Bored, fun with maps. Planning a multi-day ride

It’s a bit hard at the moment with no riding for most people but here is something fun to do with Google Maps whilst you’re bored. Plan some 200-300km loops from your home and use your phone or convert to GPX files to ride when lockdown finishes.

We are not really going to be welcome straight away in remote areas and a one day route is not going to scratch the riding itch, but what if you do 4 or 6 one day rides, you end up with a multi-day ride with no accommodation costs, different riding every day.

Sounds good, doesn’t it. Start planning, and then go riding

Places of interest

I’m often to busy getting somewhere else to revisit or even visit local landmarks, whether they are natural or historical, how about that dead-end road you have always wondered where it went.

Pick a few and turn them into a loop.

Bring up google maps, get directions and click on the pushy or the hiker so google takes the good trails not the roads. Start from your home town, type in an place you want to see, preferably about the turn back point of your loop.

Google will rough it out, then zoom in till you can see road names and check or fine-tune the roads taken. You can drag the road over to your preferred choice, with experience you learn to use the main links that leave little choice so you get more than one road with each move.


If you run out of “pins” google says cannot be modified further, zoom out a bit and click on pins to remove were they are close together, if maps moves just hit the back arrow and try again, often some dots can be removed without changing course.

When finished course do this again, the less dots the easier it is to convert to GPX. For really complex courses, maybe split it into sections.

Hit details and grab a link for GPX or share on Facebook for easy access with phone, I often do both in case I have to make changes because of poor trails or timber down etc.

Maps to GPX


Copy your link and go to maps to gpx, paste in link and convert to GPX. If it won’t convert there is too many dots changing the course, simplify or split and try again.

I use the converted gpx files to go to your places (lines inbox, menu, your places, maps, create a map, import) then drag your gpx files over then link finished thing to Facebook or your phone for added security. This way the course won’t change.

If more than one loop click add a layer, import and change colour, scroll to the bottom on the blue line, a bucket will show click on and choose colour

There is more info already on Dualsport Australia with screenshots (GPS and google maps), tips on how to use street view etc, generally, if street view has been there the road is tar and no fun.

Practice makes perfect

This is a great way when pre-running a section, sometimes walk finds alternative tracks, just check that they are not walking trails and be prepared to make changes, google has sent me on some dodgy shortcuts over the years.

For my example I only did 4 days, there is still at least 4 more out of Coffs plus variations, I didn’t want to spoil the fun.

This will keep you amused for hours, plan lots of rides then when restrictions end go ride them

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