As I’ve been working away on the route for EWE, the software that has made it possible has been RouteBuddy. I’ve always resisted buying any mapping software as you can get quite far with free online tools and there is limited choice for Mac users. But EWE was too big a project: I needed to split and join routes; I needed to be able to zoom out for an overview with OS data; I needed some way to organise the route fragments.
Route Buddy has given me all of this (if you’re on Windows, it’s available for you, too, with all the same features).
My method of route planning for unfamiliar areas where I’m having to do it all myself has been as follows: Download routes for the area from the internet. Plot fragments of nice looking trails from guide books that I have. View all of these tracks together in Route Buddy and formulate a plan…
For anywhere that looks potentially difficult, I flick it over to the satellite view and look for tracks on the ground.
With all this and the OS mapping showing national trails, I attempt to put together something that’s fun in the fun bits and just gets the miles done in-between.
Drawing routes onto the map has been really simple. I just hope that my clicks are accurate enough. We’ll find out when I get the chance to test-ride parts of the route or when the competitors get lost!
Organising things into “Locations” has been really handy for working on one section at a time and then bringing them into the main EWE route.
Finally having a decent tool for route-planning, I’ve been using it for planning some normal riding (even in my local area). I’ve joined together traces from rides that I’ve done already, and linked them in the same sort of way as EWE to be able to make longer loops and see how challenging they will be. I’m not sure how I lived without this!
For full information on RouteBuddy, go to their website: http://www.routebuddy.com/routebuddy