Use Run. Bike. Route. for all of your pre-ride planning to set the length of the ride and to locate where those hills are going to be so you are ready for them. For complicated routes, this app will help you stay on course to prevent taking that wrong turn or getting lost in unfamiliar areas.
Type in an address to jump to, or zoom in on the map to get to and set your starting point. Set your starting point by double tapping on the map where you would like to start from. Continue to double tap at intervals along your desired route or select to "Add a point by address" and automatically plot the route. If you would like to return to the starting point using the same route, tap "Complete there and back". Make a mistake? No problem, simply remove each last plot point by tapping the return arrow to the right of the mileage at the top of the screen. To save your route, tap on the "Save as..." option and name the route. Clear the route by tapping "Clear Route".
Below is a round trip route I planned starting at the Cannon Valley Trailhead in Cannon Falls that travels along the Cannon Valley Trail to the end of the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail near Hay Creek. I used the "Complete there and back" option to plot the return route. These are map and satellite views of the route.
To see the elevation changes along your planned route, tap the menu button and select "Elevation". Choose between map or chart to view details of the elevation changes. Zoom in to see close up specific elevation changes on select areas of your route.
Not all trails will be on Google's direction service, which is what I found out when trying to map the Hay Creek Trail in Red Wing, MN. Google must have overlooked this one. But, when using the "Draw" travel mode in the settings, I was able to zoom in and map out my route on this trail manually and then switch back to "Bicycling" mode and complete the rest of my route on the connecting trails Google did acknowledge. The "Draw" mode also comes in handy to manually map out routes where there are no trails in the area you want to travel. Don't forget to save your routed map for future use.
|Hay Creek Trail|
|Hay Creek Trail w/ Connections|
Access your saved routes by selecting the eye next to the settings wrench. This will list all of the routes you have created and to load a specific route, simply select it and it will appear on your screen ready for use. Your mapped route will come in handy while biking to see where you are on your route, just make sure you have GPS enabled. It also will keep you on track to avoid taking wrong turns and venturing off of your set route. Zoom in to see specific details on where you are at or zoom out to see where you are in relation to the rest of your route. If you are in an area that may have limited or no data coverage, you can still see if you are on track but there will be no map available, just the red line of your selected route. To see your location, tap on the compass icon in the lower right hand corner. A green bar will light up indicating "locate" on your map.
Route sharing is available within your selected map by accessing the menu and selecting the "Share" option. Post to Facebook or share to one of your other apps by selecting the Mail icon. There is one drawback for sharing, map URL's cannot be generated for maps made using the manual "Draw" travel mode.
Calculate calories burned on a specific route by accessing the menu from withing that map and selecting "Burn". Enter your weight, duration in minutes and tap "Calculate", this will then tell you your calories burned for that specific ride.
I used to plan my ride routes on the computer, but since I discovered Run. Bike. Route. I do all of my planning right on my Android smartphone. This app is very user friendly and has all of the features I need with the exception of GPS ride and statistic tracking, I use Endomondo Sport Tracker Pro for that. Run both of these apps at the same time to stay on your route and calculate your ride statistics. Run. Bike. Route. has received a majority of five star ratings and is available on Google's Play Store for $0.99. It's a small price to pay to get off of the computer and be able to plan your rides anytime you have your smartphone with you.