How many times have you found yourself off your bike in the middle of the mountains or forest and wondering if your 32 mm tires can handle the terrain? Being under (or over) biked seems to happen more than we care to admit.

Thank the universe, Ride with GPS the popular route-creation app launched a feature that allows users to plan based on surface type. No more running those 32s on technical singletrack.

“Our mission is to help users go on better rides, more often. Knowing the surface type doesn’t just help route planners, it provides a better riding experience for everyone, and encourages folks to discover more places to ride,”

Zack Ham, Ride with GPS founder

3 Types of Surfaces

Surface type is now displayed in the app when planning, viewing, or navigating routes. Surfaces are displayed in 3 types:

  • Paved: Paved surfaces include asphalt, concrete, and chip seal. Paved surfaces are shown as a solid line.
  • Unpaved: Unpaved surfaces include gravel, dirt, cobblestones, and natural/unimproved trails. Unpaved surfaces are shown as a dashed line.
  • Unknown: When there is insufficient data available about a surface it will show up as unknown. Unknown surfaces are shown as an outlined white line.
Ride With GPS Launches Surface Types
Ride With GPS Launches Surface Types

Holy Macaroni - Editing Surface Types

It’s worth noting that RWGPS is not the first to launch surface data for route planning. Komoot a competitor to RWGPS from Germany has always had surface data.

Where RWGPS does stand out is in the ability to edit the surface data. Like most cycling apps out there, RWGPS relies on data from Open Street Map which has incomplete (surface data for about 10% of all roads in the world) and sometimes incorrect data. RWGPS allows riders to easily and visually correct surface data to any route. And for extra karma points, you can also contribute data changes back to OSM.

Ride With GPS Launches Surface Types

All surface data is presented alongside your route data broken down as a simple percentage. If you are one of those “32 mm tire on singletrack types” you can always toggle the surface data off and pray you make it home alive.

Barry Lachapelle
Barry Lachapelle

Barry has been cycling and creating digital products around the world for 20+ years. He was a design leader at IDEO, IDEO.org and Nike’s Innovation Lab.