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How To Convert and Download Route Files to FIT or TCX for Your Garmin Cycling Computer

Ride with GPS is one of the better GPS activity tracking sites (especially the paid, upgraded account).  Sure, Strava is big, but it only exports to GPX and GPX doesn’t work on a Garmin… only TCX and FIT files work on a Garmin…

Well, I’m a big route following kind of guy – I like to know where I’m going when riding out of town and I like love the turn-by-turn direction navigation capabilities in my Garmin.

So, what to do?  Well, there are a few ways to go about setting all of this up.  First, you can kick your rides from Garmin Connect to a free or paid Ride With GPS account – RWGPS will export routes in FIT format – it’s exceedingly simple from there.

What if you’re using Endomondo or Strava, though?  You can export the GPX file and convert it to TCX or FIT at this (site).  I’ve already tested it.  You’ll have to set up a free account to complete the process, but it’s simple enough.  I export my files to my download folder, and that’s where the conversion site deposits the new file.  The only other needed piece of info is that you’ll have to rename the file to something that resembles a readable name – get ride of the dashes and percentage signs before you place it in your Garmin “Routes” folder.

I’ve never used a cue sheet, though my buddy, Mike has on a couple rides… and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I don’t have to ride around with a silly cue sheet folder strapped to my handlebar.  Those days are thankfully over.  Today, all I have to do is take three minutes on my laptop to create a route file from any of the tracking sites, convert it, drop it into my Garmin and ride.

If you haven’t gotten a Garmin or Wahoo cycling computer that has turn-by-turn navigation capabilities, they’re the bees knees.  I can’t recommend one highly enough… unless your idea of fun is going out with nothing but a road map and exploring.  In that case, just point your bike and go.

If you need to know how to download a route to your Garmin, click (here).

I Finally Bit the Bullet and Bought a Garmin

For the longest time I was content relying on others to handle navigation duties when we rode. My buddy, Chuck has had a Garmin 520 Plus for quite a while and that comes with turn-by-turn directions. Mike, my other best riding bud, picked up a 520 last year as well.

Well, I couldn’t take it anymore. I ordered an Edge 520 Plus last week. Not only does it have turn-by-turn, it’s got maps as well. Freaking spectacular. One of the shop mechanics had a chuckle at my expense because he could remember, not too long ago, when I eschewed electronics altogether for most of a full season because I was tired of turning everything on before I started to pedal.

Well, now all I have to worry about is my Garmin because it’s hooked to my phone and Strava. So much for unplugging.

You may have noticed in the photo above, I’ve got the SRAM flush out front mount on my Venge, rather than the Garmin mount that comes with the cycling computer. The SRAM mount is half the price of, and lighter than, the Garmin mount. It shouldn’t have to be said, weight wins on the Specialized.

A surprising benefit to the Garmin mount is the cleaned up cockpit… I never stopped to think how much better the front end of the bike would look without my computer mounted above my stem:20190226_180944763507980808725433.jpg

So now my bike is really, really, really complete. I don’t have anything else to do to it, it’s perfect.

Better still, now my wife will have a computer on the tandem because the Garmin comes with three mounts – two handlebar/stem mounts and one flush-out-front mount. And you can choose which bike you’ll be riding when you set the computer up (I have all four of my road bikes programmed in – The Venge, the Trek, the gravel bike and the tandem).