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

Do you need a RideWithGPS account to use the Missouri Bicycle & Touring Routes?

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

If you use a RideWithGPS account (trial or paid--many pay for just a month or two as needed), the whole process of downloading, saving, navigating with your phone, and downloading is smoother and more seamless.

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.

Below are strategies and instructions for getting full use of the routes without creating a RideWithGPS account if that is your choice.

On this page: Solutions for using the routes without RideWithGPS

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

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

How you can use the Routes with No RideWithGPS Account

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 as a GPX Track with points of interest as waypoints
    • 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 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:
        • Then use this altered URL to download the GPX Track with points of interest as waypoints for that course:
        • When you download the file on your phone, you should have the option to 'Open with' a certain app. Choose "OsmAnd".
    • 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 in your GPX file.
      • 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.
  4. 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: Copy the GPX file to the correct location using a file manager (Android only)
        1. You can use a file manager like Total Commander
        2. Find the GPX file and copy it to the correct OsmAnd folder
          • The GPX file you downloaded is often in "download" - depending on how you downloaded it
          • The OsmAnd file location--where you need to copy the GPX file to--varies by exact device and Android system.  Some typical locations:
            • osmand/tracks
            • /sdcard/osmand/tracks
            • Android/data/
            • Android/data/net.osmand/files/tracks
          • If you can't find the location, you can use Total Commander to search for "tracks"
          • OsmAnd forums discussion about finding the correct file location
  5. Use OsmAnd to Navigate with the 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. Near the bottom, choose GPX Route, then Select GPX..., then select the GPX route you would like
      • 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 can choose a few options below the GPX route--as you wish
    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 Navigation settings/Cycling Base Profile/Announce... you can select which items you want spoken as you ride the route. Help items include:
        • Street Names, Track Waypoints, Nearby POI
          • Nearby POI will alert you when you are near a Point of Interest on the route (though this OsmAnd feature can be buggy)
    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)
    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, points of interest as waypoints, and reduced to 500 points:

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