RideWithGPS Tips


There are some gotcha’s that people experience with RideWithGPS, especially in the details of generating and printing accurate and useful routes and cue sheets. This article hopes to accumulate some of the collective wisdom of the NVP group on how to use RideWithGPS for our club rides.


The online mapping services for bike rides have proven to be a fantastic resource for creating and sharing routes, as well as logging your cycling activity (for the Obsessive Self-Quantifiers). There are several services that are popular (e.g., MapMyRide, Strava, and RideWithGPS). For the last few years, NVP has been using RideWithGPS to create our calendar rides and to capture “classic” NVP rides so that we can reuse them.

RideWithGPS is nice in that it allows you to map rides, share links to those rides (for example on the NVP calendar), generate route files that can be downloaded to cycling GPS units, and generate the turn-by-turn cue sheets.

RideWithGPS and mapping routes

Definitive information for mapping rides and editing cue sheets can be found on the RideWithGPS help pages.

Rule 1: Don’t map route points at road intersections

One gotcha for online mapping occurs if you are mapping a route and click at the intersection of two roads. This can be easy to do depending on the zoom level at which you are mapping and accuracy of the computer pointing device. This can lead to routes that unintentionally veer off onto an adjacent road for a few tens or hundreds of meters, double back, and return to the intended route. This is not good for the general morale of the riders who unintentionally get diverted.

Because you assiduously observe Rule 2 below to check every turn in the cue sheet, you will catch these types of this mistakes.

To fix this problem, you…

  • Click on Overview tab on the map.

  • Click on Edit this route.

  • Move the offending point off the side road, back on to the main road.

  • Click Save to save the edited route.

This will cause RideWithGPS to regenerate the cue sheet, and your problem should be be fixed. But you will check, because you will observe Rule 2 below.

RideWithGPS and cue sheets

Rule 2: Don’t assume the cue sheets are right: check every turn and be prepared to edit them

Although RideWithGPS (and the other ride-mapping sites) is a fantastic resource, there are inevitable problems. The most notable problem is with the cue sheets. This largely stems from the quality of the underlying street map data that RideWithGPS uses (Google Maps). This means that you must check every turn on the cue sheets and be prepared to edit them to make them accurate. mar In the map and cue sheet display, I click on every cue sheet turn, check the accuracy of the turn information, and, if necessary, I will edit the text. You can change the names of the road intersection, if necessary, as well as the explanatory text.

If there are key intersections or points that are missing, you can click on the “ADD TO CUESHEET” link on the right side, then click on the point on the route that you want to note. I sometimes do this for dangerous intersections or points requiring caution. When done adding points, you can return to the normal editing mode (Follow Roads). This is also a good way to add water/food stops to the cue sheet.

If RideWithGPS generates multiple close points where several roads converge, or there are a quick series of turns, make sure the road names are right. You might want to delete one or more of the cue sheet turns and consolidate them if it would be clearer to the riders. You can do this by clicking on a cue sheet entry on the left side, then clicking the “DELETE” button in the cue item dialog that pops up.

If RideWithGPS generates route points that veer off on lateral- or side roads, see Rule 1 above to fix this.

Printing cue sheets

When you map your ride on RideWithGPS, you need to save the ride first before printing the cue sheet.

You can print the cue sheet either by…

  • Click Print PDF on the Cue Sheet menu on the left of the screen, or

  • On the Overview tab, click on Print Map + Cue PDF.

Suggestion: Change the cue sheet printing format to match what you want and expect

Based on conversations with longtime NVP members, my understanding is that the preferred cue sheet format is as follows:

  1. Distance from Last

  2. Distance from Start (cumulative distance)

  3. Labels (left/right directions, food, etc.)

  4. Notes

As of July 2013, this is the format that the Activities Director is using for generating cue sheets when members ask for them. These can be attached to rides to match the RideWithGPS web links.

Feedback and further suggestions appreciated

If you have any questions or suggestions, please email the Activities Director. We will add information to this article as we get more feedback.


This impetus for this article started with feedback from Roy Westerberg and Walter McKay.