Route planning comparing MyRouteApp, Google Maps, Alltrails, and Basecamp

Planning a route in advance for successful motorcycle travel is always unfinished business – but crucial if you want to avoid ending up on mind-numbing motorways to get to a destination. Some clever marketing has brought a route planning website, to my attention a number of times recently. And, by coincidence, I have spent a few evenings replacing very many links to the defunct Everytrail in my travel website with links to the company that took over from Everytrail – one by one – which is laborious. So I am looking for a site to not only plan and store my dreams, plans and travels but a stable site that I can link to in future accounts of those travels.
As an experiment I chose a journey that I am likely to take some day (when we are allowed out again) from my home to Harwich Quay. I tried planning the route in a few different applications. Google maps allows some flexibility in putting the route down in its map but doesn’t seem to allow export to a GPS – perhaps there is some plug in but I can’t find it. MyRouteApp has a range of avoidances and it does allow export direct to the GPS.

Alltrails (free account) doesn’t seem to allow options when setting a route e.g. avoiding motorways: also its not clear that its possible to export a route as a GPX to a device. Its great for archiving and linking to existing routes I’ve taken though, and placing the links in a blog. 

Garmin Basecamp: this application is much criticised and its not clear at all how it is calculating the route. In Google Maps and MyRouteApp I could avoid motorways but I’m not sure how to do it in Basecamp. It could well be my ignorance, but in this case I have the feeling that it isn’t. Export to the Garmin GPS from Basecamp is easy which is not surprising as its a Garmin product. Planning a route between two locations has always been a bit hit and miss to me in Basecamp. 
Conclusions: I am slightly surprised but with even a very quick comparison at planning the same route, it does seem that MyRouteApp does do all that’s needed: easy planning from one location to another (you just type in the address!), to include avoidances and to upload/export the result to a GPS device – and it lets you swap from a number of different maps (Open Street Map, Google, the HERE map used by Garmin and the mapping used by TomTom) which is very clever. None of the others seem to do all of these quite so easily. AND it has a ’share’ and ‘embed’ option for putting the maps of where I’ve been into my blogs.  I’ve yet to try this.

Day 2: Now I’m trying planning some longer routes – Hook of Holland to Lviv in Ukraine (about 1000miles) and Lviv to Almaty in Kazakhstan which is about 3000 miles – journeys that fit into the ‘dream’ rather than ‘plan’ category at the moment but that may migrate – who knows? MyRouteApp did both well see here for the second journey:

But what I don’t (didn’t when I first wrote it) know how to do is export the route intact to the GPS. The program works well to find the device and export it but it ends up as just a straight line on the device. Maybe its just a matter of adding lots of waypoints (which the programme allows you to do very easily) – and I think this is my ignorance not a weakness of the program. I need to sort this before forking out on paying the subscription, but I think I will go for it. Its my commitment to riding somewhere.  (An hour or so later…) I just paid 29 Euros so now am a member. Its the kind of company that you are really happy to support. And its a snip really.  Here is a webinar (they have really invested in instruction videos for this application which is impressive – its clearly a small outfit) how to export to Garmin  – and to avoid straight lines!

TO EXPORT FROM MYROUTE.APP TO GARMIN: Open Apps on the Garmin – go to Tracks – select imported track Show on Map – check. Then select CONVERT TO TRIP (it will calculate).  Then open the trip (it will calculate again but quicker). I need to pin this instruction on my computer monitor.

The only thing is – nobody is going anywhere at the moment with Covid-19 lockdown and an uncertain summer ahead.