A couple months back I read a really good post on How to create maps/courses for your Garmin Forerunner. I had been working out with my Garmin 310XT for several months, exploring some of the possibilities, so this was perfect timing. Then I started to wonder, what if you’re not exactly sure what route you want to take? Or what if you are traveling in a new city, and you just want to know the best bike route to get from point A to point B, and maybe point C?
Google recently released a “Bike Routing” option on their Google maps. This is almost the coolest thing ever, and almost exactly what I was looking for. This is a great feature in that it will create a route from point A to point B, and to point C. Even better, it will create the route using roads that have bike lanes, bike trails, and avoid hills. But, can you take all this route data a somehow push it to your Garmin device without having to recreate/redraw the course using MapMyRide.com?
The answer? Yes, sort of…
So let’s do it.
Create a safe-to-ride bike route using http://Maps.google.com/biking
Take the same bike route and load it to my Garmin Forerunner
You’ll see a yellow box halfway down the page called GMapToGPX. If using Firefox, just drag and drop onto your bookmark toolbar. If using IE, right click and add to favorites. This will allow us to take the google map and convert it to a GPX file.
When done, your toolbar will have the following button:
2. Next create your map using Google Maps. Go here http://Maps.google.com/biking
I’ll use 3 local bike shops as an example. I’ll start at “Inside-Out Sports”, then go to “Performance Bicycle”, and finish at “Cycling Spoken Here”.
Then hit “Get Directions”. From here you’ll see the map with your new bike route. On the top right of your screen you’ll see options to print the turn by turn directions(some folks just need to have a paper copy), or to “Send”. The send option has an option for GPS, but apparently does NOT have the capability to send to the Forerunner(yet). This is why we now have the GMapToGPX button on our browser.
3. Click on the ‘GMapToGPX’ button you added in the first step. The result will be your GPX file. Copy paste everything you see into notepad (Start Menu—>Notepad). Save the notepad to your Desktop.
4. Next, we go to MapMyRide.com to basically upload the .txt file that we just created. You’ll want to MAP NEW RIDE and choose ‘New Route’.
You’ll be given the option to import the file. You’ll want to choose the option to import the .GPX file that you just saved on your desktop. Next ‘Upload’.
At this point you should see your new Bike Route. Now ‘Save Route’ and then go back and “view” your route under ‘MY Rides’. Click on ‘Route’, and then ‘Save to Garmin/CRS’. From here, everything is exactly the same as DC Rainmaker’s original post mentioned earlier.
5. Next you go to Garmin Training Center, choose “File” then “Import”, “Courses”, and grab the CRS file that you just saved to your PC. Now you’ll see the course in the Courses folder, mapmyfitness.com subfolder. Just choose the course and click the arrow to send to your Forerunner. This might take a few minutes to download, but you should be good to go at this point.
On the Forerunner, you’ll find the course under: “Training” –> “Courses” –> select your course –> “Do Course”.
Note: You will notice that when you convert your GPX file from Google over to MapMyRide the path does not follow the curves in the road like you can do with MapMyRide, but all your turns will be there. The GPX file is basically only looking at the specific waypoints and connecting the dots in between. So your distances may/may not be as accurate. The end result is still pretty cool. You now have a way of making a good bike route with preference given to roads with bike lanes, greenways, bike trails, etc, and loading it all on your Garmin Forerunner.
Give it a try. Has anyone else used the Bike Routing function of Google Maps?