We present some information that we have found useful when we were planning our travels.
Smartphone technology means that there is no need to carry a bundle of large scale maps to plot or plan routes. A friend told me about the Oruxmaps App which is extremely useful to use with the GPS function that all smartphones have already built in.
By ensuring that you have the open source maps downloaded onto an SD card on your phone you can have whichever countries you may be travelling in loaded onto your phone without consuming valuable memory space.
The GPS function on your phone does not require access to the internet so therefore there are no roaming data download costs and it does not consume to much valuable battery power provided you only have the screen on to check position or upcoming turns.
Good old Google Maps has a cycle route option when you select a route from one specified place to another. Beware though! In the UK and possibly other countries as well, you may get a route that involves locked gates or muddy bridlepaths, so it is always worth checking the route offered for potentially problematic sections.
There is a handy little app which can then convert this route to a GPX file which can then be superimposed onto a map loaded onto an Orux map file.
This app is called GPS Visualizer … just paste the URL of the route you have created in Google Maps into the appropiate box on the GPS visualiser website, select the output format to “GPX” click/press on to the ‘convert’ button and a GPX file will be downloaded onto your device. Rename this file into something recognisable to yourself then you have a gpx file you can export or use with Oruxmaps, for example.
Route downloads in GPX format
From time to time I will provide the sections of our route that we followed so that anyone else can enjoy the way we travelled….. The files are in GPX format that you can use with smartphones and Garmin devices.
They can be found on my page on the Justgoride website
Route finding in Germany
If travelling in Germany, possibly all parts, but certainly southern Germany, there is a handy website called Alpregio.com which can help you find cycle routes to suit your preference : Fast ; Direct; flat .
It will automatically find a route according to your prefernces provided you enter your start and finish points. Again, you can download your route as a GPX file onto your device for use with your selected map.
For some reason, in Germany Wifi Access in public places or cafes /restaurants/bars is not generally available…. some of the larger cities have open access public wifi although this can be extremely slow!
A way round this, if your smartphone has 2 Simcard slots, is to purchase a ‘starter pack’ from any Aldi supermarket. Cost in 2016 is €12.95. Full instructions ( in German) are in the pack. Details from The Aldi Talk website.
When registering your simcard online you will need to use a German address , so you can ask your host if you can utilise their address for registration purposes.
Once registered and activated you can set up your online medionmobile account which you can then use to add top ups which you can buy in any Aldi Supermarket ( €5, €15 or €25).
Wifi access in the Netherlands is generally good. Most cafes, bars and restaurants have wifi for their customers.