We listened to your feedback and are pleased to announce that we’ve partnered with RideWithGPS to provide downloadable GPS routes for all of our biking tours in Europe and North America in 2017.
Simply download the free RideWithGPS App to your smartphone and we’ll send you a link to your route maps, two weeks prior to the tour. You will then be able to download custom VBT maps with route notes right to your phone! This option is in addition to VBT’s traditional printed route notes.
What is RideWithGPS?
RideWithGPS is a bike route mapping tool for cyclists. It is available for VBT bike routes on all of our cycling tours in the USA and Europe, beginning in January of 2017. This option is an addition to VBT’s traditional printed route notes. VBT has partnered with RideWithGPS to provide a way to download tour maps and daily route notes to your smart phone. Two weeks prior to your bicycling vacation, VBT will e-mail you a link inviting you to create a free account and access the RideWithGPS application on your smartphone.
How does it work?
An invitation email with a link to download the app for free from both the Apple and Google Play stores will be emailed to you 2 weeks prior to your VBT tour. You will be prompted to create a personal RideWithGPS account for free. Sign up by entering your email address, and creating a password and a nickname.
When will I receive the routes to download onto my phone? (How long before the tour?)
You will receive the maps and routes two weeks prior to your tour date. The emailed link will allow you to download custom VBT maps and route notes to your smartphone for your specific tour, so that you can preview your daily rides. An instruction page will be included in your email.
Can I receive the e-mail with the link sooner than 2 weeks prior to the tour?
It will not be possible to email you the link sooner than 2 weeks before the tour. You will receive the most up to date maps and routes at that time.
ALL ABOUT THE PHONE:
Does it matter what kind of smartphone, or operating system I have?
RideWithGPS is available for either iPhones or Android phones. The app requires the following level operating systems: iPhone iOS 8 or newer, or Android 2.3 or newer.
What if I do not have a smartphone?
Traditional custom VBT maps and paper route notes will continue to be made available to all VBT guests while on tour.
Do I need to be able to use data and be on Wi-Fi?
Prior to your departure, simply download the maps and routes for offline use. Then use the offline maps during your tour. The RideWithGPS app can be used while your phone is in Airplane mode. This uses no data. You do NOT need to purchase a foreign data plan to use RideWithGPS if you are traveling outside of the USA.
Will the application drain my battery?
The app does use some battery. You can conserve your battery by taking the following steps: download the maps for offline use before you leave home, put your phone on Airplane mode while riding, keep the screen off as much as possible when you are not riding, turn off all other apps, turn down screen brightness, and charge your phone whenever you have access to an outlet. We highly recommend bringing a portable cell phone power bank to recharge your phone on the go. Ask your local cell phone store about options. We also recommend a local electrical adapter if traveling to a foreign country (see your VBT Welcome Handbook for details).
How much phone memory will downloading maps and routes use?
The phone memory used in downloading a map and route will vary depending on the length and geographic coverage of a route. A typical 30 mile route will take about 10MB of space. With broadband connection speed, the download should only take a few minutes, but make sure to wait until it says “Download Complete” before starting navigation or activating Airplane Mode. If phone memory space is an issue for you, please contact your local cell phone provider for information on ways to free up your phone’s memory space.
How do I delete an Offline Map to help save my phone memory?
When viewing your list of AVAILABLE OFFLINE maps, just tap the trash can icon to delete a map and route.
How will I see the map?
You will use the turn-by-turn voice navigation. A visual cue for a turn notification will flash over the lock screen to go with the audio alerts. You should not need to see the map unless you want to stop and turn your screen on to look at it.
What if I have my own GPS unit?
RideWithGPS can export routes to your own personal Garmin GPS unit. Please note that your experience will not be as full since GPS units have fewer features. For example, there is no turn-by-turn voice navigation and the cues will be truncated to 10 characters.
ALL ABOUT THE TOUR:
How will my phone be attached to my bike?
VBT will provide a universal mount that fits most standard-sized phones. You do not need to bring your own mount unless you would like to. We will provide a mount similar to the Nite Ize™ Handleband.
Will my phone be protected from rain?
We suggest that when it rains, you keep your phone protected in a waterproof jacket pocket. If you prefer a waterproof case, like the armband exercise cases made for this purpose, please bring it along from home.
How will it work when I am on tour? (A “cue” is a specific direction ie: turn right…)
When navigating the route you will get the following instruction cues both with voice navigation and on screen:
- Spoken Alerts – Spoken directions from cues = Turn-by-turn Voice navigation
The app will use the phone’s text-to-voice function to read the cues back to you.
- Advance Cue warnings – Announce next cue after completion.
Right after you complete a turn, if your next cue is some distance away the app will say “Turn left in a quarter mile”
- Nearing cue warnings – Announce cues when approaching.
As you approach a turn, the app will beep 10-12 seconds before the cue.
- Visual Alerts – Show cues over the map.
This option will show the cue description in a box just over the map.
- Audio Alerts – Emit beeps to announce cues.
Off-course alerts – Play warning tone when off route. If you go off-course, the app will continue to beep at you every two minutes as a reminder that you are off course.
What happens if I go off the route?
If you wander off-course then the app will give you a notification beep. The app will give you a prompt as to the direction and distance to get yourself back to the course from where you left it. You may wish to stop and look at the map on your phone’s screen to better visualize getting back to the route.
What if I want to take a photo while I have the program on?
You can stop to take photos anytime. The app will record the photo on the map exactly where you took it. Rides can be paused for photo stops, snack stops, etc. You may also simply leave the app and come back to it to resume riding.
Who do I contact for IT/technical support* if I am having trouble with the RideWithGPS application?
1. First look at the Help document here: http://ridewithgps.com/help/tour-participants
2. Secondly, Email questions to [email protected] – Subject line: “VBT TOUR”.
*VBT Tour Consultants will defer your technical questions to the experts at RidewithGPS
How long will my access to the VBT maps and routes last?
Your access to the custom VBT maps and routes will expire 2 weeks after the tour start date.
During your tour you will benefit from the RideWithGPS “Premium” features, such as offline maps and turn-by-turn voice navigation. Your free personal RideWithGPS account will revert to a standard account with “Starter” features 2 weeks after your tour start date.
VBT will not be responsible for any loss or damage whatsoever to your personal smartphone, nor for any data charges incurred at any time. It is your sole responsibility to take care of your personal property. Please note that VBT would like to set realistic expectations for the use of your personal smartphone during your tour.
Suggestions to keep your phone safe:
- Protect your phone with a drop-proof case and a screen protector.
- Always keep your phone with you when you are not on your bicycle.
- When removing your phone from the bike mount, always have one hand on the phone.
- Always have your phone on Airplane mode while riding.
- Check your battery level during the day and keep the paper route notes with you as a backup should your battery die. Consider bringing a portable power bank to recharge your phone mid-day.
- Recharge your phone completely each evening.