with navigation. 

Routing Style

When you have Add to Route selected, you can choose your routing style to best suit your activity. Our routing engine will use this setting to plan along to the most appropriate roads, paths, and trails for your selected mode of transportation. 

  • Walking - prioritize based on safety for walking. This routing will not be based on traffic laws such as one-way streets, but will use multi-use paths.

  • Cycling - prioritize based on safety for cycling. Routes will use multi-use and bike paths, but may not be available in all areas.

  • Driving - prioritize based on shortest distance.

Sometimes, if you get undesirable results, it can be helpful to change the Routing Style. For example, Walking can sometimes allow you to route down trails that might not be selected by default in Cycling mode, and Driving can sometimes help plan road rides that avoid unpaved paths.

Draw Lines

We recommend using this tool sparingly, because it does not generate cues or snap to roads.

Use Draw Lines to get your route line to go through a short area that doesn't seem to be mappable in our routing engine. Parking lots and unmarked streets aren't identified as routeable infrastructure in our underlying map data, so this makes it necessary to add in some of these connectors with the Draw Lines tool.


Control Points

The white dots, or control points, that appear along the route are used to "pin" the route line in place along your selected path. They constrain the route to a specific path, so that when you drag the route, the rest of the route on the other side of the control point remains the same. You may find that adding or removing control points in strategic places will enable you to move or pin your route along your preferred route. 

  • Move a control point: click and drag.
  • Add a control point: select the Control Point button and click on the desired place along the route line. Or, right click at any time, anywhere along your route, to pop up the Add Control Point option.
  • Remove a control point: when using the Control Point tool, click on the existing control point. Or, right click on a control point at any time to access the Remove option. 
control points.gif

Avoid Control Point Issues

Missing or incorrect cues can be created by clicking inside an intersection. The Route Planner attempts to identify these inadvertent deviations from a planned route, but to ensure you don't experience this, it's best to make sure to click before or after intersections along the road, path, or trail you are working with.



A route's cuesheet provides turn by turn navigation in our app. 

When you make changes on the route, the cues in the left side panel are updated automatically. See Working with Cues for more detailed information.

Cue tips:

  • If your route has no cuesheet, and you want to navigate this route, see the Advanced Route Planning page to learn how to Trace a route and generate a cuesheet.
  • Cues are generally not necessary if you are loading a route onto a GPS computer for navigation. Most mapping devices generate directions from their own navigation data. Check with your device's manufacturer for confirmation.
  • Want to add personalized notes to your cuesheets? Check out Custom Cues on the Advanced Route Planning page. 

Drop POI

Points of Interest can be added to your route to include more information about the scenery or stopping points. Dropping POI is a Premium feature. See Points of Interest (POI) for more information.

Map View Options

Change Map Type

By clicking the map drop-down in the corner, you can change the map type. Different map types offer different information, allowing you in-depth planning opportunities!
See Switching Map Types for more details.

Route Planner Settings

  • Units: switch between imperial (ft/mi) or metric (m/km) distance units.
  • Show Cue Icons: helpful for reviewing the route and the location of each cue.
  • Auto Center: will cause map to center on every click.
  • Enable Scrollwheel Zoom: allows you to zoom with the scroll wheel on your mouse or zoom gesture on your trackpad.
  • Enable Selection Zoom: select portions of the elevation profile (at the bottom of the route planner) to zoom into a specific area.
  • Enable Distance Markers: automatically places distance markers along the route.
  • Show POIs: Show or hide all Points of Interest icons (if these are included on your route). 
  • Generate Cuesheet While Planning: we recommend keeping this enabled, so that the cuesheet is automatically generated for use on a printed cuesheet and mobile app. If you disable this, your route will not be navigable in our app


Premium member can enable the Global Heatmap or Personal Heatmap to see where others travel frequently in the area, and where you have traveled before. 


Street View

Drag the little person icon onto a street to view a Google Street View image of the area that you drop into. This can be really helpful for understanding what kind of infrastructure you can expect to encounter on your trip. 

To exit Street View, look for the back arrow at the bottom of the image. 


Route Tools

Route Tools allow you to make changes to all or a portion of your route. To select a specific part of your route, use the Elevation Profile at the bottom of the screen. This maps the elevation of your ride over the length of your route. You can click and drag along here to select the corresponding portion of your route line. 


Out and Back

Want directions back to your start point on a single route? Plan the first half of the route then click Out and Back to automatically plan your return trip. 


Reverse Route

Want to ride a route, but from finish to start? Use the Reverse Route tool to flip the direction of your route. 

Change Color

You can change the color of the route as you are planning to indicate different legs on your journey.


Make sure to Save frequently so you don't lose your planning progress! You can come back and edit this route at any time.
After clicking the Save button, you'll be asked to give the route a title, a description, set the privacy or add it to an event. If you are helping manage routes for an organization, you also have the option to save a route to your organization's Route Library. Show More Options allows you to add images, or to save your route as a manually logged ride.

View Route

After saving, click View Route to see your completed work, or click the X in the upper right hand corner of the menu to return to the Route Planner.

Become a Route Planning Pro:

  • Don't click inside intersections - always click just before or just beyond the intended turn to generate an accurate cue.
  • Zoom in close enough to see side streets. This will help ensure that you follow your desired paths, and set control points in the correct location.
  • Use the right-click menu to quickly transition between tools.