Use Maplocs Cycling Route Planner for Android to Easily Plan Rides

Maplocs Cycling Route Planner is an excellent free app for Android devices to map out rides, check elevation profiles, estimate ride time and export planned routes to gps devices and apps. It's simple to use and very convenient making it my go-to app for planning rides quickly without the use of a desktop computer.

Planning the Route

Planning the route is as easy as tapping the screen to plot your points. Mistaken points can be removed by tapping the undo button and this removes the last point.  Location and distance from the last point appear at the bottom of the screen for each plotted point.  Once the desired route is completed there are numerous options to take it from there by tapping the bicycle button in the lower right-hand corner.

These options allow the user to save the route, show the elevation profile, export a GPX file or send to a connected Garmin or Wahoo device.  The "Show Directions" option will have in-app navigation coming soon but for now Google Maps will not use the route created in Maplocs.

The settings for the app are pretty simple, select the unit of measurement, route type, input your average speed, select map type and Garmin or Wahoo for the connected bike computer.  Feedback and contacting the app developer can also be done from the settings menu.

Exporting Routes 

For those that don't have a Garmin or Wahoo device, Maplocs makes it easy to create a GPX file for export into an app or other gps device.  After tapping the bicycle button in the lower right corner select "Export GPX", enter the name for the file and select "Create".  The gpx file will be saved in the Maplocs folder on your phone for sharing or export.

For Garmin Connect and Wahoo Fitness users it's even easier to get the route on your Garmin or Wahoo gps device.  Tap the bicycle button, select "Send to Garmin" or "Send to Wahoo" and the Garmin Connect or Wahoo Fitness app takes it from there.

Shown above and below are screenshots from the Garmin Connect app once I sent the route to Garmin.  The Garmin Connect app opens up and shows pertinent information about the route and allows for editing of the course name, type and privacy setting.  Selecting the star in the right top corner will put it in your favorites in Garmin Connect.  To get the route on the Garmin device simply select the "Send to Device" option from the drop down menu in the right corner.  Next time the Garmin is turned on it will download the route if connected to wi-fi otherwise it can be synced by connecting via USB cable to a computer using the Garmin Connect desktop app.

I was amazed how easy it was to create a route, save it and send it to my Garmin device for navigation.  No more plotting out a route on my desktop computer, saving and dragging it onto my Garmin Edge.  Now I simply hit the "Send to Garmin" button in the app, edit the course details, "Send to Device" and turn on my Garmin Edge Computer with available wi-fi to download the route automatically.  What could be easier?  Try out the Maplocs Cycling Route Planner today and ride somewhere new.


Take a Bike Camping Trip to Carver Park Reserve

Bike camping was something I wanted to try ever since I heard about the bikes-only campsite at Carver Park Reserve from an article I saw a couple years ago by Bikeverywhere's Doug Shidell.  I didn't get around to it last year, but this spring I started purchasing the camp and bike gear I would need.  After some Internet research I had an idea of the gear that would work best to travel light, be comfortable and to carry most of it on the bike.  I took some time to gather together what I would need and packed it all on the bike for testing and tweaking.  I wanted to make sure my bike handled properly with all the extra weight and if anything needed adjusting.  It's better to find out during a test ride and fix it than having a problem on the actual camping trip.

I was now ready to camp and saw that Farmstead Bike Shop was hosting three free bike camping trips to Carver Park Reserve so I decided to to join them for their June outing.  I wanted to get some mileage out of the trip so I decided I would ride from my house in the south metro up to Minneapolis for the meet up at Farmstead.  We then rolled out to the campground with a pit-stop at Excelsior Brewing making it a nice 48 miles for the day.  We set up camp, relaxed and socialized by the fire.  It was a fun trip and the folks from Farmstead were very hospitable.  If you are new to bike camping and want to give it a try I would recommend joining them for their last outing of the season on July 27th.

The 2019 camping season for Carver Park Reserve runs from April 26th to October 27th.  The park has a drop-in, bike-in-only shared campsite at the Lake Auburn Campground that does not take reservations.  The site can accommodate up to six tents and the camping fee is only $10/tent per night.  For larger groups or those wanting a guaranteed site the park has five rustic group campsites that can be reserved online.

Accommodations include a commons area with picnic tables, benches, fire ring and bike rack.  Vault toilets and water are available nearby.  Don't worry about gathering firewood as it is delivered by the park for free.

Getting there is easy since Carver Park Reserve is accessible from the Lake Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail.  For the best bike-friendly routes to the campground use Google Maps with Bicycling Directions to help plot your course.  It will give you several routes to choose from showing elevation change and mileage for each.  Pair your phone with some earbuds or a speaker for turn-by-turn navigational directions using the route you chose on Google Maps.  For GPS device users, a route can be plotted on RideWithGPS or many other cycling mapping sites where a gpx, tcx or tif file can be downloaded and loaded into your device for navigation.  RideWithGPS has an option to print cue sheets also.

If you've been bike camping before you probably already know what to pack.  For those trying it out for the first time, below is a list of things you may want to bring along.

Camp stove/cookware
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Clean cycling/lounge clothes
Battery backups and usb cables
Flashlight/LED lantern
Washcloth/camp soap/wet wipes
Tool kit/tubes/co2/pump
Matches/fire starters
Cell phone

One rule of thumb that I follow is to keep my gear waterproof.  I use drysacks, roll-top pvc bags, Ziplocs and waterproof bike bags to keep my gear dry.  Camping can get damp and occasional unexpected rainfalls will happen but if your gear is in waterproof bags it makes the experience much more comfortable.

I had a great time bike camping at Carver Park Reserve and plan on doing it again.  The site, amenities and location make it a great spot for giving bike camping a try or just taking a quick overnighter for a little getaway.  Happy camping.
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