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Ride With GPS Review

August 27, 2019

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Ride With GPS Review

Ride With GPS App
4.6

Summary

Ride With GPS is a full-featured app that focuses heavily on route tracking and publishing functionality. Creating Ride Reports also represent a fun social aspect that allows you to view detailed images and descriptions from other cyclists.

A free version is available, which allows you to try out premium features like turn-by-turn navigation, offline maps, and in-depth route revision before upgrading to a subscription.

  • Price
  • Ease of Use
  • Features
  • Functionality
  • Overall Value

Pros

  • Free version available (including non-recurring trial)
  • Paid versions seem to deliver a lot of value for the money
  • Turn-by-turn, heads-up voice navigation available
  • Download maps for offline use
  • Robust route planning and editing tools
  • Create detailed Ride Reports
  • Great firsthand experience
  • Highly-rated by third-party online cyclists

Cons

  • You’ll have to upgrade for permanent access to premium features (navigation, offline maps, etc.)
  • Voice navigation can be challenging to hear, depending on your volume preferences while riding
  • Route editing is only available via the website (no app access)
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Between their website and app, Ride With GPS promises to deliver in-depth tracking, route editing, and ride report functionality. I’ll talk about my experience—and the competition—to help you decide if you should download it.

Updated: August 28, 2019

About the Ride With GPS App

Launched in 2007 by Zack Ham and Cullen King, the Ride With GPS app promises to help you quickly discover, map, analyze, record, and share your bike rides.

Features include finding and customizing routes with the app’s route planner, organizing your photos, and creating Ride Reports—all aimed at helping you “get inspired, not lost.”

But, will the Ride With GPS app fit in with your cycling set up? Even then, should you upgrade to a paid account?

In this review, I’ll help you find answers to these essential questions by talking about what you can expect, my experience with the app, as well as the competition.

First, though, let’s take a high-level look at the features you’ll gain access to as a Ride With GPS member.

How Does the Ride With GPS App Work?

Ride With GPS is a robust, full-featured app that’s compatible with many iOS, Android, Garmin, Polar, Powertap, and Wahoo devices. As such, exploring every aspect of its features would take far too long.

Instead, because the app’s ecosystem is built around Routes, we’ll focus on its three core facets.

Recording Routes in Ride With GPS

Pressing the Go Ride button at the bottom of your screen begins recording, which will log distance, elevation gain, current/average speeds, and ride duration.

You can also add photos, which are automatically geotagged, choose privacy settings, and drop pins along the way to signify everything from points of interest and ATMs to trailheads and bars.

The app supports the use of Bluetooth smart devices, such as power monitors, cadence sensors, heart rate monitors, and so forth.

Pro tip: Here’s a current list of supported/unsupported devices.

If you have a Basic or Premium plan (more soon), you can use Ride With GPS’s navigation, which offers turn-by-turn guidance with voice prompts, along with cue sheets. And if you’d like to maximize battery life, you can download maps directly to your phone and maintain access to navigation while it’s in airplane mode.

The Ride With GPS website allows you to export multiple file types, choose whether or not to include points of interest and cues, and limit the number of points to 500. You’ll also find detailed instructions for a variety of popular devices.

Upgraded plans also provide Live Logging functionality, which allows your friends to track your real-time progress.

Regardless of the plan, Ride With GPS will automatically pause the recording if you stop moving for several seconds.

Once you’re finished, you can press and hold the pause button to complete your ride, which then allows you to enter a ride name, any gear you used, write a description, and manually upload photos. Over time, you can track your stats and customize goals, and then use analysis tools to dive deeper into your data.

Pro tip: If you choose, you can store data under different bike profiles (e.g., mountain, road, cyclocross) for a complete look at your ride history.

From there, you can create a Ride Report (more next) or export GPX, KML, or TCX files from the Ride With GPS website, and use them in third-party software or compatible cycling computers.

Ride With GPS Ride Reports

Launched in the spring of 2017, Ride With GPS allows you to take one of your recorded rides and use their simple publishing platform to create a formal Ride Report.

Here, you can tell others about your adventure by crafting captivating stories that include pictures, a map of your route, and related data (speed, elevation, distance, etc.).

Together, Ride With GPS advertises their Ride Reports can help you discover great places to ride, from cross-country tours to local rides.

A couple of examples of Featured Ride Reports listed on Ride With GPS website.

But, creating a Ride Report isn’t the only thing you can build using your recorded data.

Creating Custom Routes in the Ride With GPS App

After recording your rides, Premium members can use their data to create custom routes via the Ride With GPS Android app (iOS coming soon), or directly on the RWGPS website (Mac or PC).

Simply click on the ride, and the app will automatically turn it into a route with customizable turn-by-turn navigation. Alternately, you can manually import GPX files.

Once created, you’ll have powerful editing tools at your fingertips, giving you the ability to crop out unwanted sections, split rides into two or more separate activities, replace bad elevation data, and use control points to “fence in” your routes.

You can also utilize different routing engines to help you get around roadblocks, edit cue points, draw lines around unroutable areas, add points of interest, and customize cues and colors, all of which is aimed at making your routes as informative as possible.

Together, Ride With GPS’s custom routes are used by a wide variety of cycling clubs, event organizers, tour operators, and tourism agencies for incorporation in everything from Ambassador programs to leaderboards.

Finding Local Routes via Ride With GPS

Routes created by others are searchable, whether located in your city or halfway around the world, which you can filter by difficulty, start location, keyword, length, and elevation.

Recording new routes, and the process starts over again.

Route finding on the website works mostly as it does in the app, just with a larger screen.

After clicking on a route, you can view its details. If you’re interested in riding it, the app will navigate you to the start and record your ride once you arrive. Then, the process starts back at step one.

What’s the Difference Between Ride With GPS Free, Basic, & Premium Memberships?

While a Ride With GPS Starter plan is entirely free, upgrading to Basic or Premium plans unlocks “top-tier” features like guided turn-by-turn navigation, offline maps access (you can use your phone in airplane mode for boosted battery life), custom sounds and alerts, and printed cue sheets.

Additional upgrades include live logging so friends can follow along with your ride, the ability to automatically share photos and read comments aloud in real-time, Facebook integration, advanced route planning, and the ability to log an unlimited number of ride reports.

For reference, here’s a quick table outlining each plan’s pricing and key features:

Ride With GPS Plan Comparison
  Starter Basic Premium
Price Free $6/mo, $50/yr $10/mo, $80/yr
Record Rides
Create Routes
Create Goals
Upload f/GPS Devices
Turn-by-Turn Navigation  
Live Logging  
Offline Maps  
Estimated Time  
Publish Ride Routes  
Advanced Route Editing    
Custom Cue Sheets    
Ride Clean-Up    
Private Segments    
Stationary Bike Support    

You can change plans at any time, and Ride With GPS offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. Simply email info@ridewithgps.com, and they’ll handle the rest.

Is it worth upgrading, though? I’ll add my thoughts to the mix.

My Experience Using the Ride With GPS App

We travel full time via RV, so we frequently find ourselves in unknown areas. As a result, locating new routes and finding local ride inspiration were the main reasons I signed up as a Ride With GPS member.

And so far, their vast database hasn’t left me empty-handed, despite finding ourselves in many areas in the western US that are far off the beaten path.

I simply press “Find” at the bottom of the app’s screen, allow it to zoom in on my location, and then choose results within however many miles I prefer. I can also sort results by length, keyword, and even past organized events, as well as limit results solely to routes with cue sheets (required for turn-by-turn nav).

From there, I click on a result and download its map for offline use (if necessary), and navigate to the start location. I love this download functionality since I often ride in areas with spotty cell phone reception. It also meaningfully extends battery life.

Finding, accessing, and riding local routes inside the Ride With GPS app is super easy.

I’m super impressed with Ride With GPS’s navigation—I attach my iPhone to the Quad Lock Bike Mount System on my handlebars, affix an EarBuddyz 2.0 to one of my Earpods, and head out.

As I move along, the app’s voice prompt reminds me when a turn or other action is coming up, with plenty of distance to spare. After completion, it tells me what’s coming up next and in how many miles. And if I stray from the course at any point, the app notifies me and tells me how far off I am.

The Ride With GPS app provides notifications if you go off course, along with a number of options you can set during your ride.
Examples of the notifications, settings, and pin options features inside the Ride With GPS app.

Once I’m finished, I hold down the pause button at the bottom of the screen, press Finish Navigation, name the ride, and set its privacy. After it’s saved, the app will display all of my online and offline rides and routes.

The Ride With GPS app will automatically pause the recording if it detects you’ve stopped, Once you’re finished, you can name your ride, input details, and list it in your Library.

At this point, my only real “complaint” is that even with the added bass response from my EarBuddyz Ultra, it can still be difficult to hear Ride With GPS’s navigation if it’s especially noisy outside (e.g., wind, traffic, etc.)—unless I turn up my music louder than I prefer. Still, it remains one of my favorite and most-used features.

The Ride With GPS website features an extensive help database, which I’ve found is easy to browse and find answers to my questions.

I haven’t implemented the website’s route editing or segment creation tools much, but from what I’ve experienced so far, they’re intuitive and easy to use.

Ride With GPS’s website-based editor allows you to create routes from any ride in their database, manually add or delete locations and points of interest, and alter segments.

My bottom line: I greatly appreciate the robust features offered by the Ride With GPS app and website. Most importantly, in my instance, it’s a fantastic way to obtain in-ear, turn-by-turn navigation, without having to purchase another expensive device, such as a Garmin.

You will pay a comparative premium for a Ride With GPS membership, although I think the price delivers a substantial level of value for what you get. In other words, I think it’s worth every penny.

But, might a competing option deliver better value for you? Let’s break it down.

Ride With GPS vs. Strava, Komoot, Garmin, & Gaia GPS

If you’re looking for a cycling app that can record your rides, there are a handful of options competing with Ride With GPS.

However, there are some significant differences in how they go about recording their data, along with the features they emphasize:

Brand Pricing Pros Cons
Ride With GPS Free–$10/mo Detailed route planning, create in-depth ride reports (full-featured social aspect), turn-by-turn navigation, offline maps, connects with many devices (fitness or otherwise), vast searchable database Priced higher than some competitors
Strava Free–$5/mo Detailed ride reports, some memberships include training plans, connects with many devices (fitness or otherwise) Limited (comparatively) route planning and editing tools, no detailed ride reports, no offline maps
Komoot $3.99–$29.99 (one-time purchase) Turn-by-turn navigation, in-depth route planning tools, supports cycling and hiking, detailed surface differentiation, offline maps, compatible w/a variety of devices No free version available, no detailed ride reports, doesn’t connect to fitness devices (heart rate monitor, etc.)
Gaia GPS Free–$36/yr Includes hiking, hunting, camping, and 4×4 trails; detailed offline maps, multiple map views, provides weather and conditions, lists land ownership details, can layer maps together No social aspect, route planning isn’t as robust as some options, doesn’t connect to fitness devices (heart rate monitor, etc.)

How to choose? It’s primarily about which features you emphasize most.

For example, if offline maps is a must-have, Strava is the only option in the table above that still hasn’t implemented this feature. Strava also comes with comparatively limited route planning and editing tools.

On the other hand, Ride With GPS, Strava, and Gaia all come with free versions or trial periods, whereas you’ll have to fully commit with Komoot.

However, Gaia’s route planning tools are comparatively limited, there’s no device connectivity with it or Komoot, and there isn’t a social aspect if any of these are at the top of your must-haves list.

Let’s bring all of these details together so you can move on to the decision-making process.

Coming to a Conclusion About the Ride With GPS App

So far, I’m highly impressed with the Ride With GPS app, and I plan to continue implementing it extensively during our travels to help me find routes and obtain easy-to-use, turn-by-turn navigation at each new location.

Is it right for you? Like any other cycling app, what works for you may not work for someone else. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay anything to download Ride With GPS and see if it meets your unique combination of needs and preferences.

Then, you can decide if it’s worth upgrading to gain permanent access to navigation, route editing, and other premium features. As of this writing, there’s also a free 7-day trial that does not roll over to a paid subscription, which I appreciated before committing.

What do you think about the Ride With GPS app? Help inform other cyclists by leaving a comment below, as well as your rating at the top of this page!

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Derek has more than two decades of experience as a cyclist. He currently travels full-time with his family via RV, enjoying the country's best biking destinations. A secular Buddhist, Derek frequently explores the intersection of cycling, mindfulness, and compassion in his writing. #rolloutblissout When he's not writing reviews and guides related to bike accessories, parts, and gear for TreadBikely.com, he's riding, talking about cycling, or thinking about bikes he can't afford. #rolloutblissout
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