What's the best way to follow / navigate when riding new routes?

Not really sure how to phrase the question, but essentially: if you’re going out for a ride where you aren’t 100% familiar with the route (e.g. which turns to take), how do you navigate and follow that route?

I was thinking of getting one of those quarter-turn sticky mounts for my phone so I could attach it to my bars and use Google Maps or something, but was wondering how others did it / if there were any better ways of doing this.

Load it into your bike computer. Phones don’t have the battery life to be useful on bike rides.

Agreed. Battery is the big problem.

ah, I thought of this but I have the old 520, which as far as I’m aware can’t navigate turn-by-turn? is this still how people tend to do it?

Double century two years ago - about 17 hours elapsed time using iPhone 7, RideWithGPS app, and airplane mode. Toggled airplane off a bunch of times to send pics to family. Phone was in jersey pocket, used it as backup to bike computer.

It will show you a breadcrumb and also pop up cue sheet prompts but it can be a pain as it’s not easy to pick out junctions. I’ve done it, just be prepared for the odd u-turn when you notice you drift from the breadcrumb and a cue wasn’t generated.
Some form of offline map on the phone can also be useful allowing less battery to be used, Komoot and RideWithGps are pretty common but you can also download offline maps with google maps.

Nothing wrong with an old 520.

I create tcx course files in bikehike.co.uk and add coursepoints with instructions as I need them.

RidewithGPS is the absolute best for plotting, and if you have a Wahoo head unit everything you create is synced right there to your app.

However, I have a Bolt and was using it for a new route while on holiday this weekend (probably the first time I’ve used it for this) and it was dire. Would take a bit of a writeup to explain all the ways that it was useless and can’t be arsed, but I’m definitely in the market for a sporty head unit that can also do route tracking well. At best I would say that it’s a minor step up from a GPS tracking watch like a Garmin Fenix. You can see what direction you’re going in and have a fair idea if you’re going the right way, but that’s not enough to stop you from taking wrong roads. Ended up using Google Maps on the phone to get about. Absolutely brilliant. Love that app but it’s not safe riding around with one hand playing with your phone and you get sick of being the guy that’s start and stopping every few minutes to check the route!

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I use Komoot to map my “exploratory” rides and sync to my Wahoo Bolt. Very happy with this solution. Mapping is done best on a PC.

You can also put maps on a 520 - do a search on DC Rainmaker to see how. It is limited by memory to a fairly small area, but it is not terrible. Combined with ridewithgps and direction arrows it’s not too bad.

I mostly use an 820, but tend to run the same route on the ridewithgps app on my phone, which sends direction audio to a Bluetooth earpiece. Works more reliably than just the 820.

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I have a Garmin 500 and just load .tcx files from RideWithGPS onto it. It gives prompts when it’s time to turn, although it’s definitely not perfect–the prompts sometimes are right when the turn is NOW (this makes it hard sometimes when you’re in a group and no one else knows the route…). I try to have a basic idea in mind for what the route is, and I also have the RideWithGPS app on my phone. If I’m concerned that I missed a turn or don’t quite know where I am, I stop and pull out the phone. I make sure I download the particular route I’m doing so I have it available offline in case there isn’t cell signal. It’s saved me multiple times.

I’ve sometimes ridden with my phone in my jersey pocket pumping turn by turn instructions to a Jabra Elite Sport bluetooth headphone in my right ear.

“But cycling with something in your ear is dangerous!” I agree, but it’s less dangerous than rolling towards an intersection while fumbling with a phone, trying to see a tiny screen in blazing sunlight and pinching and zooming and scrolling a map and trying to figure out where the hell you are supposed to turn next.

I use RideWithGPS to map the route, then load that to my Element Bolt. Usually works very well, but can be tricky sometimes with inaccurate maps or bike paths not shown.

Garmin onroad maps from BBBike are most suitable for this. They are small in size and clutter free.

For navigation prompts I use a little earpiece like this:

Because of the hooky thing which stops it from falling out, I can have it with the bud very loose in my ear hole, so it doesn’t block any sound at all.

I’d love it if someone brought out something like the Coros bone conduction speakers to clip onto helmet straps (I don’t want to switch helmets).

Also using a Garmin 500. I will page-down to the last page on my Garmin when riding a pre-loaded route which gives me the street name, turn direction, and distance-to the turn. I use this to kind of set my mental clock to start paying attention and let me prepare to make my next turn. If I have miles remaining until my next turn I page back to my live ride metrics and daydream a bit until I check again. Not a perfect solution but I always find my way home.

I have a garmin 530 and works great but any bike computer will work much better than a phone in my opinion. Used to have a wahoo bolt which is solid as well.