Route Back to Course

Eli Post


When Hansel and Gretel went off route, they relied on breadcrumbs to find their way back. That didn’t end well. Dorothy had more success with ruby slippers, but they could only take her home.


Now there’s a new kind of magic available from Ride With GPS (RWGPS) that with the tap of a screen can give you turn-by turn directions back to your route.


You might ask what purpose is served by RWGPS’ new “Route back to Course”. Well, say you encounter roadwork and have to unexpectedly go off course. Alternatively, you might decide to explore unfamiliar roads, or go off course for donut and coffee or other treats and appreciate an easy way back to the route. In either case, “Make a U-turn” doesn’t cut it for directions.


Let’s see how“Route back to Course” works.

  • If you stray more than 120 degrees or 35 meters off of the route you are navigating, the software is designed to recognize that you are off course and automatically trigger an alert.
  • With the introduction of Route Back to Course, when you opt to be rerouted the routing engine immediately begins to work on developing a turn-by-turn route back to the closest point of your route. Occasionally this may mean turning around and backtracking the way that you went off course; however, the majority of the time it will mean continuing forward on a different path that will link you up with your original course a bit further down the line.
  • Rerouting decisions are based on distance and safety, with popularity as a tie breaker.
  • An internet connection (whether via Wi-Fi or a cellular network) is required to produce rerouting directions, regardless of whether or not your route has been downloaded.

A personal note here. This writer was an early adopter of GPS and used a Garmin device especially designed for biking. It was a frustrating experience. When you went off course or simply wanted to cut the ride short and head back, the instrument was unpredictable and had a mind of its own. However RWGPS has an excellent track record with its software upgrades and we are hopeful this will be a welcome addition to your navigation experience.


More technical information from RWGPS is included below for those who are interested.


On Course Point Selection:
 - The app will select the nearest point to the rider. 

 - Depending on circumstances (If there are multiple points that are all "very close", it will disambiguate them using their heading and their "delta from known position" (which is designed to catch the correct "lap")), it may take the rider's heading into consideration. 

 - We're planning on improving the selection process in a later release.


The app then navigates the user to this point:

 - It will request cycling directions.

 - It will prefer "No u-turns" if the rider is moving when reroute occurs. ( this means it may route you around the block instead of having you turn around. The app can't know how busy the street you're on is.)

 - if you rejoin the route before what the app determines is the "nearest" point, it will slice off the overlap and the final endpoint will be slightly ahead of where you naturally rejoin the route. 

 - It is possible that you rejoin and then depart before rejoining a final time on the reroute.