Planning an Audax DIY by GPS route

January’s another month where I can’t make a proper AUK event, so I’m relying on another 200km DIY by GPS to keep the RRTY going (almost enough acronyms in that sentence to make it look like project brief from work). So I kept a track of how I went about working out a new route for it.

I tend to like to put my controls in places rather than at specific junctions or Grid References. Places tend to be easier for the Org to find on a map, and make life easier on the ride if you need to re-route because of conditions or a road closure. Another plus is that if the GPS plays up I’ve a good chance of still being able to pick up proof of passage. It’s also better to have a low number of controls as it gives you more choice on the route you take on the day (for instance with this one I worked out a rural roads version, but if it’s icy on the day I can also do it on A roads without too much trouble), and it makes the Org’s life easier.

I start with Google maps zoomed out a fair bit to work out roughly where I want to go. As this is going to be an early january ride I’ve decided that I’m going to head south from Nottingham to avoid the Peak District and also to keep out of the fens as I’ve not done much on the bike and don’t fancy a day of headwinds.

From looking at that  I reckon a ride around Leicester and Rutland Water would give me about the right distance. I start by picking 2 corners. Looks like Hinckley will give me a route to the west of Leicster avoiding major towns, and then I should be able to head East to Stamford to take me under Leicester and then give me a rural ride back to Nottingham

Basic DIY GPS route, but set to driving

Looks OK, and it’s over distance which is good. But it’s set to driving mode. So switch it to walking and we get.

Basic route set to walking

Rats, distance is now under 200km. Though it’s showing the shortest route is through the middle of Leicester, which I don’t fancy. So to bring it back up to distance I think I’ll hunt for another control about half way along that leg somewhere south of Leicester. The village of Medbourne appears to fit the bill.

Basic route set to walking with extra control
Basic route set to walking with extra control

Hmmm, still a bit short Now come the tweaking to get those extra 5 km in. I’ve used the generic centre of Nottingham for the planning, but I’ll actually be starting from the North of the city. So let’s use a more accurate location.


Final google maps for DIY GPS
Final google maps for DIY GPS

back over 200km on google’s shortest distance, so all’s good. Route doesn’t look particularly brilliant at the moment (don’t really fancy that section of the A1 myself), but can sort that out later.

To double check I now put the points in AutoRoute (I got a cheap copy from eBay). There are some route where this is the only way to check the distance, when planing the LEL DIY we couldn’t get google to let us ‘walk’ over the Humber Bridge so had to use autoroute for checking that section. Also AutoRoute is seen as the “gold standard” for checking the route, so if I’m submitting a route at short notice I know that if I include the AutoRoute file it’ll pass muster so I don’t need to wait for the Org to check it and let me know.

So enter the controls in AutoRoute, and ensure it’s set to shortest distance (this is under ‘More Options’):

Autoroute settings for DIY GPS checking
Autoroute settings for DIY GPS checking
Autoroute confirming DIY GPS Distance
Autoroute confirming DIY GPS Distance

Excellent, still passes muster, so I can now submit it to the Organiser.

Now I can go back to googlemaps/bikehike/bikeroutetoaster/etc and work out a route I’d actually like to cycle between these points. With this route I just pulled the route off the main roads slightly as it was mostly on quiet A-roads anyways.

So here’s hoping there’s no ice about when I ride it next week.

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