What GPS file format should I use?

TCX Course:  Best format for turn by turn directions on the Garmin Edge 500, 510. Will provide true turn by turn navigation on the Garmin Edge 800, 810 and 1000 including custom cue entries.  Also works with the Garmin Edge Touring.

GPX Track:  Useful for any GPS unit. Contains no cue sheet entries, only track information (breadcrumb trail). Will provide turn by turn directions (true navigation) on the Edge 705/800/810/1000, but will not have any custom cues. Works great for Mio Cyclo. Note that older GPS units cannot use GPX Track files with more than 500 points.

GPX Route:  Only the cue sheet entries, not the entire track. Useful for the Garmin Edge 500/510, Edge 800/810, Edge 1000, and Magellan/Mio Cyclo 500/505 for turn notifications (turn by turn directions).  Also works with the Garmin eTrex.

How do I get the file on my GPS?

Every device is different, so check the instructions for your device.  Also, go to RideWithGPS.com/help/category/gps-devices/ for more information.  Generally, most devices will follow the following steps:
  1. Plug GPS into your computer with a USB cable.
  2. On the NMTS website, navigate to the ride you want to upload.
  3. Click the GPS filetype you want to download (TCX Course, GPX Track or GPX Route) under Available Downloads.
  4. If your computer prompts you to save the file to a specific location, place it somewhere memorable like the desktop.
  5. Using the Finder, My Computer or other tool on your computer, open up the drive associated with the GPS (Garmin on Garmin devices and Mgn_data on Magellan devices).
  6. Open the folder located inside the GPS drive where you need to put the file.  This folder will vary with the device you are using.  (For Garmin 200, 510, 800, 810, 1000, Touring it will be the NewFiles folder. For the Garmin eTrex, 605 & 705 it will be the GPX or Courses folder.  For the Magellan Cyclo 505 it the Dodge and then tracks folder)
  7. Click/drag the exported file from your desktop to that folder.
  8. Safely remove the GPS (Eject on an Apple machine) and unplug it from the computer
  9. After powering it on click the Courses, Tracks or Routes icon and locate your route.
For the Garmin Edge 205 & 305 you use Garmin Basecamp (available for free from Garmin).  You can also use Basecamp with other Garmin devices.

Device Specific Instructions

Here is some information on how to best set up your GPS (for some devices). For more detailed instructions see the RideWithGPS.com website.

Garmin Edge 800
Use GPX Track if you have Garmin/OSM basemaps or a TCX file if you don’t. If you want turn-by-turn directions and have basemaps installed, the following settings on your Edge 800 will help:
  1. Routing => Bicycle
  2. Guidance Method => Off Road (some people swear by On Road/Distance)
  3. Lock on Road => No
  4. Recalculate => Off or Prompted (important, or it will shortcut you back home!)
Garmin Edge 810
  1. Activity => Cycling
  2. Calculation Method => Minimize Distance
  3. Lock on Road => No
  4. Avoidance Setup => Disable all (to minimize crazy re-routing)
  5. Recalculate => Off or Prompted (important, or it will shortcut you back home!)
Garmin Edge 1000

    There are a few settings we recommend changing on the Edge 1000 to give you the best navigation experience. There are many settings available on the unit, but this should get you going.
    First, review your  Activity Profiles. The Edge 1000 is similar to the 810 in that you can have different settings based on different profiles. This allows you to associate different speed/cadence sensors with different profiles, so that way wheel size is always correct. Additionally, it lets you change per-activity routing options, which is useful if you use the 1000′s routing system to calculate a route for you (not as helpful for loading pre-planned routes).
    Once you have setup your Activity Profiles, let’s move on to navigation specific settings.
  1. Click the Settings Icon at the bottom of the home screen.
  2. Select Activity Profiles then select your preferred profile (Train in my case).
  3. Select Navigation, then select Routing.
  4. Set Routing Mode to Road Cycling.
  5. Set Calculation Method to Minimize Distance (though Minimize Time shouldn’t be too different).
  6. Ensure Lock On Road is set to Off.
  7. Select Avoidance Setup and make sure all options are disabled. Since we are loading pre-planned routes onto the Edge, we don’t want it recalculating the route on us if it thinks there may be a toll, highway etc.
  8. Set Recalculation to Prompted or Disabled. If you lose GPS signal, or go slightly off course for a block or two, with recalculation enabled the Garmin has a tendency to shortcut you to the end of your ride with whatever it feels is the quickest way. This is almost always not what you want! By setting it to prompted, you can choose to recalculate or not.
    Optionally, some users strongly prefer the map always be displayed with North at the top of the map. The default setting on the Garmin is for the map to always rotate so your current heading is towards the top of the map. To change this:

  1. Select the Settings Icon at the bottom of the home screen.
  2. Select Activity Profiles then select your preferred profile (Train in my case).
  3. Select Navigation, then select Map.
  4. Change Orientation to be North Up. You can also experiment with 3D mode.

Garmin eTrex
  1. Under Setup, Routing
  2. Calculate Routes for => Bicycling
  3. Lock on Road => No
  4. Avoidance Setup => Do Not Avoid all (to minimize crazy re-routing)
  5. Recalculate => Prompted (important, or it will shortcut you back home!)

Garmin Edge Touring
  1. Click the Wrench Icon on the main menu of the unit.
  2. Select Routing Options
  3. Change Routing Mode to Cycling
  4. Change Calculation Method to Minimize Distance
  5. Ensure Lock On Road is set to Off
  6. Enter Avoidance Setup and disable all (keeps the unit from changing your pre-planned route based on its own map data)
  7. Change Recalculation to either Prompted or Off. (Important! If you lose GPS signal or go slightly off course, recalculation will usually short cut you to the end of your route.)


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