Yesterday I felt really bad about myself. not because of any major, but because I had neglected something I like to do, cycling. 3 Months… Really?!?! was about how long I’d not been on my bike and how I felt about it. Last night though, I went out on the bike.

I could have easily just stayed indoors on the trainer, but no – I wanted to get out on the bike. I wanted to feel the breeze in my face, dance with cars (not literally) and go somewhere I’ve not been previously. Using the same routes can make it boring so it’s good to mix it up a bit.

As you can guess from the title of this post, it didn’t exactly go to plan. More than once I had to stop and get the phone out to look where I was and where I needed to be heading. I’ve not had to do this before because previously I’ve always plotted a route on Strava, uploaded it to Garmin Connect then synced it to my Garmin Edge 130.

Last night though, I didn’t. I kind of knew where I was going, but more than once I took the wrong road to turn down. This will be a lesson learned well.

A picture of the M1 last night, it was a bit of an adventure getting lost

It doesn’t usually take me long to map a route on Strava and then have it uploaded & synced to my Garmin. The timely bit is I can spend ages plotting a route. I’ll start by plotting a route, then I’ll remove and change part, then change it again… it’s a never-ending circle which often leaves me just quitting then doing it again later.

Some people will be reading this thinking “Why use Strava to then upload to Garmin Connect when Garmin Connect does the same thing?”

It does do the same thing, just not as well in my opinion. I find the course mapping on a faff if there is somewhere particular I want to go. Don’t get me wrong, there is a handy loop by distance creator tool, which will create a loop route from a starting point around a distance of your choosing – that’s ideal if you really can’t think of a route to organise.

But for now, I will stick to Strava for creating my routes. The process I follow looks long-winded when typed, but really it’s quicker than you think.

On a Computer (Windows or Mac)

  1. Log in to
  2. Go to My Dashboard and click My Routes
  3. Click New Route
  4. Plot the route you want to take (there are different map types you can select to help you)
  5. Click Save
  6. Click View My Route
  7. Click Export to GPX – save the file somewhere easily accessible on your computer
  8. Log in to
  9. Click Training
  10. Click Courses
  11. Click Import
  12. Open the GPX file you just saved from Strava
  13. Click Get Started
  14. Select a Course Type 
  15. Confirm your route looks good
  16. Click the Pencil Icon next to where it says Untitled
  17. Give your route a name
  18. Click Save Couse

Now on your mobile device to sync to your Garmin

  1. Open the Connect app
  2. Click the Menu Button (hamburger button)
  3. Click Training
  4. Click Courses
  5. Select the course you just saved from
  6. Click the three dots in the top-right
  7. Select Send to your Device
  8. Select your Device
  9. Sync the course

The route should show on your Garmin device once synced.

I don’t have a Garmin device, what can I do for turn-by-turn navigation?

Not all of us have a Garmin device for our bike(s). If you use your phone for tracking your rides, have a look at an app called Komoot. I used this when I first started and it was the best free app for turn-by-turn navigation.

You can import your routes similar to above or build them on their site. You do have to pay if you want to unlock more than one county, but your first county is free. Ideal if you don’t cycle far from home and you don’t cross county borders.

So there we have it, a process to create routes and follow them – don’t go getting lost unintentionally.