Bike Routes User Guide

Bike Routes helps to plan the route of your ride, and save your favourite routes.

Important: iOS 13 File Sharing

The System File Sharing functions in iOS have been updated in iOS 13. After this update, for some users, 3rd party apps are no longer appearing in the list of sharing destinations when trying to export/share a file. For example Bike Routes, Garmin Connect, or Wahoo Companion may not appear in the list of apps in the system 'Copy to..' menu even when the apps are installed. As of iOS 13.3, this issue seems to have been resolved, so if you are using iOS 13 please update to the latest point release. If you still have problems, there are workarounds, see below.

Getting Started

Tap on 'Create a Route...' the first time you open Bike Routes to begin planning a route. The map will zoom to your current location after you have given permission for Bike Routes to use your device location sensor.

Long press on the map to choose the start point, then long press again at another location on the map to choose a waypoint for your route. When you add a waypoint Bike Routes will automatically calculate and draw a route on to the map. Keep going until you've added your waypoints, then press Done to save the route. Choose a name for the route or use the finish address and the new route will now appear on the Route List screen.

Managing Routes

Your routes appear on the main Route List screen. Each route has a thumbnail map, name, distance and date. To change the size of the thumbnails zoom in or out using the standard iOS pinch gesture.

View or Update a Route

Tap a route thumbnail to open a full screen route for editing or viewing.

Delete a Route

Press Select to enter Selection Mode, then tap the route thumbnail to select it. Once selected, press the Trash button to delete the route. Alternatively, long press on the thumbnail and select Delete from the popup menu.

Share or Export a Route

Press Select to enter Selection Mode, then tap the route thumbnail to select it. Once selected, press the Share button to open the System Share menu. Alternatively, long press on the thumbnail and select Share from the popup menu. For more information in sharing see below.

Duplicate a Route

Long press on the thumbnail and select Duplicate from the popup menu.

Rename a Route

Long press on the thumbnail and select Rename from the popup menu. Alternatively, a Route can be renamed whilst editing, by pressing the Info button on the Route Edit Screen.

Using Favourites

Mark a route as a favourite and a heart will display in the corner of the thumbnail. You can sort routes so that favourites appear at the top of the Route List. Long press on the thumbnail and select Favourite from the popup menu, to mark as favourite. Select Unfavourite to remove a route from your favourites.

Sorting and Searching Routes

Change the order in which routes are displayed by pressing the central Sort button in the bottom toolbar. If you have many routes, you can also search for a route by typing part of the name into the search bar at the top of the screen.

Editing Routes

When viewing a route full screen, the route is overlaid onto a map using a thick blue line between a start marker, showing a house icon and a finish marker, showing a chequered flag icon. Along the route there are distance markers as blue boxes, showing the distance from the start in Miles or Kilometers. Tap a Waypoint to select it, this will show the address of the waypoint as a subtitle.

Edit an existing route by tapping the route thumbnail on the Route List screen, then press the Edit button on the navigation bar at the top of the screen. To create a new route press the + button on the toolbar of the Route List. New routes are automatically editable.

Edit a route by adding waypoints to extend it, moving waypoints or deleting waypoints. Whenever waypoint locations are changed the route will be automatically recalculated.

Elevation Chart

If the route has elevation data a chart is displayed at the bottom of the screen. This shows the profile of the route and how hilly it may be. Swipe across the chart to see the elevation along with the gradient at any point along the route. The chart shows climbs as shades of red, with deeper red for steeper gradients. Double tap the chart to expand the size, and pinch the chart to zoom into a specific section of the route. When zoomed the left and right buttons above the chart appear. Press these to move the zoomed section back and forth.

Adding a waypoint

A Waypoint is a point on the map along the route. A route must have at least two waypoints, a start point and a finish point. To add a waypoint long press onto the map where you want it to go. You should press and hold for about two seconds. On supported devices you will feel a light haptic feedback when the waypoint is placed.

Adding a new waypoint will automatically extend the route to that waypoint, which will become the new route finish.

Removing a waypoint

Existing waypoints can be deleted or moved. Tap on a waypoint to select it. When a waypoint is selected a trash can icon will be available on the top right of the map. Tap this to delete the waypoint, and the route will recalculate based on the remaining waypoints.

Moving a waypoint

To move a waypoint, first select it, then press and drag the waypoint to a new location. The route will recalculate based on the new location of the waypoint.

Inserting a waypoint

You can insert a new waypoint between two existing waypoints to force the route through a specific location. First, select a waypoint to insert after, then long press a location on the map to position the new waypoint. The route will recalculate to pass through the new waypoint.

Round Trips

To create a route that returns to the start point, after adding a number of waypoints, press the return button (the circular arrow) on the top button bar. This will plot a route from the last waypoint back to the start. To reopen the route, press the return button again.

Search for a Place

Whilst editing a route you can search for any place, town, city, street. Tap the Search button at the top right of the screen to open the search window. After selecting a place from the list of suggestions the map will automatically focus onto the selected place. The most recent search locations are listed on the search screen, and will sync to your other Bike Routes devices.

Editing - Map Options

Tap the diamond icon at the bottom right of the map screen to open the Map Options page. From the Map Options page choose the map type - either standard map or a satellite view of the map regions with the streets overlaid. Also choose to show a puc at the current location of your device (see below), and whether to calculate two additional routes between each waypoint you add (see below).

Your location

A blue puc indicates your current location on the map. If the puc is obscuring a location that your wish to add waypoint, you can hide the location puc by tapping the location button at the bottom right of the map. You can start a route from your current location by selecting the puc and hitting the 'Start Route' button, or you can add a waypoint at your current location by selecting the puc and hitting the 'Add Waypoint' button. The location puc relies on the GPS in your phone (or cellular iPad) to update its position on the map. When using a Wifi only iPad, the puc may not appear in the correct position as it relies on the less accurate information in your Wifi Router.

To manually zoom to your current location tap the 'arrow' button below the puc button.

Alternate Routes

Bike Routes can calculate up to two additional routes between the waypoints you suggest. These display as light grey lines over the map. Tap a grey route to switch between that route and the main blue route. Currently alternate routes are not available with the Apple Routing engine.

Route Settings

Tap the Info button on the top right of the map to display the Route Settings. To edit these settings you must be editing the route. Here you can rename the route, or specify the type of bike or your climbing preference. Bike type and Climbing preferences will only apply if the BRouter routing service is being used.

iCloud Sync

Routes are automatically saved to iCloud. iCloud is the Apple cloud storage service and is used to save files, photos, app settings and other data from your Apple devices. For more information see If you do not want to use iCloud with Bike Routes turn off this feature in Settings->iCloud. This will not delete previously created routes from iCloud, but will stop newly created routes on this device from uploading to iCloud and prevent routes created on your other devices from downloading to this device. To delete the routes from iCloud press 'Delete Documents & Data' in iOS Settings->iCloud->Manage Storage->Bike Routes.

As well as saving new routes and updates to iCloud, Bike Routes will also receive updates made to routes from your other devices ensuring that you see the same routes across all your devices.

You can still save, view and export routes when offline, (although editing route waypoints requires an internet connection), and routes will automatically save to iCloud when your internet connection is restored.

Troubleshooting iCloud Sync

If you are not getting updates to routes on a device or your devices are not staying in sync, try the following: check the iCloud status in Bike Routes Settings->iCloud. If the status is No Account check the device is logged into iCloud. If the Status is Available but the routes are not syncing, or you are seeing inconsistencies between devices, check that the devices are logged into the same iCloud account (Apple ID) and ensure that each device has a working internet connection. You can also check that the Bike Routes app is enabled in iOS settings->iCloud. Route updates are pushed to your devices, but to manually check for route updates, just pull down the Route List screen.

Routing Services

Bike Routes uses three online routing services that calculate the best route between waypoints. The Route calculation is carried out on our servers (or Apple Maps) so you need an internet connection when creating a route. We host unmodified implementations of the open source routing engines BRouter and OSRM (Open Source Routing Machine), and also access the online routing service provided by Apple Maps. The supported routing services have different strengths and weaknesses. Below is a brief description of each to help you consider which to use.


BRouter is a sophisticated bike specific routing engine developed by Arndt Brenschede. It is elevation aware and is highly configurable allowing different profiles depending the type of cycling and bike you prefer. Routing preferences for touring bikes, that may include non-paved surfaces vs road bike routes can also be configured. See for more details. BRouter uses Open Street Map (OSM) data. If the elevation based routing is critical to you or you are looking for more quiet, but maybe less direct routes this service may be for you.

OSRM (Open Source Routing Machine)

OSRM is an open source general purpose routing engine for roads and paths. Bike Routes uses a bike specific profile to optimise routing for cyclists. For more information see OSRM uses Open Street Map (OSM) data. OSRM is in most cases the fastest routing service and may return a route quicker than the other services. The routes tend to be more direct but may take in less quiet roads. OSRM also provides street names with the turn-by-turn instructions when calculating a route. The OSRM routing service is currently available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand only.

Apple Maps Routing

Apple Maps online routing service is a general purpose routing engine for roads and paths. Use Apple Maps Routing for global routing in virtually any country. It is general purpose and not bike specific.

Importing Routes

Bike Routes can import GPX (GPS Exchange Format) files, TCX (Training Center XML) files and FIT (Flexible and Interoperable Data Transfer). See below for how BikeRoutes handles different types of GPX file.

You can import GPX files, TCX files & FIT files using AirDrop, as email attachments, from the iOS Files app, or via iTunes Files Sharing.

When importing, Bike Routes displays a view of the route map of the import file. Bike Routes will insert waypoints into the imported route, so that it can be altered easily.

The GPX File Format

GPX is an open standard for sharing GPS data between GPS cycle computers, computer applications and internet web services. For the purpose of bike routing GPX files contain either Routes or Tracks. Routes are an ordered list of waypoints that you plan to navigate between to reach a destination. Tracks are an ordered list of GPS coordinates that represent a path between the start and destination. When using GPX to share data between GPS devices and route planning software it is not always obvious whether the file represents a Track or a Route.

Bike Routes can import both GPX Routes and GPX Tracks, but routes created in BikeRoutes will always be Tracks. Bike Routes calculates the track between each waypoint at the point of editing the route, and so does not require the GPS device to support navigation/mapping functions to get between waypoints. Most GPS devices will allow GPX Tracks to be loaded, which you can follow, even of the device does not support mapping/navigation on the fly.

The TCX File Format

TCX is another XML based file transfer format commonly used with GPS cycle computers. While not as widely used as GPX, it has the advantage of storing additional information not available in GPX file. In particular, Turn-By-Turn instructions (or Cue Sheets) may be saved in TCX files. For cycle computers or apps that do not calculate these on-the-fly (such as the Wahoo Elemnt series of head units), this allows Bike Routes to calculate the Turn-By-Turn instructions which can then be sent to the GPS computer.

The FIT File Format

FIT is a binary file format & protocol designed specifically for the storing and sharing of data that originates from sport, fitness and health devices. FIT files can store a wide variety of data types including historical activities, workouts, fitness tracker monitoring as well as routes. Bike Routes only interprets FIT files with Routes (aka Courses) saved in them. FIT files also include Turn-By-Turn instructions, and the instruction names are not limited to 16 characters, as is the case of TCX files.

Importing from Mail

Go to More->Import Routes->Email and press Open Mail... or simply open the Mail app directly. Locate the email with a file attachment that you wish to import, either a GPX or ZIP file. Press and hold the attachment to open the iOS Share Menu. On the middle row of icons, swipe to the left until you see the Copy to Bike Routes icon, then press to initiate the import.

Importing from the Files App

Go to More->Import Routes->Files to open the Files App. Press Select to enter Selection mode and locate the file or files that you wish to import. Press Done to import the files.

Importing with AirDrop

Of you have a Mac, you should be able to use AirDrop to wirelessly copy a GPX or ZIP file to your phone or iPad. To initiate an AirDrop, share the file in the Finder application on your Mac and select AirDrop. Make sure the Mac and the phone are on the same wireless network and in close proximity, that bluetooth is enabled on the Mac and phone and AirDrop is also enabled on the phone. AirDrop is Supported on iPhone 5 and newer, iPad 4th gen/Retina and newer, and iPad mini. Older Macs, pre 2012, may not support AirDrop.

iTunes File Sharing

This requires the device to be connected with a USB cable to a computer with iTunes. Once the file has been copied into iTunes it will appear in the file list under Import Routes -> iTunes. Select the file in the list and tap ‘Done’ to import the file. For more information about iTunes File Sharing consult this Apple Support page.

Exporting Routes with Bike Routes Premium

Bike Routes Premium exports routes as GPX Track, TCX files or FIT files. It can also export multiple files together as a ZIP archive.

To export every route go to More -> Export Routes and choose from Email, iTunes or Files. To set which format to export, go to More -> Export Routes, and choose GPX,TCX,FIT or Ask each time.

To export an individual route, or a few specific routes, select the route or routes from the main route list and press the Share button at the left of the bottom toolbar.

Please note, when exporting GPX files, due the limitation of the file format, Bike Routes does not save the individual waypoints you created as Cues or Directions. Some GPS devices will automatically generate Cues if they have maps and navigational capabilities. On GPS devices without navigation, the route will appear as a breadcrumb trail which you can follow. For such devices use TCX or FIT instead.

Exporting with AirDrop

With AirDrop you can send a route or multiple routes to another device with the Bike Routes app, or to a Mac computer as a backup. Access Airdrop from the top row of the iOS Share Menu when selecting a route from the main route list or from More->Export Routes.

Exporting to the Files App

The Files App is a built in app on your iPhone or iPad which gives you access to iCloud storage as well as 3rd party cloud storage providers including Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive. Go to More->Export Routes->Files to export a ZIP archive of all routes to the Files app. To export an individual route select the route, press the Share button to open the Share Menu then select Save to Files from the bottom row of icons.

Export as an Email Attachment

Go to More->Export Routes->Export to Mail to export a ZIP archive, or individual GPX files, of all routes as email attachments. To export an individual route select the route, press the Share button to open the Share Menu then select Mail from the middle row of icons.

Exporting to Garmin Devices

If you have a newer Garmin GPS (after about 2014) it will likely have wireless sync with the Garmin Connect app. You should have the Garmin Connect app installed on your phone. The easiest way to get BikeRoutes routes onto your Garmin, is to share the route by selecting it on the main Routes List and pressing the iOS Share button on the bottom left toolbar. On the middle pane of the Share Menu swipe right until you see the 'Copy to Connect' icon. Press this to launch the Garmin Connect app and start the import.

If you running iOS 13 and don't see 'Copy to Connect' despite having installed Garmin Connect, there are alternative workarounds, see below.

If you do not have the Garmin Connect app or wireless sync, but have a Garmin Connect account, you can import GPX or TCX files into the Garmin Connect web app. Select Courses under the Training section. On the Course List, under the 'Create a Course' button press 'Import' to load the GPX/TCX file. You will need to use the Garmin Express software on your computer and a USB cable to sync the imported route to your device.

To transfer a route file directly to a Garmin device without using Garmin Connect, connect the device to your computer using a USB cable. The device will show up as a drive on your computer. In the drive, open the Garmin folder and copy the route file to Garmin/NewFiles. If there is no NewFiles folder, it will only support GPX files, in this case look for the Garmin/GPX folder. Once copies, disconnect and restart the device.

Exporting to Wahoo Devices

Wahoo Elemnt GPS computers have wireless sync with the Wahoo Elemnt Companion app. Ensure the Export File Type is set to TCX or FIT in the Export Routes screen to ensure turn instructions are transferred. Export a route to the Wahoo Companion App by selecting it on the main Routes List and pressing the iOS Share button on the bottom left toolbar. On the middle pane of the iOS Share Menu swipe right until you see the 'Copy to ELEMNT' icon or the More... icon. Press this to launch the Wahoo Elemnt Companion app and start the import. The route should now appear on the Routes page of the Wahoo app. To copy the route to your Wahoo GPS Computer tap the Route, then press 'Select' on the navigation bar.

If you're running iOS 13 and don't see 'Copy to ELEMNT' despite having installed the Wahoo Elemnt app, there are alternative workarounds. First try exporting with a different file type; Wahoo supports GPX,TCX and FIT. If this does not work, try uninstalling another app that is using the same file type you are trying to export, then re-install that app.

As a last resort copy the route directly to the device by connecting it to your computer with a micro usb cable. Copy the route file into the routes folder on the device using Windows Explorer (or Android File Transfer if using a mac). You may need to press SYNC on the device to load the route after copying.