A blog on the creation of multi-day routes for your motorcycle

Create multi-day routes

General info

Creating motorcycle routes is fun, but can also be very time consuming. Below I describe my way of working.
Please leave a comments at the end if you have tips or ideas to improve my proces.

Needs revision for the TomTom rider: The TT 550 works preferably with tracks (.gpx) instead of pins (.itn) and also does not show the pins.
Loading all POI's as POI's in a .ov2 file (which can be generated with this tool) can overcome this lack of functionality.

What do you need?

  • Google My Maps (you’ll need a Google Account)
  • My Route App (MRA) (to be used with a free or paid subscription, based on your preferences)
  • Travel Plan generator (on this website)
  • Any Navigation system or Navigation App (MRA can generate any format you need)

What does it deliver?

  • Route files per day (in any format)
  • A travel plan (example), including info on extra loops, cut-off routes (in case the weather changes for the worst), POI's (Points of Interests), gas stations along the route (if not to be missed in unpopulated areas) and any other relevant info (food, drinks, ferries, etc)

Some assumptions

Below some assumptions (and advice) for my routes. Does not mean you can do it differently, depending on your driving style and personal preferences.

  • We use a average driving time per day for of 5 to 5,5 hours per day
  • Every (day)route should have some short-cuts, in case weather changes for the bad or other reasons of delay (like a flat tyre)
  • Preferably (day)routes have some additiona loops (preferably at the end)
  • We sleep in hotels/hostals/B&B's and reserve them with 24h cancelation policy (searching in remote area's for a place to sleep is just a wast of time)
  • We avoid city's as much as posible (always cost way more time than expected)
  • We avoid highways, but if the alternative is only a route through dens area's, we use them to make some kilometers

Step 1

Google My Maps

The cool thing about Google My Maps is that you can upload your routes as well (.gpx) and make them visible in your map. This map (and routes) can also be viewed in the Google Maps app on your phone, so it will be 'at your fingertips' whenever you want. To do this however, we use Google My Maps first to get an idea where we want to go and what we want to see during our trip. Take the following steps:

Link to this Google My Map
  • Create a new map of your own (assuming you have a Google account), via www.google.com/maps/d/ (Create new map) or drive.google.com/ (New -> More -> Google My Maps)
  • Rename the standard layer to 'POI's' and add more layers (eg 'Gas Stations') if you want to group locations/pins. You can move pins from one layer to the other, so grouping can also be done later.
  • Go to the area you want to ride and start 'pinning' cool places. Places can be found by searching or zooming in on the map and click 'Add to map', or by clicking the 'pin' icon and add a pin to the map. (both are marked in the example)
  • Change the look and feel of the pin by changing it's icon and/or color (move your mouse over the list of pins on the left and the 'change layout' icon appears)
  • Optionally you can also add some notes or texts to your pin (via the 'change layout' icon)

Inspirations for locations can be found at touristic websites, organized tours, forums, etc. You can also just copy some else's Google My Maps (mine for instance) and use that map as a starting point. Don't focus too much on the routes in this step, but on the sites and places you want to visit.

Step 2

My Route App: Basic route

In My Route App (MRA) you can create your own routes by just adding pins to your map. Steps to take for a basic route:

Link to this Google My Map
  • Login into MRA: www.myrouteapp.com
  • Create a new route (MRA has plenty of tutorials if you need help)
  • Start with your starting point (home address, a harbor, etc.)
  • Extend the route by adding more pins
  • Continue with your full route (multiple days) until you reached the maximum time you have (days * average driving time per day)
  • Start adding basic 'coding' to your route for the places you want to visit/see by adding 'POI' before the route point name.
  • Also make a first start with posible places you want to sleep by adding 'PTS' (Places To Stay) before the route point name every number hours you want to drive per day (see example).
  • Check your route in the Travel Plan generator (read next step)

Note: In my experience it's much easier to recreate routes in MRA by adding pins, then trying to import and copy & paste routes, especially if you are using just parts of a route. This means however some zooming in to make sure your route exactly the same as the original one.

Inspirational websites for routes

Additional features MRA Gold

The Gold version of MRA has multiple additional features, but two of them are very usefull for route planning:

  • Multiple maps: The maps used by Google, TomTom and Garmin can also be used. Travel time can be quite different and you can even compare the routes between the maps. You can also work with the same map your navigation system/app is using (no surprises).
  • The Garmin HERE map has the option to turn off Season Closures, meaning you can plan routes during winter time, while in the other maps those routes (like mountain passes) are closed and you will be redirected a long way around.

Step 3

Generate Travel Plan

Download pdf: Travel Plan (full) or Travel Plan Compact

Like said before, by adding some additional 'codes' to your route points in MRA, the Travel Plan Generator can extract much more useful information than MRA can give you. For example:

  • Travel time between sleeps (hotels, campings)
  • Travel time between gas stations
  • Cut-off routes travel time and route points to be skipped
  • Start of alternative routes
  • POI's (Point Of Interest)

A Travel Plan can be generated by copying the source code from MRA to the generator. This sounds complex, but after a first go it is really simple. Just try to see what cool additional info you can save/generate. Steps to take (works in most browsers)

  • Open your route in MyRouteApp (or an example)
  • Rightclick the mouse on a random routepoint on the left and select 'inspect' in the dropdown menu
  • A part of the sourcecode becomes visible: Rightclick the mouse on <div id="waypointscontainer"> and select 'Copy' -> 'Copy Element' in the dropdown menu
  • Paste the HTML code in the generator (control-v) and click the 'Generate Travel Plan' button

See the video below how it works!

A Travel Plan can be made in normal or compact format. The first one is very usefull when editing your route, because it contains more information. The compact version is however easier to have on your phone, because it is easier and simpler to read. Select the print version in the generator and save it as pdf in you want to save it as a seperate document. Finaly, you can also download all info in Excel to create your own Travel Plan.

To use the Travel Plan Generator and all it's coding posibilities,read the instructions on the generator itself or continue reading the next step, to get some help on the advanced coding.

Demo how to create your Travel Plan based on MRA

Step 4

My Route App: Advanced Editing

The combination MRA en the Travel Plan generator give you a powerful way to fine tune your route and extend it with more useful information once you are on the road. Adding some advanced codes to your route points can do this. The process is one of changing stuff in MRA and then check the results in the Travel Plan generator, doing that over and over again until you have completed the plan.

Determine cut-offs

An cut-off can be an optional loop, but also a highway instead of winding road. Do the following to add this (example route):

  • Create the route including the loop (route point 29 in the example)
  • Write down the full travel time (in this case 36:20 hour)
  • Delete point 29
  • Calculate the difference in full travel time (in this case 0:55 hour)
  • Restore point 29 (Control-z)
  • Edit point 29 by adding '[0:55]' at the end of the route name

If a loop consists of multiple points to be skipped, simple add the number of points to be skipped (p), including the point you are editing. The picture on the right at the bottom shows this example: Points 93, 94 and 95 need to be skipped for this loop. The coding would be:
[3p 0:25]

The Travel Plan can now dynamically determine for you what route points to be skipped, even if you are changing the number of points in your route later on. In case of the example above, you will see this in your travel plan:
Skip 3 route points (93-95) -0:25 hour

Adding an additional route

Merging another additional or alternative route within an existing route is not possible. We can only show a certain point is the start of an additional or alternative route. (separate route file). Do this by adding ALT in front of the route point name and add the time this route at the end of the name between brackets: (1:00h). Example:
ALT Castlepoint loop (2:45h)

Adding other information

See all other relevant coding on the Travel Plan generator page. Just try and generate te travel plan to see the result.

Step 5

Finalize your routes and Travel Plan

Do this only when you are completely finished with your route!

MRA

  • Check your route in MRA: Zoom in (maximum) on route point 1 and check if it is on the middle of the road. Klik next route point (arrow) and check if that one is on the middle of the road. Continue to do so to the last point.
  • Copy your route a number of times (5 days, is 5 copies) and give the files a name so you can identify the days
  • Make a daily route files by deleting all other days in the copies
  • Download the files in the appropriate format for your navigation system
  • Add additional route files additional loops
  • Put your route files in you navigation system

Tip: Name your files in a logical way, so you can select them easily on you navigation system. My way is 2 digit number for the day (10 for day 1, 20 for day 2) and add additional/alternative routes with for example 11o (o optional), 12a (alternative) for day one.

Checking with maps

  • In MRA you can download a route in gpx 1.1 format.
  • Go to your Google My Maps and add a layer
  • Click 'import'
  • Drag your gpx to the import screen
  • Delete the black line and the start- and endpoint
  • Check your route if you pass all pins you have set or that you have to adjust your route in MRA to do so

Example Goolgle My Maps with various layers (that can be turned on/off to show):
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=11SF3HqEil19ATXyXA-A6Xw1woWEiJhox

Your map now also gives a nice sharable overview and can also be showed on your phone.

Navigation system

  • Load all routes and do a quick visual check if they are the same as on screen

Travel Plan

  • Create a print version and save it as pdf
  • Put the pdf on your phone (Books)

Feedback

Any questions or suggestions? What do you think of my way of working? Any feedback is welcome!

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