Using Missouri Bicycle Routes (with RideWithGPS or any other app/device)

Do you need a RideWithGPS account to use the Missouri Bicycle & Touring Routes? No. It does work better - but there are other ways, too . . . Plus: GPS file troubleshooting

The routes on MoBikeFed's Missouri Bicycle & Touring Routes page are created with RideWithGPS.

  • If you are a MoBikeFed member, you will receive a special URL to visit that will add you as a MoBikeFed member on RideWithGPS, allow you to use any route in our (very large) route library with all advanced features.
    • This is a great reason to support our work by joining MoBikeFed or renewing your membership!
    • If your income is limited, our student/military/low income membership option is just $10/year.
    • If you can't afford even $10/year, please contact us and we will fix you up. An important part of our mission is making our work available to everyone in Missouri bicycles, walks, runs, or hikes - regardless of ability to pay.
    • Routes are being rolled into this new system starting September 2021 - it may take a while before every route is available.
    • Joining MoBikeFed is honestly the easiest and least expensive way to use our large library of RideWithGPS routes.  Once you are registered as a MoBikeFed "Club Member" on RideWithGPS you can use ALL of these advanced features with every MoBikeFed route:
      • Get audible turn-by-turn directions as you ride
      • Easily download the route in any format you like, in a form that is uploadable to any GPS device or can be used by any other app
      • Print or save route maps and cue sheets for the routes in various customizable formats
      • Because you can use the routes in RideWithGPS with all features enable, you will enjoy the full benefit of the routes, including:
        • Detailed points of interest with ride essentials (where to eat, where to camp or stay, restrooms, water) and all the extras - from points of interest to visit to local history
        • Graphics and image files, including historical maps, historical photos and documents, and more
        • In short, as a MoBikeFed member you have full access to all the ingredients that turn the routes from a mere bicycle route into a full-fledge guided tour of an areas' history, culture, and scenery that you can enjoy at your own pace by bicycle
  • If you use a RideWithGPS account (trial or paid--many pay for just a month or two as needed to access advanced features for a particular ride or tour), the whole process of downloading, saving, navigating with your phone, and downloading is smoother and more seamless.
    • Again if you join MoBikeFed you will get all of those same benefits for every ride in our route library. 

However, we want to offer the opportunity for everyone to use the routes--whether or not you want to, or are able to, pay for a RideWithGPS account or a MoBikeFed membership.

Below are strategies and instructions for getting full use of the routes without creating a RideWithGPS account if that is your choice, as well as some troubleshooting tips for various problems you might encounter.

All of these require a fair bit of time, patience, and know-how.  The know-how is explained below, but you will still need to a comfort level working with computers, smart phones, apps, and so on, and it will definitely take some time and patience to make everything work.

On this page: Solutions for using the routes without RideWithGPS & GPS FileTroubleshooting Tips

Click on the link on each solution to go directly to the instructions for that solution:

The routes are too large to upload to my GPS device - it chokes or won't complete the route upload

Some GPS devices and apps are limited in the size of file they can accept.  If your GPS device can't handle the route files you download from RideWithGPS, you have a few options:

  • If you are a MoBikeFed member or paid RideWithGPS member, you wil have the option to "Reduce to 500 points" when dowloading a route from RideWithGPS. Sometimes this works well.
    • Sometimes, particularly for longer and more complex routes, trimming the route to 500 points will eliminate some essential turns and other direction and cues.  Please check the route carefully before using if you trim it this way.
  • You can alter the RideWithGPS download URL to trim the route to 1000, 1500, 2000, or 2500 points or any other desired value. Often this will solve the problem while still preserving important turns and cues. How to do this:
    • Look at the URL for the RideWithGPS download.  It will look something like this:
    • Exact format will differ, depending on the type of format you are downloading.
    • Whatever the URL is, add to the end of it: &reduce_to=2000
    • The URL will now look like this
    • This will download the route reduced to 2000 waypoints.  Change the value 2000 to whatever you need - values between 1000 and 3000 typically work best.
    • Even with values as high as 3000 you can still lose vital turn and cue information - check you final route carefully before using.
  • If you use TCX files, you can use the utilty TCXPrune to trim your TCX files OR easily split them into several smaller files that your device will accept:
    • Download TCXPrune here and read the directions for use here
    • This will clean up - and split, if necessary - any TCX file in less than a second
    • The advantage of using this utility is you never lose an important turn cue or informational cue.  Unlike the built-in RideWithGPS system, TCXPrune only strips out points between turn cues, and never the turns themselves.
  • If you use GPX files, you can use one of these utilities to trim the file size - both are free utilties:

Why electronic, online routes?

The Missouri Bicycle & Touring Routes make fairly heavy use of the unique capabilities of electronic routes and route-finding

  • Routes are somewhat more complex and take you to more interesting places because we can rely on GPS navigation to keep you on track
  • Routes include numerous points of interest--including historical buildings, monuments, and places, cultural and scenic features, and many more--many times points of interest it is easy to overlook even if you are riding right past them.
  • Points of interest often include significant historical background, historical photos and maps, and other background information that makes the places you are visiting come alive.  If you have the route & points of interest downloaded, this information will be available when you visit that place--because most places on these routes have no internet access.
  • For that reason, the routes and POIs do go the best and smoothest in RideWithGPS.


How you can use the Routes with No RideWithGPS Account

But you can duplicate a good deal of the RideWithGPS functionality--for free--by following the instructions below.

In particular:

If you have no RideWithGPS Account, you can do the following once you are on a RideWithGPS route page like this one:

  • View the route in detail online, see cues, waypoints, points of interest, and so on.
    • You are welcome to use these routes as the basis for your own routes in whatever mapping system you use, simply by looking at the routes online and copy the routes, information, points of interest, etc by hand to your preferred mapping program
      Every RideWithGPS Route Page has a More button, allowing you to download cuesheets and files.
      Every RideWithGPS Route Page has a More button, allowing you to download cuesheets and files.

  • Print a basic Cuesheet for the route
    • On the Route Page: More/Print Cuesheet
  • Print a basic map of the route
    • On the Route Page: Simply zoom to the map area you would like to print and then use the print capability of your web browser to print that page.
    • OR to download the map images: More/Export as File/Map-Profile Images
  • Download basic .fit, .tcx,  or .gpx files for your GPS device
  • Download Google Earth .kml files, or a .CSV cue sheet file for import to Excel
    • On the Route Page: More/Export as File/Choose your file type
  • Get turn-by-turn directions, offline maps, etc
    • At RideWithGPS, you cannot get turn-by-turn directions, offline routes, and other features with no account or a free account.
    • However, you can use the instructions below to download the routes and use other (FREE) mobile phone apps to navigate the route.
      The download menu allows you to download the route in many formats. However, depending on your RideWithGPS account (None/Free/Basic/Premium) some download options will be restricted. Instructions below for working around some of those restrictions.
      The download menu allows you to download the route in many formats. However, depending on your account (None/Free/Basic, etc) some download will be restricted. Instructions below for working around some of those restrictions.

How you can use the routes with a Free RideWithGPS Account

If you sign up with RideWithGPS for a free/starter account, you can do these things:

  • Everything listed above for No Account
  • Save the route to your account, and edit your copy as desired.
  • Load the route on your mobile phone using the RideWithGPS app look at the map in detail (iPhone - Android):
    • You'll be able to open the app and see the route, zoom into the map & route, etc.
    • Note that with a Free account, most RideWithGPS app features are not available:
      • You won't be able to navigate the route on the app or see your own location on the map
      • You won't be able to download the route for offline use--you'll generally need mobile data any time you want to look at the map
      • You won't get on-screen or audible turn-by-turn directions during your ride
  • However: You can download routes as needed--despite the restrictions mentioned above--and then use the free OsmAnd for offline turn-by-turn directions and mapping. Instructions below.
  • OR Use your RideWithGPS routes with the free Bike Tracker app to get offline turn-by-turn directions during the ride.  See instructions below.

How you can use the routes with a Paid RideWithGPS Account

You can do everything listed above, but in addition:

  • Download routes for offline use
    • HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Switch your phone to airplane mode while riding, particularly in remote areas.  This saves massively on battery usage.
    • HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: If your are depending on mobile phone for navigation--especially in remote or unfamiliar areas:
      • Bring a spare battery/charger, and/or
      • Have some other backup method for viewing your routes on the ride, such as printed maps & cue sheets and/or a second (reliable!) device.
  • Get turn-by-turn directions from the RideWithGPS app--both spoken and (if desired) on-screen
  • Easily download the routes as files for your GPS device that include advance turn warning and other advanced features


Use the (free) OsmAnd app for offline navigation and turn-by-turn directions

We want everyone to be able to use and enjoy our statewide bicycle routes and courses.  We understand that not everyone is able to--or wants to--subscribe to a service like RideWithGPS to use the routes.

Here is an option for route navigation with the Missouri routes using free, open source software.

  1. Install the OsmAnd app on your mobile device (OsmAnd stands for "Open Street Map Automated Navigation Directions")
  2. Download offline maps for OsmAnd for the area(s) you'll be riding in:
    • In OsmAnd: Menu/Download maps/North America/United States/Missouri/Standard Map
    • You only need to do this once!
  3. Download the route you want to ride. 
    • You need to download the route in TWO WAYS: #1. GPX with Cues and #2. GPX with POIs, then upload each of these to OsmAnd in a different way.
    • Tip: If you use your mobile phone's web browser to browse to the Course Page on RideWithGPS (example) then the downloaded file will be on your mobile phone, where you'll need it for the next step
      • Otherwise you'll have to download on a computer and then transfer to your mobile phone
      • When you download the file, you should have the option to 'Open with' a certain app. Choose "OsmAnd".
      • If "Open with" does not work, you can open OsmAnd, navigate to My Places/Tracks and then Import.
    • If you have a paid RideWithGPS account and you're logged in, you'll be able to download the course's GPX Track with points of interest as waypoints direct from the RideWithGPS course page
    • If you don't have a paid RideWithGPS account, you can use the technique outlined below to download the file.
      • In brief:
        • You can find the course number by looking at the URL of the Course Page. The URL will be something like this for course # 30366867:

        • You want to download in two parts - #1 to get the route & turns into OsmAnd and #2 to get all the Points of Interest loaded into OsmAnd.
        • Now in OsmAnd, click "Directions" and choose the track you just uploaded as the 'destination'. 
        • In the Directions screen under Options (the small cog), tap on Show Along the Route and enable Favorites. This will make OsmAnd announce when you get close to a point of interest.
    • Tip: Much of the value of these routes is in the Points of Interest.  That is why the instructions above make a point of downloading those POIs into OsmAnd.
      • POIs including in the RideWithGPS routes include everything from historical buildings, battlefields, cultural and scenic points of interest to practical matters like places to stay or camp, eat, get water, etc.
      • If you include the POIs in your GPX file, OsmAnd will show them on the map and even announce them verbally and direct you to them, if desired.
  5. Upload the GPX file to OsmAnd
    • Read the OsmAnd Help instructions for loading a GPX file
      • If that works for you, your done! Proceed to the next step.
      • If it didn't work, below are more details instructions and things to try
      • Usually loading the GPX file into OsmAnd is the most difficult/problematic step
    • As explained above, when you download the GPX file, usually your device gives you the option to "Open" it and then choose "Open with Osmand".
      • If that worked, OsmAnd has your route loaded--proceed to the next step!
    • If you still need to load the GPX file into follow one of these procedures:
      • Option #1: Open the GPX file with OsmAnd using a file manager, Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, or other app:
        1. Make sure the GPX file is on your mobile phone (as explained above) and that you know where it is located
        2. Use your file manager app (or Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail etc--however you have uploaded it to the device) to navigate to the download location and open the file (usually tap or long press to open)
        3. Choose OsmAnd as the app to open the file
      • Option #2: Import the files directly using OsmAnd:
        • For the GPX track/route file: Open OsmAnd. Go to My Places/Tracks and Import the file you just downloaded.
        • For the Points of Interest file: Open OsmAnd. Go to My Places/Favorites and Import the file you just downloaded.
      • Option #3: Get help. Ask for help on the OsmAnd forums.
  6. Use OsmAnd to Navigate with the GPX file

    ==> Visit the OsmAnd help page for navigating a GPX file
    1. Menu/Directions/Options ("Menu" is the three line icon on the main screen  that opens the app's menu, "Options" looks like a little gear)
    2. Touch option "Follow Track", then choose the track you wish to navigate.
      • If your GPX route does not appear, there was a problem with the previous step "Upload the GPX file to OsmAnd". Most likely, your GPX file is in the wrong directory.  See instructions/help above.
    3. You will be presented with a few options you can choose if you wish - reversing the course, etc.
    4. Tap Close and then Start to begin navigating the route
    5. Menu/Directions/Dismiss to end the route
    6. Many helpful options to set up at Menu/Settings/Navigation settings
      • Best to customize your "Cycling" Base Profile and use it when navigating bicycle routes
      • Under Directions/Settings (little cog) tap "Show Along the Route". Make sure Favorites is enabled.  This allows the RideWithGPS Points of Interest to be displayed (RideWithGPS calls them "Points of Interest" - OsmAnd calls them "Favorites" once you have imported  them.
      • Under Directions/Settings (little cog)/Navigation Settings/Voice Prompts be sure that Voice Prompts is enabled.
        • Touch Voice Prompts to see more options and be sure that Track Waypoints and Favorites are both enabled. These allow OsmAnd to give you voice directions and announce nearby points of interest.
    7. On the map you can tap points of interest to read the text (note that many RideWithGPS POIs have photos as well--those do not transfer to the GPX file, so if you want to view the photos you'll need the RideWithGPS app).
    8. OsmAnd help and discussion boards

Use the free Bike Tracker app to get turn-by-turn directions (Android only)

The free Bike Tracker app will auto-download routes from your RideWithGPS account. It will

  • Download routes for off-line use
  • Give you turn-by-turn voice directions for the entire course
  • Show the entire route to you, along with your current location, on a Google map (data connection required)
  • It will not show you POIs or tell you when you are near a POI.

How to use Bike Tracker with the Missouri RideWithGPS routes:

  1. Get a RideWithGPS account (free is OK)
  2. Transfer all of the Missouri Routes you want to ride to your RideWithGPS account (see instructions below)
  3. Download the app Bike Tracker by PC Ability on the Play Store
  4. Menu/Settings and look towards the bottom for Email and Password. Here you enter your RideWithGPS email & password.
  5. Menu/RideWithGPS and all of your RideWithGPS routes will show up
    • Note that Bike Tracker also downloads all of the routes from RideWithGPS so that you can ride them without requiring an internet connection
  6. Select a route route to navigate
  7. Click the GPS button to turn GPS on
  8. Click the Start button to start navigating the route (and saving your track as you ride)
  9. Menu/Map to view the map of the route and your location

How to transfer the Missouri Routes you want to your RideWithGPS account:

Bike Tracker will allow you to navigate all of your RideWithGPS routes.  But to ride the Missouri Routes, you will need to transfer them to your own account first.

Many times you can "Pin" routes on RideWithGPS to save them to your RideWithGPS account.  But in this situation, Pinning is not enough.  You need to actually copy the routes to your RideWithGPS account.

  1. Log into your RideWithGPS account
    • Generally best to do in a web browser, not your RideWithGPS app
    • Can be done on a computer OR your mobile phone's web browser
  2. Go to the RideWithhGPS route you want to use (find them on the Missouri Bicycle & Touring Routes page)
  3. On the Route page (example), click More then Copy to My Routes
  4. Repeat for each route you want to use.

Download advance turn notification courses with no account/Free RideWithGPS account

Unless you have a paid RideWithGPS account, you are restricted from downloading turn-by-turn directions and other features from the Route Page.

Some people will purchase or upgrade their RideWithGPS account for a month or two just to get more advanced features during a tour or riding season.

If you don't want to our can't do that, you can use the technique below--simply adding special commands to the end of the Route Page URL, to download files with advance turn notification by simply altering the URL of the route page:

  • If the main route page is:
  • TCX:
    • Plain:
    • With 5 meter advance turns:
      • Copy & paste this onto the end of your route URL:
        • .tcx?turn_notification_distance=5
  • FIT:
    • Plain:
    • With 5 meter advance turns:
  • GPX:
    • Plain:
    • With POINTS OF INTEREST as waypoints:
    • With CUES as waypoints:
    • With cues as waypoints and reduced to 1500 points (commonly used setting):

>>> Return to MoBikeFed's Missouri Bicycle & Touring Routes page

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