You’ve been watching the weather report every hour for the last three days, you have all your riding gear laid out on the bed in the guest room, you’ve spent the last 12 hours in the garage cleaning up the fiberglass and chrome. You’ve done everything to make the most of this one window of free time in your schedule. Finally you are going be able to get some wind. The last thing on the list? Planning out the perfect route. There is no way you are going to waste a single moment of this ride sitting in traffic or getting stuck on some stoplight-to-stoplight strip-mall straightaway. This ride is going to be twists and turns through the greenest scenery you can find. However the problem with plotting out your route ahead of time, is how do you get your GPS to read back the turn by turn directions to follow your plan instead of its own?
The way GPS’s work, they tell you the shortest possible route between two points, not the prettiest, or the windiest, or the back road-iest. Yes, more and more GPS’s are providing features like “Avoid Highways” or “Scenic Route”, and I have even seen some that include a feature called “Most Curves.” I have seen many GPS’s that will import multiple way points and give you turn by turn directions to each way point in order, but the GPS still dictates the route between way points.
However after a lot of searching, I was able to find a solution that lets you plan your route out, down to every turn and stop, and then import that custom route into your GPS. This software gets your GPS to give you turn by turn directions in real time as you travel the route you planned.
So in order to be totally confusing I am going to give you the background on this software and hopefully you will be able to figure out what you will need to do to enjoy it.
The original software was called TYRE which stood for “Take Your Route Everywhere”. While the website www.tyretotravel.com is still up and being supported, the team behind it has launched their new version called MyRoute-app and brought Android & iOS app functionality to the table. You can still use TYRE but the new system has everything you need and is integrated in the cloud, making everything very easy.
Here is how I use the software on a daily basis. What follows assumes you have downloaded the app and gone through the registration process etc.
When you open the website you have a few choices of what to do. You can look into your own library on the cloud or you can look at a world map that shows all the routes and tracks that people have decided to share publicly. You can plan a “route” turn by turn and save it to your library, or if you are on your bike using the app you can record your “track” as you go. You can then share your routes with just with your friends or the public in general.
If you are ready to create your own route, you click the appropriate button and it opens a fresh map. I use the Google Maps interface since I am most familiar with it, but if you purchase the gold level you can also use TOMTOM maps or HERE maps if you like. Type an address into the search bar, or the name of a place, since you are actually using Google Maps the searches are very accurate and easy. Once you dictate that as your starting point, you would do the same for your ending point. The program will create a route for you using the fastest possible roadways. Just like in Google Maps, in your settings you can select “Avoid Highways” and “Avoid Tolls” to have the program select a more specific route. Regardless, the map will now have a start point and ending point and a line representing the route between them.
The next step is where it gets cool. I usually switch from map view to satellite view and try and find an alternate route that passes through green trees instead of urban areas. You do this by clicking on the route line and dragging it to the road you wish to travel and dropping it there. The program, just like Google Maps, will re- display your new route and re-calculate the time and distance, etc. The program does this by making a waypoint where you drop that pin. You want to put down enough of these pins so your GPS doesn’t have the ability to veer from your planned course. You don’t necessarily have to put down one at every turn but you need to put enough down so your GPS doesn’t have two options to get to the next waypoint. It is a talent you pick up and hone the more you use the app. MyRouteApp says plus or minus 50 waypoints for every 100 miles, but it really depends on your route. I really don’t even notice the process anymore. I just shape the route until it does what I want, and when I am on my way, the GPS very rarely ever diverts me from my path. So much so, one trip I planned a back road escape from Florida heading north and as I got closer and closer to the state line the road became narrower and narrower. First the yellow and white lines on the pavement disappeared. Then the pavement ended, turning to gravel. Then the gravel just faded out leaving hard packed dirt. A stop sign appeared and I stopped. Not because of the sign, but because everything past the sign was a swamp. Thanks for the stop sign Florida Department of Transportation! So I had to backtrack about 30 minutes to get to a viable work around. I will say that was when I was aggressively trying to test the limits of the program and was on the smallest possible roads I could find. Normal usage with simple secondary roads, I have never had a problem.
At this point you might be thinking “Why spend money on this if it is just using Google Maps? I can do that for free.” Well what Google Maps can’t do is upload that map directly to the cloud allowing you to pull out your phone, open the app, and have that route ready to go! Tell the app you want to send it to your GPS app NAVIGON or SYGIC and it opens the appropriate app, loads the map, and your GPS app will now give you turn by turn directions based on the exact map you created. Or you can download the file directly to your standalone GPS via USB if you purchased the gold level. Otherwise you can download the map to whatever media your standalone GPS unit takes, be it SD card or USB drive, etc.
It seems complicated, but it isn’t. And in fact it is now so much less complicated than using TYRE. It has a little bit of a learning curve, but after a ride or two you will be right at home with the software.
I have turned to the company for support several times during my time as a TYRE user. Regardless of the fact they are based in Europe and I believe the majority of their customers are based in Europe, they were always quick to respond with great customer service.
I am very biased to this system, but only because I love it so much. Next month I will be reviewing a different way and maybe discover something just as good or better.